One of the great things about blogging is the freedom to express your opinion. And while the majority of opinions won't cause too much of a controversy, one of the few ways you can get yourself into trouble is by stealing other peoples work. It can be tempting to copy a great idea. Wasn't it Sir Isaac Newton who said "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." There are ways to go about repurposing other people's content so that you are not just copying them but adding to the conversation. Your Point Of View The great thing about you is that you are not me. I want your fresh perspective on the topic at hand. It's your unique voice that will keep me coming back. Continue the conversation, don't repeat it. If you think someone did a great job covering your topic it only seems logical that you would link back to the original post. Same goes for tweets, comments and other conversations already happening elsewhere on the web. Aggregate the best of the best. Rather than writing a whole blog post about an awesome tutorial you found, why not post a collection of your favorite tutorials. At least fall back to tip #2 if you need to re-share that one awesome tutorial. How To Properly Cite Other People's Work Blogs Always link back to other posts when you can. Most blogging platforms will actually detect the link and create an automatic link back from the original article. Social Media Most social media sites provide you a way to link back to the original piece of content. For comments you can usually click on the date to get a direct link to that comment. Also keep an eye out for ways to embed your social content into your sites. Twitter, for example, recommends that you use their new Embedded Tweets functionality. Images To summarize from "Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images" ... when in doubt, assume it's subject to copyright and don't use it without the appropriate permission ... It's best to either use your own images or images that have a Creative Commons license. Learn more at "Using Creative Commons to Find Photos You Can Use". Still Not Sure? If you are unsure or worried about breaking copyright laws, just remember these simple rules: If you didn't create it you need to link back to the original source It's safer to link to content than to copy it More Info on About.com Conclusion In the end there isn't too much to worry about. You will usually be contacted by the source if you end up stepping on any toes. A majority of people want you to remix and link back to their content. It's the heart and soul of what makes the web so powerful.
With a title like that I realize I'm opening myself to be ridiculed by some instigator who will tell me how boring MY blog post is. I also realize that for the general public, the topic of SEO is enough to make folding laundry sound fun, so if you are one of those people, this post is not for you. However, if you like exposing new people to your brand and driving traffic to your website, this blog post IS for you. While there are numerous types of shareable content including articles, videos, and photos, for the sake of this discussion, I'll be focusing on blog posts. Blogs are often the worst offenders of boring and self serving content. With the right approach, a blog can be an easy way to generate fresh relevant content that is indexable by search engines. (I realize 'indexable'? isn't really a word, but it is in my world, so for a brief moment my vocabulary is more substantial than that of spell check.) It seems like 'Content is King'? has been the main SEO 'buzz'? phrase for an eternity already, even if in actuality it's only been a couple years. Unfortunately, the meaning of that statement can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. I'd like to amend the phrase to say 'Interesting, Useful, and Shareable Content is King.'? Now that Google Panda updates will be part of a real time algorithm, creating content that people find useful will continue to be a major attribute for achieving visibility for key terms. On the flip side, search engines are becoming increasingly savvier in regards to devaluing content that was only created to benefit keyword rankings. Developments such as Google Authorship can help brands maximize the effectiveness of their content more than ever before. It's far too easy for brands to say, 'I heard we need a blog. We'll create a post per month and talk about all of the company happenings.'? Creating blog content should never be seen as a reactionary measure. Rather brands should stop looking at their product as a commodity and start thinking how people could have an emotional connection to their offerings. Establishing an emotional connection causes the reader to actually feel something, which will surely entice them to share content and click through to a core part of the site. Before new blog content is created, the content curator needs to be honest and ask themselves the following: If I didn't work for this company, would I find this interesting? Would anyone I know be interested in sharing this? I know it's probably tough to swallow, but most brands aren't nearly as exciting as they think they are. While some content can have a direct correlation to a brand's offerings, a large amount of content should expose a whole new audience to the brand. For example, a blog for a women's fashion shoe company would be incredibly boring and self serving if it only talked about their newest styles. Instead the blog would be far more effective if it talked about things that are more relatable to the general public, such as fashion tips and celebrity style. The company could take it a step further and talk about broader topics that appeal to women including healthy eating, dating tips, and other topics women might find interesting (what do I know? I'm clearly a dude). By casting a wider net and connecting to the people who might potentially buy the shoes, a whole new audience will land on the site and be exposed to the products. Someone who lands on the site might not have even been looking for shoes previously, but they enjoyed the content so much that they clicked through to see what the brand was all about. As long as blog posts strategically link back to the core site in a strategic and non-pitchy way, the blog post is doing its job. While it should be common knowledge by now, brands should always share their content with their social media followers (in moderation of course'?¦more than once a day might be overkill). These are the people that like the brand enough to have already followed them, so they are most likely to share this content with other people as well. These social signals will only help content rank higher in search engines. Since we're talking about social media, it's really important that brands START USING GOOGLE PLUS. Trust me, just because it doesn't have as many users as Facebook and Twitter, doesn't mean it should be ignored. Google Plus is already having a major impact on Google search results. In closing, no matter what your company sells, the blog is an opportunity to have a little fun and write content that might expose the brand to a whole new audience. Think outside the box a bit, and think about the stuff you like to read when you aren't working. Your strategy should start to make more sense from there.
In preparing for class discussion by reading a business case last week, my eyes scanned a phrase that seemed woefully out of date. 'Web logging,'? blogging's full name, felt as silly, formal and old as the days when we all had to use .edu addresses to log into thefacebook.com. Of course, in 2003 when Halley Suitt's case 'A Blogger in Their Midst'? was published, such explanation was necessary and what would become the blogging public were having Dear Diary moments on LiveJournal and Xanga. Long story short, the fictional case involved a blog-happy company employee wielding her influence for good and bad. She filled her many readers in on pending sales deals and her negative opinions of potential clients ' surely a fireable offense in this day and age. But the quasi-anonymous writer also sang the praises of several of her company's products and even revived an aging product line. She generated good buzz for the company and earned accolades from other industry leaders. The fictional executives worked themselves into a tizzy over what to do about her. They had never really heard of people taking to the Internet to document their thoughts, share opinion and create media that heralded a product. Should they fire her? Promote her? Let her keep blogging and hope she stops spreading company secrets? All this prompted a lively discussion with classmates debating the various merits and detriments of this non-sanctioned blog. But it was all for naught. In 2011, this case is pretty much a moot point. If this situation were happening today, the company would already have an official blog and a social media policy for employees to follow. This random blogger would likely be fired or at leave be given a stern talking-to. However, here my class sat (on a Friday night no less'?¦thanks, snow day make up schedule) dissecting the facts of this case and giving our hypothetical advice to the fake CEO ' whose spot was blown up on the blog when the author outed his toupee. A Speedily Changing Subject Matter I don't fault anyone here, not my professor, not the case author, not my school. Our class discussions are always relevant, current and enlightening, but what we've all had to read to get there'?¦not so much. When the field, integrated marketing communication, moves as fast as it does, it's clearly difficult for related material to catch up. In the past three months that I've been interning at AMP, we've witnessed the beginning of the end for MP3 players and questioned the air-tightness of the almighty mobile app. Case studies are a little easier to keep updated, but textbooks nowadays can be like paper time capsules. For example, one of my texts from this semester points to the online buzz created around Christina Aguilera's 'Genie in a Bottle'? as a great way to market pop music to teens online. It credits a 'team of cybersurfers'? posting messages on websites and emailing music fans about this hot new singer, whom they might remember from the Mulan soundtrack. Never mind the fact that we all associate Xtina with things far less wholesome than Disney's warrior princess, Electric Artists would now have to make their scrappy cybersurfing squad officially disclose that they were receiving 'material connections'? for talking up one of the greatest songs of the summer of 1999, thanks to a 2009 update to the FTC's endorsement guide. And, if we're talking about pop stars skyrocketing to fame with the help of the interwebs, why don't we mention The Bieber? In defense of the textbook's authors, it was published in 2009 when Bieber Fever was more like Bieber Sniffles and had only taken root in Canada. Thinking Outside the Textbook The onus rests on course instructors to seek out supplemental reading to give students an up-to-date picture of the marketing world, which we deserve. However, this all but guarantees that each class, each semester will be totally buy propecia on line different. Education should be fluid, but should students be learning completely different things from year to year? A friend's professor bolstered the class text with articles like this one on Twitter's influence on live TV, but what happens next spring when the class runs again? The story will be outdated and the professor will have no guaranteed source of supplemental information. So what's the answer? A marketing professor think tank that writes up content for each new semester? Requiring that students buy e-readers to ensure they'll get the freshest content? I don't know the solution, but part of the future landscape of higher education has already begun to form in the shape of tweets and status updates. Social media has revolutionized how we live and communicate and it's definitely been changing the way we learn. Social Butterflies Landing in the Classroom When I was an undergraduate, Facebook was simply a place to connect with friends and, eventually, a place to share photos. The biggest influence it had outside of students' social lives was the rumors that the Department of Public Safety was using it to find parties to bust. Campus lore held that a professor got wind of a student's 20th birthday party at a bar through a Facebook event and alerted authorities. That was surely a learning experience for all who may or may not have been involved and their confiscated fake IDs. Today students shouldn't be surprised if professors bring the 'Book right into their classes. Recent findings show that 80 percent of faculty members use some form of social media to teach. A whopping 91 percent of them report using social media as some aspect of their work, compared to 47 percent of professionals in other industries. This year, I've had the head of my department wish me a happy birthday through Twitter, watched iconic commercials in class on YouTube, and found the opening that led to my AMP internship on my program's LinkedIn page. In the four years that have passed since I earned my bachelor's degree, social media has delivered some walloping changes to the landscape in the classroom and on campus. Marketing students can rest assured that even when their assigned readings feel as dated as Ms. Aguilera's Dirrty-era chaps, their professors will pleasantly punch up any discussion using their own expert observations, relevant news pieces and up-to-the-minute strategy playing out in social platforms. Let's just hope some updated course materials materialize soon so they have a little back up.