One of the biggest buzz-phrases in social media marketing is “return on investment” or “ROI,” as in “What is the social media ROI of our company?” or “What’s the ROI on that social media campaign we’re running?” The discussion over social media ROI has spawned a legion of posts, papers, books and social media posts from experts and marketers. Some are firmly entrenched in the “social media ROI doesn’t exist and therefore cannot be measured,” while others advocate loudly for “ROI can always be measured for everything that has an associated business cost, including social media.”
The truth? As usual, it’s not so black and white. The answer lies somewhere in between. Social media ROI does exist and it can be measured—but not for everything a business might want to know about its social media presence.
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CEOs, executive directors, and anyone else who speaks on behalf of their company can benefit from media training. Media training is largely undervalued, viewed by many as an expendable expense. Yet, if you don’t understand the basic rules of media relations, you risk misrepresenting your company.
Preparing a written statement for either a newspaper or social media platform, such as Twitter or Facebook, is considerably easier than preparing for a radio or television spot. Writing affords you the time to carefully craft your response, think about the ramifications of your words and bounce your ideas off your coworkers. Missteps occur when an individual fails to do these things, as exemplified by the recent problematic Home Depot tweet.
Radio and television don’t afford you the same luxuries the written word does. Yet, the same thoughtfulness needs to go into your interview, so you need to adequately prepare. If you fail to choose your words wisely when talking to the media, you can create a communications crisis for your company.
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The reappearance of the flat design trend has stirred up some controversy in the creative world. The recent fuss came with Apple’s release of iOS 7, their newest operating system that did a complete 180 from the previous realistic, 3D design. (Fun fact: It was actually Apple’s archenemy Microsoft who first brought flat back in a big way with their Windows Phone UI.) Flat design is nothing new—designers have been using this simplistic style for years. But just like fashion trends or technology fads, design styles come and go, and right now flat is definitely in.
What is flat design?
Flat design is a style that removes all embellishment and details that create a three-dimensional look. All of the little tricks used to make graphics look realistic—drop shadows, textures, gradients, embossing, etc.—are taken away to create a simple and content-focused feel. It is composed of clean elements organized in a straightforward hierarchy that makes navigation easy. With the absence of ornamentation, bold typefaces and vibrant colors are emphasized. Flat design is very similar to minimalism and builds on the theory that form follows function.
Why is flat design so trendy?
Our generation is constantly connected. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, we can access endless amounts of information. As people become more experienced with computers and mobile devices, they crave a simpler design. They no longer need a lot of explanation and direction to navigate a website or app. This has led to the return of focusing on content. The rise in mobile users has also fueled the desire for simplicity because flat designs are easier to consume on the small screen of a phone or tablet.
Should I use flat design?
All styles have their pros and cons. The trendiness of flat design can be both beneficial and hurtful to your project. It’s great to have a design that’s popular, but the style won’t stay popular forever and could appear dated down the road. And although most people will be able to operate the simple design, it may still get confusing for some less-experienced users. The focus on typography and color is every designer’s dream, but it makes it more difficult to choose the right fonts and colors. A bad choice will be a lot more noticeable. When it comes down to it, the decision all depends on the project. Flat design is beautiful and simple, but it won’t work in every situation.
More about flat design:
Working with the media can be beneficial to your organization and yourself. Even with such a diversity of communication channels available today, it’s likely your target audience—the people who you want to educate and persuade about your products and services—consume information that originates from a media source.
While most folks are petrified of talking with the media, it’s really not that bad. They are people, with many similar interests as you, and they are typically open to hearing what you have to say if it can help them to better inform their readers. But don’t wing it. In fact, no matter how experienced you are working with the media, don’t forget it is a professional encounter and you should prepare like you would for any client meeting.
Here are six tips for working with the media:
1. Be brief
Did you know a common questioning technique for journalists is to stay quiet after you answer? The awkward silence prompts most interview subjects to fill the void, and that’s when they get gold. Instead, answer the question and wait for the next. Take your time, compose your thoughts, and then speak.
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Around the office, we are experimenting more with Prezi—cloud-based presentation software that “opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides.” I thought it would be fun to show the benefits of Prezi, as compared to other applications, by using Prezi to build a blog post. You can find the slightly-modified content of the presentation below.
Writing (successful) content for the web differs from writing for print publications. To keep users on your website and ensure their return, here’s what you should know:
Web users SKIM!
Just think about how you navigate the Internet and this should come as no surprise. The Internet is full of a ridiculous amount of information—reading all of it is impossible!
It’s like sifting through thousands of books at the library. Of course you’re not going to read every book on the shelf. You’re looking for material on specific subjects. And you want to find the most helpful material on those subjects.
Internet users scan pages for keywords and phrases to find the specific information they’re looking for. So when they visit your page, they look for clues that your page has what they want. If they can’t easily find these clues, they’ll leave.
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As a graphic designer, I often run into tedious tasks that can put me behind on a project. For example, I’ll need to figure out exactly what typeface is used, or find the perfect photo to represent a story. Sometimes these menial tasks can eat up time that you don’t have to spare. Luckily, designers don’t like to have their time wasted, so the web gurus among us create handy tools and share them for free online. Here are five of my favorite time-saving design tools:
Designers often work with gigantic files that won’t fit in an email or on most file-sharing websites. WeTransfer is a super simple file sharer that let’s you send up to 2 GB of stuff, much more than the typical 25 MB limit on emails. My favorite part about WeTransfer is that it doesn’t require you to create an account. Just enter your email and the recipient’s email, upload the file and you’re all done.
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The first Tuesday of November is nearing, which means it is time for campaigns to roll out to persuade voters to support or reject issues they will face at the ballot box (or mail-in ballot). How does one win public support for a cause? Here are 10 tips to help you succeed:
1. Define your problem, in the simplest terms.
The KISS doctrine—Keep it Simple, Stupid—is essential. Boil the issue down to a few key points, and build your campaign around them. Remember, people are self-interested. Tell them in clear terms what’s in this for them, and why they should support your issue.
2. Focus on the heart of the issue.
Don’t get sucked into tangential issues that will distract from the message you want your audience to hear and the action you want them to take.
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Back in the day, you could merrily stuff keywords and hide links on your way to a high search result ranking, pausing only to add more cloaking, irrelevant keywords, tiny text and other black hat search engine optimization tricks. Then the Algorithm got wise and started to care about what was actually on your website, lending more weight to a whole slew of white hat SEO tricks, like meta keywords and URL name construction.
Lately, the eminently unknowable Algorithm has become even pickier with what type of web content it rewards, making all content creators work harder to attain the Holy Grail—a No. 1 search ranking. Of course, no tricks or tips or tactics will ever beat the easiest way to impress the great Algorithm—useful, original content—but here are five still-relevant white hat SEO tricks that will help augment that content.
I woke Wednesday morning, Sept. 11, to a friend’s earnest post that the rain in Colorado was apropos for that day’s anniversary. As he experienced it, the day dawned somber with metaphorical tears. The irony was that as the hours flooded in, what reminded him of one tragedy created its own disaster. A new normal to address.
The public scrutinizes the way anyone with a platform, basically anyone online, reacts to and records major events of loss. We are wary of companies that offer condolences, and we are sensitive to commentary that might invalidate our pain. According to American zeitgeist, it’s still too soon for anyone in the media to be glib about 9/11. If my friend, with his large following, had made a joke that morning, I probably would have thought it in poor taste, even 12 years later.