Reflecting on Being Moderator

I wanted to just reflect on being moderator. It was a very interesting and fun week! I enjoyed being able to give some insight to the class. The highlight of being moderator was the ability to control the conversation. I could only imagine the feeling of having a blog or website with a huge following. Being able to lead the class in the week long discussion was awesome!

It was very cool to be able to voice my opinion and get the class thinking about topics that interested me, but it was frustrating at times. I wish there was more engagement overall. I felt that I posted interesting topics but that the minimal amount of students replied and interacted with my posts. I also felt that several students just were not interested in creating a conversation with my posts. Although this was hard at times, I was still motivated to create great content that was both relevant to the class and interesting to the students.

I did feel very rewarded knowing that the students that interacted daily were very appreciative and interested in the blog posts. I fully understand why some students were maybe not interested. I tried my best to interest every student though! I spent my fair share of time focusing on students who I knew were interested in joining the conversation.

One thing I learned was that keeping a conversation with people via a blog, or any online platform is very difficult. In fact, it is even more difficult to do EVERY SINGLE DAY! Some people have plans or strict schedules which just make it harder for those people to commit time each and every day to interacting with an online community.  Therefore, the overall job of interacting with students every day was very difficult.

Overall, I felt that I captured my audience’s attention regularly. As I reflect on this project, I wish we had to blog every other day. I feel that this would have enabled me to create a more effective strategy and overall weekly calendar that would have better interacted with the target audience.  I know that several larger companies plan a monthly schedule and in fact, dont even blog everyday!

Melissa, Ben, Elisia, Ari, Laurie, and Kelly all commented on some of my posts. (Not sure if I am supposed to include Kelly)

Overall, it was a very exciting week filled with lots of participation and engagement. I would be a moderator again later in the semester.

Is User Generated Content Taking Over?

With so many people writing their own blogs, tweeting the news, and spreading viral videos and images, I ask you – Is user generated content taking over?

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But before we dip deep into this, lets define user generated content

According to “UGC 101: Guide to User-Generated Content Marketing” user-generated content is defined as “anything on the web that users have had a hand in making.” To me, this feels like practically everything today!

Today, there are several ways to create user generated content. Here are some examples:

  • Blogs
  • Facebook posts
  • Reviews online
  • Videos
  • Forums
  • Podcasts

These are just a few of the several ways that content is created by users today.

Users create content in all different ways on several different platforms. It is especially interesting how brands and companies take user generated content and apply it to their content to help benefit the company. Brands have been creating hashtags that are unique to their brand to help create and curate user generated content.

LuluLemonTheSweatlife

Take this ad campaign from LuLuLemon for example. They created the #thesweatlife as a way to bring their “offline experience to the online community.” This hashtag was so effective that it drove users to send more than 7,000 photos via Instagram and Twitter and more than 40,000 unique visitors since launch.

If brands are smart, they can seriously cash in by curating user generated content. I can only imagine the increase in sales from having such an effective campaign.

So what can other brands do to replicate the success of LuLuLemon?

The answer is simple: Just ask your customers for help.

help_wanted

By asking your customers for help, they are likely going to support a brand they love. Some effective ways to ask are by creating contents which ask the customers to send in a photo using a specific hashtag. This can be effective in getting your brand to spread through word of mouth and also in getting new marketing materials and images from actual customers.

These contests don’t necessarily need to run through your website but can be promoted through other blogs or forums. This may even be effective in helping reach more users.

So I ask you…Where do you read your content from? Is the majority from other users? And if you are a business, what types of contents worked for you in creating the most user generated content? One thing is for sure… UGC is t

4 MUST HAVES FOR A GREAT BLOG

Theres a lot that goes into a great blog. Writing a blog is easy… writing a GREAT blog is hard. Very hard! A great blog contains a unique writing style, a great catchy title, an easy to read format, and important content that your readers will care about.

Here are 4 must haves for your blog:

  1. Obviously a catchy title is crucial. This was mentioned in every article that we read this past week. An extremely interesting fact that I read was from the article, “Blogging: 34 Things Your Doing Wrong,” written by, Yvonne Lyons. She said, “Eight out of 10 people will read a headline but only two out of 10 will continue after that, so that headline better be good.” It is so important to have a title that makes the reader say, “I must read that,” because without a great title, the reader will never get to read your great content. I feel Elite Daily does a  very effective job at creating catchy titles. Take this blog post title from Elite Daily for example. “17 Things Weighing You Down That You Need To Let Go Of If You Want To Fly.” This title makes me curious and even excited with the ending, “If You Want To Fly.” Obviously I would want to fly, so this article is very interesting to me.

    Great Title Example From Elite Daily

    Great Title from Elite Daily

  2. Your writing style must be written in web format. When writing a blog, people often forget that blogging is a unique style of writing. Paragraphs should not be long and word choice should not be complicated. In “Blogging: 34 Things Your Doing Wrong”written by, Yvonne Lyons, she explains that it is important to make a clear point, have an organized structure, split up by bullet points or images, and to write about an exciting topic. In “DM Best Practices Writing for the Web,” written by DM Consulting Services, it says that having a scannable layout can improve usability by 47%. So what should you make sure to do in order to have a great blog written in an effective format? Dm Consulting Services explains that web users “scan pages,” “pick out key words and phrases,” and are “action oriented.” Therefore, users should make sure to divide their content up in an organized fashion and include bullet points and pictures.
    Layout on Elite Daily

    Layout on Elite Daily

    Take this image above for example. This is a great layout on a blog that jumps from action based content, an image, and then remaining content.

  3. Have Focus. It is so important to have focus in your blog post. You can’t capture a whole target market, so have extreme focus and try to capture as many readers as possible who enjoy your content. For example, if my blog post will focus on improving your quality of life, the blog should only focus on this! There should not be any other unnecessary content. In the article, “The Ultimate Guide to Blogging” written by Joe Pulizzi, Joe writes, “Figure out who is buying what you’re selling and write a blog post for them. Now, you may have different audiences you’re trying to reach, so you may need to change who this target audience is from post to post. But be sure each individual blog post is consistent from start to finish.” I think this is so important as many writers try to capture everyone in one story and that is just not going to happen.
    A very Focused Blog

    A very Focused Blog

    Clearly the blog above has extreme focus and is targeted towards males or females who have been cheated on. In this blog post you won’t read anything that doesn’t apply to just that. All blogs need to have that type of focus to best impact the reader.

  4. SEO and Keyword Integration are crucial. “Keyword research and integration can have a big impact search engine rankings and traffic” says, Joe Pulizzi.  It is important to search for the most popular used words and apply these to your blog for maximum readership.