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Beta test fast approaching!

Hard to believe it’s less than a month away for our beta test!

I first came up with the concept for Blog Trackr back in December 2015 and here we are November 2016 with our app ready to be tested live by users around the world! Pretty cool huh? Since our founding, and site launch earlier this year in June we have dedicated ourselves to blogging.

As a former sports blogger, I love blogging and bloggers. It’s the new way to consume and share news, writers like you and me can make a name for ourselves and gain a following. How cool is that? It gets even cooler though thanks to the Blog Trackr app. For now our app will function as a web app on our site free for all to use. Here’s a little preview:

MVP

You will be able to insert your blog URL and receive a fully customized newsfeed just for you.

We’re already planning ahead though. In 2017 we aim to release the Blog Trackr chrome extension and mobile app. Both of which will run automatically in the background creating a constantly evolving newsfeed to help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to deciding on what to write. Gone are the days of researching topics and keywords, we’ll do all of that for you leaving you to barely lift a finger.

From one blogger to another, you’re awesome and I want to help. With our Blog Trackr app you’ll be able to automate the content curation process and focus on what really matters. I’m pretty thrilled about what we are doing, and hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Stay tuned for more news as we inch closer to the beta test! Haven’t signed up and are interested? Email me at tscionti@blogtrackr.com to get involved!

Social media in presidential campaigns Social Media

Social media in action: presidential campaigns

Okay, okay. I get it. It’s way too soon, and a lot of people are upset, as well as a few happy ones as well. So why am I writing about the effect of social media in presidential campaigns? Well, because what better time than right after the election.

Now this is not about Trump or Hillary, rather it’s about how campaigning for President has changed drastically in the past eight years. Gone are the days politicking, phone banking, and depending on high-priced swanky fundraiser. Heck let’s face it, gone are the days when the issues were what was the most important thing. Now it’s just a matter of who is most visible and engaging. This is not to say I find one candidate more engaging or aligning than the other, this is more an honest study. There are candidates, love them or hate them, that know how to market well. It’s not about television spots, it’s about retweets and frankly even if you just run a blog if you are not following their lead then you are doing it wrong.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to demonstrate.

Examples

Barrack Obama

President Obama revolutionized the game way back when in 2008. The senator from Illinois stole the show from the party giant Hillary Clinton and then shocked the world by beating long-time senator John McCain. How did he do it? Well aside from charisma and well-written speeches he was able to command and inspire an abnormally large voter turnout.

How? By forgoing phone banks and address-books as a primary source of voter generation for a more modern method: the web. Obama turned to media like Facebook and Twitter to interact with his audience live and reach a younger base of voters. This spurred action and gave life to his campaign that propelled him to victory.

It’s not unlike how social media and marketing to where your prospects live has changed the game of running a business and blog. Buying email lists doesn’t work. It’s about creating compelling content that draws readers in and keeps them coming back.

Bernie Sanders

Another Democrat hopeful was Bernie Sanders who, early on, commanded an immense social media presence. Much like Obama before him, Sanders embraced new social technologies such as Snapchat rather than simply relying on the standbys of Twitter and Facebook (both of which are now giants and older hats in the game). This creative strategy led Sanders to be immensely popular with younger voters. Which is no surprise as the Sanders campaign marketed directly to them. When it came to the web Sanders used traditional social media methods as well as Reddit to interact directly with prospective voters giving them a level of touch virtually unseen before.

It was a gamble that some may say did not pay off in the end, but believe me it changed the game going forward and will play a large role in the 2020 election.

Donald Trump

Love him or hate him, we’ve got to talk about him. Trump, like the above, did an excellent job at building an online brand, and sticking to off the web. The business mogul garnered 14.2M Twitter followers to Clinton’s 10.8M while responding to news events, critiques, and political issues with rapid-fire tenacity. Even if it was 2am Trump was online (or perhaps his staff) was online ready to respond at will while likely causing a storm on the web.

Thanks to his Twitter account (and often provocative statements on said account) Trump was able to stay in the spotlight throughout the primaries while revving the engines on his own campaign to keep the momentum going while minimizing the cash he actually spent to do so. It was a smart move by the campaign and brought a level of interaction and grass roots that paid off in the end.

He did an excellent job of building a brand and audience and putting them to work for him, which allowed him to gain a surprising amount of steam heading into the election.

Expanding reach

The major benefit of utilizing social media in presidential campaigns, as we have seen, is an expanded reach. By marketing to younger and more mobile audiences you can push past the traditional media of television and radio and reach even higher heights. Gone are the days where your marketing plan was contingent on people viewing your ads in their homes. Now presidential hopefuls can blast their message straight to the phones of prospective voters.

The best part is the voters have no idea they’re being marketed to, and often share what they see with their friends creating a viral effect.

It’s no shock though, right? Social media marketing very well may be the best way to market nowadays. Blogs and businesses, at least the smart ones, have caught on and heavily invest in social media strategies to jump ahead of the competition. Therefore it’s no surprise that presidential campaigns do the same thing. How else are you to separate yourself from your opponent?

Engaging Audiences

The final way social media has impacted presidential campaigns is by providing a new level of engagement. Gone are the days where public figures are seen from far away and only converse with the elite. Thanks to Twitter and Reddit these rounds of presidential candidates have been able to interact with their constituents on a whole new level. Imagine by just logging on to your computer you can access the guy who either runs your country or hopes to. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty powerful. And unbelievable.

Thanks to social media you have a new level of direct access to candidates. It allows you to ask questions, and view their reaction to news events (for better or for worse). Frankly, it makes politics more interesting and fluid, a part of our lives. It’s not just a series of ads on TV along with three debates. It’s something that continues with us as a part of our daily routine, which can be a pain but honestly is pretty interesting as well and was never possible before now.

In Sum

The game has drastically changed. Marketing has changed for bloggers and businesses, but has even extended into politics. When it comes to the race to the White House social media plays an enormous role in our election process. By allowing candidates to target their markets and reach younger voters they are able to get ahead of their opponents. Through providing cost effective ways to boost reach as well as a medium for engagement, social media has brought us a level of activity and exposure never seen before.

Love it or hate it, thanks to the ever-evolving web, we’re going to see politics get a lot more personal. What can we learn from a blogging perspective? Market to your prospective readers, build a brand (hey we can help with that!), and try to engage your audience as much as possible. You may not be president, but your blog will benefit from your focus on social outreach.

7 deadly sins of blogging Blogging Tips

The 7 deadly sins of blogging

We recently wrote about the common pitfalls to avoid in blogging (awesome list by the way, give it a read), so why not do the “7 deadly sins of blogging” next? Seems pretty natural right? At Blog Trackr we’re all about what you should do when starting a blog. But sometimes what you shouldn’t do is just as important.

So let’s hop to it.

1) Bad writing

This one is a bit obvious. The success of your blog ultimately hangs on the quality of your writing. People want to read interesting writing after all, and if your blog can’t provide that then, frankly, who will read it? If it’s too simplistic in style or riddled with errors your blog can create an abrasive experience for the reader and they won’t be coming back. Just like it takes one bad meal to stop you from going to a restaurant it takes one bad post to turn a potential reader off of your blog.

Instead take steps to ensure that the quality of your writing is good enough to draw people in and refer their friends.

2) Posting irregularly

A blog that posts eight times in one week and then gives radio silence the next is not one that I want to read. Ever go to a website looking for content but seeing nothing new? The first time is fine, but the second or third may just be a deal-breaker. Even if you just post once or twice a week make sure you post regularly so that readers know when to expect new content on your site. That way you can set and meet expectations with your audience, while not going crazy to meet demand.

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3) Keeping it to yourself

Want a terrible way to grow your blog? Keeping it all to yourself.

Seriously how are people supposed to find you if you don’t share your work? Set up a Twitter and Facebook account for your blog to publish posts while sharing them yourself. Even, when appropriate, share posts on message boards such as reddit to get feedback from other community members. “If you build it they will come” does not apply to the web, you have to put in some work to draw in a crowd.

4) Over-sharing

Related to sharing though is over-sharing. The other end of the spectrum is just as bad–no one likes the guy or gal who shares the same post over, and over, and over again. We get it. You blog. That’s great. But please, oh please post something other than your latest article. Don’t be a spammer because frankly they’re annoying and don’t add a ton of value. The idea is to draw readers in, not bash them over the head into submission. It’s a great way to push people away, so if that’s what you’re into then by all means continue.

Yes you should share your work because it is awesome, but even the best things are good in moderation.

5) No commitment to a topic

One day you’re blogging about sports. The next cars. And the next… finance? Seriously stick to one subject! People come to read your blog because they want to be educated on a certain topic and read what they care about. If you spread yourself too thin you’ll lose the ability to capitalize on a niche audience. Just like restaurants pick a theme and stick with it, so should your blog.

Not only that by by trying to write about everything you are essentially writing about nothing. The point of blogging is to emerge as authority in a field–which you can only do by specializing on one area. Look at us for example. We write about blogging and marketing best practices. One area of focus, with TONS of wiggle room.

6) Caring about haters

You’re awesome. You know it. We know it. But some day someone is going to write something rude, crude, and with lots of ‘tude on your posts and it is going to hurt. You put tons of work into your blog and when someone trashes it, it really stinks. Ignore them. Sure listening to constructive criticism is super important, but learn to filter between that and when someone is rolling up their sleeves just to bash someone else’s work. Sure there will be a temptation to retaliate but trust me, it never works out. Never.

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Going Forward

Wait…. weren’t there supposed to be 7 deadly sins of blogging? That is correct, the seventh is to fail to keep your promises. No one likes someone who over-promises and under-delivers in real life, so don’t do it with your blog. Like it or not, when you start a blog you are creating a community, and in order for that community to thrive you need to build trust and connection with your readers. A great way to kill that is to let them down.

So, armed with the 7 deadly sins of blogging you’ll know what not to do which may be as important as what to do. So go out there and kick some ass in the blogosphere!

Blogging Pitfalls Blogging Tips

5 Blogging Pitfalls to Avoid

Blog Trackr has presented numerous articles detailing what bloggers should do to find success, ranging from having a good keyword, to designing an eye-popping website, to marketing their ideas across social media channels.

However, blogging is a science and, if you are starting out in the blogging world, there are some common mistakes bloggers make that you can avoid duplicating.

Therefore, here are 5 common blogging pitfalls you should avoid if you are thinking about creating a blog to express your interests or grow your business.

A Poor Understanding of Your Audience and Your Own Availability

One of the first blogging pitfalls that beginning writers fall into is lacking a solid understanding of your audience. When you first start out blogging, the harsh truth is that your audience does not care too much about you. They care about what you can teach them.

Much like dealing with people face-to-face, you should put yourself into your audience’s shoes and see how things look from their perspective. They will be looking for something very specific so creating a blog simply for social media marketing may not be the best use of your time.

Concurrent with this problem is your own availability. When you start a blog, you will be, most likely, ecstatic at its potential possibilities to grow your business. However, one of the first things you should create is a publishing schedule that will keep you on track.

If you begin with the mindset of writing five articles per week, you may feel overwhelmed and quickly abandon the project.

However, if you allot time to write and edit your posts you will feel much more confident in knowing that your blog posts are generating the most traffic and are engaging for your audience.

Not Self-Hosting

The second common blogging pitfall is electing not to self-host your site. Now, if you are blogging just for family and friends it could be fine to host a blog on WordPress or BlogSpot.

However, if you ever want to be taken seriously as a blogger or make money from it, you will need to find a site to self-host your blog.

Blue Host, in combination with WordPress, is probably the best web hosting site for your blog.

Avoiding Social Media

It is almost impossible to avoid this blogging mistake, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. When starting a blog, it is important to integrate your blog across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Tumblr.

Posting great content will not be enough if people cannot discover it! Make sure to add the social sharing buttons to every post and to your website’s home page.

Writing Long Paragraphs and Not Differentiating Content

Due to the proliferation of smart phones, the average human attention span is about eight seconds.

Therefore, writing long, analytical paragraphs may work for a research paper, but it will not work for a blog.

Another common pitfall in blogging is emphasizing the written word too much. Be sure to break up large amounts of text with pictures, videos, GIFs, and other multimedia options.

This will not only improve traffic to your site, but give it some variety that distinguishes it from your competition.

Expecting Instant Results

Much like cooking a good meal for your family around the holidays, blogging takes time. You cannot start making money on your blog without an audience. You need to cultivate your audience, respond to their comments on your posts and engage with them on social media.

Growing your audience will take time, but the biggest blogging pitfall bloggers can make is to give up too early. When you start out, you are literally starting with no one. Rejoice in the people that do follow you and focus your efforts on making quality content available on a consistent basis.

Your blog will grow and, in turn, so will your business.

 

Marketing Tips

Infographic: SEO best practices

SEO can be a bit of a frightening subject. Between Google’s search algorithm and keyword analysis where do you even begin? That’s why we’re rolling out our info-graphic on our SEO best practices!

Now we’ve written about SEO best practices before, so why stop there? With this handy and quick guide you’ll be able to tackle your site’s SEO needs and rise the ranks to command a larger share of traffic in no time. Sure it will take a lot of work, but all good things do. Take our SEO best practices to heart and give your blog’s content strategy a face lift today. You can thank us when the views start pouring in!

SEO best practices

So go forth and market! With some know-how and determination you can re-shape your blog’s marketing strategy and gain new readers. Sure it may be a bit tough at first, but with some hard work and good old fashioned elbow grease (well…) you can kick some serious butt!

Podcasts Marketing Tips

How Podcasts can Increase your Visibility and Diversity

If you are looking to improve your blog’s search engine optimization rank, diversification is important. Using different forms of multimedia like pictures, videos and infographics can assist in making your blog more visible online. Podcasts are another form of presenting your content that can help increase your reach to different consumers.

Why use a Podcast?

These days, people are increasingly mobile. They travel from one business opportunity to the next and may not allot the necessary time to read your content. So, if you are a sports blogger reporting on injury updates, a movie blogger reviewing a recent release or a political blogger recapping the last presidential debate, podcasts are an easy way of transporting your readership into a mobile, diverse group of people who can absorb information that your blog provides, anytime, anywhere.

Podcasts also provide a voice to your written content. Readers can gain an insight into your unique personality and learn about the voice behind their favorite stories.

When you are hosting a podcast on your site, you also benefit in terms of establishing a position of authority. Inviting fellow bloggers to participate in a dialogue can build who is reading your content or watching the videos you produce. Readers will be looking for a news source they can trust to provide accurate and insightful information. This is where a podcast becomes even more valuable.

Finally, podcasts can allow you to expand to platforms like iTunes which works similarly to a simple Google search. By creating customizable URLs and calibrating your podcast title and description, you can stand out on iTunes and expand your blog in an alternative way.

If you would like to see the process for uploading a podcast to iTunes, check it out by clicking here.

Keys to Podcasting

Much like the radio, podcasts only work if you provide engaging content. When you drive a car, you may switch to a station playing your favorite hits if the announcers start to engage in irrelevant banter. To make people linger over your podcast, it is important to keep it concise. No one will want to listen to a podcast running longer than 20 minutes.

How can you maintain your audience’s interest? The first step is to provide information of value that is relevant, engaging, creative and entertaining.

One way this can be accomplished is through dialogue. Having someone else engage in a debate with you or hosting a roundtable discussion can be an ideal way of making your podcast worthwhile to listen to.

Finally, remember to promote your podcast. If it is buried on your blog, no one will find it. Provide a link in your weekly email updates or share it across social media platforms.

How to Start a Podcast

Before you begin your first podcast, you will first need a script. By typing up a script, you can remain on track with what topics you would like to discuss and allow you to seamlessly transition from one to the next.

Second, you will need some equipment to get started such as a desktop microphone and a portable XLR recorder or an audio interface on your computer to capture analog audio and convert it to digital.

Finally, you will need some form of audio editing software. There are many options out there but one like Audacity is free and easy-to-use.

This may be expensive for you up front, but if you take good care of audio equipment and maintain a large audience already, it can be a worthwhile investment.

Additional Resources

If you would like more information on podcasts and how they can help your blog, check out this from Life Hacker or Buzz Sprout.

how to get verified on twitter Uncategorized

How to get verified on Twitter

Notice something about this image? No not that it’s the Red Sox Twitter account, do you notice a little blue check mark?

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-16-59-pm

That my friends is an official mark that this is what Twitter calls a “verified account”. It used to be that Twitter would only hand these out to prominent organizations and celebrities. To be verified meant you were somebody. Not just a Twitter user, but someone special. Someone Twitter wanted to recognize. That is, until recently.

Just this year Twitter unveiled a process which allows users like you and me to get a bit of a headstart at getting that little blue checkmark. So how, you ask? Well that’s why we’re unveiling our guide on how to get verified on Twitter.

How to get verified

In the dark days of social media marking, ie before 2016, it was tough getting verified. Unless you were a politician, an actor/actress, or a prominent business owner/journalist/someone famous you weren’t verified. The little blue check was a status symbol. It still is, but it’s a slightly more attainable one.

Twitter recently announced that they are opening up the floor to anyone who dares try. Well, it’s no so dramatic. Really it’s just an application process they unveiled back in July 2016.

It’s a fairly straight forward process too (one we plan to take on soon). You just need to have a Twitter account set complete with full info as well as some backup as to why you should be verified. You can access the application here. For the brief amount of time it takes to actually fill this out I highly recommend giving it a shot. Especially if you want your blog to gain some social standing, or you want to expand your business and customer network.

So now we know how to get verified on Twitter, but why bother?

What it means

There are quite a few reasons to bother getting verified on Twitter so let’s outline them.

Online Credibility

Even though Twitter opened the door to anyone, there is still an application process. You can’t just ask Twitter to verify you, you need to prove that you’ve earned it. With that little blue checkmark comes an implicit message that “I matter”. It means “I’m somebody” to those who encounter you online. The difference between a small-time blog, and a blog that is verified is that the verified blog has cultivated an online community and is a though leader and strong internet presence. Why should I get verified? Because much like any other status symbol we idolize it sends a message to those who see you.

Social Media Presence

Verified accounts are those that Twitter deems to be “authentic” as well as ones that contribute to the online community. It signifies that Twitter values your content, and as a result when someone searches for a term or type of account you’ll be up top. Search Red Sox and you find the verified Red Sox account. That’s not by accident and if you want to expand your social media presence and rank on Twitter, getting verified is a GREAT place to start.

Building a Network

With an expanded social media presence comes a broader network as well. When you build the web extension of your organization you are able to reach new readers and customers than you would have before. All for free! Why spend money when you can get verified? Sure lots of followers look good, but what if you had that little blue check mark? It means a heck of a lot more if you ask me, and will help you go a long way towards drawing in new customers to build your book of business.

Going Forward

So what are you waiting for? With our guide on how to get verified on Twitter you’ll be rising the online ranks in no time. With a strong following and a good application you can get that little blue checkmark and join the ranks of some pretty influential accounts. So go ahead and apply and reap the benefits.

Infographic Marketing Tips

Why should I use Infographics?

If you are a teacher, you are always thinking about innovative ways to present material so that students can easily comprehend and utilize the knowledge you share. Similarly, bloggers need to consider infographics as a way of presenting your material to readers in a different way.

“On their own, text and graphics are both useful yet imperfect methods for communication, argue Barbara Miller and Brooke Barnett.

“Written language allows an almost infinite number of word combinations that allow deep analysis of concepts but relies heavily on the reader’s ability to process that information.”

“Graphics may be easier for the reader to understand but are less effective in communication of abstract and complicated concepts. … combining text and graphics allows communicators to take advantage of each medium’s strengths and diminish each medium’s weaknesses.”

Why Should I Use Infographics?

It is easy to quote someone else’s research and claim that infographics improve your blog, but what other evidence points to their usefulness?

The first reason you should incorporate infographics into your blog is the fact that it increases your brand awareness. An infographic allots enough space for you to include your blog’s logo, website address or even your email.

Another reason to include infographics on your site is the possibility of engaging the most viewers and helping them analyze the information you provide on your blog. 90% of the information that enters the brain occurs through the optic nerve and thus depends on visuals to retain information.

On this site, we have discussed the importance of improving SEO rank and infographics help with exactly that. If you create an infographic that is picked up and used by other websites, they have to provide a backlink that leads right to your site.

Infographics also possess implications on other social media channels. For example, they generate more likes, comments and shares than a simple text update on Facebook. This two-way communication via social media can immediately lead to higher followers across social media platforms.

Beyond being easily understood, infographics are also easily embeddable as they often come with a code so that they can be integrated seamlessly into your site. Finally, infographics assist non-native English speakers understand your content over an image rather than a merely text-based blog.

Finally, infographics can be tracked with analytics as you can often see who clicks on, shares and views your image in the same way that you can use analytical software to see who is reading your site.

How to Make an Infographic

The main problem that people may raise with infographics is that it may take too much time to actually create the image.

Time is definitely a valuable resource, but there are tools out there to help your infographic stand above the rest.

Three suggestions of sites that help you create infographics include the following:

Canva: Easy-to-use, free, and allows you some customization to change up its pre-made templates.

Piktochat: $15 per month, provides you with editorial tools, design flexibility, a database of images, charts and maps and other ready-to-use graphics

Vengage: Limited use of the site is for free, otherwise $19 per month, more advanced features in comparison to the other two.

Conclusion

To sum up, the main recommendation that we can offer is to invest your time in infographics. They are easy to share, easy to make and offer an appealing way to summarize the complex material that your blog produces.

Invest in infographics today so that readers can see your creativity and your blog in a whole new way.

 

top three productivity tips Uncategorized

Info-graphic: Top three productivity tips

Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day? How about stressed to the max? Then you ought to check out our top three productivity tips in our helpful info-graphic below inspired from our recent post on our five productivity tips that actually work. Check out our top three productivity tips right here:

infographic

No matter what you’ve got going on, armed with these tips you’ll be able to rock the work day. So go on and crush it!