Don’t Murder Your Content! Here’s How Weird Al Can Help

Grammar is a touchy territory. Talking to grammar snobs is probably one of the most uncomfortable moments for anyone. Who (not whom) would not feel uneasy when talking to someone who (again, not whom) seems to check whether your subjects and verbs agree? However, when you are in content marketing, flawless grammar matters. It distinguishes a trusted brand from second-rate ones. It gives the impression that you are taking your job, your brand, and your audience seriously.

"Weird Al" Yankovic's latest album, Mandatory Fun, comes out July 15. (You can hear a sample of a few songs from his album in this NPR interview)Image by NPR via Pinterest

Pop satirist Weird Al Yankovic has some tongue in cheek reminders. With over 15 million views on Youtube, “Word Crimes”, a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, became an instant anthem for grammar police and nerds. The rise of social media has taken its toll on grammar — young people do not write in complete sentences anymore, spell words correctly, use punctuations, and so on. What we have is a generation of slang mumblings, you know? I mean, ain’t that right? Texting also altered the language landscape. It eliminated some “waste words and letters” but resulted in grammar ignorance and indifference. Weird Al’s grammar lesson aims to take us out of that black hole. Content marketers can pick up a few things from his two cents and save good content from forthcoming death.

WATCH: Weird Al's Brilliant Grammar-Themed Parody Of 'Blurred Lines'  -  Definitely going to have to use this in my classroom!!Image by The Huffington Post via Pinterest

Look at “Word Crimes” as a cooler version of Strunk-White “Elements of Style,” a grammar bible even today or half a century after it was published. Linguistic conservatives acknowledge the fact that language is ever-evolving. However, there are some things that never go out of style like the proper use of pronouns, punctuations, and idioms. Weird Al devoted an entire verse differentiating the possessive adjective “its” and the contraction for it is or “it’s.” His English for the dummies also reminds everyone to say “to whom” and never “to who,” proper use of “less” for collective nouns and “fewer” for the plural form of things, and “doing good” as in performing noble deeds as against “doing well” referring to achieving success. Texters are also most guilty of another word crime — using numbers to mean words (not so gr8). In case you’re not aware, there is also no “X” is espresso.

Weird Al Speaks to Content Marketers

Content marketers have more to worry about other than just content, style, or being viral. A writer at Fractl, a company producing marketing campaigns, surveyed 500 digital publishers including Time, Huffington Post, and the New York Times about the importance of grammar in content marketing. The results showed that 85% of publishers would automatically disregard a pitch with spelling and grammar errors regardless of the content’s quality.

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Image by Chris Devers via Flickr

Social media is another challenge. For example, Twitter has only 140 characters but as a professional marketer, don’t you ever fall for that. One of Weird Al’s pet peeves (and should be yours, too) are using texting and chat languages such as B-C-R-U (Be, See, Are, You). Always write in complete sentences and words “unless you’re seven or your name is Prince.”

Remember that the online world is a big world and your words are your emissaries to reach every single population in that part of the world. Your writing style gives you personality — warm, fun, serious, credible. However, it is your sentence constructions and choice of words that give you that professional, competent, and trustworthy vibe. Social media platforms such as blogging and Twitter and Facebook updates are some of the most effective ways to reach an audience. Make sure you don’t come off as amateur and stupid. Do not be an easy target for “internet trolls.”

Proofread Before Publishing

Never assume that your first headline is perfect. Never assume that your lead is flawless. Never assume that you got it all right. Content marketing is serious business. Why else would companies allocate budget and hire teams to perk up that department? Make sure you have in your team proofreaders who will go crazy with the incessant use of “literally” and “I could care less.”

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Image by Damien Ayers via Flickr

It’s hard to spot mistakes in an article that you yourself wrote. Two heads are better than one, so they say. Sometimes it’s not enough to go by the rule: “if it doesn’t sound right, it’s probably wrong.” Grammar is a science and assumptions are not welcome.

Do not worry about your writing style taking the backseat to grammar. There is no need to compromise. Proper use of words never goes out of style anyway. Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” is an amusing reminder for writers and content marketers: do not be careless. It is true that when it comes to language, nothing is written in stone. Language changes and evolves. However, in a world wherein people “take your word for it,” there is a stricter standard of language that effective content marketers must adhere to. If you want to be taken seriously, take Weird Al and grammar lessons seriously. It’s also a way of showing that you take your audience seriously.

The Power Couple: When Content Met Social Media

content meets sm

The marriage of content marketing and social media has produced lots of great things in the Internet.

Photo via Google Images

In this rapid age of technological advancements, a simple click in the World Wide Web can help you start an online business. If you’d ask me, I’d be interested in putting up an online cupcake store so I can share my delicious creations with my friends, family, and potential customers. But the question is, how do I market my products? More importantly, with the popularity of social media networks, how can I utilize these social media tools to boost up my business?

I’ll be sharing with you the current information that I’ve read about managing content and harnessing social media networks for businesses.

Wait, Content Marketing?

Young business woman thinking of her plans closeup face portrait

Thinking of those stuff that might help you understand content marketing?
It is plain and simple!

Photo fromThinkLateral.Ly

Yes, you heard it right. You’ll need content marketing for your business. Now is the perfect time for you to brush up on the pros and cons of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

If people dislike those who conduct direct selling, then take a new look at content marketing. Instead of “hard-selling” your products, you pitch your products or services and deliver more information to your customers that make them more intelligent in terms of making decisions. By doing this, you will be able to gain customers by always creating relevant and valuable content to change or enhance the behavior of your target consumers. The basic idea is this: if businesses deliver consistent and valuable information to customers that they need, eventually they will be more loyal and will avail of your products and services.

The Plus of Content Marketing

web traffic

Content marketing has lots of advantages, including increasing web traffic for your business.

Photo from StepByStep via Pinterest.com

Does it work? What are its advantages? Yes, it does work and it has lots of advantages for your business. It makes people more intelligent by providing them content that makes them stop, read, think and collect his thoughts and act on it. This is much better rather than providing loads of heavy information to your customers that they don’t actually need. A lot of successful businesses have been incorporating content marketing strategies such as John Deere, P&G, among others.

It also generates traffic for your business’ website. Content marketing will allow you to create good content that will push for higher page views and site traffic. Of course, it is better to have a good amount of people visiting your website daily, right?

Another interesting advantage of content marketing is that it allows owners to engage with their customers to make personal connections and build customer loyalty. It helps you close the deal with your customers.

The Social Media Experience

bunny not viral

Wondering why your social media efforts have been put to waste? Fret no more with the help of content marketing.

Photo from SocialMediaExplorer via Pinterest.com

And then we proceed to one of the most important tools that you need to have: your social media platforms. In content marketing, you use either Facebook, Twitter, Google+, other preferred social media platforms to distribute links back to your brand’s website. This process should not be confused with social media networks containing the content itself.

According to Cathy McPhillips’ article, “How to Build Social Media into Your Content Marketing Processes”, she states that social media is essential during two key content marketing processes; namely listening to your audience to understand what they care about, so you can create content that they will find engaging and relevant, and distributing content.

Since you might be starting small, you can align your content marketing efforts by starting with the more popular social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and try to see where most of your target audience are located.

Pam Dyer of Social Media Today shared some tips with some of the popular social media platforms. With Facebook, most users like photos. Post a related photo of your business that is interesting and engaging to drive interest. For Twitter, use Twitter cards so that your tweets can have an accompanying visual media. Confused with LinkedIn? Just create an interactive resume including rich media and detailed descriptions, complete with photos, slides, and demos. And with YouTube, you can use the its built-in video editor to combine your existing product videos to create a brand new video that highlights your product.

Taking your business to the next level with content marketing and social media will definitely help you to propel it to greater heights and build loyal customers. In my next post, I’ll discuss more about how to effectively engage with your loyal customers.

 

Counting Down to the Top 10 TV Shows of 2013

Thanksgiving is already over and done with and this would signal the approaching finale of 2013! Just like in NBC’s The Voice Top 6, the end of their singing journeys is about to end.

Surely, almost, if not all of us are starting to look back as to what happened in the year that was. I smell throwback Thursdays and flashback Fridays looming in on the social media. Goodbye 2013 and hello 2014 would be a sure hit in hash tags! Continue reading →

Engagement for Social Media: Do More. Work Less.

Anyone who’s in the social media marketing arena would definitely want to get more done in lesser time, but to be productive can be a long and difficult process. Of course, you can’t be online all the time. Imagine how much more you could get done if you could actually be productive the entire time you are at work.

The prevalent challenge that online store owners face is increasing traffic to their site. Knowing how to stand out from the multitude of other shops contending for the same traffic is a formidable task.

In a nutshell, social media marketing is all about gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. It is in itself a catch-all term for sites that may offer completely diverse social movements. So why are search marketers going gaga over social networking sites? Simple. Continue reading →

It’s a Cultural thing: How Asian Culture Influences Real Estate Business

“When the Beijing Olympics opened, it was on one of the luckiest days in the Chinese calendar, where the numbers 8-8-8 matched. This was no coincidence; the opening of the Olympics was planned for this day, to bring luck and good fortune to the event, and China’s own International Future.” (from Ezine Articles)

Asian countries are very particular with beliefs and traditions. Even in the face of modernity, traces of culture’s influence can still be seen. For them, success has something to do with luck and fortune. Is this also the same in dealing with real estate transactions? Do values and superstitions affect growth and prosperity?

asian real estate Continue reading →

What to Consider When Looking for a Place This Rainy Season

Rainy season has arrived once again and you can expect a heavy down pour in most areas where the water levels suddenly increase. Because of this, you might think if it’s still safe for you to stay inside your own house or is it better if you go to a new higher place where a lease space is available. Moving to a different area that is not entirely yours is not as easy as what you think when your money and security are at stake. However, these reminders will keep you abreast about what you should do in renting during the wet season.

rainy-wallpaper7 Continue reading →

Listen. Learn. Earn: A Review on the BiggerPockets Podcasts

Podcasts. Whew I feel like eating whenever I hear this term. Pods right?  Just try to make sense of that. So much for imaginary eating, I’ve been listening to podcasts since a friend told me about them a few years back.  With the hundreds of podcasts one can listen to and learn from, you can definitely find one that will suit your needs. If you’re a business junkie with a high level of enthusiasm for real estate, listening to BiggerPockets simply becomes a must. It does not and will not teach you how to be a millionaire overnight but it will slowly get you there. Don’t expect to talk to experts who discuss theories and those dizzying statistics. Instead, expect to hear real people talk about their experiences and the life that they live.

 “If your problem is that you’re too nice then stop being nice.”

That quote right there is nothing more than a strong statement from one of the listeners turned believers of BiggerPockets. BP really provides great information and solutions for their loyal listeners. I happened to listen to the 21st episode of the number one real estate podcast on iTunes. With Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner as show hosts, the podcast show never ceases to amaze its listeners for its no nonsense and nonchalant way of presenting issues related to real estate. The podcast currently has 27 episodes discussing unique issues concerning real estate. What’s even more interesting about the show is that they generously share their ideas in regards how a starting individual should prepare for the struggles and even successes of being in the business.

The show’s mission statement really is to help build the wealth of those who are just starting. They wish to streamline real estate and its ropes for their listeners to have a better appreciation of it.  Josh and Brandon are gifted to add and develop more ways for people to stay roused to tune in to the show. They are very enthusiastic to help many people since the show is free for everybody. The show provides quick tips and advices to people who are interested in the field and are driven to succeed.

In their 21st episode, the BiggerPockets hosts invited a successful wholesaler, Jerry Pucket to talk about his personal struggles and experiences back when he was just a budding realtor. One of the more interesting things he shared was his experience when personally making calls to each potential prospect. Jerry discussed how he struggled with real estate jargons and how his internet search led him to answers provided by BiggerPockets. He claims he’s been reading blogs and that BiggerPockets helped him an awful lot in terms of gaining knowledge of the field he is in.

Below are some of the interesting points mentioned in the episode 21 with Jerry Pucket.

You have to start somewhere. Jerry started working at 10 dollars per hour plus commission. It wasn’t a breezy start and he struggled hard since he wasn’t used to working in real estate. He worked in restaurants for years but it was only when his wife had cancer that things started to change.

  • Drop your mentor and do it on your own. Jerry does not encourage that you do not consult someone who already knows the ropes of the business. Instead, he thinks that when you are ready and want to do things the way you think they should be done, then go ahead.
  • Be careful with craigslist. The simpler the better. Jerry advises that people start posting stuff that are simple, direct to the point and focused on the benefits that the prospects will gain. Also, it is good to create traffic by leading the ad to your website.
  • Save on cash. You need money to keep the ball rolling. You have to have enough cash when you are in the field.

How to be a better negotiator?

 Jerry says you have to believe in your service or the product that you offer. You have to make your seller feel that they are gaining the best out of your negotiation. He says it’s important to be perceptive. Take a lot of pictures when you’re outside. Invest on a good camera.  Be smart with providing ballpark figures to your dealers. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what your goalmouth is and how you plan to go about achieving it. Jerry also shared something about marketing and how direct mail gets her phone ringing; He says the key is to keep things simple and straightforward.

People from BiggerPockets admit that real estate investors have a bad reputation but they are trying to change that. They believe that the real estate individual should try to understand the psychology of the seller. To have empathy and understanding for them and for their needs is the key to getting their sweet “yes”. It is a profit oriented field and so is every other business.

The BiggerPockets podcast show has got to be one of the best, if not the best, in the field. Don’t take my word for it though. If you feel like learning more, it’s never too late to subscribe to their podcast on ITunes or pay them a visit at their website http://www.biggerpockets.com/.

The Psychology of Productivity

Psychology is believed to encompass the everyday activities of man due to its influence on one’s daily grind of life. Despite it being a challenging field, Psychology attempts to explain how and why people behave the way they do. Mary Parker Follet a notable contributor to the theory of management once said, “Management is the art of getting things done through people”. Follet strongly advocated the need for managers to thwart themselves from being exaggeratedly managing and officious. While it may be true that an organization holds to its name a rather lengthy list of resources, one must not forget that human resource is the heart of every organization. Follet’s ideas on negotiation, power and employee participation speak volumes a propos the need for a manager to make his people work in his favor without miscalculating and making the latter feel any less than who and what they are in the organization.

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

Every employee who gets hired, trained and given responsibility by an organization becomes the latter’s asset. His contributions should be clearly deliberated for the betterment of the organization and relinquish them for the greater good of all. However, the more invaluable question really is how does a leader influence another to become productive? What is the psychology behind one’s productivity and to whom is it attributed? Such are the questions that the humanistic approach of management wishes to address. In every organization, people work with and for teams consecutively to achieve a set of predetermined goals. The idea of one is the idea of all. Brainstorming as cliché as it may sound is said to have brought to life many ideas that not one person working single-handedly may innovate. However, recent studies showed that individuals produce fewer ideas whenever they are working in a group than when working alone. The suggestion then that individuals are able to produce more favorable ideas as a result of brainstorming was brought about by the availability of social comparison. What makes one productive in fact lies on their motivations and the things that make them tick. Some may be motivated by rewards particularly financial kind. Some may simply be motivated by their advocacies. Some are motivated by the good leadership that their organization is able to foster in them. The last kind of motivation perhaps is the hardest to fortify.

Another interesting contributor to the psychology of productivity is George Elton Mayo who conducted a seemingly infamous study called the Hawthorne studies. His study showed the importance of groups in affecting the individual at work. He carried out several experiments that intended to discover ways of improving productivity such as for instance, changing the lighting conditions in the workplace. What Mayo found out was that work productivity is best achieved when the individual feels appreciated and valued for the hard work they contribute to the organization. Changing the lighting condition in the workplace made them feel that their management is looking after their well being.

It is interesting to note that there are undeniably diverse management theories attempting to explain man’s behavior in the workplace but the humanistic approach is not one to be taken for granted. Productivity is not merely an issue of effective compensation and benefits. Above all these, an employee must constantly be reminded of his value in the workplace and how he is able to change the shape of the organization to which he is a part. It never hurts for a leader to recognize such role in order to further reinforce the bond that ties the team.

How to Survive the Water Cooler: Establishing a Good Working Relationship When You’re the Newbie

Everybody goes through the inevitable phase of being the new kid on the block. It is fun when you’re six, and you meet an asthmatic 7-year old neighbor, and you become friends for life after you ask his name and he lets you hold his 3-day old Ironman action figure. Unfortunately for you, you’re not in your early formative years, and the closest to an asthmatic person you have is the office secretary whose neatly organized office supplies won’t even be given the opportunity of getting a feel of your non-obsessive compulsive un-sanitized hands.

It’s time to face the music. You just signed your name on your binding contract, and you walk through the door of your new office for the first time. You’re a newbie. No one will be there to hold your hand when the “enemy” deals you a losing set of cards. Take a deep breath and deal with it. Smile while you’re at it.

Being the newbie is a pain. It gives you that vulnerability that tenured folks no longer possess. You’re new, your new co-workers know little about you, and nothing else in the office seems deserving of primetime spots in conversations. You now are going to be, more than probably, the subject of water cooler talks. When your co-workers take short breaks, they go to the water cooler for a drink, and maybe share a bit of gossip about the newest addition to the work scene: you.

It is human nature for people to talk. However true the saying is that “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people”, that does not excuse you from the fact that there are indeed small people in this world, especially in the working world where people get sick and tired of piles and piles of paperwork, the AC that strategically drips murky water where the piles of paper are to be found, and the unavoidable (not to mention unbearable) extra hours needed to finish particular tasks.

Courtesy of Flickr. Creative Commons License.

Courtesy of Flickr. Creative Commons License.

Key to being “accepted” in the workplace (and hopefully talked about less) is, like in any other circumstance, making a good impression.

  1. Do not be excessively aggressive. It is one thing to be enthusiastic, but it’s something else if you start pouncing on tasks like you’ve been trapped in a cave for the past 372 days and you somehow find yourself in a smorgasbord of things to do.
  2. Remember people. Do not take anybody for granted, and one way of doing that is remembering their names at the very least. Write their names down in a tickler notebook you can carry around everywhere. Draw faces next to their names if that would help you sleep better at night, and know who you’re working with in the morning. You never know when you actually start needing assistance from any of them. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you needed a favor, and all you can address them with is a “hey”.
  3. Put on a friendly aura. That one you specifically acquired from years and years of watching Barney. Smile, laugh, relax, and be likeable. Your mom and dad did not pay extra money for those life-molding DVDs for nothing.
  4. Ask questions. It is one thing to be new, and it is another thing to be new and not asking questions. It is indirectly saying “I know exactly what I’m doing, I don’t need anybody’s assistance.” Be the bigger person and accept the fact that you’re new and you might need clarifications on a spreadsheet you’re trying very hard to decipher.
  5. Be a helping hand. You hear your next cubicle neighbor grunting at the paper shredder which suddenly refused its lone purpose in the world of shredding paper. What do you do? You come up to the person, be a MacGyver even if it ends up with you not doing anything helpful aside from dialing the phone to ask assistance from a machine technician.

Take these tips to heart and you just might find yourself not to be the object of trivial conversations, but a contributor of much more meaningful ones.

Five Couture Dresses For Condo Look Inspiration

Couture dresses, aside from its highly fashionable and custom-made style, can also be turned into ideas for interior design style. Interior design and couture express insightful thoughts, ideas, and creativity embedded into the elegant fabrics and pristine stitches.

I have considered some of the great couture dresses that can be transformed for the design of your space. Here are a few of these:

Dior’s Shades of Gray

Dior: Runway - Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture S/S 2012

Continue reading →