Author Archives: Malhar Barai

About Malhar Barai

An author, speaker, blogger and digital media strategist, at my day job I work on devising and executing various digital media campaigns. I usually blog about content strategy, social media platforms, product reviews and tricks to ace Social Media. Let's collaborate over @MalharBarai (Twitter) and other platforms.

10 Reasons Business Blogging is Better [Infographic]

Business Blogging should be one of the top most point in any brands content strategy. With advent of Facebook and the ease of sharing it offers, brands do find it easy sharing content over Facebook. But then there are some obvious benefits that business blogging offers that Facebook misses out.

This infographic gives 10 reasons why business blogging is better than Facebook.

Facebook vs Blog 10 Reasons Business Blogging is Better than Facebook [Infographic]

Business Blogging has obvious benefits and I completely agree with the #1 reason. When you have it published on your own blog, the choice to publicize is yours and it does not have to depend on some ‘ranking’ algorithm of the social platform.

Secondly, you always remain in charge of what is being shared and how you share it. You can leverage multiple platforms too. Ever heard about ‘Long tail’ keywords? That’s exactly what you achieve in terms of SEO when you publish on your blog.

Your Turn

1. What is your view about Business Blogging?

2. How often do you leverage Facebook or other social platforms to post your content?

Top 5 Reasons to have an Editorial Calendar

Editorial CalendarEditorial Calendar is the single most important document for any content writer. Whether you’re running a personal blog or writing content for clients or your own company, one of the biggest challenge is to come up with topics on a regular basis. It is never easy to churn out articles like a content generation machine, but in this article I will share 5 ways that helps me maintain a steady pipeline of articles using an Editorial Calendar.

Get started using my Editorial Calendar Template for FREE download here.

Clarity of Thought

As content writers, we often face writers block. The only way to resolve this is to have a steady stream of thoughts, but then again, our mind can wander off to fantasy land easily. Having the Topics written on the Editorial Calendar has ensured that I remain focused on the core topic and keeps me away from meaningless conversations.

Commitment

Yes, the dreaded word. But when it comes to content writing, it pays to have a targeted date. If you’re wary of having a particular date, ensure having the week. I started having the week stamped before each topics initially, but when I started putting a date, the number of articles that I wrote improved by almost 25%.

Content Strategy

While having the title of the article on my Editorial Calendar helped me channelize the thoughts, it greatly improved my content strategy as well. My research on the subject got even better and I was able to put some effective ‘Call-to-actions‘ on my articles.

SEO Strategy

As content writers, it’s our wish that our content is read by many people. But we live in the age of  ‘Content Conundrum‘ and its not easy to catch the eyes of reader except that you have focused on certain keywords. Having them specified on the Editorial Calendar ensured that my story revolved around that keyword(s) and leveraged the power of search engines.

Target Audience

Unless you write fiction, not all content is written for everyone. You often find research reports that can be more useful for CxO’s of the world or the technologists of the world. Having that covered under the ‘Goal‘ or even as separate column in Editorial Calendar has vastly improved the way I write my articles.

So there are my reasons for having an Editorial Calendar which has helped me capture the ‘signals from noise’. All the random popping of thoughts are a thing of past now and it only keeps getting better. I do try to add few columns to make the calendar more effective, but if you’re looking for a simple yet powerful calendar, just hit the DOWNLOAD in the top bar.

Time to ‘Work Smarter not Harder’.

Your turn

1. How effectively do you plan to use the Editorial Calendar

2. If you already have one, what improvement(s) have you seen?

It would be good to hear your thoughts, feedback.

Top 5 Posts on Facebook Home for Week #14

Facebook Home Top FiveUndoubtedly the top news of the week was the launch of Facebook Home. Whether that was a masterstroke by Zuckerberg or a dud, only time can tell. As I see it, Facebook Home is a great move and potentially a bigger challenge to Google by having it launch on Android Platform. While the users get a chance to see their timeline on the home screen of their phones, it has got people talking about the privacy aspect too, but I am sure that Facebook is aware about all the privacy concerns and “may” address it soon.

So this post aims to cover the news, the features, the take on privacy and few other interesting information surrounding Facebook Home.

Read on…

Top 5 Posts on Facebook Home

1. The big news first and I would like to quote the big brother of Technology CNET here for this review about Facebook Home. It’s good to see that the lifeless home screen would be a thing of past, but what I loved was the round chat heads. So if you have not heard of the big news, this post will give you an idea of everything Zuckerberg talked that day.

2. The privacy issue was sure to come up since Facebook announcement and Om Malik was at his scathing best on his review about the Facebook Home Event in this post. No wonder that Facebook will be tracking all your moves and his observations were quite spot on.

3. Over the week, Facebook’s plan to invade the home screen and the noise about it’s privacy and all things related did gather some steam. In this post ‘Facebook Home privacy explained by social network‘ by Chris Smith, Facebook has answered few questions and “debunked” few myths. Read Facebook’s answers there.

4. But since, we’re the social media guys, the things that would interest us is the additional avenue for our brands to get closer to the consumers. The exact thoughts were echoed by Jennifer Beese in this post ‘Facebook Home: The Future of Social Advertising?‘ I totally agree that we have just come one more step closer to ‘Social Advertising’.

5. Finally the last post is about what you CAN DO with Facebook Home. This article by Jim Edwards noted 4 things you can do with the new app. Yes, it can surely do some cool stuff. Read the post to see what these are 🙂

If you’re here and wondering what to do next then here is…

Your Turn

1. Your views about Facebook Home?

2. Will privacy be a big issue has its being talked about?

Share your thoughts on these using the comments below.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

The RoI of Social Media [Infographic]

Social Media has been gaining lot of traction these days and businesses have been kind of experimenting on ways they can leverage social platforms and drive business. But end of the day, each business/CMO ask their managers only one question – ‘What is the RoI of Social Media’.

While the brands are spending dollars on social media marketing campaigns, they’re trying to seek information on how their dollars are being spent and if the efforts are worth it. Brands are tracking each campaign closely with an eye on number of clicks, number of followers and more such details.

The infographic below explains how CMO’s and business owners lookout for returns. No wonder the of the businesses/brands surveyed near 72% agree that Social Media has indeed helped them in closing business and in the long term their marketing costs are getting lesser too.

Points to ponder – Social Media RoI

1. Facebook is currently the most valuable Social Media Marketing platform

2. Most CMOs (77%)look forward to focus on YouTube

3. 80.2% companies are using Social Media Platforms for recruitment

Enjoy the infographic now…

Infographic: The ROI of Social Media

Infographic by MDG Advertising

Your Turn

It’s your turn now –

1. What points do you look out while measuring your marketing campaigns?

2. Where do you think Google+ is now? Will it gain going forward?

And if you have loved the infographic, do share the post forward.

Top 5 Social Media Post for Week #13

Five Social MediaThe ‘Top 5 Social Media Post‘ series is back for 2013. Usually, in this part of the world Jan – Mar is the final financial quarter and it becomes tad difficult to get into groove of aggregating posts. Not that I had stopped reading, but certainly had stopped marking the top reads.

Now that the series is back and we had many pundits declaring 2013 would be the year of SEO + Social or Social SEO (whichever way you look at it). That means that the SEO strategies are changing and are increasingly looking forward to leverage Social Media platforms and utilizing various automation tools. To that effect, the following posts shared some great information.

Read on…

Top 5 Social Media + SEO Posts

1. In the social world I have great respect for this gentleman – Randy Bowden and the following post – social vs. seo…and the winner is? gave some great insights on where the industry still is. No wonder, that SEO still helps in ranking of the sites and getting traffic. The stats said that only 2% traffic to retail websites came from social platforms. And I concur with Randy that many of the users go to social platforms for endorsements/opinions rather than shopping.

2. And then this post my Amanda Green which says – The Future of SEO is Social takes us through how search will change with Facebook’s Graph Search and advent of Google Plus. Great points on social indicators and how it will shape up the future of search.

3. Then this post covering Dan Cristo’s event by Dennis Clementethe ‘last word’ on social SEO. This particular statement where he breaks traditional search and social search was best –  The former is “authority,” the latter is “intimacy.” And the point he made was about brands having a chance to really build a relationship with customers rather than just ranking.

4. The next post is from a dear friend Alan K’nechtThe New SEO = Social Engagement Optimization. The post make a great point about the old-school ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ and how that has come a full circle and we are now have the same ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ in electronic form via social channels. That style of marketing has always made search easy and we’re slowly getting there with all the social signals playing a part in SEO. Classifying this as a MUST READ.

5. All of the above led me to this post – How Social Signals Affect SEO by Marcela De Vivo.  The post takes us through the various nuances of the signals from social media platform that affect SEO, importance of link sharing on the platforms and how engagement will shape up the future.

That’s it from my end…

Your Turn

If you are here, then it’s time to hear from you. Using the comments below, let us know:

1. How do you envisage the future of SEO

2. How will Social Media shape up in next few years

Top 3 Facebook Failures [Infographic]

Facebook has claimed to protect their users with new privacy measures. However, many users feel this is not what they have done, but instead have failed at their privacy endeavors. Privacy concern is one of the major causes of user unhappiness, according to the Huffington Post. In addition, users are getting sick of a constantly changing product. What this means exactly is that Facebook has constantly changed their design and settings which leaves a lot of users in the dark.

Furthermore, millions of Facebook users do not ever use their privacy settings or do not know how to as well as millions of users expose a lot of personal information. Moreover, this information gets into the hands of 3rd parties and is used unwillingly against some users. Privacy measures by Facebook do not solve the initial problems of user security. Now, more than ever, users are bombarded with ads and targeted for information by outside agencies. In effect, Facebook has a lot more work to do, if they plan on keeping all their users.

The infographic covers major factors related to security and privacy like –

1. Resetting of Privacy Settings of the users

2. Manually setting of ‘privacy’ mode to Friends

3. Sharing of critical user information

With the Facebook IPO becoming a major dud, it was left to the designers to do a greater job in getting more users stick to Facebook. And we saw the new timeline and Facebook Graph being launched. Luckily so far, the EdgeRank calculation has not changed and brands can still rely on getting more engagement using images.

Facebook Failures

Facebook Privacy Failures

Source: Facebook Privacy Fail

It is very clear that to ensure better value for it shareholders, Facebook is increasing becoming a marketing platform. No wonder that 83% of Facebook’s revenue is from advertising. So users need to be careful what they share on Facebook.

Your turn

1. Are you vary of accessing Facebook given that it is increasingly becoming marketers paradise?

2. How do you see the new Graph Search affecting general users?

Share your views using the comments below and I look forward to engage in some great discussions.

The 3 C’s of Social Media

Social Media ContentSocial Media is easy!! You thought so, and started a nice little campaign for your brand. Wham!! You find no takers for it or simply put, it hasn’t generated any interest. Where did you go wrong?

Few days back, I was reading this post by Nick Westergaard and came across the 3 C of Social Media. I totally agreed with his views and they indeed form the basis of any successful social media campaign. Wondering what they are??

1. Content

 According to Nick,

Your content is your brand’s core online.

And it is the most difficult part of any campaigns. With so much content available on the web, writing unique content is challenging.While you simply cannot come out with unique content every day, it really is not too difficult. Some subtle changes in your writing pattern helps. This post can help you to improve some of the writing.

Basically, identify what your brands is associated with and find some keywords. Ensure your content is around that. That would give your brand it’s identity on the web.

2. Conversation

Second, you will need to proliferate the content and do not miss the part of being ‘social’ on social media. You can’t just broadcast content and sit back. Converse with individuals in your line of business, make yourselves heard.

Quick Tip: Have an opinion!!

3. Community

Community Building on the web is not recent, bulletin boards to groups to social platform, it has all been around. Communities are a great place to learn and share your experiences.

These platforms need to be leveraged. Be part of few excellent communities that cater to your brand.

 

You will read many other takes on how to ace social media, though for me, these are the most basic concepts.

Share your idea of the most basic social media concept that brands should leverage. Hit the comments below!!

Image courtesy of DigitalArt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Update: Parenting in the Age of Social Media

On 3/14 I was the guest at #MediaChat talking with Aaron Kilby and rest of the participants on ‘Parenting in the Age of Social Media’. The topic was something that would resonate with all the parents who see their kids spend much of their time on social network. We had some great discussion and there were few tweets that stood out amongst the rest.

Parenting_MediaChat

First though, here are the questions that were covered as part of #MediaChat.

Questions

1. Has Social Media Changed Parenting?
2. Are we raising a digital generation
3. Is increased mobile use making it more difficult?
4. Is Social Media bad for kids?
5. Do we monitor their Social Media usage?
6. Can there be a best way of parenting this generation?
7. What are the 2 key aspects that you would educate the kid about?
8. Should Social Media be taught in school?

My Answers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tweets We Loved

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you all for all the great conversation and if you have any parenting tip for kids on Social Media use, do share with us here!

Few Alternatives to Google Reader

Google has today decided to shut down few of its products and Google Reader is one amongst them. Google Reader which started as a small development project and launched in 2005 has played an important role in the growth of RSS feeds too. With it’s ability to allow users to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds and read them from a single place, it has since enabled to build entire app ecosystems around it.

Google Reader
The official statetment,

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

The news though were not surprising as many of us had anticipated it since it had closed down the Adsense support for feeds and as Google Reader was not generating the revenues expected from it, the sunsetting was bound to happen. So according to Google Blog, July 1 2013 is the date when Google Reader will retire but it gives options for the users to move their feeds, data using Google Takeout over the next few months.

But for various fans who are upset with this step, there are few other alternatives to Google Reader that can be looked into. And this is a crowdsourced list, so if you find an interesting tool, do consider adding to the list down here.

List of Alternatives to Google Reader

Headline for Google Reader / RSS Reader Alternatives - Crowdsourced List
 REPORT
Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
Owner
Listly Curator Listly Curator
Curator
Listly Listly
Curator
67 items   218 followers   287 votes   48.4k views

Google Reader / RSS Reader Alternatives - Crowdsourced List

Please add to the lists, vote and comment

Source: http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2013/07/02/google-reader-alternatives/

1

Feedly

Mar 13, 2013 - feedly.com - 8878
Feedly

Introducing the New Feedly. Browsing, reading and sharing your favorite sites has never been this easy, fast and rewarding. Feed your mind anytime, anywhere!

Mar 13, 2013 by José López - theoldreader.com - 7108
The Old Reader

It's the ultimate RSS reader. Just like the old google reader, only better. Import your subscriptions in one click, find your Facebook friends and start sharing.

Mar 14, 2013 by Andrea T - itunes.apple.com - 6713
Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine

The news you want, all in one place. Designed for iPad and iPhone.

Mar 13, 2013 - newsblur.com - 8391
NewsBlur

NewsBlur is a personal news reader that brings people together to talk about the world. A new sound of an old instrument.

Mar 13, 2013 by S L I - blogrollapp.com - 8860
BlogRoll - a beautiful reader for your favorite blogs and sites

Follow your favorite blogs, websites, and social networks with a beautifully organized interface!

Mar 13, 2013 by Kevin Mullett - netvibes.com - 6896
Netvibes – Social Media Monitoring, Analytics and Alerts Dashboard

NOTE: For RSS it helps to enable the clean RSS helper interface.

Netvibes is the all-in-one dashboard intelligence platform for real-time social media monitoring, social analytics, brand sentiment, reputation management, team management, company intranets and community portals. The #1 dashboard solution for Fortune 500 brands, agencies and enterprises."

7

Reeder

Mar 14, 2013 by Ingo Becker - reederapp.com - 7273
Reeder

Reeder is a Google Reader client, which means you need a Google Reader account to use the app.

When using Reeder, all changes will be synced with Google Reader. This means if (for example) you read an article in Reeder it will also be marked as read in Google Reader. The same is true if you read in Google Reader. When syncing the next time, Reeder will just pick up the changes.

Jun 08, 2013 by Tri Bui - ridly.net - 7836
Ridly - Your elegant daily feed reader

The simple but elegant feed reader for your devices

9

Pulse

Mar 14, 2013 by Trinsec Trua - pulse.me - 8952
Pulse

Pulse takes your favorite website and tranforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic. Experience it today.

Jun 19, 2013 by Vlad Vortex - feedreader.com - 6715
Feedreader Online | Free And Uncluttered RSS Reader

Feedreader Online is an RSS aggregator for you to read and organize news and updates from all your favourite websites in one place. It lets you check the news on the go, without hassle, personal data tracking or overwhelming functionality.

Mar 13, 2013 by Kevin Mullett - rssowl.org - 9041
RSSOwl - Powerful RSS / RDF / Atom News Feed Reader with Google Reader Synchronization

RSSOwl is a powerful application to organize, search and read all your news feeds in a comfortable way. Key features include saved searches, automatic clean-up, notification from tray, filters, fast fulltext search, google reader synchronization and a flexible and clean user interface.

Mar 13, 2013 by Tac Anderson - bloglovin.com - 8758
Bloglovin

The easiest way to follow your favorite blogs

13

Zite

Mar 14, 2013 by Nancy Myrland - zite.com - 7735
Zite

Discover your Interesting. Whether you like fashion, football, painting, or politics, Zite has all your interests in one place.

May 23, 2013 by jc - inoreader.com - 8296
Inoreader

InoReader - Light and Fast RSS/Atom Reader inspired by Google Reader. If you need to keep track of your favorite sites, or if you like Google Reader, then this is the app for you.

Mar 14, 2013 by Ron Van Scherpe - tt-rss.org - 7921
WikiStart - Tiny Tiny RSS

Roll your own RSS news reader server! You will need a computer running LAMP(Linux/Apache/Mysql/PHP) Pretty slick!

May 10, 2013 by Michal Repasek - g2reader.com - 7549
g2reader.com - Generation Next RSS Reader

Generation Next RSS Reader

17

Intigi

Mar 13, 2013 by Intigi - intigi.com - 7921
Intigi

With Intigi, you can import your RSS feeds from Google Reader (via OPML) and then filter the feeds by your preferred keywords and social signals (e.g., shares via Twitter). Intigi is a paid service with a free 30-day trial.

Mar 13, 2013 by Aaron Wright - feedfiend.com - 8012
Feed Fiend

Feed Fiend is a web-based RSS reader. It has a directory with a one-click subscribe tool, and a long list of other great features in the works.

19

News360

Mar 14, 2013 by Paul Noah Shapiro - news360.com - 8664
News360

News360 learns what you like (and don’t like) and finds news articles and blog posts from across the Internet that are the most relevant to you, personally.

May 06, 2013 by Serge P - feedsbundle.com - 7921
FeedsBundle is the most simple and beautiful online news reader.

Welcome to the most simple and beautiful online news reader. No registration required. Just add your feeds and enjoy! It's a great alternative to Google Reader.

Jun 18, 2013 by Kelly Hungerford - paper.li - 7644
Paper.li

Create a super RSS from your favorite sources to easily monitor topics

22

Taptu

Jan 31, 2013 - taptu.com - 6615
Taptu

Taptu provides instant access to all your interests in one beautiful little app

Mar 13, 2013 - feedafever.com - 8199
Fever° Red hot. Well read.

Your current feed reader is full of unread items. You’re hesitant to subscribe to any more feeds because you can't keep up with your existing subs. Maybe you've even abandoned feeds altogether.

Fever takes the temperature of your slice of the web and shows you what's hot.

Mar 13, 2013 - netnewswireapp.com - 7547
NetNewsWire App

NetNewsWire 3.3 for the Mac is here! The Black Pixel team has been hard at work to bring you Lion support—including fullscreen mode, which we really like. We’ve also fixed some issues affecting concurrency, stability and syncing with Google Reader. Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later required.

A huge thank you to our beta testers (including the ineffable Brent Simmons). And as always, please let us know if you have any trouble. Enjoy!

Mar 13, 2013 by Vladimir Shabanov - bazqux.com - 9130
BazQux Reader

RSS feed reader that shows comments to posts, able to retrieve full article text and have nice view mode for photoblogs

Hope you like this list and looking forward to few more additions.

Meanwhile, what do you think about Google retiring it’s famous Google Reader service, was that a step in the right direction? Personally, I still love my Google Reader.

Parenting in the Age of Social Media

ParentingParenting kid is a thankless job and as parents we all have gone through several challenges raising them, but it seems that the current advent of technology and social media is making it all the more challenges for parents. Can we really keep pace with them?

Until recently, you could keep the computer in the common room and make sure that the kid access it from there, but now, with laptop and smartphones and tablets becoming inseparable part of their lives, there’s only so much you can do. How do we handle that?

‘Facebook’!!! exclaims our 5 YO as soon as  we login to the social media site and she enjoys looking at the various photos, even insisting us to click on the ones she likes. And the other day she saw me on Google+ and with a question mark look asked me ‘Google.com’??

Phew!! I didn’t know what to answer and there were several such incidents that happen which left me intrigued. At her age, we never thought it important to tell her about Facebook or any other social media sites but now after few incidents, we are looking at various parenting articles to be equipped with some REAL answers.

What are those answers or new parenting techniques?

You might want to drop in to #MediaChat as I share some answers on this. We will be live on 3/14 10PM EST or 3/15 7.30AM India time. I want to share that as parents, there is so much that we can do and we ought to do, if we really want our kids to be safe using Social Media.

At a broader level though, these answers would be about security, privacy.  Since, we would not really be able to stop them from getting on the social media channels, with few parenting tips, I aim to help us, the parents to have at least some knowledge about the good practices.

And I got to thank couple of my Facebook friends Aïda Boucheron and Kelly Lieberman for giving me this idea for #MediaChat. They have started a Facebook Group ‘Tech Smart Kid‘ aimed to equip parents of kids from age 0 to 17 stay abreast with technology. On the group, we share some excellent articles, tools, updates and make the parents aware about all the latest information on the web.

 So, looking forward to see you on 3/14 or 3/15 (depending on which part of the world you are). Let’s make Social Media a great experience for our kids.
 
Photo Credit: John&Fish via photopin cc