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Four Automated Sources for Content Curation and Inspiration

February 11th, 2013 by

For as long as I have blogged I have struggled with one particular aspect of the process; coming up with topics.  It’s a pretty crucial step and yet its probably the most difficult for me.  Its why I don’t stick to a schedule on any of my blogs and its why I don’t participate in the guest post circuit much.  With that said, I recognize inspiration when I see it, which is why I authored 500+ Blog Topics for the Blogger That’s Stuck back in 2010 and Blog Post Ideas In Unlikely Places in 2011.  But in both those posts you had to go out and do some legwork to find the inspiration.  What if you wanted some regular content for curation or inspiration delivered straight to your inbox?  Here are four tools I use regularly that will give you just that.

Top Tweets and Stories Daily Digest

When Twitter acquired Summify it integrated the Summify content aggregation feature into its service in the form of Top Tweet and Story digests.  If you follow your peers and industry leaders on Twitter these digests can be a great resource of some of the most popular content being shared and talked about by the people you follow.  In Twitter’s notification settings you can choose to receive digests daily or weekly.  The daily digest will be emailed to you on a daily basis and include about eight pieces of content that were the most popular among the people you follow.

Twitter Top Tweets and Stories Digest Email

The best part is that the digest not only showcases some of the hot content among those you follow, but it allows you to reply, retweet, or favorite directly from the email.  You can also click to view individual related tweets on Twitter.  This is a great resource for not only catching up on popular content, but for engaging the people you follow.

Feedera

Feedera is another form of Twitter digest that you can setup to email you daily.  But what sets Feedera apart is that the digest is divided into the categories photos, articles, videos, and music.  This provides a unique opportunity to curate and be inspired by different types of media being shared by the people you follow on twitter.

Feedera Digest Email

Feedera also comes with a lot of customization options including the size of digest (you can receive up to 100 items in your email), the order in which the content displays, and the total number of each content type you want to see in your digest.  As an added bonus it also allows you to ignore content from certain domains or users so that it doesn’t show up in your digest.  I’ve used Feedera for some time now and the only frustration I have with it is that the email format is inferior to some of the other services I use or have used.  Oftentimes it will also struggle with generating the link to the content and will just show the title and description of the homepage of the site and link to it, which forces you to have to click through to the actual status to see what was shared.

News.me

News.me is one of the newer tools in my arsenal, but so far I have been pleased with it.  The nice thing about News.me is that it not only captures content from Twitter, but also Facebook.  The email format is very clean and easy to skim and you can choose to receive five, ten, or fifteen items per email.

News.me Digest Email

An added benefit of News.me is that if you’re like me and favorite tweets that you want to revisit later there is a setting that can include tweets you favorite in your daily digest.  The only downside I have found to News.me at this point is that the digest is the only one I have seen so far that tends to provide overlapping content found in other digests.

Plinky

Mosty of the tools I have mentioned up until this point have been good for both inspiration and curation, but Plinky is one tool that is all about the inspiration.  With the tagline, “Because sometimes you need a push,” Plinky was designed to get people talking.  Each day it provides a new prompt such as question, or a challenge and gives you the opportunity to answer.

When I started using Plinky in 2009 I was answering questions like, “Name three songs you’d put on a road trip mix tape,” or “When did you realize you were an adult?”  The prompts were less though provoking and most of the content I created on the site or saw friends create was mindless dribble at best.  Thankfully over the last few years the site has matured a bit and with it so have the prompts.  The questions these days are more thought provoking and force users to really put some thought into their answers.

Plinky Prompts Email

Plinky is designed to have you visit the site and share your answer to the days prompts directly from your Plinky profile.  You can then share your response on Facebook or Twitter.  If you’re looking for social engagement this may be a great opportunity, but you can take Plinky’s prompts a step further and use them as inspiration for blog posts, social updates, and the like.  Take the prompt from Plinky and turn the answer into a blog post on your own site.  You could leave it at that, or you could even visit Plinky and leave a brief response with a link back to your post.

So there you have it.  A little inspiration automation that will deliver some content love to your inbox daily.  If you struggle with coming up with content for your blog or social presence then hopefully these digests will give you some opportunities to generate some new content that will resonate with your audience without having to rack your brain too hard.

If you’re an inbox zero kind of person and don’t want to add to your daily email load you may be able to create a similar strategy using apps like Flipboard, Zite, or Google Currents.  These would create feeds or digests of content from users, topics, or resources you choose but in the form of an app.  I tried this for a bit, but much like Google Reader I found myself getting overwhelm with having too much content to consume on a daily basis.

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Twitter Hacked: Password Resets Being Sent To Impacted Users

February 1st, 2013 by

Oh, Fail Whale, How I've Missed Thee by Jeff HesterJust a short time ago Twitter posted about a security threat that may have given hackers access to over 250,000 users.  The attack, which follows a string of recent attacks on U.S. websites such as The New York Times  and Wall Street Journal, have forced the social media giant to take action to protect its users.

This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/saltedversions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.

As a precautionary security measure, we have reset passwords and revoked session tokens for these accounts. If your account was one of them, you will have recently received (or will shortly) an email from us at the address associated with your Twitter account notifying you that you will need to create a new password. Your old password will not work when you try to log in to Twitter.

Twitter believes the attack was carried out by very savvy individuals and does not believe it to be an isolated incident.  While the company has not completed its investigation it announced the attack because of its severity and the belief that other websites may also be impacted.

If you were impacted Twitter suggests creating a strong password that isn’t utilized across multiple accounts.  The password should be at least 10 characters, with a mixture of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

The story is still developing, but users should be on the look out for the mentioned emails and as a safety precaution update their passwords.

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Please Support Me in the March of Dimes March for Babies

January 10th, 2013 by

On April 27 I will once again be walking in the Inland Empire March for Babies Walk.

 

Give Now

 

If you’ve followed my personal blog at all then you know that I’m a father of twins that were preterm and spent the first month of their life in the NICU at UCI Medical Center.

For nearly a month my wife and I practically lived in that hospital, and my son Aiden and daughter Cambria did.  Watching your child through glass hooked up to heart monitors, breathing monitors, and feeding tubes is one of the hardest things I think any parent could endure.  But while those first months were difficult for us, I recognize that we were far more fortunate than some parents of preterm babies.  It’s because of this that my wife and I have vowed to do our part to help prevent other babies and their parents from going through it.

The March of Dimes March for Babies is a walk is designed to help support research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it’s used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.

You can help support the fight (see where the money goes) against preterm pregnancy – and other infant defects a few ways…

Make a donation

DonateMy donation page for the Inland Empire March for Babies is here (International donations accepted) and there is no minimum contribution limit.   Every dollar helps and donations made to the walk are tax deductible.

 

Walk with us

Baby FootprintsIf you live in the Inland Empire, consider walking with us.  My wife and children will be walking with me and I encourage other locals who would like to as well.  It’s a six mile course that is routed through historic neighborhoods in Riverside.  Best of all you get a free lunch at the end.  You can sign up via the Aiden & Cambria’s Crew page if you’d like to join us.

Support a walk in your hometown

Baby Footprints The March for Babies is not limited to the Inland Empire, there are walks in all fifty states of the union.  If you’re not local and can’t contribute financially consider donating your time to a walk in your neck of the woods.  Find your local March for Babies and get involved!

 

Thank you to all of those who have supported our efforts in the past.  Let’s help stop premature births and the heartache they bring so many families!

March for Babies 2009

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Why a Statement from Google's Matt Cutts Means It's Time To Get Serious About PR

December 26th, 2012 by

The press release — a PR rep’s best friend. And in the early days it was the best method for businesses to get their message to the media.  But in the digital age, the focus has shifted.  It has become less about the message and more about the links.  Although the press release has become a staple of most medical Internet marketing strategies as a means of easily earning backlinks, a recent comment from Google’s Matt Cutts suggests its time to rethink your efforts.

If you analyze the backlinks of almost any surgeon or dentist you are bound to find a handful of links to press releases in their backlink profile.  While some of the releases may be meaningful, most are announcements about redesigned websites, new practice partners, or that shiny, new device they bought for their practice.  While these aren’t bad press releases per se, they definitely aren’t going to earn you or your practice much attention from the press.

In most cases these low-level releases are created for one purpose: links.  Admittedly, even Plastic Surgery Studios has been responsible for some of these less-than-stellar PR efforts.   However a comment from Google’s Matt Cutts in a recent Google Webmaster Help thread suggests these efforts may be in vain.  Amidst the discussion about the value of links in a press release, Matt wrote:

“Note: I wouldn’t expect links from press release web sites to benefit your rankings, however.”

PR With a Purpose

With that said, many would turn their backs on press releases and treat them as a dead medium for online marketing.  But what they fail to recognize is that a good, newsworthy press release can earn a practice greater visibility both online and offline, as well as backlinks from outside sources who pick up the press release.  But in order for this to happen you have to do something newsworthy that will not only benefit you, but the press and, ultimately, the reader.

Take a step back and think about the newspaper, your local nightly news, or any other media outlet you regularly consume.  Then, think about your announcement.  Would it interest you if it showed up in your newspaper or nightly newscast?  If not, then it’s probably not press release-worthy.

Your website redesign? Probably not newsworthy.  Your website redesigned with an exclusive breast implant database that would allow patients to get up-to-date information on breast implant warranties, recalls, and the like directly from implant makers? Now that might be a resource worth talking about.

Moving Forward

The search engines are forcing doctors and dentists to, as Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive says, “Do real company sh*t.”  Links obtained easily through tactics like press releases, article directories, and the like will be harder and harder to come by.  It’s time to focus on doing things that real companies do.  Build relationships, add value, and deliver what your patient base asks for.

As with any content, your press release should serve your audience and offer value.  Charities, patient events, new offerings exclusive to your region, or any other announcements that will benefit the consumer is what you should aim to use press releases for.  You should always ask yourself: “If I were reading this about another business, would I care?”  If not, you may want to reconsider.

Posted in Internet Marketing, SEO having no comments »

The Best of 2012: My Top 12 Posts from Around the Web

December 19th, 2012 by

12 by By ◄Kentigern►2012 has been an interesting year for Internet marketing.  Facebook got a facelift, Google Places got plussed, Pandas and Penguins continue to run rampant, things got Pinteresting on Pinterest, and everyone is a kick ass photographer thanks to instagram.  Needless to say there has been a lot to keep up with.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog or you follow me on the slew of social networks I keep up on, you know I do a lot of writing on all things internet marketing.  And while it may seem as if my writing here is limited, I can assure you I’m constantly writing as a regular contributor to the Plastic Surgery Studios blog, Search News Central, and Search Engine People.  And because my content can be found at all corners of the web I figured I would do my part to do a year end roundup to showcase some of the top pieces from 2012 that you may have missed.

The Top 10 Plastic Surgery Social Media Influencers According To KloutMy first intentional piece of ego bait worked like a charm and drew a ton of attention from not only the doctors mentioned, but a number of their peers as well.  A year old now and the piece surprisingly still earns a ton of traffic depsite the fact many people no longer give much clout to Klout.

6 Unique & Inspiring Ways To Use Pinterest In the Field of Healthcare:  Let’s face it, Pinterest has been a force to be reckoned with in 2012.  With huge growth, and massive adoption from businesses large and small it has quickly risen to social network stardom, but as with anything many businesses were uncertain what to do once they staked their claim on the network.  In this piece I explored how early adopters in the medical community were effectively utilizing Pinterest to build community and raise awareness about their business.

How To Convert Your Pinterest User Account to a Business Account:  One of the bigger changes to Pinterest this year, Pinterest finally started to show some love for business users and surprisingly made the transition pretty seamless.  That said, I did my part to explain in step-by-step instructions how users can convert their user profiles into business accounts quickly and easily.

Digging Up Local SEO Keyword Gold with the Google Places Dashboard and Analytics:  There are a slew of keyword research tools on the market that all do a pretty solid job of helping you understand what users are looking for on a large scale, but if you want to drill it down locally you usually wind up empty handed. In this post I explored how you can easily identify local keyword opportunities from your Google Places and Analytics dashboards.

Ian Lurie: A Day in the Life:  This post surprisingly didn’t do as well as I had hoped, which leads me to believe that maybe I am the only person in the internet marketing realm that finds SEO’s wittiest CEO that amusing.  Whether you are familiar with the Portent CEO or not, the post is worth the read for insight on time management and balancing work and life.

5 Reasons Your Infographic Sucks:  While many believe that infographics have seen their 15 minutes of fame and are on their way out, I believe good infographics still have a place on the web.  With that said, I mapped out five things to avoid when creating your next infographic.

Stop Using Pinterest for SEO and Start Optimizing for Pinterest Search:  Earlier this year everyone was talking about the SEO benefits of Pinterest.  As usual people wanted to use and abuse the system to help their site rank for some holy grail money term that meant the world to them.  In this post I explain why the bigger picture is optimizing for Pinterest itself and the Pinterest search experience.

Life of a Liveblogging Rock Star: An Interview with Virginia Nussey:  If you’re not familiar with the name Virginia Nussey, then you are making me feel old in SEO years.  Virginia has been a member of the Bruce Clay Inc family for a number of years and is regularly liveblogging the top industry conferences. In my interview Virginia talks to me about what conferences are like now compared to the past, her advice on going solo as a writer, and what its like liveblogging so many conferences each year.

The Ugly State of Google SERPs: Rich Snippet AbuseThis was a very controversial piece, mostly because it was attacking the grey areas of Google’s guidelines on using semantic markup and how easily they can be manipulated.  The post itself got a number of comments, as did my follow up post, and a forum discussion which outed the website in question that I had originally blurred out.  In the end, its still a grey area since there are no guidelines spelled out against it, though I still believe my stance on the matter is built upon pretty strong inference.

Why Customer Service Should Be At the Core of Every Social Media Strategy:  My first guest post at the Bruce Clay Inc blog explores why businesses should be factoring in customer service as a core goal of any social media effort.  These days customers expect you there and if all you’re doing is using it as a broadcasting channel it’s bound to come back and bite you.

Local Search Optimization, Google+ Local, and the Future of Local Search: AAFPRS Fall Meeting 2012 Presentation:  My first major speaking engagement tackled one of my favorite topics; local search.  In September I took a trip to Washington DC to discuss the ever changing local search climate with members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  The talk was well received and this post was a recap of my presentation along with slides.

Three Steps To Social Media Lead Generation:  Also listed in Ruud Hein’s curated knowledge post, this article dives into generating leads from social media without using it simply as a broadcast channel.  As we move forward marketing is going to become less and less about interruption and more about being genuinely helpful and a part of people’s lives.  This post is a primer for getting you into that mindset.  As Avinash Kaushik put it during his keynote at SES San Francisco this year, answer the question “How are you improving my life?”

2012 has been a journey, but 2013 is sure to be full of just as many surprises.  I appreciate all of you taking the time to read my ramblings both here and through various social channels and I look forward to providing you with new and exciting content in the year to come.  If there are any topics you’d like to see me cover specifically, feel free to drop me a note in the comments below!

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