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I like my blog shaken, not stirred

Hi there loyal and new readers of Erika Pryor At Large. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit MIA for the past few weeks. Not because I don’t love to bring you new and exciting things, but rather I was experiencing some growing pains.

More specifically, I’ve found myself wanting to write about a range of topics, but feeling like I couldn’t do it on my blog.Then I thought, what the hell is the point of  having a blog, if you don’t create content about what you are motivated. And I found no better time than Independence Day to make this declaration.

I’m skaking things up here at Erika Pryor At Large. I’m talking about more topics related to career and work, and of course there will be social media and web tech stuff. As an added bonus, I want to start providing Digital 411 program notes, that include websites, stories, and other general information we discuss during the course of the program.

So, what do you think is the first new thing you’re rolling out, you ask? I’m so glad you’ve asked. It’s a series called: My Day As A …

Here’s a little background. If you’ve ever worked as (or known someone that was) a consultant, freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner, you know that no day is really like the one before, or the one coming next. For me, this is what a typical week my include among other things:

Monday I play the role of “marketing therapist,” for a client listening attentively to their difficulties managing the 10 different hats they are charged to wear, while also helping my client develop an action plan to get things done.

Tuesday, I’m getting close to an article submission deadline, so I’m finishing up the research and writing of blog and website articles.

Wednesday I find myself  working with a client to prepare them for their media interview and photo shoot. I’m also working with their team on our regional campaign launch.

Thursday I’m working on developing the Digital 411 program schedule and getting guest co-hosts lined up for the next weeks and months.

By the time Friday rolls around, I’m scheduled to do some gurrella marketing at a local festival. Followed up by spending Saturday at Port Columbus doing market research for a client.

That’s this week — but can’t say next week will look anything like this one.

And for me, that’s the exciting part of things that keeps me engaged in my work. That’s when I thought to myself Why not share these interesting moments with your community? Well, that’s what I’m not doing with the series My Day As A..

As an added bonus, I’m making the series open to others and accepting submissions from YOU! That’s right, I’m guessing a day in the life of you has it’s interesting moments, and now there’s a place where you can share it with others.

In addition to this new series, I’m making a resolution to add more video posts and video supplements to the blog.

Thanks for being a fan, listener, and reader of Erika Pryor At Large and Digital 411! I have so much fun doing both and love the interaction and support I continue to receive from you. It’s great keep it coming and I’ll keep coming with posts, videos, commentary, and much more here!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in blog

 

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You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

Digital 411 is about what the awesome users want and that’s why I’m handing over an episode to you! Announcing theYou Produce Digital 411 User Contest! Win the opportunity to produce your own episode of Digital 411 — an internet radio show heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com with Dr. Erika Pryor.

What do you have to do to win?

Submit your pitch in 140 characters or less on Twitter @Digital411, Facebook, or by email at: digital411@talktainmentradio.com. The last day to submit pitches is Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5pm.

Since, this show is all about the users, the winning pitch will be the result of an online election between 3 finalist pitches.

Online voting is Monday May 23, 2011 through Friday May 28, 2011.

our only guideline is to submit a pitch that is related to technology, tech gadgest, social media, or web tech.

When the users have spoken, the winner and I will produce YOUR Digital 411 episode including:

  • Guest selection
  • On-air script development
  • Pre-show research
  • Run on-air interviews live!

The You Produce Digital 411 User Contest episode is will air live Saturday, July 2, 2011 at the Talktainment Radio studios in Columbus.

So, get your 140 character pitch ready and tweet it to @Digital411 or email digital411@talktianmentradio.com. The deadline is coming quick! Anyone is eligable to enter this contest (this means you can enter even if you were a guest co-host on a previous episode). 

Good luck and thanks for being a loyal Digital 411 supporter!

Click here to access Digital 411 on iTunes! 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Digital 411, Productivity

 

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How to break into your social media career

With the rise of social media networks moving beyond everyday consumers to include big business, small business, educational institutions and much more, there’s a new sense of excitment when it comes to social media as a career. But the question remains — how do you actually break into the social media career? You might also wonder what does a social media career look like? Do you just post messages on Twitter all day?

We’ll be talking about all of that and much more this week on Digital 411. Meet our guest co-hosts that will share their career path to breaking into social media.

Jenn Hallowes, Mar/Comm Social Media Specalist

Jenn Hallowes is a results-driven Communications, Marketing, PR and Social Media Strategist with a tremendous passion for the ever-expanding digital world. Jenn develops long-term strategic plans and leads tactical initiatives, and synchronizes multimedia plans and objectives ensuring consistency in brand elements, voice and purpose.

Catch Jenn on Twitter @JennLynn9

Mark Kotowski, Social Media Coordinator

Mark Kotowski is an experienced social media coordinator having worked with different organizations to reach different goals. He specializes in creating and maintaining online identities through social networking, utilizing several forms of social media to orchestrate an active brand presence.

Follow Mark on Twitter @maedko

Digital 411 records live Saturdays at 10am on TalktainmentRadio.com. We also take callers on the air at: 1 (877) 932-9766 and questions on Twitter @Digital411. Listen live, join the conversation and have fun with Jenn, Mark and me this week talking about how to break into YOUR social media career!

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in communication, Digital 411

 

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Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Perhaps these are conversations that are happening behind closed doors, so I’m hear to blow the lid off a few things. But first, let me set the scene for you.

At some random networking event, I run into someone really interested in talking about working together to build brand awareness using social and digital media. Awesome, just the conversations I love to have. We follow up our unplanned encounter with a scheduled meeting. In preparation for the meeting, I do my homework researching this person’s current social media, digital presence and website. Like a good consultant should!

What do I find during my routine pre-meeting preparation, but a complete shit show of a website. I mean, the thing hasn’t been updated for years, there nothing to indicate a company personality or link to their social media sites, and — as an added bonus — the logos from the website don’t even match those on current business cards.

So, we show up for a our coffee and social media conversation. When we get past the pleasantries, the conversation goes something like this —

Me: So, how do you feel about your website?

Them: Oh, I know it needs a little sprucing up, but I really want to talk about social media.

Me: Really? Hmm, did you have fantasies about driving traffic to your website from your social media channels?

Them: excitedly Yeah, that’s a real goal!

Me: quizzically Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Herein lies the problem. Everybody is very concerned about their social media presence — that’s actually a good thing — but, if your plan is to drive traffic to your website and it’s a complete mess, than you are not ready to dive into social media just yet.

Although I don’t actually do any behind the scenes website construction or programming, I’m glad to throw in my two cents when it comes to visual appeal, user interface, and general layout. Here are some of the biggest offenses that send me back to my Google search results. Admittedly, you may have others to add to the list, since this is not exhaustive I’m sure to leave a few out.

Too Much Text

Although it may be tempting to include everything and the kitchen sink, but remember, people’s attention spans are shorter than what they use to be. You know from your own experience, if you’re questioning whether the investment in time or energy seems to outweigh the payoff — then you’re already planning to move on.

If you have lots of text to include be sure to break up with other visual elements such as pictures and headings.

Scannable Pages

Pages with too much text don’t draw in readers because people can’t get an easy preview of what the page has to offer. Make pages scannable with headings, pictures, survey questions or other types of visual aids. You may get a reader on the fence, they check out the video, and decide reading is a good idea. That’s great because it increases the points of interaction and amount of time spent on the page.

Use of Page Real Estate

I might have a bias for a three column page, but I find websites are easier to navigate when there are multiple points of navigation easy to locate on the site. I’m also partial to navigation at the bottom of the page as well.

Sidebars are always a great place to include testimonials, upcoming speaking events, or other types of timely information. And make social media interaction easy with plugins and streams in columns too!

I’ve also heard the “Website Under Construction” signs are pretty useless, so maybe you want to get rid of that and not make the site live until it’s fully ready for traffic.

“About” Page Falsie

In case you’re unaware, the “About” page is typically one of the most visited on most sites. I appreciate an actual “About” page, which tells me something about the minds (read people) behind an organization. Not the “falsie” which attempts to present a “big” company using “we” and “us,” but personalization can be to your benefit. At least give your site visitors some insight on the leadership of your organization — no matter how big or small.

No Contact/Interaction Opportunities

If you would like to increase business opportunities with your website — please include a contact page with a contact form. I have been to many out-of-date websites which seem to be missing the all important opportunity for prospective clients to actually reach someone at your organization. There’s nothing wrong with making contact with you as simple as possible.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start your social media efforts or do you still have some work to do to get your website ready for the 21st century visitor?

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in business, communication

 

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Better Business Blogging and a Special Offer

Blogging Month on Digital 411 is heating up, even though it’s the middle of February. This week we welcome an awesome panel of guest co-hosts that are sure to please. I’ll be rolling out their bios and video intros here, so be sure to check back this week to see them all.

Something Special for YOU!

As an added bonus, this week we are giving out 2 of the hottest tickets in town, The Blah, Blah, Blogging Boot Camp Conference. February 25-26, 2011 at TechColumbus. If you really want to kick start your blogging efforts, at this event you can meet, greet, and learn from many of the stellar guests that have been on Digital 411 this month, in hands on workshops.

Tickets include the Friday Meet and Tweet networking event and Saturday’s all day blogging workshops — a $300 value.

So how do you enter to win?

Tweet @Digital411 “I want to win the @beyondsocial101 Blogging Conference tickets” or

On the Digital 411 Facebook page wall, “I want to win the Beyond Social 101 Blogging Conference tickets.”

It’s that simple. We will announce winners on air, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.

Listen to Digital 411 live on TalktainmentRadio.com at 10am. (you can listen to previous episode podcasts there too!)

It could be you!

Look Who’s Talking Better Blogging Practices (2/19/2011)

First up, The Nate Riggs — like The Ohio State University — once you experience his high energy personality and innovative approaches to business, social media, technology and — of course — blogging, you certainly won’t forget him.

 

Nate Riggs is a business communication strategist, an agency-experienced marketer and a social media content engineer.  Over the past 10 years, he has developed a passion and expertise for how humans utilize technology and the social web to build relationships.

Throughout his career, Nate has held a variety if roles leading marketing, sales and business development efforts in interactive and traditional marketing agencies, retail design firms, and internet technology start-ups.

To learn more about Nate Riggs check out his website: www.nateriggs.com

Connect with Nate on Twitter: @NateRiggs

See more of his spiffy videos on YouTube

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in blog, business, Digital 411

 

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3 Ways to Build Your Blog’s Niche Audience

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This month on Digital 411 we are talking about blogging. On the first episode — of four total — we started at the beginning. My guests, Elijah R. Young, co-founder of Social Talk Live and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head offered a tremendous amount of information for beginners and seasoned bloggers alike.

I really enjoyed our conversation about cultivating a niche audience, so I’m sharing some of our insights here.

Guest Post

So, you’re thinking about starting your own blog, awesome! Now, you’re asking yourself: How do I generate a niche audience? Consider writing guest posts for other blogs. Since a big aspect to keeping a blog alive is fresh content on a regular basis, bloggers are always looking for strategies to make that happen and guest posts can be a win-win for everyone.

Find a few blogs that cover topics related to what you are considering as a niche topic. Once you’ve found 2 or 3 that might work, review their content for fit. Next, come up with 1 or 2 article ideas that you feel comfortable and capable writing. THEN reach out to the author.

Although you may have dreams of starting the next Technorati or ProBlogger — consider a blog that is a little smaller. My educated guess is: The author may be less likely to turn you down because they aren’t inundated with requests.

Pitching a story is not that difficult, but you want to be sure to pitch to the right venue and provide the author a couple of options, since you don’t know what their content-publication schedule.

If things work out well, you may find yourself with a regular guest posting gig. This is great because now you are building an audience that is familiar with you and the topics you write about. When you start you’re own blog, you are giving people more of what they want and are familiar with. As an FYI: I’m open to guest posts, feel free to contact me by email =)

Comment on Other Blogs

If you’re goal is to build or develop a personal brand for yourself on a particular set of topics, then commenting on other blogs is a great strategy. Also, if you want to develop a niche topic — it’s very important to know the other blogs that cover topics similar to what you’re covering. This means reading and reviewing those sites regularly.

In “A Major Revitalization with Blog Commenting & Its Best Benefit,” Melvin identifies some great reasons to be an active blog commenter — here are a few.

  • Get some awareness from the blog community — Tell the blogosphere “hey I started a new blog, welcome me!”
  • Get more traffic — This is mostly the point of blog commenting. So, even if you’re the 99th person to comment, go ahead an leave your thoughts or question.
  • Show appreciation to bloggers who comment — In the blogosphere, the “give and take” relationship is practiced considerably. And when someone comments on a site, there’s a good chance that the author(s) will check out that blogger. And, if their content is compelling enough, they will comment back.

Interact with Readers

Although it sounds simple, it’s not a practice used by every blogger and Sarah Storer AKA The Naked Red Head, takes this strategy seriously. I really liked some some of the suggestions she offers to engage readers and build a community around her Royal Nakedness!

  • Offline Meetups: There’s so much value to interacting with your readers offline — it cannot be underestimated. Of course, it’s flattering for you — the blogger — but it’s also flattering for your readers. It really gets at developing a community around your blog. Keep in mind, people talk, and are likely to spread the word that you’re an engaged blogger that really values your readers and makes that known.
  • Skype Conversations: Sarah said something she has enjoys doing when her readers are displaced geographically is to have Skype meetups. In an effort to not only learn what they enjoy and would like to hear more about, but just to get to know her readers better as individuals with thoughts and ideas that are valuable. I really like this idea and plan to incorporate it more in my own work and you can too. Thanks Sarah!
  • Social Media Engagement (Twitter and Facebook): Although it’s not technically “on your blog,” interacting with your readers using some other social media channels can help build a niche audience too. Think about it this way — the conversation is public —  so friends and associates of those you are talking to can see what’s happening and are more likely to check out your blog to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember to be authentic, thank them when ever they provide a shout or promote your articles, and try to be engaging or solicit feedback. This is a great way to acknowledge your key supporters!

There’s so much to be said about blogging and we are just scratching the surface. What strategies can you offer the novice blogger about audiences, content, subscribers or otherwise? Leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to include them in the next episode of Digital 411

As you can see from this brief snapshot — we cover a lot of ground on Digital 411.I invite you to listen live Saturdays, 10am on Talktainmentradio.com. (also, you can access previous podcasts at this link). As an added bonus we love to have callers (1877-932-9766) and give away promos too!

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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in blog, Networking, social media

 

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