Sunday, July 12, 2015

Get Started with Social Selling

Social Selling
What's the one number you need to know about social media and social networking? 25.

25% of time spent on the internet today is spent on social media.

Nearly 25% of Americans use social networking sites several times per day.

And more than 25% of the people in the world have a social media account. THE WORLD.

So why aren't you trying to use social media to generate leads and nurture prospects? Because, obviously, you should be. Businesses everywhere, from small firms to multinational corporations are using social media for marketing, advertising and brand awareness. But some salespeople have been slow to adopt for direct sales purposes. Understandably, it can be a bit overwhelming. Especially for someone unfamiliar with social media. But it's really just another way to communicate -- just like email (and the telephone before that). So here are some tips to help you get started with social selling:

Get Started with Social Selling by:
  1. Create (and use) professional social media profiles on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  2. Optimize social media profiles.
  3. Seek referrals on LinkedIn by giving recommendations & endorsing others.
  4. Follow at least 100 new people (20x per day) on Twitter including:
    • Industry Thought Leaders
    • Prospects
    • Customers 
    • Sales Gurus
    • Set up Google Alerts for competitors/prospects/customers/industry terms.
    • Post at least 3x per week about:
      • Industry News
      • Prospects/Customers
      • Competitors
      • Thought Leaders
      • Photos when Travelling
      • Sales Best Practices
      • Personal Interests (20% of time is okay)
    • Join industry-specific groups on LinkedIn.
    • Add LinkedIn connector to Outlook on laptop.
    • Download LinkedIn Connected app for mobile phone.
    • Connect Salesforce account to Twitter.
    • Subscribe to industry and thought leadership blogs.
    • Subscribe to LinkedIn Sales Navigator (optional).
    • Blog (optional).

    New Business Sales Daily Social Selling Routine Checklist:
    1. Open LinkedIn and Twitter in browser tab (don’t close – just like email).
    2. Find content to share.
    3. Share general content on social networks.
    4. Share specific content with prospects & customers on Twitter & LinkedIn (just like you would via email).
    5. Look at who liked, retweeted, favorited or commented on your posts on LinkedIn & Twitter.
    6. Review LinkedIn alerts.
    7. Check on who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile.
    8. Send personalized connection request to any prospects who looked at your LinkedIn profile.
    9. Send personalized connection requests to any prospects you emailed thru Outlook yesterday.
    10. Send personalized connection requests to people who engaged with your LinkedIn posts.
    11. Follow people who engaged with your tweets.
    12. Follow people who followed you on Twitter.
    13. Respond to messages (just like you would email).

    Top Prospect Weekly Social Selling Routine Checklist:
    1. Open LinkedIn and Twitter in browser tab (don’t close – just like email).
    2. Find content specifically for/about top prospects.
    3. Share content specifically with top prospect (via email and social media).
    4. Like and Retweet posts from top prospects.

    Social Retention/Growth Weekly Routine Checklist:
    1. Open LinkedIn and Twitter in browser tab (don’t close – just like email).
    2. Find content specifically for/about current customers.
    3. Share content specifically with current customers (via email and social media).
    4. Like and Retweet posts from current customers.

    Have other tips for salespeople looking to use social media to start selling? Leave them in the comments below:

    Top 10 Best Things About iOS 9

    Back on June 8th, Apple announced its latest and greatest mobile operating system at its annual WWDC event then released the beta version to developers. And now, anyone can "try it out" with the recent release of their public beta program.  But to be honest, if you already have iOS 8.4 and the new Apple Music app, you have the most exciting new feature launching this year. Siri 2.0 is still not up to par with Google Now. And there's no major design overhaul like iOS 7. So unless one of these ten things excite you, you might as well just wait. However, it's much less buggy than past versions of iOS betas -- so there is that.

    Here are the ten (not so-exciting yet) best things about iOS 9:
    1. Navigation Suggestions: iOS 9's Maps app has built-in navigation suggestions to let you know about a better/faster way to get to your destination.
    2. New Universal Search Results: The new universal search in iOS 9 has many more suggestions to help you find what you're looking for -- including websites, Wikipedia entries, movie showtimes, reminders, notes, documents, music, videos and more!
    3. More Organized Photo Album: Updates to the Photos app in iOS 9 include new albums for all of your selfies and screenshots (just like for panoramas and videos last year).
    4. New Multitasking Features: iOS 9 boasts lots of cool new multitasking features (especially on the new iPads i.e. picture-in-picture videos) but the iPhone also gets a cool new design (see below) and a nice new "Back to..." feature in the top left of every app when you jump from one app to another -- making it stupid simple to get back to what you were doing after you answer a text or look at a Facebook notification.
    5. Lowercase Keyboard: This is one of those "no-dugh" features you won't believe took this long to come to fruition. Now, when typing on the keyboard in iOS 9 you'll whether that highlighted shift key arrow-up button means you're currently in ALL CAPS mode or lowercase mode because the letters on the keyboard will either be in ALL CAPS or lowercase.
    6. News App: The new News app in iOS 9 still needs some work (by far the most buggy new feature in this release) but once it is complete it should put LinkedIn's Pulse app and other RSS feed reader apps out of business. 
    7. Passbook renamed Wallet: I always hated the name of the Passbook app -- so a rename alone is worth noting -- but the new app also has some new features including the ability to scan in your loyalty rewards program cards (i.e. Dick's Scorecard, Target Cartwheel, AMC Stubs, Giant Eagle Advantage, etc.)
    8. Notes App: The new Notes app has tons of handy new ways to quickly jot down notes including an easy checklist creator and the ability to sketch things with your finger.
    9. Settings Search: I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to someone how to find something in settings i.e. Go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > iCloud > Manage Storage. Now you can just search for it!
    10. Low Power Mode: And lastly, the new "Low Power Mode" in iOS 9 gives the ability to squeeze every last bit of power left in your battery in those desperate situations. 

    Did I forget something in iOS 9 that you think is really cool? Add it in the comments below:

    Saturday, June 20, 2015

    Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Apple Watch Experience

    The Apple Watch

    Now that I've had my Apple Watch for a few weeks, I've finally got it tweaked and adjusted just right so that I truly can "live a better day." But it definitely takes some work.

    Right out of the box, the Apple Watch is actually kind of annoying. Well, maybe not right out of the box, because just like every other Apple product unboxing, it feels like Christmas morning and love at first sight. The packaging is just as thoughtful as the product design. And the setup process is actually very cool. But once you put the watch you'll be immediately bombarded by buzzes and dings. So here is my advice to improve your new Apple Watch experience once it's on your wrist:
    1. Silent Mode: First thing you'll probably want to do is turn on "Silent Mode" under the new Apple Watch app on your iPhone > Sound & Haptics. 
    2. VIP Mailbox: If you haven't already done this on your iPhone you can thank me later, but it's even more important once you own an Apple Watch. Go into your iPhone Mail > Mailboxes > and click the small "i" next to VIP. Then simply "Add VIP" contacts to your list. Then setup special "VIP Alerts" under Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP so that you only receive banner notifications for VIP contacts. Once this is done on your phone you won't get an annoying pop-up every time you get new junk mail. Then under your Apple Watch settings > Mail you just need to make sure you've selected "Mirror My iPhone" (which is the default setting).
    3. App Layout: Next, you probably need to delete apps. First, go back into your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to General > App Install > and turn off automatic app install. Now go back and delete apps you don't need on your wrist from the bottom of the main menu of your Apple Watch > My Watch app on your iPhone. Then finally go back to "App Layout" from the main menu of your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and rearrange the apps in some logical groupings. Hint: The clock app is always in the middle. So arrange the most important apps in a honeycomb around that clock app and work your way out.
    4. Customized Watch Faces: Now that you're not overwhelmed by beeping, buzzing apps take a moment to customize your Apple Watch face so that it displays useful information for you at a glance. I actually setup 3 separate faces with different "complications" based on the type of day I have ahead of me. For a busy day at the office, I typically use the large complication box to display my next meeting. For weekends at home, working on the house, and morning exercises I switch my Apple Watch face to one of the modular designs and include complications with all the workout and exercise data. And then for weekend getaways or relaxing afternoons I utilize the weather, sunset, and sunrise complications.
    5. Glances: Now that you have an Apple Watch face with all the most pertinent info appearing on wrist raise, next you'll want to create & customize your "glances." Glances are what Apple calls the new "pages" of info that appear when you swipe up on your Apple Watch face. You can add, delete and rearrange your glances on your iPhone Apple Watch App. My advice here is to only include the next most important info in glances. First, delete apps that you don't need on your wrist. Then include the most important info in Apple Watch face complications. And then see what else you really want to be able to access quickly and add it to your list of glances.
    6. Friends: Again, if you haven't setup your "Favorites" on your iPhone, you can thank me later. Favorites appear on the far left tab when you open up your phone app on your iPhone. They also now appear on the top of the iPhone when you enter "multitasking mode." Now, with your Apple Watch, your "best friends" or favorites appear when you click the big home button on the side of your watch (not to be confused with the digital crown).
    7. Fitness: Before you go for a run, bike road, or even want to track your daily activity, be sure you open your "Activity" app and enter your height & weight info. Fitness tracking and fitness motivation are actually the most useful features of your Apple Watch (especially if you've never worn a Nike Fuelband or FitBit in the past). 
    8. Music: The next thing you'll want to do is choose a playlist to sync to your iPhone so that you can go for a run or mow the lawn without your iPhone in your pocket. To do this, simply go into your Apple Watch app on your iPhone > Music > and select a "Synced Playlist." Hint: When you're ready to listen to music straight from your Apple Watch to bluetooth headphones, you'll need to force touch the screen within the music app to select which source to play music to.
    9. Apple Pay: One of the really "neat" features of your Apple Watch is being able to pay for something without taking your wallet or even your iPhone out of your pocket. But first you have to setup a credit/debit card within the Apple Pay settings on your Apple Watch app.
    10. New Apps: Lastly, there are a few apps you probably hadn't downloaded on your iPhone that you will definitely want on your new Apple Watch. Here are some suggestions for really cool apps to show off the "cool factor" of your new gadget to friends and family:
      • Dark Sky: Will notify you if it is about to rain.
      • Pacemaker: Creates a music mix for you.
      • Power: Shows you how much battery life you have left on your iPhone.
      • Trivia Crack: Play trivia on your wrist against friends. 
      • Four Letters: A fun word game designed specifically for the Apple Watch.
      • Yahoo Weather: A beautiful weather app for your wrist.
      • Cruncher: Turn your brand new Apple Watch into an 1980s Timex calculator watch. 
      • Chipotle: It has a burrito button. 'nuf said.

    Got other Apple Watch tips & tricks I forgot? Add them in the comments below:

    Sunday, May 31, 2015

    Top 10 SEO tips for 1st-page Google search results

    Technically SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is about improving your website's page ranking in search engine results across all search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, DuckDuckGo, Dogpile, etc. But when it comes down to it, SEO is really about increasing the overall traffic to your website via Google organic search (as opposed to paid search, SEM, or Search Engine Marketing).

    Google truly is really the only search engine that matters -- with about 66% of the search traffic in the U.S. and roughly 90% of the share everywhere else in the world. And while the #1 listing in Google search results gets 33% of all organic search traffic, being on the first page is most important, as 92% of all traffic comes from those first 10 results. But even when you're on that first page, you need to stand out.

    Here are ten tips to help you get on the first page of organic Google search results and then get clicked:
    1. Vanity URLs are key to SEO. Be sure the URL of your website is either the name of your company or, if you're lucky enough to own these URLs, the name of your product/content i.e. ESPN would probably love to own the URL or Netflix own the URL Today these are brand names that are likely "Googled" more often than their product/content terms themselves. But when they were up-and-coming companies, this would have dramatically improved SEO.
    2. Meta Tags are the keywords in the header code of your website used by search engines to categorize your website and determine relevance to organic searches. Today, Meta tags or keywords aren't nearly as important as they were in 2008, or even 2012, in fact Google and Bing don't even look at them anymore, but other search engines still do, so don't listen to those anti-meta-tag soap boxers and completely ignore them. You should still use them! Your Meta tags should be very specific to what your website is about -- don't be too general. For example, use terms like "used golf clubs, preowned golf clubs, cheap golf gear" versus "golf, clubs, used." But do some research using websites like Google Trends, or to find the most popular search queries related to your content.
    3. Meta Titles are the words that appear as links in search engine results. These words also appear in the top of your browser or in the browser tab when you are on that page, and is the default text that appears when you bookmark a webpage. Meta titles should be no longer than 50 characters in length to be sure the entire title can be read in Google search results. If you go any longer than that, I'd only suggest it being the name of your company/website at the end of your Meta title. Write Meta titles for humans but keep robots in mind -- meaning, write Meta titles that are one readable thought that can be easily understood by a person, but use as many keywords as you can without keyword stuffing.
    4. Meta Descriptions are the 160 character descriptions of each page of your website that appear in search engine results. Many website creation tools and content management systems let you write Meta descriptions that are longer than 160 characters, but don't bother. Search engines will only display the first 160 characters. Use a tool like to be sure you're under that limit. Technically, Meta descriptions don't help your page rankings in search engines, but it will definitely affect your click-through rate on search results pages. Your Meta description should get straight to the point. Be direct. And be concise. 
    5. Page Content is actually THE MOST IMPORTANT factor when it comes to SEO. Make sure the copy on your website is loaded with as many keywords and top searched terms as possible without looking spammy. Remember, someone has to be able to read it and make sense of it. And definitely don't try and trick Google by putting a bunch of text in white font on a white background in the footer of your website. Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn't become the 5th richest people in the world by being idiots.
    6. Alt Tags are the invisible image descriptions hidden in the HTML that describe what your image, photo, icon, or picture is about. Use alt tags to not only describe the image, but also describe the other content on the page. But keep it short! And definitely don't keyword stuff! Search engine robots are intelligent enough now to know if you're trying to game the system and it will actually negatively affect your SEO. Did you know? Alt tags are read aloud to blind people who visit your website in accessibility modes.
    7. Inbound Links are the #1 factor when Google is determining your Page Rank. They are extremely important, but hard to come by. Inbound Links are links from somewhere else on the internet that direct traffic to your website. Inbound Links are different from Reciprocal Links where a website links to you but you link back their website as well -- which is why Inbound Links are hard to come by. The best way to get inbound links to your website is through content marketing. Create interesting content that's relative to your target audience and your target audience will start linking to you. Similarly...
    8. Outbound Links are important to SEO as well. I know it seems weird, but pointing your traffic to other resources that are similar to yours will create trust with your audience, improve Google related:searches, and increase Google Page Rank. But don't use links farms! And don't overdue it! Internal linking to other pages within your own website (i.e. Wikipedia) is always better than driving traffic to external websites.
    9. Social Media, particularly Google+'s social search of Search Plus Your World (SPYW), is extremely important when it comes to SEO. Today, the first page of organic search is often filled with links from people in your Google+ Circles, followed by a Facebook page, Twitter profile, and other social media links -- sometimes even before a website's homepage appears! Make sure you have a Google+ page, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and YouTube account...
    10. Videos are almost 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results than regular web pages. Create a video -- even if it's just a 30-second selfie of you talking to the camera -- and upload it directly to YouTube (owned by Google). You'll almost instantly see your video views increase right along with your webpage traffic.

    Got questions? Or other tips? Add them in the comments below:

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    2015's Super Bowl XLIX in UltraHD 4K?

    Does anyone know if the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX will be broadcast in UltraHD 4K? Interestingly enough, I posed a similar question 3 years ago on whether the 2012's Super Bowl XLVI would be on TV in 3-D. And today, I'm in the same boat.

    I recently purchased the Sony XBR65X850B 65" LED 2160p Smart 3D 4K Ultra HD TV. And though there isn't a ton of content out there (beyond Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and some Flowers and Forests on Netflix or a few free UHD movies on Amazon Instant Video), it's still an unbelievably good upscaled picture for standard 1080p cable television and Blu-ray discs.

    I was hoping this year's Super Bowl XLIX would be broadcast in 4K (since it appears the 2014 Super Bowl on FOX was in Ultra HD) but everything I can find says otherwise:

    Anyone have any better news for me?

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    Ten tips for better LinkedIn profile headlines

    Image Source:
    Please don't be the guy (or girl) with the generic auto "Title at Company Name" profile headline on LinkedIn. Even if you're not a marketer, but especially if you aren't currently employed, you need to use this valuable space to tell people exactly what it is that you do. It's not only important so that you show up in search results, but it will also make people click on your profile when there's a long list of people similar to you.

    It only takes a minute, so please just go update it today and follow these ten tips:

    1. Establish yourself as an expert in something
    2. Explain why someone should connect with you
    3. Use stats & numbers if possible
    4. Utilize as many industry buzzwords as possible
    5. Start with a short question
    6. Use examples of proven results
    7. Differentiate yourself from everyone else in your function/industry
    8. Use V-bars (|) to separate sections
    9. If you're C-level say so
    10. If you're a jobseeker say so
    Got any other tips? Or examples of some good headlines? Share them in the comments below:

    Ryan's New Home with Ryan Homes: A Visual Timeline of the 200-Day New Build Process

    Hi, my name is Ryan Pratt. I am multitasking millennial who typically blogs about digital marketing, social media, technology and movies. But I've been too busy over the past 6 months to do much writing. On top of getting married to the love of my life in May of 2014, we also officially started the new home building process with Ryan Homes on April 3rd (Day 1):

    Since that day, I've come to realize that blogging about your new build process with Ryan Homes is "a thing that people do." There are actually a lot of great blogs out there:

    Just Google "Ryan Homes blog" and you'll find a bunch more -- including at least one for every style of home in every state that they build.

    Unfortunately, with so much "stuff" going on at once, I don't have time to create an entire blog dedicated to the process like the those mentioned above, but I did want to create at least one blog post that I'd update occasionally with new photos from our Venice style home. This is that post:

    On April 8th, we picked out our carpet, tile, wood floors, countertops and cabinets (Day 6):

    By June 28th, they broke ground and started digging our hole (Day 87):

    On July 3rd they poured our basement (Day 92):

    By August 2nd framing had begun in the basement (Day 122):

    And then on August 9th it was starting to look like an actual house (Day 129):

    A week later, on August 17th, it had a roof and windows (Day 137):

    The garage floor was poured by August 24th the following week (Day 144):

    By September 5th the plumber, HVAC, electrician and Guardian Home Technologies had finished their installations. We had our first official walkthrough and pre-drywall meeting inside the home later that week (Day 156):

    The garage door and trim was installed and painted by September 10th (Day 161):

    And they officially started hanging drywall on September 14th (Day 165):

    They started on the external siding on September 19th (Day 170):

    And by September 27th the drywall was painted and tile in the bathrooms and laundry room was installed (Day 178):

    On October 1st they finished the stone exterior (Day 182):

    And by October 4th they had started the kitchen and bathroom cabinetry (Day 185):

    On October 6th the lights were installed (Day 187):


    And on October 7th they laid the hardwood floors (Day 188):

    On October 9th they laid the carpet (Day 190):

    On October 16th the granite countertops and appliances were installed (Day 197):

    We had our final walkthrough on October 17th (Day 198) and got our keys on October 20th (Day 201)!

    Stay tuned for more exterior photos once the sod & landscaping are complete. 

    If you've found other great blogs about Ryan Homes or just have a question or comment, please feel free to share below:

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Top 10 movies of 2014 (so far)

    Top 10 films of the year (so far)

    Well Fall is officially here and the Summer blockbuster films have raked in millions at the box office. Now it's time for the Oscar-nomination hopefuls to hit theaters (i.e. Gone Girl, Fury, Interstellar, and Unbroken) followed by the Holiday blockbuster lineup (i.e. Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1, Big Hero 6, and Nightcrawler) but the first three quarters of the year didn't disappoint. And though the small-budget film market was lacking, the most-anticipated indie movie of the year -- actually the most anticipated indie movie of the last dozen years  -- did not disappoint.

    The movies on this list are a mix of the best and my favorite films of the year. These are the top ten films from the first nine months of 2014:
    1. Lego Movie
    2. Boyhood
    3. Guardians of the Galaxy
    4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
    5. Captain America: Winter Soldier
    6. 22 Jump Street
    7. Edge of Tomorrow
    8. Grand Budapest Hotel
    9. How to Train Your Dragon 2
    10. Bears
    What haven't I seen that should be on the list? Is something on the list that shouldn't be? Leave your thoughts in the comments below:

    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Top 66 scariest movies ever

    A "scary movie" is a film that gives you goosebumps. It not only has you sitting on the edge of your seat, but jumping out of it. A "scary movie" makes you spill your popcorn. It makes you scream.

    "Scary movies" affect you even after you leave the theater.  It has you turning off the lights, running up the stairs, and leaping into your bed at night. It leaves you laying there, unable to sleep, trying everything to forget. A "scary movie" gives you nightmares.

    But "Scary" isn't a genre. "Horror," "Suspense" and "Thriller" are. These sixty-six "scary movies" encompass all three of those genres -- and then some. These are the scariest movies of all time:

    1. The Exorcist
    2. Silence of the Lambs
    3. Paranormal Activity
    4. House of 1000 Corpses
    5. Friday the 13th (1980)
    6. The Shining
    7. The Ring
    8. Mothman Prophecies
    9. Saw
    10. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
    11. The Descent
    12. Scream
    13. The Conjuring
    14. The Hitcher
    15. Halloween (1978)
    16. Se7en
    17. 28 Days Later
    18. Jaws
    19. The Nightmare on Elm Street
    20. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
    21. Final Destination
    22. Wes Craven's New Nightmare
    23. Sixth Sense
    24. The Others
    25. Oculus
    26. Friday the 13th: Part III
    27. Prisoners
    28. The Hills Have Eyes
    29. Strangers
    30. The Haunting
    31. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
    32. Hostel
    33. The Grudge
    34. Jeepers Creepers
    35. The Crazies
    36. Blair Witch Project
    37. The Last House on the Left
    38. The Skeleton Key
    39. Disturbia
    40. VHS
    41. Audition
    42. Poltergeist
    43. Night of the Living Dead
    44. Blackout
    45. Mama
    46. The Orphanage
    47. The Cabin in the Woods
    48. Scream 2
    49. Rosemary's Baby
    50. What Lies Beaneath
    51. The Last Exorcism
    52. Halloween (2007)
    53. The Devil's Rejects
    54. Friday the 13th (2009)
    55. The Haunting of Molly Hartley
    56. Identity
    57. The Bay
    58. Pyscho
    59. World War Z
    60. Friday the 13th: Part II
    61. Audition
    62. Shutter Island
    63. The Omen
    64. The Purge
    65. Birds
    66. High Tension

    Last updated: October 2014

    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    Ten keys to a perfect blog post

    Blogging seems easy. Especially to those of us who do it often. Just write what's on your mind -- even if it's just stream of consciousness. You don't have to follow any AP or MLA Style Guidelines. There are no rules. No regulations. It's basically just a public diary of your opinions and expertise. But to a beginner, it can be an overwhelming challenge -- particularly when you're just getting started. There are so many things to consider: what do I write about; what should I title it; which blogging platform should I use; which image should I choose; etc. etc.

    Then once you actually get started, how do you finally get people to read it? Outside of pricey and/or guerrilla marketing techniques, the easiest way to ensure the maximum number of eyeballs view your post is to write something worth reading. Now, not only does this mean that your public diary of opinions and expertise must be interesting and informative, but it also means you have to keep going. You have to keep writing and keep posting. And you have to do it consistently. You need a plan. You need a formula. And, fortunately, I've calculated it for you...

    Here are the ten keys to the perfect blog post that will ensure your blog posts get read, get shared, and then get read again:
    1. Platform: Each blogging platform has its pros and cons. Tumblr is good for shorter blogs, especially those that are mostly images or animated GIFs. WordPress is good if you're trying to build more than just a blog, and want an entire website. Same goes for the blogs integrated into website building tools like Weebly or Wix. But if you're trying to drive the maximum amount of traffic to your website, then Google's Blogger (or Blogspot) is your best choice. Though they don't admit it, Google's organic search results most definitely favor their own blogging platform over its competitors when all other SEO factors are similar. 
    2. Title: Blog titles can be as tough company names, but the secret is to choose a name that tells its readers what to expect from your content. Blog post titles are even trickier. Though you definitely need to choose a title that gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the post, it's also important to make it mysterious enough that they don't get all the information they need in the title alone. Have you ever read a headline on Twitter or in the news that told you everything you needed to know (i.e. "Lebron James agrees to new deal to return to Cleveland Cavaliers" or "Star Wars Episode VII sets new box office record with $500 billion weekend")? It's a great summary, but the reader doesn't even need to leave their Twitter or Facebook feed to visit your blog. Instead, use questions (i.e. "How many records will Star Wars Ep. 7 break?") or at least less descriptive titles (i.e. "Lebron James decides to leave Miami"). And the easiest trick is to just create a list or countdown. Humans appear to be hardwired to tune into lists, according to
    3. Image: Every blog post should include an image. It's not only important to break up the page visually, but also for social media and RSS feeds. Almost every social media platform and RSS reader today includes images, and most of them automatically pull images from your post. Why? Because a picture is worth a thousand words -- and sometimes, an image is even worth a thousand retweets
    4. Length: The ideal length a blog post is a highly-debated topic. And though there is no limit (i.e. the 140-character limit on Twitter) there is a general consensus that shorter is better. Human attention spans are getting shorter every year, so in order to not overwhelm the reader, keep their attention, and ensure they get to the end where your call-to-action should exist -- keep it to 2,000 words or less. Then be consistent. If you post 500 words once per month on average -- continue to post 500 words once per month. Write. Rinse. Repeat.
    5. Call-to-Action (CTA): Every blog post needs a call-to-action. Even if you're just writing a personal blog with no advertisements and nothing to sell, each and every blog post should end with a conclusive CTA where you ask the reader to do something, whether it be to leave comments or share it on social media. It's the easiest way to increase engagement with your readers.
    6. Social Media Share Buttons: If you want your blog post to be read by people outside of your inner circle of friends and family, you need it to go viral. Not necessarily viral like "Charlie Bit Me" or the "Social Media Explained Donut Edition" -- but at least viral beyond your own personal network. In order for it to go viral, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to share your blog posts to all their favorite social networks. While most platforms include built-in social share widgets today, you can always utilize embeddable HTML modules like ShareThis
    7. Section Headers: Because of the diminishing human attention span, you need to make your blog posts as skimmable as humanly possible. Utilize headers, chapters, section titles, and/or bold statements -- literally, make the most important statements bold -- to highlight the key points of your blog post. This is another reason why top 10 lists work so well. People don't have time to read every word, and if it at first glance they can't find something interesting or if they feel overwhelmed by the length of your post -- they'll bounce immediately.
    8. Tags / Keywords: In today's always-connected and intertwined world wide web of keywords, it is imperative that you utilize tags and keywords to link your blog post to other similar blog posts (both that you wrote and those that exist outside of your own blog). It's also why you should always "tag hash" -- and even consider utilizing hashtags in your blog post titles so that every time your post is shared on Twitter or Facebook it's automatically connected to the every other blog post with that hashtag. 
    9. Links: SEO is key to driving traffic to any website, webpage or blog post on the internet. And two major ways to improve SEO today are by utilizing both inbound and outbound links wherever possible. With blog posts, it's key to not only link to other related articles and blogs, but to also utilize reciprocal links to connect readers to other blog posts you have written, i.e. Top 10 SEO tips for 1st page Google search results.  
    10. RSS: Lastly, and probably rightly so, are RSS feeds and "Subscribe" buttons. You need to give your readers a way to subscribe to your blog and get notified when new posts are written. But with the inevitable death of RSS feeds, the most future-forward plan to allow people to subscribe to your blog is by adding Twitter "Follow" buttons, Google+ "Circle Me" buttons, and Facebook "Like" buttons to your blog.
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