I’ve talked before about how Storify is one of my favorite content curation tools.
And one thing that I’ve learned over time is that sending notifications to the people whose content you curate is an important step.
That’s why you need to maximize your efforts and optimize your Storify notifications.
One way to optimize your notifications, which are sent out via Twitter, is to pull in content you find in other streams as duplicate content from the Twitter stream.
That might sound a bit confusing, so let’s use this example: Suppose you found an Instagram photo in the Instagram stream. You pull it into your Storify.
What you should also do is search your Twitter stream to see if that Instagram photo was published to Twitter. If it was, it increases the number of people you will send notifications to.
Then, after you have sent out the notifications, you can go back in and edit out the duplicate images imported from the Twitter stream.
You can use this for any other streams, too, including Flickr and YouTube.
The default message
So you’ve increased the number of people to notify with the first step. Now let’s transform that default message, which you can also see in the photo above. This is what it is:
You’ve been quoted in my #Storify story “[Storify story headline]” [Shortened Storify URL]
What makes that message stand out?
But do you want to stand out?
Yes, of course.
Then don’t notify people until you’ve changed that default Storify notification message. Period. It’s that simple.
Why do this step?
It’s easy: Personalization. It’s about that extra step, and that shows people that you put in effort above the minimum.
Storify shows you how many characters you have left when you write a personalized message. (In the photo, that character limit is “32.”)
Your goal should be to get that character limit number down as close to zero as possible.
Push it to the (character) limit
Why take that close to zero? It’s simple: That way, you ensure that each person will get a personalized tweet with (likely) only their Twitter handle plus the rest of your message and the link. I say likely because if two people have short Twitter handles, they might get notified together.
But when you modify that message to something like “Thank you for your contribution to this #Storify story …” then you end up sending a personalized tweet to and thanking them in the process. It’s a nice bonus when you stretch that character limit.
Takes just a minute
Remember, even if you have a lengthy Storify story, you have to modify that default message only once if you notify everyone at the same time.
So go that extra step. Take that extra minute.
Make sure you optimize your Storify notifications by using every character possible, which will ensure you tweet out the notifications in a personalized manner.
And that’s where Flickr comes in. By using Flickr, which has a partnership with Pinterest to provide attribution details for pins, you can ensure you always get attribution.
1. Join Flickr. You need an account, obviously.
2. Upload your photo or photos to Flickr. Make sure you add information in the description and tag fields. Include the photo in any sets you might have and target it to groups, too.
That won’t help for getting attribution on Pinterest, but it will help in getting your photos more eyeballs on the photo-sharing site.
3. Grab the HTML or BBCode from the photos you want to use. This is the code you need. When viewing an individual photo, click “Share” button, and then “Grab the HTML/BBCode.”
4. Embed the code in your blog post. Just paste the code wherever you want to to be in the blog post. Tweak the formatting as you see fit.
5. Publish your blog post. Yeah, you can’t get attribution unless your content is published. So now it’s just a matter of time until your content gets pinned, and your attribution shows up on Pinterest.
(As you can see in the example on this blog post, my Flickr name, polleydan, shows up on the Pinterest pin just below the text box.)
If you’re struggling to write blog posts, there’s an easy solution: Mind maps.
Mind maps allow you to take those thoughts floating around in your brain and put them into a concise order. From there, it’s just a matter of formatting and ordering, then writing and editing.
Mind maps are basically an offshoot of sketchnotes, which I learned a lot about from Mike Rohde.
When you map out your post, start with your topic. I put mine at the top of the page, but you can put yours at the center or do whatever makes sense for you.
From there, it’s easy to break it down.
Each big balloon is a sub-topic, divided by subheads. In this post, the first subhead is “Plan first.”
Extend branches from each big balloon, which each branch acting as a paragraph underneath the subhead. You can add more depth to each branch when you plan or when you write.
Now it’s time to decide how you will format your blog post.
There are many ways to do it, but here are a couple of examples. The reverse pyramid is typical is journalism wherein the top of the writing is general information and the specifics and details increase as the piece goes on. Or you could write chronologically, with the oldest information first and the newest last.
Mind maps are great because the framework is done for you during the mapping stage. During the writing stage, it’s just a matter of putting everything in the correct place and then adding details where you need them.
Be your editor
Before you start editing, take a break. You need to take some time away from the blog post — and this is something you should do with any post — before you start editing and whittling away useless words.
Fresh eyes are what you need for the editing process. Those fresh eyes will help you catch more mistakes and improve your post significantly.
Then, when you’re done and ready, it’s time to publish and share with your networks. It’s really that simple.
Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried to mind map before you wrote something?
Yes, I have a food blog, and yes, that means I love to cook at home a lot.
But sometimes I’m tired and worn out and just want a quick meal without work. So I rely on a few nearby restaurants.
Jimmy John’s is one of them. And, after the service they gave us when we ordered from them last week, they won’t be included any more.
The bad service started when my wife called our order in. The employee did not ask her how she wanted to pay. My wife had to call back to pay by credit card. The employee did not say “Thank you” or “Bye”; she simply hung up.
We have called this particular Jimmy John’s location to place an order before, and sometimes we have our food within 10 or 15 minutes. Freaky fast, indeed.
A long, long wait
But this time was different. In fact, my wife placed the order just before an NCAA March Madness game tipped off. By the time the game had reached halftime (20 minutes of game time plus multiple play stoppages), we still did not have our food.
After waiting for 45 minutes for our food, my wife went to call back Jimmy John’s to complain. Just as she was placing the call, the delivery driver called to inquire about directions. He was close but on the wrong side of a main road. And, for some reason, he thought he was delivering to a business.
We thought this was odd considering we have ordered before and had no hiccups in delivery service.
After we pointed the driver in the correct direction, he arrived about 10 to 15 minutes later. Considering where he said he was when he called, it should not have taken more than 5.
The trouble with money
When the driver arrived, the receipt said $3.62 instead of $11.50, which is what our order cost. We thought that was Jimmy John’s giving us a discount for their service.
My wife signed the receipt and sent the driver on his way.
No sooner had she set the food on the counter when the doorbell rang again.
It was the driver, and he said that the order had been rung up incorrectly and that we owed more money. After a bit of back and forth, my wife signed the receipt for $11.50.
If a restaurant undercharges a customer by accident, and the customer signs the receipt, shouldn’t the business should absorb the undercharged amount? We think so, yet the driver insisted we pay the full $11.50.
After all of this, my wife called the store and spoke with the manager. He said the service was not good because he had new employees, and he would speak with them about their performance.
What we expected was for the manager to say he would charge us just the $3.62 or some other similar recompense.
She also emailed a complaint to the corporate email account. We have not heard back yet, but I will update this post if we do.
(UPDATE 1): Jimmy John’s called my wife in regards to her corporate complaint and will be sending us a $15 gift card and said the service we received was not on par with what they strive to achieve. We appreciate that.
Sound off: Have you ever had customer service so bad that you stopped buying from that business?