HOW TO: Optimize Storify for SEO

June 16, 2014 2 comments

Optimize Storify SEO

You have an idea in your head for a social media story and you plan to use Storify to make it. Even though you haven’t started curating content, you should be thinking about one critical element: Headline.

Why?

It’s pretty simple: Storify takes your headline and uses it to create the URL. You want to make sure your headline is optimized for search engines.

Curate with headline in mind

To do that, you’ll want to start the curation process with a headline in mind. You don’t need to write it on Storify’s curation canvas, but keep it somewhere, on a scrap of paper or in your mind, before you start curating.

It’s OK if the headline you have in mind is not one you end up with. It might not matter to you what the headline is on Storify.com, especially if you plan to embed the Storify on your website or blog, especially if you’re trying to drive more traffic there.

Then curate your content. Once you have curated your content, make sure that what you have pulled in meshes with the headline that you had in your mind before you started creating. If it does, you can move to the next step. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to tweak your headline.

Key in on keywords

Then think of any keywords you can use in your headline that might be applicable. You don’t want to stuff keywords into your headline, but if there is one or two that could create a more fluid headline, go ahead.

Then you want to take your headline and shorten it so that the keywords are prevalent. After all, those are the words you want in the Storify URL.

Then write your headline online if you have not already done so.

How to edit URL

If you wrote your headline on the Storify curation form and want to change it, you can, but it’s not readily apparent.

First you will need to hit “Settings” on the top black bar. Then, on the popup, hit “Edit URL.”

Make sure your Storify saves and then finish with the rest of your curation process, and you’ll have a headline optimized for search engines.

Categories: marketing, social media Tags: ,

Fiction Friday: Dinosaur Ambulance, Part 1

June 13, 2014 4 comments

Dinosaur Ambulance

This short story has been written in response to the “dinosaur ambulance” prompt.

The news travels fast. We have the Jianchangosaurus to thank for that.

Oh, you probably don’t know what that is. Yes, well, it’s my dinosaur, you see, the one I and other medical emergency personnel use to get about and deliver news and help people. It’s a smallish dinosaur, just hardy enough to support a passenger, and fast enough to deliver her quickly. Its hips stood aside a woman’s when the two were on the ground, and its feathers were marked with crisp fall colors, shades of reds, oranges, yellows, browns. But it stood long, more than 6 feet from head to tail, guided along with a gentle nudge of plants and other foliage, dangling quite close to its nose.

So when Angie, one of the local news messengers, showed up on her Jianchangosaurus—I believe she calls him Sam, but I always forget—I knew there was a problem from the look on her face.

“Jim, there’s been a problem up by Old Salem. A Rex sniffed a tad too close, and it was a mean ol momma,” she said. It didn’t matter that the news she delivered was horrendous, bodies mangled, torn to bits were the details streaming out of her mouth. Her eyes always entranced me, particularly at the worst moments. I shook my head, came back into the conversation. “There’s been a few deaths, and many more injured. I’m rounding up anyone who can come and help.”

Her eyes looked up to mine. I could see the beginning of tears swelling in them.

“Please, Jim, we need your help.”

“Of course,” I said. The shine in her eyes was all the thanks I needed. But I had hoped for more.

The Jianchangosaurus sped across the countryside, flying through the jungle, with its large, bulbous tree trunks and falling fruit. When we emerged from the dense collection of vegetation, the scene was splayed about. Scores of people with weapons, sticks, spears, whatever they could find, were gathered in a large circle, which left room between each person. Our dinos slowed down and walked through a couple of the guards, and in the middle of the circle, death awaited.

At least two, no, three, were dead—it was tough to tell with all of these people torn apart, arms and legs left laying about, with one pair of legs simply left alone near the edge of the circle. A group was huddled over the injured in a wide open, barren field, awash in a sea of red.

Blood. Lots of it.

Angie hopped onto the ground and rushed to the scene. I ran after her, careful not to let her get too far away.

She bent down over a couple of severely injured, a woman and a young girl, maybe 11 or 12. Their screams of pain filled the air, complemented by a strong scent of metallic blood. My nose curled up into itself.

They had scratch and claw marks all over their bodies, rivers of blood turning into lakes on the barren ground.

Two things were clear, I thought. We had to get these two out of here and treat them in an infirmary. There was one close by, just up the road and on the beaten path.

And I could see now that these marks, scratches, they were not from a Rex attack. Had Angie known? Had she lied to me? What was all this about? Subterfuge was at work here, but by whom?

We set about bandaging them as best we could. And we had gotten the two onto a pair of stretchers, battened down and tightened and stretched across the backs of two Jianchangosaurus. One of the men who had been bent over the pair sent the two dinosaurs on their way, and followed closely behind on one of his own.

The rest of us stood in the midst of carnage, blood and body parts still here, there, underneath your foot, right where you place your next step.

I exhaled, and I watched Angie do the same and wipe the sweat from her brow. She wanted to smile, I could sense, but she didn’t. Just like her, I thought.

And then everything changed. The air carried a tenseness that everyone felt, and people looked up from what they were doing to see what was going on.

I knew what it was just as Angie said it. “Rex.” We exchanged glances.

And that’s when chaos rained down.

READ PART 2 ON FRIDAY, JUNE 20.

Author’s note: Yes, I know T. Rex and Jianchangosaurus lived far away from each other and at different times. This is fiction. So I don’t care.

Categories: fiction Tags: ,

4 Reasons You Should Use Listly as Your Blogroll

June 9, 2014 8 comments
listly-blogroll

An visual example of how Listly list looks when used as a blogroll.

I use a lot of social media tools in my weekly personal and professional lives. And one tool that I adore is Listly.

It’s pretty self-explanatory: It’s a tool to make, curate and vote on lists. But it can be much more than that if you harness it correctly.

What do you think when you first hear about a tool to make lists? Groceries, tasks to do and more, probably.

But Listly can be much more than just a tool for everyday tasks. It can be a tool that you can group similar things or ask a question or save things from around the web.

Yet one way Listly shines is as a blogroll tool. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. It’s open for collaboration

As a blogger, I have a small set of time to use to work on writing, editing and publishing. That’s why anything or any tool that I can use to save time is a good thing. Listly provides that with its open collaboration. Let others help curate a blogroll and you can focus your time on other pursuits.

2. You can embed it

What good is making a list if you can’t use it on your blog? No worries with Listly, though, as you can embed it on your blog and replace your long-standing, but often forgotten blogroll.

3. It’s visually heavy

Across social media, no matter where you look, one thing is common: Visuals stand out. So when you have a choice between making something stand out visually or having it be text-based or a drop-down menu, the visual way to display the information is the one that should win.

4. You have several display options

What are the best blogs to follow? Collaborators can let you know by voting, if you enable it. Then they can quickly see which are the best blogs to read. Or you can display it alphabetically, the default for a blogroll. Either way, you have options, and they don’t end with those two.

Listly is your blogroll

These are the main reasons why Listly should be the tool you use when you build your blogroll. (And hey, you can even use someone else’s list if you find one you like.)

But there are other great ways to use Listly on your blog, like for your guest blog posts. It’s a great tool to use

Fiction Friday: Adventures in Eating Cereal

June 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Adventures in Eating Cereal

That mysterious liquid was soap. All I can taste right now is soap. I am an adult, I think.

I took the bowl of Cheerios and threw it down. The spoon flew out and rattled against the stainless steel kitchen sink, nearly careening over the ledge and onto the floor. The rest of the bowl crashed against the side, and the Cheerios flowed over like lava slowly working its way down a volcano.

The soap bubbled from my lips, flowing down my chin into the cold metal below.

I gagged. I could feel myself retching, the cold soap forming into a ball at the back of my throat, trying to wiggle its way free. Then all I could taste was more soap.

Adults do these things, right? I know the difference between soap and milk. Usually.

I think.

After all, I am an adult.

#FictionFriday: How I Got Blocked on Twitter

May 30, 2014 3 comments

How I Got Blocked On Twitter

This short story has been written in response to the “I Shouldn’t Have Written That” prompt.

I’ve been blocked on Twitter only once, and it wasn’t an experience I like to relive.

And I can’t believe I even wrote that. It was stupid and dumb—maybe exactly what I would have done. And did.

It started as a blind date. My friend Jeremy had been trying to hook me up with his girlfriend’s coworker for a month or two. “She’s so pretty, and she’s down for guys who play it loose and cool. She’s made for you,” he said.

I would just look at him, amusement plastered on my face. We would be in a bar, or in my apartment watching a game, or even at a park, grilling out under the blazing hot sun. Whatever the case, I would always respond the same: “I don’t know, man. I’m just not a blind date guy.”

I would take a sip of my Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, and Jeremy would stop whatever else he was doing and focus on me. He would have a beer in one hand, or a pair of tongs while he was grilling, or a handful of peanuts as the game played on. “Dude. She wants this. She is begging us to set her up. You could not be in a more perfect position.” He would turn to the TV or his phone. Then back at me. “The pressure is off for you.”

Jeremy would frown at my skeptical glance in his direction. “I’ve never felt the pressure off on a blind date. And I’ve been on far too many of them. Believe me.”

Jeremy would give me that look he had. That “Bro, c’mon” look. But I knew better.

He usually wouldn’t push the conversation beyond that, and I would always want to tell him to ask Kara or Jayme or Zoe or Rachael. Or Claudia, for that matter.

One day, after repeated attempts at asking, I could see the glimmer in Jeremy’s eyes as he set about asking me again. I put my hand up in the air, closing off his comment. “Don’t bother,” I said. “Just set up the date. I’ll be there.”

I could see the frown on his face instantly reach for the sky, unexpected jubilation running rampant on his face.

The date was nothing special, at least until our entrees arrived. Her fried caprese salad looked delicious with little balls of mozzarella fried and dressed atop the dish. My short ribs were resting on a bed of mashed potatoes, tucked in between piles of finely shredded carrots.

We demolished our dishes with intermittent conversation about jobs, aspirations, hopes.

After Rayna finished her salad, she wiped her mouth and folded her napkin and rested it on her plate. I took another bite of my short ribs, and I could only watch as she picked up her purse, flashed me a wry smile, and left.

My food snacked its way down my esophagus as I watched her from my seat on the patio. She unlocked her car, started it up and drove away.

My only remaining dining partner was my utter confusion.

So I thought nothing of it when I reached out on Twitter and asked her what went wrong. (I’ve taken rejection well, but a lack of excuse for leaving, well, that’s just something I found inconceivable.)

“Shut up,” she replied.

“Bitch,” I tweeted back.

When I checked my account next, I found that she had blocked me, and any attempt at an answer to my one burning question were completely and wholly blocked.

Categories: fiction Tags:

#FictionFriday: The Penguin Photographer

May 23, 2014 1 comment

The Penguin Photographer

Rosemarie Salentine almost died taking a penguin’s picture. Though it wasn’t really her fault, even if she had her obnoxious high-quality flash attached to her DSLR as she shot using her iPhone 5s, which was pointed at the waddling creature.

She’s lucky it was just a broken leg, a compound fracture in three different places. Or maybe it was unlucky. Had she simply fallen into the water and not smacked her leg on the side of the rock leading into it, she’d have been fine. Startled, maybe.

Her screams called forth a wail from the nearby sea otters, who jumped off the ragged rock formation and rained their terror down upon the onlookers in the form of a wave of water escaping their exhibit.

But Rosemarie continued to flail about — some would say she was looking for her camera, but to me she looked truly in pain. That or the water was really cold.

(I certainly don’t know. I’ve never swam with penguins in their zoo enclosure.)

Her camera and phone sunk to the bottom, where one penguin splashed in — it must have been adventurous, as it completely ignored Rosemarie’s shrieks — and tried to feed on it. No, it’s not a fish, you could just imagine it thinking to itself as it let those pieces of Rosemarie’s life continue to sink down further.

At least the EMTs were better at fishing than that penguin was, for Rosemarie’s sake, of course. They had her out within minutes by the time they arrived on scene. That’s quite well, considering Rosemarie slapped her fists down on the back of the technicians as though she thought they were King Kong, carrying her off over the shoulder and up the Empire State Building.

They stuffed her in the ambulance as the onlookers stood about. Half of them had their mouths agape, frozen in fear as the terrified woman continued her rampage, her screams, sobs and wails the only instruments she knew how to play.

The other half — I suppose I include myself in that — simply watched. What more was there to do? We could not help. And we certainly could not afford to divert our eyes from this mess in front of us.

So we watched as the ambulance pulled out of the middle of the zoo. It made its way to the parking lot, a couple of miles away from the penguins’ home. The vehicle would swung out wide to the right to get to the city street, which flowed down a hill and toward an intersection visible below and beyond the those sea otters.

The crowd, most of which had not dispersed (who would?), watched as the ambulance took off down the hill.

Yes, it’s a good thing Rosemarie Salentine didn’t die when she fell in with the penguins. The fiery crash that started from that out-of-control semi truck striking the side of the ambulance was probably far less painful.

Categories: fiction Tags:

Social Wish List: No Thumbnail Image for Facebook Page Link Shares

March 17, 2014 Leave a comment
Facebook Link Share No Thumbnail

Thank you, Facebook, for once again allowing some pages to share links without a thumbnail image.

Note: This post was written before Facebook apparently allowed at least some pages to again post link shares with no thumbnail image. So thank you, Facebook. – Dan

Facebook has undergone a lot of changes in the past year, but one that has stuck a thorn in the side of many people is that pages must post an image when sharing links.

Facebook took away the option to post link shares with no thumbnails last summer for the pages that I manage. And I have been hearing and reading from others that they have lost that option since that time, too.

Whatever, Facebook.

We don’t care if you took it away to make people’s News Feed more visual. We just don’t care. Sometimes, we (as marketers) want to share links that don’t have an image. We know you gave us the option to upload our own, but that’s not always possible or applicable.

So quit acting like a belligerent teenager who’s making incessantly annoying rules in your own bedroom.

Facebook listens

I was planning to post this asking Facebook to bring back the option for pages to post links with no thumbnail image. But Facebook beat me to the punch.

As you can see with the photo that accompanies this post, I have the option to post link shares with no thumbnail image on all the Facebook pages that I manage.

I had not heard that Facebook was bringing this feature back, but I am very thankful that they did.

Let’s face it, Facebook should give the page managers the option to do so. And why not? If the content they share is not ranked highly, let it be so. Maybe marketers will stop sharing them automatically.

But maybe not. Maybe they want to share it because it’s a key part of their strategy.

Either way, thank you for giving us (or some of us, at least) the option to post link shares without mandating that an image accompany the link.

Note: If you manage a Facebook page, leave a comment to tell me if you have this option. Thank you!

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