ASAE’s MMCCon website takeaways

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Anyone else remember the awesome 1996 movie Space Jam? Turns out it had one of the first movie websites and it’s still alive. Check it out here.

You might be wondering what a kids movie website from almost 20 years ago has to do with marketing, media or social content and the answer is everything. The super smart Suzanne Carawan tweeted this gem at one of the first sessions I attended at MMCCom:
Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 2.34.17 PMShe’s absolutely right! People rarely go looking for older content. A website isn’t a digital archive of everything your organization has done for the last 20 years.

The first step to freeing yourself as a content manager and your organization from the mountains of digital content you’re being smothered by is to ask this: Would you take the content with you if you moved? It’s ok if the answer is no. (If you haven’t already done a content audit and/or created a content strategy, this would be a good time to do that step too.)

The take the second step and ask: Who owns the content? Is that person even still with the organization?

Now that you’ve started considering what content you want to keep and what content might be better in a vault, review your user behavior. Check the analytics. Look closely at what people are searching for on your website. Then search for those things! If you can’t find the answer in one or two clicks. your audience has probably totally checked out too. Remember just because you added a Google search bar to your site does not mean you are like Google. Make sure you find a way to give your web users access to content in a way that makes sense to them.

A show of hands indicated that most people do not go to a website without a goal in mind (even if that goal is just to waste a bit of time or be entertaining). Your web users are no different.

Is your audience happy that they came to your site? You can find this by checking the analytics for time on site, pages visited, exit pages, etc. Look at the overall picture the analytics paint, not just each piece of information. It can be tempting to rely on surveys to determine if your web content is working. These should be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of users will tell you what they think you want to hear. The analytics should give you as much if not more insight than a survey will. This isn’t to say surveys don’t have a place, they do, just not necessarily on website usability.

Ideally, your website should be able to solve a users need right then with content? Answer a question, satisfy curiosity, lead the person in the right direction. Most web users are happy to follow a Wikipedia like rabbit hole, but only after their initial question is answered.


I’ll keep running

Like the One More Mile photo above, I wasn’t at Boston. I’ll probably never qualify for Boston. I didn’t even get to run yesterday. But several of my loved ones were there, some as runners but more as spectators supporting runners. And even if I had no personal connection to the horrific events, I’d still feel like my family was attacked.

That’s the thing about runners. Running might be an individual sport, but all runners are a team. We might be fiercely competitive on the course, but as soon as each of us cross the finish line, we turn around and cheer for the rest. We walk next to those with cramped muscles. Carry injured strangers and friends to help even after running a race ourselves.

I know a few dedicated runner friends who’ve said they just can’t imagine lacing up their racing flats and starting another race. And my heart breaks for them. I also won’t lie, the thought of hanging up my shoes crossed my mind. I’m scheduled to run a half marathon on May 25 and there is a bit more fear and panic than was 24 hours ago. But I know for me to feel in control and like I’m doing something I have to run.

I have to run for friends and family and more importantly for myself. I can’t let fear get in the way of the finish line.

Running Shoes
Running Shoes

That’s not my job

Image from:
Image from:

The phrase you should never, ever utter, even under your breath, in the workplace is, “that’s not my job.” Regardless if you’re the newest or oldest employee, boss or intern, this is a phrase you only say when you no longer want to be employed with your present organization.

Now, granted if your employer is asking you to do something illegal or immoral, you have bigger issues and should consider perhaps finding a quicker exit. But this post isn’t about those kinds of situations. This post is about those every day requests that might not be officially in your job description.

While filling the copier, fetching the mail and answering the phones while the administrative assistant is at lunch isn’t likely outlined in your job description, the phrase, “other duties as assigned,” probably is. And that’s the catch.

To be a team player, the other duties as assigned portion might mean getting coffee, refilling toner and running a few errands.

As this February 2013 article from Forbes indicates, saying that’s not my job to a coworker asking for help makes you seem uncaring and like your job is better, they are beneath you and lots of other inferences you might not have meant.

“Therefore, as a contributing member of the team, a top priority is to care about the success of others (or at least act as though you do),” Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results says in the article. “An unconcerned, detached and self-serving attitude quickly limits career advancement.”

Don’t limit yourself. Instead of saying that’s not my job, follow Price’s advice and instead say,”I’ll be glad to help. Given my current tasks of A, B, and C, which one of these shall I place on hold while I work on this new assignment?”

This phrase or something similar, communicates teamwork and helpfulness and reminds your boss of your current work load and the need to set realistic expectations, Price says in the article.

What are some other career killing (or moral killing) phrases?

It’s ok to be quiet in a tragedy

I’d like to clarify in more than 140 characters a Tweet I sent earlier today. The Tweet was: “Every business social account does not need to share “thoughts and prayers are with #Newtown.” If you can’t add to the conversation, don’t.”

The context came from both my Facebook newsfeed and my Twitter feed. In both, businesses and organizations were simply posting some variation of: “We’re deeply saddened by the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to all affected.”

It was overwhelming and distracting. Those kinds of statements don’t add to the conversation. Coffee places, non-profits, businesses and the like, didn’t need to say anything. At best it comes across as trite, at worst, like this Tweet from KMart, which Matt LaCasse posted to Facebook after seeing it elsewhere, comes across as very insensitive.

KMart tragedy Tweet

In a 24/7 news world, it is crucial for brands and business to follow news and revamp on the fly.

As digital marketer, Lauren Fernandez, (cubanalaf) points out, there are times when it is appropriate to say something. She replied to my tweet with, “We did so when canceling our contest today, and felt it was appropriate. I still do.”

Fernandez also adds, “It’s appropriate for brands to do so if product, company values or brand location ties into it.”

I agree with her on both points. Her first comment is the right way to acknowledge that plans changed and events and people take prescience over promotion.

Do you manage a social account for a brand or business and agree or disagree?

Bloggers Need PR Outreach Tactics Too (Guest Post on PRBreakfastClub)

PRBC has talked a lot about blogger outreach from the PR side (see: Pitch Problems and Need Blogger Outreach? A Case Study in How NOT to Do It.)

This post is about bloggers reaching out to PR professionals.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are unscrupulous content producers in content farms looking to get as many clicks on their links as possible. Some of the content creators have gotten more and more sophisticated in their techniques, some might even go so far as to call some of these techniques deceptive.

For example, you might have seen pitches similar to this one:

“This is (NAME), I went through your site (YOUR BLOG SITE) while surfing in Google, am very much impressed with your site’s unique informations.

I work as a content writer in many educational communities and love the opportunity to guest post for your readers. I would like to give you a unique article on any education related topics or you can also suggest me any education related topic. No duplication or copying of the article is done. I assure you that the article will be published only on your site.

The best part is I won’t be charging you a penny, but in return all I need is just one link with in the article. I would be really thankful, if you allow me to do relevant informative guests post in your blog.

Looking forward for a positive reply.

Best Regards,


Aside from the language and grammar issues, the warning bells should go off regarding the outside link, particularly if the author is writing on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with the link they want to use.

The response more PR Pros use to these kinds of mass email pitches (if they respond at all) is probably something like:


We won’t published previously mass-published posts, but if you would be interested in writing something specifically for us for our audience of (TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC), we would be happy to consider it for our blog. However, since we are not [related to the link you want to use] focused, we would not be able to link to website. Again, you can see our blog guidelines here: (YOUR WEBSITE).


To read the rest, you’ll have to go check out PRBreakfastClub, where I wrote this as a guest piece.