Content: Value and Information

Content is King

The opening session keynote speaker at the HUG Super Forum (I’m attending for work) made some really great points about making content work for you to gain clients or customers.

AK Stout, the owner at Saying it Social, emphasized that creating fresh, new content, not only helps your SEO, but also adds value to you or your organization.

She said, people aren’t using search engines to find a “plumber” like they would use the yellow pages, instead they are searching for, “how to fix a leaky faucet.” If your plumbing business can be on the first page of results for how to fix a leaky faucet, you’re more likely to gain that person as a customer when they can’t fix the leaky faucet themselves, or when they fix it using your information and another big plumbing issue comes up later.

The same is true for you. If you can be on the first page of results for whatever your niche or your company’s niche is, the more likely you are to gain that the person searching for that information for the project or in the future. You’ve provided valuable information without trying to overtly sell something.

Which was Stout’s second point, overtly selling turns people off. If instead you can provide value or desired information before pushing yourself or company, then you’ve gained their trust and you’re more like to gain a sale in the future. It’s a different mentality than in the past.

Think of that when you’re interviewing for a position. Instead of selling yourself, prove you can provide the value and have the necessary qualities for the position.

How do you provide valuable content and gain trust?

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Math, smath

If you’re in PR, Marketing, Social Media, Journalism or any other word-centric profession you might think math, who needs it? Turns out, you really do.

You’ll be seen as an asset to your company if you can measure a campaign, turn likes and follows into actual hard data and can explain the numbers to your bosses. You’ll be able to contribute to the company’s overall business picture and reiterate your importance to the team.

Anyone can tweet, post to Facebook and search for the newest social channels, but not everyone can use math to provide justification for their efforts. You will likely learn the basics in college: statistics, media impressions, market research, campaign measurement, etc. With those tools you can delve into any new analytical arena that pops up. By the time you graduate you should have a good idea of how to translate those skills to new media and social media. How to evaluate if a social channel is worth your company’s time. You should be able to read a Google analytics report and understand what it all means and then tell your bosses.

Reviewing the analytics should keep you from continuing to invest in a strategy that isn’t working and ultimately save your company money.

In case you need a refresher, check out this Poynter News University course on math for journalists.

How do you use math every day?

Background Checks Now Include Twitter, Facebook and more

More and more employers are checking the social media profiles and posts of potential hires.

Any post or group that could be taken out of context, or construed to make you out as “somebody who likes a racist joke, drinks too much booze or maybe is a bit too fond of guns” can be grounds for an employer to pull your application, according to this recent ABCNews article states. And it’s all legal.

“The Federal Trade Commission has just given the okay for Social Intelligence Corp. to sell these reports to employers and the file will last for seven long years,” the article states.

Even if your profiles are squeaky clean and you actively manage your public information, consider your friends. ” It’s still possible that among your Facebook friends, unbeknownst to you, there’s someone with a criminal record,” the article continues. “An employer could turn you down for having iffy friends and not run afoul of any employment discrimination law.”

Potential employers aren’t getting this information by friending or following you. Often they are outsourcing their research to companies like Social Intelligence Corp. or checking in with friends of your friends to see what you may have hidden. Remember, there is a huge difference between a photo album on your shelf at home and one online, even “protected.” Some employers are going so far as to require potential employees share their usernames and passwords. Whether or not you choose to share this information depends on the position, your personal opinions and how much you want to work for that employer. Before you log in, in front of your future HR Manager or boss, consider this, do you really want to work for someone who would ask you to do that?

While slightly outdated, this CareerBuilder article from earlier this year includes information on how many employers search social media profiles as part of a background check.

The only way to really protect yourself is to be mindful of what you post in the first place. Be sure to check your history for inaccuracies, strange settings, old comments. Ask yourself, out of context does anything seem strange? Make it a habit to check this once a month, when you Google yourself.

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck Garlic Shrimp


The hardest part of returning to the mainland from Hawai’i is leaving behind the ocean, the views and the food. Luckily, a few of our favorite dishes aren’t that difficult to recreate. Giovanni’s Shrimp truck is legendary.  It’s in all the Oahu guide books and is worth the amazingly scenic drive. The menu is simple: shrimp scampi, spicy shrimp and lemon butter shrimp. We started our recreation with the easier scampi. With the help of Google, we found this YouTube video, which gave us the ingredients and a few tips.

Ingredients:
Extra large shrimp, deveined, shell on
1 head (10 cloves) garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1 tablespoon for spicier tastes)
1/2 stick clarified butter 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup white wine (dry)
2 tablespoons regular butter

Directions:
Pat the shrimp dry. In a gallon zip top bag, mix the flour, paprika and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp and coat each piece of shrimp with the mixture. Heat saute pan over medium-high heat (any higher and the garlic will burn). Add clarified butter and garlic. Stir for 1 minute, then add all of the shrimp. Saute 3 minutes on each side. After 3 minutes on the second side, add the wine and 2 tablespoons butter. Saute, turning shrimp occasionally, until it reaches a caramel brown color.

My opinion:
We had way more shrimp than would fit in one pan! The next time we make this, I will be using the wok, as that would probably keep the garlic from burning. As we had about three pounds of shrimp total, we ended up using the entire bottle of wine. We’ll also probably take the shells off instead of leaving them on as we really like the coating. All in all, it was very close to the deliciousness that is Giovanni’s. Now if only it came with a side of the ocean…

Why I didn’t change my last name

Image from: http://www.realbollywood.com
According to this article on About.com, “Each year, approximately 3 million women change their name. They give up their maiden names and take their husbands’ surname upon marriage. That’s 90% of women who marry.”

I am not one of those three million. Most of you know me as Aurora Meyer. Meyer is my maiden name and though my married name is different, I still go by Meyer professionally.

There are a myriad of reasons why I chose to keep my maiden name, but the most important is that if you Google my married name very little comes up. My credibility and “brand” are all intrinsically connected to Meyer. I worked hard to build my credibility as a journalist and now as a professional. I wasn’t ready or willing to just toss that all aside and start from scratch.

I’m lucky to have a supportive husband, who doesn’t care what my last name reads on my business card. It helps that he is in a similar business and having a different last name keeps our professional lives separate from each other.

Is this a perfect solution? No. It works for us. I realized that changing my name meant more than However, as more and more women build their identities under their maiden names, making a change can mean losing credibility. At least until Google finds a way to connect new last names to results.