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.

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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?

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?

Are paper resumes outdated?

A recent article from CNN makes a pretty good case for the single page, double spaced resume to go the way of cassette tapes.

The article quotes Gretchen Gunn, a principal at MGD Services, a staffing firm in Stockton, New Jersey as saying she doesn’t accept paper resumes and instead asks for them electronically.

Further, potential employees are becoming more and more creative in their applications. Like this Living Resume by Rachel King, “An ongoing collection of decidedly cool things I’ve done in my career, side gigs, and other projects.” The novelty helped her land a job at Adobe, according to the article.

Separating yourself from the other candidates is important. If you can do that in a creative way, you’ve got the attention of the hiring manager, who’s next step is probably going to be to check your social profiles.

Social sites like Facebook and Twitter give hiring managers a better sense of a “person’s judgment, personality and communication skills” thus making the formal resume obsolete. In the era of verifications, a quick Google search can reveal more information about a candidate’s work history and personality that type on a piece of paper.

The obvious first place for online resumes is LinkedIn. Though job seekers would prefer a job search function on Facebook, according to this Mashable article, the infrastructure isn’t there yet.

Facebook doesn’t have privacy screens or a way to separate personal and professional contacts,  the article states. Until Facebook offers these options, job seekers should look to the established sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

The answer of whether or not paper resumes are outdated can be best answered by the trends in the industry you’re applying to work in, so do your research. As always, you should read the job descriptions carefully and look for keywords like electronic, email, and look at the LinkedIn profiles of the person who is most likely to receive your cover letter.

Unlike in the past when all resumes looked the same, when it doubt it might be in your best interest to err on the side of standing out, rather than blending in.

Volunteer experience can help you get a job

In some non-profits (and other companies), unless you have worked there as a volunteer or intern, you aren’t likely to get a full-time, paid position. Even if the organization doesn’t have an official hire from within policy, volunteering might entice the hiring manager to give your resume a second look.

In the February, 2012 issue of Real Simple magazine (page 100), Laura Vanderkam wrote an article, “How volunteering helps you land a job,” which reiterates how important volunteering can be on your resume if used appropriately. Unfortunately, the article isn’t available online.

Vanderkam suggests listing specific skill-building volunteer activities on your resume. Look objectively at what you did. Did you organize a fundraiser? Recruit volunteers? Train them in assisting you with the event? Organize, recruit and train are all keywords that hiring managers like to see on a resume. Be sure to include as much detail as you can such as what the event raised, hoe many volunteers, time, etc. It cannot be said enough having skills and using them are two different things. Hiring managers want to know you can the use skills you highlight and transfer them into a new position.

Don’t discuss your volunteer work in an interview, unless the interviewer bring it up. “The employers who find the service to be relevant will ask you about it,” Vanderkam states in the article. “But some won’t feel that way about any unpaid work. In such cases, it’s best to stay quiet.”

Vanderkam also cautions against listing volunteer activities for polarizing organizations. Yes, you might have organizational, recruiting and event planning experience from staging a protest at a local business, but you might not want to cite that if you are applying to a Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, Vanderkam suggests not listing activities that relate to being a parent, such as the PTA. “Researchers have found that women who cite volunteering related to motherhood on a resume are less likely to be called back for an interviews than those who list a neighborhood group.”

Have you listed volunteer activities on your resume?