Online Content Matters - How You Can Improve Yours

December 8, 2009 · Posted in Communications , Online Media · 1 Comment

I’m reading a lot about these days and how important it is to have one. SEO is another buzz words when it comes to getting your message out on the Web. Big corporations hire specialized agencies like Razorfish to strategically manage their brand online - according to the 2009 Razorfish FEED report the future will be about consumer engagement. As a matter of fact, according to the FEED report we (the consumers) already actively engage with a brand online. We want to experience a product, not just buy it.

Let’s Talk About Content

All that talk about strategics, SEO tactics, link building and social media marketing is good and important - but let’s talk about content for a second. What if you are a small sized company or a freelancer and you can’t afford an expensive digital marketing agency? What if you have to manage your social media presence on your own? Can you even succeed without expert advice? Yes, you can. The first thing you need to remember is that all these social media strategies are not working without good quality content. It all starts with good content, and we tend to forget that sometimes. To easily do we get carried away with thinking about the details whereas all we should do is concentrate on the basics. Without compelling content, the audience won’t come. Without the bait, the fish won’t bite.

Two Basic Tips to Creating Great Online Content

1. Take care of your content. If you have a website or a blog, don’t neglect it. Update your website and write new blog posts regularly. The same holds true for your social networking presence: In order to tap the full potential of your Twitter account or your Facebook page make sure to contribute regularly and engage actively. Maintaining and cultivating your content online is your first step to a better Web performance.

2. Think before you post. Before you hit the publish button for your new blog post, re-read what you’ve written. Planning on sending out a media release via one of those free online services? Take the time to proofread your release before you put it out there. You’re upset about your boss or your neighbor or your friend? Think twice before you tweet emotionally laden messages. The Web has a long memory, and you want to make sure you’re sending your best content on its journey through social media space and time.

A List of Online Resources to Help You Improve Your Content

Here are a few links that can help you with the creation of your Web content:

  • AP Stylebook Also called “the journalist’s bible”, the AP Stylebook is available via online subscription, as an iPhone app or as a classic spiral bound book.
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary This free online dictionary even features so called “Ask the Editor” videos. The videos address issues regarding etymology and usage, words in the news, frequently-asked language questions and other diction related questions.
  • The Writing Docs Online Editing and Proofreading Services
  • Men with Pens help with all things website copywriting and web design.
  • Copyblogger gives copywriting tips for online marketing success.
  • mediabistro offers a variety of online and offline courses and seminars covering various genres.
  • WriteBoard is a collaborative writing software online that let’s you write, share, revise, and compare your documents.
  • This website includes an encyclopedia, thesaurus, dictionary, and translation tool.
  • Online dictionary that helps translating English words into several languages
  • Big Huge Thesaurus Look up synonyms, antonyms, and rhymes, even get blog post ideas at this site.
  • Killer Flagship Content - Free EBook to Download Blogger Chris Garrett introduces the concept of Flagship Content and provides vital information to create, package and promote compelling resources that attract more attention to your blog.

Of course, there are hundreds of other great resources out there and my list is nowhere near complete. So, please if you know of any other great websites and tools that can help small companies and individuals to up their Web content quality, feel free to share your tips with us. I’m looking forward to your comments!

September 2, 2009 · Posted in Inspiring People , Online Media ·

Guest Post by Sarah Camatta , German TV-Host and Actress

This summer I had the great opportunity to do an internship in Los Angeles. I worked in a beautiful office with the nicest people in the world. We made “Hollywood Stories” for the German press; a dream job!

Sarah on the Walk of Fame

Sarah on the Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

I was very lucky, because I found a nice place to stay in Westwood in a pretty house with great roommates very close to the office. So I walked to work every morning. I think I really was the only person who did walk to work, but I loved it!

Running into Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

At work, I had the chance to do so many different and interesting things: I had to translate and transcript interviews with Bernhard Hiller , The Black Eyed Peas, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ron Jeremy, and many more. I went to an awesome photo shoot with Lucas Till in Long Beach. And I helped to do a lot of “Hollywood Story” videos for a German website. I attended, for example, the ceremony when Cameron Diaz received her star at the “Walk of Fame” and I happened to see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes there. But the best experience was that I did interviews on my own. I had the great opportunity to meet Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”). He really is a very nice and gentle guy, and I am so thankful for that moment although I was very nervous. During the interview I was searching for the right English words because my English must have suddenly gone out of the room leaving me all alone… but I finally did it.

Cameron Diaz receiving her star on the Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Cameron Diaz receiving her star on the Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Furthermore, I did an interview with Father Gregory Boyle from “ Homeboy Industries “. He helps ex- gang members to get off the street and start a “normal” life. I really admire him. And if I had any money I would give it to him to help him because what he does is great.

Interviewing Hall & Oates

Another Interview I was allowed to do was with the Pop Duo Hall & Oates (Daryl Hall and John Oates) in San Diego after a great award show where they got honored for their lifetime success.

Sarah interviews pop duo Hall and Oates, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Sarah interviews pop duo Hall and Oates, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Reporting on Michael Jackson

Besides all the great stories we did there was one very sad day and a sad story: The death of Michael Jackson . I really liked him when I was young, and I had seen him live twice!

I went to the hospital some minutes after his death. I felt sad and grateful at the same time that I was in Los Angeles on that day. One day after our report on the state of shock in the city we went to his star at the “Walk of Fame” and to his house in the Holmby Hills , and we talked to a lot of sad and shaken people on the street.

Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Michael Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Learning sexy dance moves from Lacey Schwimmer

However, besides all the great work I did I also had some free time. And I because I love sports, I exercised as much as I could: I did yoga - indoor and outdoor at the beach, I climbed the Santa Monica stairs three times, I went jogging on the beach, I had a great workout with celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak , and I learned sexy dance moves from TV dance star Lacey Schwimmer . From her I learned that the most important thing in life is to look sexy. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do it in a sexy way…that was fun!

Sarah learning sexy moves from Lacey Schwimmer, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Sarah learning sexy moves from Lacey Schwimmer, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Eating breakfast at Urth Caffe

Above all I absolutely wanted to see some of the locations where they shot my favorite TV-show “ The O.C. “. Of course, they are not in Orange County. And the different locations are not close by from each other, not at all. So it took a whole day to visit the pier, the diner, the night club and the high school, which by the way is a catholic college for girls in reality…

After all these great experiences and a really wonderful time, I love the city of Los Angeles! People are so friendly, the beach is great, and the breakfast at the “ Urth Caffé ” is delicious! They have so much healthy vegetarian food! Santa Barbara is not far away either, and I really want to go back!

Sarah's encounter with LA super heroes on the Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Sarah's encounter with LA super heroes on the Walk of Fame, copyright: Sarah Camatta

Thank you all for a great time!

To: Michael, Kathrin, Sandra, Andreas, Micah, Ina and Nina, and to my roommates Robin, Ian and Matt.

June 8, 2009 · Posted in Online Media ·

The news release by the International Media Dialogue Hamburg that took place on 8 June 2009 did not paint a rosy picture about Germany’s media industry. Here is what it read:

“No Future for Paid Content? Media Industry under Pressure” - the motto of the International Media Dialogue Hamburg taking place on 8 June 2009 is a combination between punk and management jargon. The issue itself, however, is serious: people increasingly obtain their information from the Internet, and they do not want to pay for the content that they find. And what is more, the advertising revenue generated by broadcasters and publishers are rather modest. The big business is made by search engines such as Google . And thus it is not surprising that Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer of the publishing house Axel Springer - they also publish the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper - is holding the key note at this year’s congress. He only recently brought the topic of an intellectual property right fee for media content provided on the Internet up for discussion. Among the other participants are media manager Bernd Buchholz ( Gruner + Jahr ), Scott McDonald (Condé Nast, New York) and editors-in-chief Giovanni di Lorenzo (”Zeit”), Matthias Müller von Blumencron ( “Spiegel” ) and Ulrich Reitz (”WAZ”) as well as Dagmar Wöhrl , State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics. For the first time, Mayor Ole von Beust will say more than just a few welcoming words. He will contribute the introductory statement to the discussion focusing on the issue: “Does the media industry need a stimulus similar to the “scrapping premium”?”.

freieHONNEFER: Feared by Traditional Media

German Media Giants: Fear for Losing their Voice to Others

I bet there was a lot of talk today about how to overcome the crisis. The big bosses of German traditional media live in fear these days. With good reason? Without doubt, one thing to be concerned about are intellectual property issues on the Internet. I wouldn’t want another blogger take one of my blog posts and paste it word for word into their blog. And I’m sure we all agree on the fact that that’s just not right. However, what the established media giants fear more than anything else is losing their voice to other news sources that are smaller, generally more critical, and less fearful of the political establishment. All those blogs and Internet newspapers that are now slowly finding their way into the German media market (and mind me, Germany is far behind the US with regards to the online news revolution) attract readers - readers that the established giants would like to have, but can’t get (yet).

The Future Lies in a Change of Attitude

Yes, the leaders of Germany’s “old” media companies need to worry about readers flocking to the Internet to find information there instead of reading a good old printed newspaper or watching the evening news on TV. And yes, advertising revenues are crumbling.  BUT, excuse me, if all these German media giants keep on viewing new media and the Internet in general as a threat and not as an opportunity, then how should they not be living in fear. So long as conservative thinking and skepticism in the executive offices is not replaced by forward-thinking optimism, Germany’s old school publishing houses will never be able to brush the dust off and seek partnerships and potential cooperations with all those new enterprises that are about to conquer the market. The future lies in a towards online news sources, blogs and so-called Internet entrepreneurs. If Germany’s top media executives find a way to open their heart to the young and the restless on the German media market (and start inviting them to such events like a Media Dialogue), only then will they be able to actually a) have a dialogue and b) overcome their fear for their own downfall.

Or how do you see this, my dear readers? Are the traditional media really doomed? Or is there a chance for traditional and new media to successfully come together and prosper?

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