Looking Ahead: Three-Month Editorial Calendar

Example of an editorial calendar from ProBlogger

Building an editorial calendar for a blog can help with content planning and avoid blogger burnout. However, for a subject like journalism and social media, it’s a little bit difficult to plan out because some coverage is dependent on breaking news stories. However, I’ve done my best to layout an editorial calendar for the next three months, with a few different post ideas per week based on my own ideas and major events that I’ve found online.

June
Week 1:
Post ideas: 5 ways for community managers to “unplug” during vacation, Using social media to find a summer internship, How content curation is changing journalism
Event coverage:

  • June 6th, Realtime NY 11 (formerly TWTRCON) social media conference: Take-aways on speakers from PepsiCo, BravoTV, Edelman Digital, SCVNGR, Foursquare, PR Newswire; Lessons learned from RealTime NY 11; Best practices in social media branding from the pros; Tips on integrating social media into your organization from Realtime NY 11; Top trends at Realtime NY 11

Week 2
Post ideas: Best summer social media campaigns (so far), Breaking news and social media: tracking the conversation, Celebrating my birthday on social media
Event Coverage:

  • June 7th, Newhouse Mirror Awards: Last year Twitter, now Foursquare: Innovation in social media honored at Mirror Awards; Honoring Digital Media at the Mirror Awards; Top tweets from the Mirror Awards; Interviews from winners
  • June 6th-13th, Internet Week NY: Start ups at Internet week; coverage of the The Webutante Ball (NYC’s “Internet Prom”); coverage of panels, education events, parties, and meet-ups; Lessons learned at Internet Week NY
  • June 8-9th, Likeable U: What’s next in social media from LikeableU; Top Tweets at LikeableU; SU alums are Likeable: profiles of Likeable employees from SU; How to be Likeable: Lessons from LikeableU

Week 3
Post ideas: Top five journalists on Twitter, How to train your newsroom to use Twitter, Can Facebook “likes” increase viewership of local news?
Event coverage:

  • June 15-16th, 140 Characters Conference: The power of the internet according to 140 conf; How 140 characters can transform your business; Top tweets from 140 conf; Top 5 speakers from 140 conf; Interview with SU Professor Anthony Rotolo on speaking at 140 Conf; Journalism at 140 Conf (about panels on news like ‘Twitter is Fast News, but We Also Need Slow News’ and ‘Journalism in the State of Now’

Week 4
Post ideas: Social media trends according to season (do people tweet more in the winter?),  What should a university tweet about during the summer, Teaching young children about social media (my experience teaching blogging & social media at Science Horizons, Syracuse University)
Event coverage:

  • June 27-29th, Future of Web Apps Conference: Top 5 ways applications are changing; What you need to know about the Web Apps Conference; How to build a web app; Entrepreneurship at the Future of Web Apps Conference

July
Week 1
Post ideas: How journalism schools are teaching social media, Top 5 iPad weather apps, Top tweets about Fourth of July, Five skills a future multimedia journalists needs to learn
Event coverage: N/A

Week 2
Post ideas: Using Foursquare for Universities: Syracuse University, Best iPad apps for travel, Storify: Creating stories using social media
Event coverage: N/A

Week 3
Post ideas: Using Tumblr at Universities: Syracuse University, Job searching on social media, Why college students should be on LinkedIn
Event coverage:

  • July 17-21, Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media: Research Developments in Social Media; Top 5 lessons learned at AAAI Conference; Why are we studying social media?,
  • July 19-21st, Fortune Brainstorm TECH: Tech thought leaders talk social media; Social media innovations at Fortune Brainstorm TECH; Coverage of Startup idol (entrepreneurship competition); Top 5 lessons learned at Fortune Brainstorm TECH

Week 4
Post ideas: Top 5 summer social media campaigns (revisited), How to succeed in an online summer course, Using a private Facebook group: SU social media team
Event coverage: N/A

August
Week 1
Post ideas: Finding new college friends on Facebook, Most popular Foursquare badges for colleges campuses, How Syracuse University got a branded Foursquare badge
Event coverage:

  • August 5-6, BlogHer: Creating an audience as a female blogger; Top 5  female bloggers; Why more women should blog; Lessons Learned from BlogHer 2011

Week 2
Post ideas: Top 5 Twitter chats for college students, The best college professors to follow on Twitter, How college newspapers can use social media
Event coverage: N/A

Week 3
Post ideas: Most popular Foursquare check-ins at Syracuse University, My top 5 lessons learned from my summer internships in social media & journalism, How to create a social media resume, SU alums to follow on Twitter
Event coverage: N/A

Week 4:
Post ideas: Top 5 classes at SU, Classes that tweet at Syracuse University, Can you use Foursquare as class attendance?, Top tweets from Syracuse move-in weekend 2011, The top 10 must-follow Syracuse University Twitter accounts
Event coverage: N/A

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Social Media and Technology: Five Daily Deals

My blog is mainly about social media, journalism, technology and the effects of those subjects in higher education. As stated in a previous post, I’ve identified my audience as social media enthusiasts, journalists, students, technology fans, the Syracuse Community and my Twitter followers.  I’ve attempted to create five hypothetical daily deals that could be successful for a business and my blog.

Apple

Offer: 10 percent off any purchase of an iTunes or App Store gift card

Why it will be successful: This offer would interest my readers because they’re in social media and technology. My audience is tech savvy and has a use for Apple products, so a discount would be very beneficial for them. This is especially true because part of my audience may consist of students from Syracuse University, and students could always use a deal! I kept the offer reasonable, because I highly doubt that Apple would offer a large amount off of one of their staple products like iPads or iPhones. Also, often when you see offers for iPads online, they’re spam. I wouldn’t want my readers to be afraid to participate because it might be too good to be true!

Hootsuite Pro

Offer: HootSuite Pro costs $5.99 per month. The offer on my blog will be $1 off per month for 12 months.

Why it will be successful: As my blog is aimed partially at social media professionals or those interested in that field, they’re likely to use a social media dashboard like Hootsuite. This offer may encourage them to upgrade from their free account to a pro account, or to consider moving from their current dashboard to Hootsuite.

Society of Professional Journalists

Offer: One year student membership for $24 (usual fee for one year student membership is $36)

Why it will be successful: This offer decreases a one year student membership by 1/3  of the price, that’s a pretty good deal. I blog about journalism and my posts may be read by journalism students at Syracuse University or other universities. As a member, I can endorse all the great reasons to join SPJ for students and offer a great price.

NY Times digital subscription

Offer: NYTimes.com + Tablet App: $4.00 per week (billed every 4 weeks at $16.00)

Why it will be successful: The New York Times currently offers a computer and tablet subscription for $5.00 per week, or $20 per month. This decrease of $4 per month is a great deal for someone interested in journalism and social media who is constantly reading the latest news on their computer or iPad. It may encourage my readers who have hit the pay wall to subscribe for a smaller amount.

Schine Student Center Bookstore, Syracuse University

Offer: Purchase any textbook for full price, get the second for 15% off

Why it will be successful: Textbooks are expensive, and since my audience consists of the Syracuse University community this deal would be applicable to some. I’m not sure if the bookstore would realistically offer this discount, but I think it would be a great incentive for students to actually purchase their textbooks from the university instead of online from Amazon.

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Competitors in Social Media Blogging

Social media is a popular subject for bloggers, since it’s recently become a hot topic for personal and business use and there is regular news and developments about it. Currently, several popular blogs about social media exists that have large audiences. While some, like Mashable, have multiple contributors, others are run by just one person. It’s a competitive environment, so a social media blogger must find a way to differential their content in a very populated space. I’ve identified three popular blogs about social media that I would consider my top competition:

Mashable

The most well-known blog in the social media spectrum is Mashable, with more than 40 million monthly page views. Mashable also states their audience on their About Us page as “early adopters, social media enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, influencers, brands and corporations, marketing, PR and advertising agencies, Web 2.0 aficionados and technology journalists… bloggers as well as Twitter and Facebook users….”. That’s pretty much the exact audience that I had identified for my blog in a previous post, so I would say that’s some pretty serious competition.

Mashable has a team of regular bloggers as well as contributors, and they operate very much like a news organization. The result of that is consistent, strong and relevant content. So, Mashable does a great job with content creation and they also perform very strongly in engagement. Their comment sections are always active, and they also have a very high Klout score for their Twitter page. My blog is different because it obviously comes from my unique perspective, not a team of varied voices. I discuss not only social media, but the way it effects and interacts with journalism and technology and much of my content comes from my education background and professional experience. My blog also has a strong connection to Syracuse University and college students, which would provide me with a more specific niche than a broad blog like Mashable.

UnMarketing: Scott Stratten

The author of the Unmarketing blog, Scott Stratten, recently came out with a book about social media and his perspectives. He works professionally in social media, owns his own agency, speaks regularly on the topic, and is regarded as a well-known expert in this realm; he’s definitely another person I would identify as a competitor in social media blogging.

Although I don’t have information about how wide his audience is or how many visitors his blog has, I can make estimations based on his Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Unmarketing has a Klout score of 81 and the service labels him a “celebrity”. He has almost 100,000 followers on his Twitter account, and his Facebook page has 4,000 “likes” (which is actually relatively low, although it’s obvious that he uses Twitter as his main platform). So, as with Mashable, his engagement level is extremely high. However, Scott Stratten is more similar to my blog because he is just one person writing and contributing content, and his perspective comes from his professional experiences in social media. However, our content is differentiated by my focus on journalism and social media in higher education.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is very similar in profile to Unmarketing: a popular social media blogger, twitter personality, speaker, author of “Trust Agents”, and Klout “celebrity”.  His blog was included in the Top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150. Both Scott Stratten and Chris Brogan focus specifically on social media marketing, which differentiates my blog slightly since my focus is on social media (in general terms), journalism and higher education. Also, while I admire them as highly engaging and well-known social media bloggers, they’re both obviously male. I think there is space for a strong female voice in social media blogging, which could be another differentiator in my audience and perspective.

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Hungry in Syracuse? Welcome to Cuse Munchies!

Foursquare Munchies Badge

What’s up, ‘Cuse? Welcome to ‘Cuse Munchies, your new source for late-night eats!

As former SU students, we know the feeling- you’ve been out partying with your friends, and you need some awesome food RIGHT NOW. But it’s so late, even Kimmel is closed. Plus, who feels like walking from the Euclid house party (I know you aren’t driving!) all the way to Marshall Street?

3:30 am? Don’t freak out. Cuse Muchies is here for you!
Cuse Munchies is a late-night food delivery company that is open when you need it most- from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. We deliver to the entire university neighborhood, with incredible food, awesome prices and fast service.

What do you want to eat? We’ve got it.
Our menu offers all of your favorite snacks to satisfy your late-night cravings. Pizza, burgers, wraps, fries, wings, desserts, and more. You can view our entire menu at cusemunchies.com.

Even better, we’ve got a deal just for you


To celebrate our opening, we’re offering a Groupon deal for a limited time! You can buy one pizza and a second one with unlimited toppings FREE. All you have to do is log on to groupon.com and purchase our deal. Get some of your friends in on the deal too, because it’s only valid if at least 20 people want in!

Y’all come back now…
Thanks for visiting and be sure to come back to our blog for late-night recipes, stories, deals and updates about Cuse Munchies!

Have something to say? Leave a comment below. Now go enjoy your night and give us a call if you get hungry!

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How to Use Social Media in the Classroom: #Rotoloclass

There has been a lot of research and case studies popping up recently about using social media in higher education. Does it facilitate class discussion, or distract students? How can professors utilize social media tools in the classroom? What platforms are most effective? At Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (also known as the iSchool) social media is used in several classes in order to enhance the learning experience for students and faculty. Professor Anthony Rotolo teaches IST 486/686: Social Media in the Enterprise and uses social media platforms in conjunction with class discussions about social media in order to give students hands-on experience using these tools, increase  student engagement and enhance participation. As the teaching assistant for the course, I’ve seen how using social media in a higher education setting can have positive effects on learning in the classroom. There are numerous ways to use social media in the classroom; here are several tactics used in #Rotoloclass.

Twitter
Create class hashtag: In #rotoloclass, in our first meeting all students are required to create a twitter account (if they don’t already have one) and follow Professor Rotolo and myself. They are also encouraged to use the class twitter hashtag, #rotoloclass, during class and outside of class to share information with other students and the rest of their followers.

Provide a live feed during class: By allowing and encouraging students to use computers, cellphones and iPads in class, some feel it creates an environment of multitasking and results in distractions from the lesson. However, this mirrors the real world- in a professional organization, you’re going to have these devices  in the office and meetings as well. Professor Rotolo displays a screen in his classroom that live-streams tweets with the #rotoloclass hashtag. This encourages students to use the hashtag, and it also focuses their attention on the lecture and the thoughts of other students. They’re actively responding to the lecture with their own thoughts, replying to other students, and taking notes! It also allows their ideas to spread online to those following #rotoloclass, or students who are sick and unable to attend. Another positive result of the live-steaming and tweeting has been connections to other professionals and organizations who are following the discussion from their homes or offices.

Encourage discussion outside of class: The students are encouraged to use Twitter for their own purposes outside of class to network, gain a following and participate in conversations. By using Twitter, students are actively using the information they’ve learned in class about social media and gaining experience using the platform. Students use the class hashtag to share content about social media to other students outside of class meeting times. They can also ask questions and interact with Professor Rotolo and myself about the course, assignments, current events, or other matters.  It has created an environment of collaborative learning and an open exchange of information.

Learning outcome: The results of using Twitter in these ways has enhanced participation and increased engagement in the course.

Tumblr
Create a class Tumblr: Students in #rotoloclass create and contribute to a class blog using Tumblr to learn about blogging in a professional organization, share relevant information about social media with others, and foster discussions about the course topics. This not only allows them to get experience blogging and using this specific platform, but it also creates an online community with several benefits for the course.

Research and learn outside of class: Contributing to the class Tumblr account encourages students to seek relevant information on their own outside of class and share it with their peers. They’re able to enrich discussion about a topic of their choosing, research it thoroughly, and report their findings in a succinct manner. They’re also encouraged to not only report the facts, but reflect on the topic and contribute with their own thoughts and opinions.

Share resources with other students: By adding content to the course blog, students are not only furthering their knowledge on a specific topic or event but teaching other students in the course (or other people on the internet) about it as well. The posts and comment discussions on the blog contains a huge amount of additional information that Professor Rotolo wouldn’t have time to cover in the allotted time for class in the semester.

Learning outcome: The students are teaching themselves, learning to blog,  and sharing information with each other. It also encourages them to continue learning and keep up with news outside of class lessons.

YouTube
Create accounts and content: One of the most highly anticipated assignments in #rotoloclass is the viral video assignment. Students create youtube accounts and must attempt to create a video that has the potential to spread on the internet using methods that we describe in the course. This teaches students how content spreads online, how to create their own content, and provides them with experience to the numerous kinds of videos that can be used in a professional organization.

“Fun” assignment encourages creativity: This assignment isn’t meant to be difficult; very few students actually achieve the goal of getting hundreds or thousands of views on Youtube. We don’t assign any guidelines about what the video should be about. Students come up with an idea, go out and shoot it, edit it and upload it to the site. But, it does allow them to understand the random nature of viral videos, work in a group, get creative, and have some fun.

Learning outcome: Students learn how to create video content and share with others effectively online.

Skype
Provide office hours: As the class TA,  I held my office hours using Skype instead of having a set time and place. Students were encouraged contact me if they had questions about a topic or assignment and organize the meeting based on our schedules.

Experience virtual meetings: In many organizations, meetings aren’t only held in-person anymore. The goal of using Skype was to acclimate students to meeting in a virtual environment.

Learning outcome: How to utilize online opportunities in a professional organization and communicate virtually.

For further information:

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Social Trend: Mobile Dominance

In the world of social media, transformations and innovations occur at a much faster, higher rate. As a blogger, it’s important to stay informed about the current trends, acknowledge their effects and understand how they can continue to evolve. According to Nielsen, more than half of all Americans will have smartphones by 2011. We live in a wireless world, and as a result people are used to having information whenever and wherever they are.

Effect on blog
Due to the impact of this trend, it’s important for any blog (but especially one about technology and social media) to be mobile friendly. How does my blog appear on a smart phone? I wouldn’t use flash on my site, as many mobile devices aren’t able to read flash-based content. This also means that my audience has the ability to check my blog at any time, they don’t need to be sitting in front of a computer to access it. Therefore, having consistently updated content is more important than ever. My audience is also able to access social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook on their phones, which is an additional reason to be active on social media when blogging.

Staying ahead of the pack
iPads and tablets: These are another big market that must be acknowledged when talking about mobile access, particularly for someone blogging about technology and social media. As a blogger, I can also use the WordPress application for the iPad to manage my blog:

Applications: Some professional blogs are building apps for smartphones and tablets in order to drive more traffic to their content. For example, the Huffington Post offers a free iPad app. Building an app could be an excellent option, but would take knowledge of building mobile applications as well as a budget which most small bloggers don’t have.

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Blog Goals, Actions, and Metrics

 Every blog has differing goals depending on what you seek to achieve: Do you want to expand your audience? Increase revenue? Increase engagement? Create a strong reputation as an expert in your field? The first step is to define your specific goals for your blog. Then, take actionable steps to implement those goals. Finally, you need to measure your success using targeted metrics that also match your goals.

WordPress Statistics
As seen in the statistics provided by WordPress for my blog this week, I got the most traffic blogging about the Schwarzenegger paternity scandal and the unique angle I took when writing my post, focusing on tweets surrounding the news. I also received a lot of views on my post about Syracuse University and effective ways to engage on Twitter. Both are based around social media and my knowledge base, so that indicates even in the beginning stages of my blog I’ve had some success with content. Additionally, my referral sites are mostly Twitter or Twitter clients, with some success in search engines like Google so I should continue to focus on my social media efforts and SEO.

My wordpress statistics for this week

My Goal
To build a highly engaged audience with regular traffic, as well as gain attention as an “expert” in my field

Actions (1-6 Months)

  • Promote using social media sites, since I have an established presence and audience already
  • Write targeted posts based on topics that will drive traffic and engagement about social media, journalism and technology
  • Use SEO to bring in traffic from search engines, not only social media sites

Metrics
Unique visitors and returning visitors: By tracking and measuring unique visitors, I’ll be able to see how many people are visiting my site and understand its growth over time. Returning visitors will indicate if my audience is regularly engaging with my content and have determined a value in visiting regularly. This will help me to measure if the steps I’ve taken to meet my goal of an increased target audience have been successful or if I need to take a different tactic in the future.

Time on site: Measuring the time spent on the site as a whole, as well on specific articles, will indicate if I’m providing effective and engaging content for my readership.

Comments, RSS feeds, email lists: These metrics are all indications of audience engagement. They would reflect if people feel comfortable or driven to comment on my posts, which ones drive the most discussion, and if visitors see a value in regularly engaging and receiving my content.

Popular posts/topics: These measurements will indicate my success in utilizing my expertise and body of knowledge to reach a particular audience (those interested in social media, journalism and technology). They also indicate what topics are popular with my readers that I should continue to feature in the future because they drive traffic, versus post that receive few clicks or a small amount of time spent reading them.

Referral sites and search engines: This will indicate the value and strength of my presence on social media and the benefits or drawbacks of using Twitter to promote my content. It will also measure the effectiveness of my SEO efforts, what keywords bring people to my site, and where they’re coming from.

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