An Essential Feature of Marketing Online: Blogs

blogA well-written blog is a valuable digital resource.  At Raising the Bar Media, high-quality content is our business. We know how to craft engaging, informative blogs that help draw traffic and customers to your site.

The search engine Google uses its blog to inform users and promote its business. We do the same. Our blog offers information that might interest you and reflects the varying voices of experience of our writing and editing staff.

When you want a good idea of how we can make your voice heard, or your business work better through strategic, high-value content, take a look at what is trending on our blog.


Friends and Unfollowers: Reasons People Turn Away from Social Media

On Facebook, Twitter or any social media platform, networking and marketing efforts depend on high quality content.  The same goes for personal, professional and corporate blogs.  When content is inaccurate, repetitive or poorly written, engagement is lost.

Consider this clever infograhic about Twitter from the Marketing Technology Blog:




Some Thoughts on Creating Good Social Media Content

Social media only thrives on a steady, high-quality content diet

Offering content that is only about your brand or what’s going on inside your business is a good way to lose reader engagement. The goal of social media content marketing is to boost engagement and grow your community. Fans and followers who find your business and brand interesting should want to share your content. If it’s all about you, that’s not going to happen.

The type of content that is most shareable (i.e., viral) depends on your target audience. For example, if you are targeting a group of engineers or technical people, an abstract with links to a whitepaper on new technology or a research article is great. However, that won’t work for all audiences.

Your brand should be likeable. Get creative. Have fun.

Some types of content that promote lots of engagement and sharing include:

  • Lists such as top 10 reasons to… or 5 trends in…
  • Written how to articles and videos
  • Checklists
  • Quizzes and other interactive content
  • Short (under 2-minute) videos
  • Photos with engaging captions or caption contests
  • Links to relevant articles
  • Customer testimonials and first-person stories
  • Educational articles

It’s good to vary the content types to keep your audience engaged. And, sure it’s okay to sprinkle some news about your company—especially philanthropic or community involvement and stories about individual employees—but make sure your content is less than 10 percent about your business operations.

Posting quality content frequently is essential. And it’s easier than you might think.

You’ll get a good mix of content if you post often enough. Your community will be impressed that your business is posting on a regular basis. But, if you don’t post regularly, then your digital strategy will fail. Facebook pages that have posts older than a week make it appear that your business is inattentive or disengaged. If your posts are more than a month old, people may wonder if you are still in business.

Luckily, there are many tools that help you schedule and manage content across social media platforms including within Facebook and Twitter, and the popular Hootsuite. Remember that you (or your content vendor) can create and schedule content once per week or less and have content appear on each social media platform at any frequency you choose (e.g., hourly, twice a day, etc.).

Intellectual Property in the Internet Age

Intellectual property laws are based on the premise that an idea by itself can have significant commercial value—and that the innovators who generate those ideas should receive the benefits of their efforts. However, because it is so easy to reproduce words, pictures and ideas in the Internet age, enforcing intellectual property rights is a growing challenge.

In 1998, Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to help make sense of our copyright laws in light of ongoing technological advancement. The DMCA integrated numerous international IP treaties into federal law and also created incentives for Online Service Providers, such as web hosts and file sharing services, to join the fight against piracy.

As a result, online service providers (OSPs) can take certain steps to protect themselves from liability for piracy and infringement by their members:

  • Each OSP that wants to take advantage of this protection must designate an agent to receive complaints from copyright holders who claim that infringing material is stored or disseminated on an OSP’s servers.
  • Directions for contacting the agent to file a complaint must be prominently displayed and publicly available on the OSP’s website. OSPs should also register their agents in a directory maintained by the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Once an OSP receives a complaint, it must act promptly to remove the offending material.

This system recognizes that web hosts and other OSPs are simply not able to police every piece of information that moves through their systems—and that holding them liable for every act of infringement by their users would cause many to simply stop providing such services. But it also makes clear that OSPs who refuse to police their users or respond to complaints can be held liable for the acts of infringement their service enables.

Is Your Group a Team?

Corporations hold fast to the promise and premise of teamwork. Whether yours is a small business or a global enterprise, teamwork is supposedly essential. But is it really?

The dynamics of a group are very different from those of a team—and might even be preferable depending on your organizational goals. Basically, your business can benefit from groups and teams in different ways. Consider these differences:

Characteristics of a high-functioning group:

  • Composed of talented, knowledgeable members
  • Individual pursuit of the goals of a position and an organization
  • Strives for multi-stream innovation
  • Unique and individual mentoring by group leader

Features of a cohesive team:

  • Composed of talented, knowledgeable members working toward a defined, unified goal
  • Dynamic merging of individual members into a functioning unit
  • Members are stakeholders
  • Team leader may take supporting role as maturation of team allows for self-direction

In an earlier post, we discussed the leadership styles of group and team leaders. Before deciding on leadership, determine which format suits your immediate and long-term needs—and the personalities and talents within your enterprise. Allow the form of your work groups—or teams—to develop from the long-term goals of your company.

The goals of an established business vary greatly from a start-up, yet success for both may depend on innovation. A group may be a better incubator of ideas, while a team may work better for bringing those ideas to fruition.

In a future post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of Disruptors in a corporate landscape.


Content Marketing and Social Media Trends

It’s no longer enough to just have a website and/or email. You also need a solid content marketing strategy that includes social media.

According to Forbes, “Social media and email marketing will need to become more sophisticated to reach an increasingly wary audience.” So here are some things to consider when devising a sophisticated social media content marketing strategy.

Quality content is king—and continues to rule the digital universe

Whether marketing to professionals via LinkedIn or engaging with fans on Facebook, social media is essential for content marketing. But, having a Facebook page or a Twitter feed is only useful to a business if the fans and followers are engaged. Luckily, social media has built-in analytics that measure how effectively each post reaches its target audience.

However, many companies fill their social media newsfeeds and streams with content that is only about their brand or worse yet, only about what’s going on inside their business. They rarely visit the analytics and don’t react to them. Then they complain that social media is a waste of time.

It’s not about you—it’s about your social media target audience

Social media is essential for a successful content marketing strategy. Driven by high-quality, shareable content that is posted on a regular and frequent basis, social media is only valuable when it is educational, interesting and fun for its target audience.

Stay relevant. Use Facebook’s analytics to discover what posts are most shareable, who likes them, and the best time to post content. Take action on this information. When target customers get content that they like, they are more likely to become actual customers.

A good content manager is hard to find but a great content creator is even harder to find

Everyone talks about content marketing strategy, but few have adequate resources to produce the quality and quantity of content needed for effective content marketing. Social media managers engage with the public. They act as company spokespersons, community managers, and content curators. So, ideally, a social media team includes resources with media relations (PR) skills and content creation and management skills.

Companies are hiring again, but they are having difficulty finding writers and editors who can create quality content and understand the needs of SEO, digital marketing, PR and brand integrity. Writers and editors who understand the challenges of social media are among today’s most in-demand and hard-to-find resources.



What’s the Buzz? The Importance of Pollinators in Your Landscape

Fuzzy bumble bees and colorful monarch butterflies populate children’s stories as friendly and fascinating helpers in a healthy ecosystem. Right now, those pollinators are under attack in your own backyard—and need your help.

Consider these facts:

  • While our primary pollinators are insects, hummingbirds, small mammals and bats contribute to the effort. Fruit and nectar-consuming bats pollinate flowers and disperse seeds.
  • The United States generates more than $40 billion of products each year with the help of pollinators.
  • In the last decade, the U.S. has lost over half its domestic honeybee colonies. Native and managed bee colonies, butterflies and other pollinator populations are in decline from habitat stress, disease and pesticide use.

Recognizing the risk to environmental and economic health, President Obama directed federal agencies in October, 2014 to collaborate on the investigation and instigation of steps to restore critical pollinator groups.

While local and federal governments work to address the deteriorating picture for pollinators, there are easy ways you can improve the outlook for pollinators—and our planet. Here are some tips:

  • Plant for pollinators: Replace resource-thirsty lawn with native plants or other flowers. Check out plant lists before you buy to get the best bargain for your backyard and your pollinators.
  • Room with a view: Install houses for bats, bees or hummingbirds. Inexpensive and easy to make, pollinator houses are a great way to involve friends and family and improve your habitat.
  • Take it easy with the spray: Pesticides are a leading cause of pollinator stress and death. Learn about integrated pest management (IPM) and tolerate a little garden damage as nature at work.

Talk to a Master Gardener or other gardening expert for low-impact solutions to weed and insect problems or advice on pollinator-pleasing plants. The small steps you take today will make a big difference tomorrow.

Coalition Reinvigorates Patent Law Reform Movement

The issue of patent assertion entities, often referred to as “patent trolls,” has been hotly debated within the pharmaceutical and technology industries—as well as amongst lawmakers—for years.

Supporters of patent law reform were disappointed in 2014 when, despite apparent momentum, reform legislation stalled in Congress. States such as Washington have sought to address patent abuse issues raised by constituents. Lawmakers there introduced legislation designed to curb deceptive and frivolous patent infringement lawsuits against businesses. If passed, Washington will join seventeen other states that enacted similar laws in recent years.

Concern with so-called patent trolls has recently spread to other areas of the economy, including brick-and-mortar businesses:

  • A variety of industries have joined a lobbying coalition known as United for Patent Reform, which seeks to renew patent reform efforts.
  • This coalition is expected to implement a multifaceted strategy aimed at ensuring Congress addresses the issue of patent trolls.
  • United for Patent Reform asserts that patent trolls are abusing the current system by filing baseless claims in hopes that the defending company will settle rather than enter a potentially lengthy legal battle.

Not surprisingly, tech giants like Google and Facebook embrace the coalition. However, it also includes companies and lobby groups in the hotel, telecommunication, and restaurant industries. Groups like the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Realtors, and the Internet Association, which includes Amazon and PayPal, have also joined. Considering the broad range of industries involved, United for Patent Reform is the largest patent law reform effort thus far.

For more information about patent law, and how these reforms could impact your business, contact an experienced patent law attorney for legal guidance.

Scores Injured after Simulated Saline Ships to Medical Clinics

Forty patients in seven states recently suffered personal injury after receiving a non-sterile intravenous solution intended for training purposes on high-tech dummies.

In May of 2014, Wallcur, a San Diego-based company, shipped simulated IV saline solution labeled “for clinical simulation.” Wallcur manufactures pseudo-clinical products intended for use in training healthcare students. The training product may have been mistakenly shipped to medical clinics, surgical centers and urgent care facilities from a distributor instead of directly from Wallcur. One patient died after receiving the simulated solution, although the exact cause of the death remains unknown.

The subject of a multi-state investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this case echoes a multistate meningitis outbreak in October 2012, which occurred due to the injection of contaminated steroid solution shipped from a New England compounding pharmacy. The contaminated solution ultimately injured 751 people and killed 64 across the United States.

Some key points about the incident include:

  • Injury to patients due to injection of the training saline occurred in Idaho, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina and Florida.
  • Patients injected with the simulated saline usually report immediate effects including headache, fever, chills and aches.
    The simulated saline is not defective, but was wrongly shipped to medical clinics instead of training facilities.
  • The bags are labeled Wallcur, Practi-products, For clinical simulation.

Investigation continues into how training solutions were distributed to care facilities. If you, or a loved one, suffer harm from receiving the wrong medication or medical product, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia.

New NJ DUI Bill Could Have Offenders Back on the Road in 10 Days

The maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the state of New Jersey is .08 percent. Drivers who are stopped with this BAC level or higher face serious penalties. For example, did you know that you face up to $500 in fines, 30 days in jail, and a one-year license suspension for your first DUI offense?

The penalties you face increase substantially with each subsequent DUI. However, NJ lawmakers are considering a new bill (Assembly Bill 1368) that would effectively lessen the penalties first-time DUI offenders face.

The two major aspects of the bill that NJ drivers should be aware of include:

  • License suspension: If the new law is passed, first-time drunk driving offenders in New Jersey who have a BAC of less than .15 percent would be able to drive again after a 10-day license suspension.
  • Ignition interlock device: The bill explains that first-time offenders would have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device or IID is a piece of equipment you must install in one motor vehicle that you own, lease, or primarily use, for three months. The device requires you to pass a Breathalyzer-like test before you can operate your vehicle.

A conviction for drunk driving can affect nearly every aspect of your life—personal and professional. Without trusted counsel by your side, you could lose your driving privileges and even your freedom. A skilled criminal law attorney can quickly review your case and help you build a solid defense. For more information about DUI law in New Jersey or to speak to an experienced lawyer, contact us today.