Archive for October, 2012

Own your content, claim your authorship

Posted by on Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

Back in March of this year, one of my IBM colleagues, LJ Banks, posted to her blog outlining how to use rel=author tags on blogs to optimize content ownership. I recall running through the steps back then and connecting my own blog using the steps she outlined. I’d thought I did it right, and the double checks LJ noted provided the information that confirmed I had, so I went on with my regular blogging and work. Then, just last week I receive an email from Google welcoming me to the Google Authorship / Author rank program…. still not sure why the long delay, but happy to know the work to connect my authorship has “taken”.

You can learn more from Google here. Google also has a useful answer section on adding authorship which covers 2 different types of additions in some very simple steps. If you already have a Google Plus profile you can use this page to link your profile to the content you create: https://plus.google.com/authorship

The big question I am sure you’re asking right about now, however, is… WHY? Why is this important?

Establishing your Authorship means your photo and a link to your profile can now appear next to your content in search results. Your photo and extra info adds a much deeper personal touch to search results, which will have a direct impact generating more clicks on your content.

Take the following mock-up for example, I’m sure you’ll agree the first search result will be far more likely to result in a click-through than the second result, even though the content at the end of the click is the same:

Not only will you see improved traffic from search because of the improved visibility authorship provides, but you’ll be taking deeper, more obvious ownership of your content. The SEO (search engine optimization) benefits alone should be enough to convince you, but the user experience and less tangible psychology of user behaviour should also be good indicators with the above example as to why you should connect your authorship.

If you are a content creator, blogger, whitepaper author, etcetera, and you want to increase traffic and be known, I heavily urge you to take the time to read LJ’s post above and run through Google’s steps to connect your profile to your content; after all, ownership and visibility are important pieces to this entire puzzle.

Connecting that high value content with YOU is an important step to being seen as the thought leader or subject matter expert in your space and increasing your own digital eminence in the emerging social economies.

 

 

This is not a love song

Posted by on Wednesday, 24 October, 2012

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Or rather, this is not a sponsored post (with apologies to anyone who now has “This is not a love song” by PIL in their heads as today’s ear-worm from the play on the post title)

I got my first Klout perk in the mail Tuesday afternoon. I’d forgotten I’d even claimed it when offered, so I was quite surprised to receive a package I hadn’t been tracking online from an order receipt.

Before I go on, let me be 100% transparent and clear:
I am under no obligation to blog about the perks I receive, and will not get any additional benefit for talking about said perk. You can read more about the Klout perk disclosure as well as what perks are, along with the influencer code of ethics here: http://corp.klout.com/perks/disclosure

So, the Perk I received? It was a sample package of Fair Trade Certified products. Presumably this was in support of “Fair Trade Month” in October. I was eligible for this perk because my Klout score was above a particular level, and because one of my topics is “food”, as I am a bit of a gastronome. While I am not as deeply passionate as many are about changing our current consumption model, I do identify the need to really look at what we call “food” and from where said food comes.

So, what came in the box of goodies? Here’s a run down:

Now, in the spirit of continued transparency: I only normally buy one of these product categories, and can say it will take a lot to get me to switch from my current roaster choice: Stumptown Coffee, who boast a “direct trade” business practice which at least on the outside seems like a good thing to me even though it doesn’t talk to the same things which Fair Trade covers. A second product is one we’d pick up now and again (the quinoa), and the rest are items I just don’t purchase. Because of that, I gave Jean free reign over the contents to bring with her to work and share among her colleagues. Not surprisingly, the teas and chocolate bar all made their way to her office.

So I’m not going to cover the quality of the products since I’d have very little basis of comparison even if I did use them (and will need to wait until next week to cover the coffee quality since I am mid-pound with my current Stumptown Hair Bender bag). What I can say about the benefit of this perk is that it has urged me to look at Fair Trade Certified products with a little more understanding as to what that means based on the flyer provided in the package along with the fair trade website linked above. But, I’m much more of a proponent for keeping my money and business local, so if presented with the choice of fair trade or local products, I’m likely to choose local long before fair trade certified. And, since I live just outside Portland, Oregon I know that a good number of our local businesses are quite likely to use Fair Trade Certified products, covering both bases.

All that said, the above listed products are indeed all Fair Trade certified, so if you find yourself using other products in the same categories, perhaps you will think about what Fair Trade means to the farms and farmers making the products you’re buying, and perhaps you’ll check out the products which are fair trade certified and make the switch knowing the small change you make can have a big impact in the life of someone half a world away.

I said in the beginning that this is not a sponsored post, and truly it isn’t. This post is brought to you by my meager social consciousness and desire to be a good blogger. It gave me some content on a slow week and I’d feel bad if I didn’t acknowledge receiving the perk. That said, I do have another Klout perk coming soon from RedBull, which likely won’t get its own blog post since I’ve stopped buying them in favour of 5 Hour Energy when I am on my motorcycle trips (since the 5 Hour Energys are substantially less fluid volume). And honestly, after Felix Baumgartner’s RedBull Stratos jump, I doubt they need the small amount of influencer driven mentions I’d give them, either positive or negatively tinged. But I will hang on to the free 4-pack I am getting for those rough days at work when I need a kickstart.

So, I guess that maybe, somehow, some good can come from Klout after all. I’m still not a believer in the scoring, but I am indeed enjoying at least one perk today.

Gardening has defined my adulthood success

Posted by on Wednesday, 17 October, 2012

img_4310Growing up, my sense of “success” was, as it is for many, rooted in fiscal accomplishment. There are indeed other aspects to success for me that aren’t monetarily based, but those are a post for a different time….

Success for me wasn’t actually ever driven around a particular dollar amount, but rather around the lifestyle I was able to afford. Among the touch points of achieving lifestyle levels were milestones like my first apartment, my first owned condo, and my first owned home. But also among those milestones were smaller touch points that held an equal sense of accomplishment like parking my car in my own garage, having my own driveway, and oddly enough mowing my own lawn. I found a great sense of achievement and attainment of success when I mowed my own lawn for the first time back in 2005; one of those badges of honour which ticked off an unseen and unacknowledged check box of adulthood in my mind.

Monday night I checked off another one of those innocuous boxes that serve to prove some sort of success and adulthood in my head: We hired a gardener to maintain our landscaping. Sounds pretty mild to most of you, I’m sure, but for me this is huge. It is effectively me paying someone else to do something I could (but don’t) do. See, when I was growing up, my family never paid someone else to do something we could do ourselves, aside from one odd year in which we had a maid service and felt like I was living someone else’s life out of a TV episode. Growing up , things like maid service and landscapers were for “rich people”, not us. Mind you we were solidly middle to upper middle class depending on the year, so it isn’t like we were dirt poor… still, TV told me these things were for rich people, and my own experiences of doing it all ourselves affirmed that fact to me.

While Jean and I are nowhere near rich either, as of Monday I now feel slightly more “adult” and tad bit more successful in my life. I realized that for some strange reason gardening has been a central theme in my yardstick of adulthood and success. Silly, the little things that have an impact on your own perspective… Which got me to thinking: I can’t be the only one who has weird little personal markers of success or adult hood. I am not so different as to have this little quirk solely unique to me.

So, what ARE *your* personal yard sticks of success and adulthood? What were those silly little things that stuck out to you as a marker or milestone which others may blow past without second thought?