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Center for Direct Marketing http://dmcenter.com Strategies for accountable media performance Sat, 14 Apr 2018 18:21:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 http://dmcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/cropped-CDM-logo-globe-32x32.jpg Center for Direct Marketing http://dmcenter.com 32 32 Close more deals through LinkedIn http://dmcenter.com/close-deals-linkedin/ Thu, 18 Jan 2018 19:33:48 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=385 You know what they say about the Lottery: “You can’t win if you don’t play.” That’s how I feel about networking. A friend from Texas uses the expression “watering the flowers” when catching up with former colleagues. It’s “watering” that has led to every job I’ve ever had and some incredible opportunities; simply put, it’s […]

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Image of LinkedIn logo and peopleYou know what they say about the Lottery: “You can’t win if you don’t play.” That’s how I feel about networking. A friend from Texas uses the expression “watering the flowers” when catching up with former colleagues. It’s “watering” that has led to every job I’ve ever had and some incredible opportunities; simply put, it’s just lead nurturing.

If you haven’t taken advantage of your network in LinkedIn yet or want to do more, there’s a nifty free service that will periodically send you clips of press and articles about your contacts. Called Connections in the News, it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of opportunities to reconnect and start or resume a conversation.

Here’s the top of a clip with snippets of press for six of my contacts. I’ve included the entire email with all six as a download. Isn’t this neat?

What a great way to provide a salesperson with an excuse to touch base with a prospect or client. I love getting these emails; it’s a chance to see passion projects of friends and colleagues as well as their promotions and progress in their careers.

Interested? Here are the steps to change your settings so you can get these messages too. Choose the Communications setting within LinkedIn’s system to see what’s new.

Managing Your Email Settings for Connections In The News

You can control your settings for Connections In The News emails from your Settings & Privacy page.

To access your Connections In The News email settings:

  1. Click the  Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click Settings & Privacy.
  3. On the Communications tab, click Email frequency in the Basics section..
  4. Click Details  next to Network Updates.
  5. Use the toggle to the right of Connections in the news to turn emails On or Off.

Note: If your email settings are set to On, you can choose your delivery frequency by clicking RecommendedWeekly Emails, or Daily Emails below Connections in the news.

Don’t wait another minute. This is a ridiculously easy way to practically automate part of your lead nurturing process that will mean more to prospects and clients than any canned emailing.

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7 great free templates for business planning, marketing strategy and productivity http://dmcenter.com/7-great-free-templates-business-planning-marketing-strategy-productivity/ http://dmcenter.com/7-great-free-templates-business-planning-marketing-strategy-productivity/#comments Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:03:23 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=371 Tried-and-true formats to explore, plan and streamline business Yes, FREE. I know. I know. We all get excited when we get stuff for free. Well, I’m sharing templates with you that I’ve developed for myself because I couldn’t always find what I wanted out there. 1. Sharpen business focus through discovery Over 100 questions to help […]

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Tried-and-true formats to explore, plan and streamline business

Yes, FREE. I know. I know.

We all get excited when we get stuff for free. Well, I’m sharing templates with you that I’ve developed for myself because I couldn’t always find what I wanted out there.

1. Sharpen business focus through discovery

Over 100 questions to help delve into issues and formulate answers to guide your business and guide in-house and outsourced partners and team members.

Read about it here.

Get the Discovery Questions template here.

2. Know your competition

Explore and compare statistics and marketing methods used by your competition. Discover which you admire and which you will avoid. Get inspired as you study tricks and strategies.

Read about it here.

Get the Competition Analysis template here.

3. Calculate your marketing budget

Determine your marketing budget by scrutinizing the costs to: manufacture and secure goods and services, accept credit cards, handle and fulfill inventory, set up backend office and staff services and more.

Read about it here.

Get the Marketing Budget Calculator template here.

4. Create your editorial calendar

List all your upcoming commitments for conferences, trade shows, events, new product launches. Record the hashtags for those events with keywords. Determine the types of content you’ll want for each promotion and slot them into a calendar for the upcoming year. Obviously, you’ll be updating it throughout the year, but you can save yourself a lot of grief and the awful possibility of missing an important opportunity with appropriate planning. This will help immensely when managing several different content providers.

Read about it here.

Get the Editorial Calendar template here.

5. Marketing success: track trends in analytics

Modify this spreadsheet to begin to track your results. Show growth in sales, leads, followers, email lists and much more.

Read about it here.

Get the Benchmarking template here.

6. Track images with inventory template

Ever had trouble finding your keys? Imagine trying to find that image you created and used three years ago. Yeah. You don’t want to lose time trying to track any of the hundreds, even thousands, of graphics you. I have your answer. A template to help you keep track and share with others as you go on your merry way. You are welcome.

Read about it here.

Get the Image Inventory template here.

7. Marketing asset management made easy

So now we’re looking for keys AND cell. Right. When you need to answer the question, where have we used this image that we need to change? Again, right. I have the answer~again. And again, you are welcome. Log every piece of content with a link to its live location and much, much more.

Read about it here.

Get the Content Inventory template here.

All that said, I have found some neat templates that I love and I’ll be sharing them with you. So stay tuned and follow.

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Find exciting free images~from trustworthy sources http://dmcenter.com/find-exciting-free-images-from-trustworthy-sources/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 20:09:26 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=357 Honor image rights when selecting impactful images Great images help audiences grasp concepts faster and retain information longer. When communicated orally, we only remember 10% of a message, while adding a picture increases retention to a whopping 65%. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Get free images from sources you trust When searching […]

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Honor image rights when selecting impactful images

Great images help audiences grasp concepts faster and retain information longer. When communicated orally, we only remember 10% of a message, while adding a picture increases retention to a whopping 65%. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Get free images from sources you trust

When searching for photos or illustrations, I prefer to use Pixabay, Pexels and Upsplash, one of Denise Wakeman’s choices (The Blog Squad) which will email free images regularly as will Snappa, Stocksnap and Stokpic.

Two things to be careful about: 1) avoid suspicious sites offering free images and 2) don’t make the mistake of using images without permission that require it (See “Control Content Rights When Sharing”).

Make good choices about the sources for your free images. I prefer using trustworthy sites primarily. Although when I do need to search on Google, as many do, I make sure to select images with licenses allowing me to use images freely, share or modify commercially. At Google Images, choose Settings/Advanced search/Usage rights/Free to use, share or modify, even commercially.

Create and resize images

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make great visual communications for blogs, sites, presentations and more. Go to Canva.com to find, modify and create images easily. (Denise likes this one too as well as PicMonkey and Stencil). Use Picresize to resize images and Tiny PNG to compress files and maximize loading speed.

Paid images

When you just can’t find what you are looking for, check Canva, Shutterstock or Getty Images for the inspiring graphic you need. If you buy images with that require ongoing royalties, keep track of those payment deadlines with the Image Inventory Template (“Track Images With Inventory Template”).

Get permission

Sometimes you find a chart or image you really want to share in your content; don’t hesitate to reach out and as for permission. When I do it, I offer to give attribution. I recommend you save an email giving you permission with any caveats.

Carefully choose images and look for licenses and restrictions, such as Creative Commons rights. Here’s an example of a license to use images freely at Stokpic.

Exercise

Create an image in less than a minute here at Snappa.

Resources:

Canva

Stencil

Pixabay

Pexels

Stokpic

Snappa

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Improve mobile user experience to punch up conversions http://dmcenter.com/punch-up-conversions-with-responsive-design/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 21:08:09 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=349 Google’s search algorithm favors mobile-friendly responsive design Considering that acquiring and converting web visitors is critical to commercial success, it’s important to make sites easy to navigate on any device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. What’s more, Google penalizes sites that are unfriendly to mobile devices by lowering their search rankings. It takes just a […]

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Google’s search algorithm favors mobile-friendly responsive design

Considering that acquiring and converting web visitors is critical to commercial success, it’s important to make sites easy to navigate on any device: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. What’s more, Google penalizes sites that are unfriendly to mobile devices by lowering their search rankings.

It takes just a few seconds to grab or lose a website visitor’s attention; slow-loading, clunky sites motivate web visitors to seek competitive businesses that don’t require ungainly stretching and skewing to read content.

Luckily, responsive design is a functionality built into web builder platforms to reformat content easily for beginners with simple sites. See how cleanly the main image of the red blouse stands out in the mobile format with other views appearing beneath (image provided by Pixelz), while the desktop and tablet version have plenty of room to display other images to the right of the blouse.

Web developers use responsive or adaptive design methods to recognize the types of devices web visitors use to automatically render sites quickly and beautifully. Web development providers may choose themes, such as those in WordPress, or create functionality for more complex sites.

Google recognized the explosive growth of smartphone usage and began favoring sites that were easy to navigate in May of 2016 just before mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in October 2016. It’s said that to this day, some 60% of sites have not wised up and made changes to improve search results.

Image of responsive design

 

Notice how content is reformatted in the different devices in blue, gray and white design. See how the phone reorganizes the same content in a neat layout consistent with the intent of the desktop design? It takes two horizontal sections at the top and reshapes them one on top of the other for the smartphone, while retaining a visible footer in the screen.

 

Check to see if your site is mobile-friendly: http://bit.ly/2ldpZrJ

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Direct response advertising success story http://dmcenter.com/direct-response-advertising-success-story/ Fri, 06 Oct 2017 20:47:25 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=337 “Generous Creative Businessman Wants to Find a Hot, Sexy Woman With a Good Sense of Humor” Yes, this is a boy seeks girl story. Gary Halbert, long known for writing tremendously successful direct response ads, created one for himself. Gary wrote and bought a full-page personals ad looking for a woman. Not only did he […]

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“Generous Creative Businessman Wants to Find a Hot, Sexy Woman With a Good Sense of Humor”

Yes, this is a boy seeks girl story.

Gary Halbert, long known for writing tremendously successful direct response ads, created one for himself. Gary wrote and bought a full-page personals ad looking for a woman. Not only did he find a woman—he married her.

Personals ad headlineCheck the download here to enjoy reading the full ad.

 

Click button to download

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Control content rights when sharing http://dmcenter.com/sharing-with-rights/ Sun, 24 Sep 2017 20:21:50 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=322 Use Creative Commons, alternative to copyright The non-profit organization Creative Commons (CC) goes beyond traditional copyright convention to promote sharing and use either with or without some rights reserved. Originators of images, text, research, data, science, audio, video and music choose rights and the appropriate Creative Commons logo to mark their decision to provide materials […]

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Use Creative Commons, alternative to copyright

Image of Creative Commons organization

The non-profit organization Creative Commons (CC) goes beyond traditional copyright convention to promote sharing and use either with or without some rights reserved. Originators of images, text, research, data, science, audio, video and music choose rights and the appropriate Creative Commons logo to mark their decision to provide materials for public domain, require attribution, allow modification or commercial use. Further, creators can stipulate modification for internal use only, sharing under a similar license, or sharing of derivative works without restrictions.

For example, using the first license below, a company would allow content from its website to be shared, as long as users provide attribution.

These Creative Commons logos help users quickly identify materials and the initiator’s level of permission.

The descriptions of each of the licenses below. Each license deed is a link to a “human readable,” or easy-to-understand version of the actual legal code behind the next link.

Attribution: CC BY

Image of Creative Commons Attribution logo

All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NoDerivatives: CC BY-ND

Image of Creative Commons NoDerivatives with Attribution license logo

This license requires not only attribution, but also that no modifications of the work be made.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-ShareAlike: CC BY-SA

Creative Commons ShareAlike with Attribution license logoYou let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms and give credit.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA

Image of Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike with Attribution license logoYou require credit, let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work, however, not commercially. They must also share with similar restrictions.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives: CC BY-NC-ND

Image of Creative Commons NonCommercial-NoDerivatives with Attribution license logoYou require attribution; you don’t allow commercial use or any modifications to your work.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Public domain: CCO

Image of Creative Commons public domain license logoNo rights reserved. You allow free use, remix, sharing, even commercially and without credit.

Click here to get Creative Commons wording for display in various uses: website, blog, image, presentation, audio, video, data set or offline document.

Protect your business and assets with appropriate licenses. Use tools, such as Duplichecker to monitor for plagiarism.

Exercise:

Read instructions and use the Creative Commons license chooser to generate code for your website:

https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Marking_your_work_with_a_CC_license#How_to_use_the_CC_License_Chooser

https://creativecommons.org/choose/

Download Creative Commons license logos here.

 

Read more:

Creative Commons types of licenses

Instructions to indicate Creative Commons licenses in audio and video files

 

 

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Get a strong start to your blog http://dmcenter.com/get-strong-start-to-your-blog/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:29:32 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=316 Upload several posts prior to launch Before launching a blog, prepare a basic number of posts across a range of topics to give readers a substantial sense of what to expect. Make them enticing enough to build a following. That basic number might be five or even ten posts. I recommend that you block out […]

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Upload several posts prior to launch

Before launching a blog, prepare a basic number of posts across a range of topics to give readers a substantial sense of what to expect. Make them enticing enough to build a following. That basic number might be five or even ten posts.Image of several blog posts on desktop computer screen

I recommend that you block out the categories you plan to address with the blog as well as at least one call-to-action for the initial package that gets posted. Also consider the keywords used across all marketing materials and make sure to craft posts that highlight your top five to ten keywords, at a minimum.

A blog is the place to share day-to-day company news. Search engines reward blogs that post frequently and regularly. Use the traffic lift to promote your calls-to-action. Your blog is a key pillar of your marketing plan and should follow your editorial calendar of events. Document team wins, case studies, new staff announcements, new product launches, trade shows and charity work. Provide thought leadership pieces by C-level executives.

Generally, blog posts should not be long (over 1500 words) and should only cover one topic. That is why blogs stand apart from newsletters, which combine many articles, regular columns and promotion.

Blog posts don’t necessarily always sell products and services. In fact, it’s good to mix up self-promotion with continuous educational content to engage readers. The longer the sales cycle, the more important it is to provide a steady stream of worthwhile content that is stimulating, entertaining or instructive. Reward loyal readers with savings, such as coupons or discounts, freebies, such as ebooks or white papers and other items of a highly perceived value. When the time comes for these followers to make a purchase, your company will benefit from the efforts to build top-of-mind awareness.

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Marketing asset management made easy http://dmcenter.com/marketing-asset-management-made-easy/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:38:03 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=309 Find content fast with inventory tracking Content management gets complicated quickly when teams generate volumes of messages and posts are repurposed frequently. It’s also important to document the source of content, especially when generated outside the company, such as interviews hosted externally. Proper documentation will save hours and possibly the need and expense of complete […]

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Find content fast with inventory tracking

Content management gets complicated quickly when teams generate volumes of messages and posts are repurposed frequently. It’s also important to document the source of content, especially when generated outside the company, such as interviews hosted externally. Proper documentation will save hours and possibly the need and expense of complete recreation.Image of file cabinet with various words for types of content

Marketing, sales, customer service, operations and legal staff, even outsourced vendors, all need access to identify, modify and share much of the same content, from brochures, product descriptions, mission/vision/values statements, branding guidelines, logos, ads, social media posts, articles, press releases, videos, podcasts, web page copy, testimonials, case studies to sales materials. Even accounting team members may access these records to catalog, reconcile or project expenses.

Small businesses may use excel sheets, such as the CDM Content Inventory template, to manage these lists and large companies may use digital asset management software across hundreds of users. Using a customized version helps small businesses instantly locate an item, whether on the Internet or in storage.

The Content Inventory differs from the Image Inventory template by categorizing the various types of materials, including images, that may be used by an organization. One purpose of the Image Inventory is to track deadlines for image royalties; additionally, the Image list documents the original source and creation date. The Content Inventory is the record of all items, whether published or retired externally or internally. Certainly, these two templates may easily be coupled into one document.

Fields in the Content Inventory include:

Type: Choose the type of content: blog post, article, etc., and add new types to the list in the template

Inventory number: Create a control number system and keep those numbers with your content; use a new number for each modification of the original.

Date created/acquired: Documenting the date will help retrieve the link associated with the item in years to come.

Description: Build a description that is short, concise and designed to help you find each piece quickly.

Location: Note current location of finished items by name, such as Company site, network, storage or medium. For instance, a press release might be at Business Wire, a marketing brochure in Dropbox or a logo on a network drive..

Use: Record how the item is implemented: e.g., an image that becomes a Twitter background, a video that is embedded in a blog post, a logo sent to a trade association, an image for a trade show banner stand.

Location URL: Place the URL of each item, whether at a web site, shared network or cloud storage.

Size: This field (different from file size below) is meant to log the physical size, such as a 2-page article, 15-page white paper, 300×300 pixel logo or 30-minute podcast.

DPI: Record the resolution of stored images to quickly determine whether they fit a new use or need to be modified.

Format: Knowing the format, such as jpg, png, pdf, doc or mp3, becomes important when uploading, storing or sharing a file to determine whether the file will be compatible or it must be modified.

File size: Use this field to note the final storage space required for the piece. This is important when uploading an image, video or document as the file size might be greater than the allowed space.

License: Permissions for materials created by others are critical to record for legal purposes; note the type of license, such as Creative Commons Public Domain, royalty-free or renewal required.

Live: Enter the date the item is published for future reference.

Alt tag: For images, it’s important to take advantage of the search results images generate

Category: It’s handy to track categories assigned to various blog posts for future reference

Keywords: Noting keywords used in various pieces helps marketing staff focus on connections to attract visitors with search terms.

Views: For videos, images and posts, tracking the number of views in Content Inventory helps to analyze interest.

Subs: Monitoring subscribers to channels, such as YouTube, is valuable feedback.

Original source: Record the original source, such as Pixabay, in order to find the piece again.

Original location: Log the original link where the item was found.

Original title: State the original title; it’s likely each piece will be retitled with use.

Cost: Log the cost of each item.

P.O.: Note the purchase order used to acquire content, if appropriate.

How to use the template:

  • Use the second “Types” worksheet to modify the various content. Add new formats to Types as desired.
  • Choose a naming convention stored with or on material. For example, start with an inventory number, for ease of sorting chronologically, followed by a date and version. 101_4/17_Vid would represent inventory number 101, created or sourced 4/17 and indicate it is a video file. Alternatively, 113_6/17_Wh.1 might indicate the first version of a whitepaper created 6/17 with inventory number 113. You may already have a system in place. Document the procedure, share with all creators, editors and users while impressing upon them the need for consistency.

A lot of time and expense goes into creating and collecting content that prospects and customers consume. Good asset management helps teams stay productive, reduces frustration, errors, costs. Providing guidance to habitually document valuable content across team efforts speeds up projects, especially when creators aren’t available or can’t remember where materials are located.

Download the CDM Content Inventory template here and start managing your assets today.

Click button to download

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Protect your business with proper disclosures & disclaimers http://dmcenter.com/protect-business-proper-disclosures-disclaimers/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 02:57:43 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=305 Display marks and notices to earn trust Earn the trust of customers, partners, industry and government by displaying credentials of compliance and disclosures of affiliations as well as trademarks and copyrights to appropriately safeguard your organization. Post appropriate notices to protect products, intellectual property, copyrights and trademarks conspicuously on web sites. Certain products and services […]

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Display marks and notices to earn trust

Earn the trust of customers, partners, industry and government by displaying credentials of compliance and disclosures of affiliations as well as trademarks and copyrights to appropriately safeguard your organization.

Post appropriate notices to protect products, intellectual property, copyrights and trademarks conspicuously on web sites. Certain products and services require additional notices, depending upon category. Document legal and other compliance: PCI when processing credit cards, HIPAA for covered entities and business associates and a privacy notice to share how your company uses personal data it collects.

Disclosures required by the FTC include mentions of participation in affiliate programs and promotional consideration. Amazon provides specific language in the terms of its affiliate agreement that must be posted without alteration. Bloggers, for instance, must reveal compensation for reviews. Web sites must document text that is not obviously an ad; social media messages might use #ad to clarify an affiliation.

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

Make sure to give sources appropriate attribution as well. For instance, the image of the sign reading “Disclosure” in this post, while it was available for free, had a Creative Commons License that required attribution, specifically CC BY-SA 3.0 Nick Youngson. Some make the task fit the personality of their site, i.e. Chris Brogan’s affiliate disclosure says “If you buy this from me, I get some beer money (not enough for a pony).”

With that said, here is one of mine:

Disclaimer:  This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice.  Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only. Be sure to consult an attorney to address specific needs.

One more time–with feeling–while there are many templates online that may be adapted, the best course is to discuss all aspects of business activities thoroughly with counsel.

Read more:

FTC Blogger Guidelines

How to handle disclosure with blog posts and social media messages

Ways you can disclose endorsements

Free Privacy Policy Generator

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Aggregate volumes of great content easily with an RSS feed reader http://dmcenter.com/aggregate-volumes-great-content-easily-rss-feed-reader/ Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:30:39 +0000 http://dmcenter.com/?p=292 Save time while enhancing thought leadership by sharing You want lots of great content to impress your web visitors that you are a knowledgeable thought leader. Stay on top of key legislation and trends affecting your industry. Cull through volumes quickly with a feed reader; then review and publish commentaries on the news. You don’t […]

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Save time while enhancing thought leadership by sharing

You want lots of great content to impress your web visitors that you are a knowledgeable thought leader. Stay on top of key legislation and trends affecting your industry. Cull through volumes quickly with a feed reader; then review and publish commentaries on the news.

You don’t have to create it all yourself. Draw from sources that inspire you. Share important information, industry facts and educated opinions.

Use a feed reader to:

  • Regularly collect posts and content from valued sources
  • Shorten the time to choose the greatest amount of relevant subject matter

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is one way that sites can share updates, such as new blog posts, newsletters, notices, product information pages, community announcements and more. Bloggers use RSS feed readers to automatically pull and organize content from various favorite sources into one place. They return to these sites and folders to quickly search and select specific items, to do research on white papers and to choose articles of interest to their audience.

Important note to observe copyright laws

How to set up feed reader

 

  • Paste the link into the feed reader to add a subscription

Image of RSS feed reader add subscription

  • Content from that link will populate in reader and continue as new content is posted.

RSS feed reader view of subscriptions

Read more:

RSS tutorial

Tips for using other people’s content legally

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