4 Content Marketing Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know

The number one mistake entrepreneurs are making with respect to marketing these days is to use traditional marketing streams alone (direct mail, yellow pages, and radio for starters). Any entrepreneur who does not consider content marketing and social media as part of a marketing strategy is intentionally not going where the customer is – and is thus leaving money on the table.

And if that okay with you, it’s okay with me.  Hey, there’s enough work for all of us out there, right?

But I’m just going to put it out there that if you’re interested in continuing to grow your business over time, social media marketing and content marketing tips are something you’re going to have to be comfortable with.  Customers are tired of being blasted with slick marketing messages. They’re looking for authenticity and value – and content marketing is the deceptively simple way companies are providing that to them. Companies without the ability to deliver relevant, valuable content to their customers will simply be left behind.  And I’m not talking about that series from a few years back.

So if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, what content marketing tips should you know?

4 Content Marketing Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

1. Conduct extensive market research – for free

An engaged audience is a fantastic resource for an entrepreneur.  They can provide information in near real time about what they need and want from your brand. And it doesn’t even take any special software – just throwing out a question and paying attention to the responses that come in and the cross-talk that is fostered. (Incidentally, if you’re just dying to use survey software, SurveyMonkey is an easy one to get started with – and they even have a free version).

2. Provide Outstanding Customer Service

Surprised I included this in a discussion of content marketing? While many people think of content marketing only as blogs, or as blogs and your planned social media updates, the reality is, every message your company delivers is part of its content marketing. So – if a customer makes a complaint or leaves criticism on your Facebook wall, the way you handle it is ultimately part of the content marketing delivered by your company.  This is a place where integrity and authenticity as a brand and as an individual are a must.

3. Be Personable

While it’s tempting to try to be the professional expert on your company’s social media channels, customers want, more than anything, for the companies they interact with to have a personal feel. Use your name in your social media channels – not just the name of your company, especially if it’s an impersonal sounding name. 

4. Networking

It seems so obvious that sometimes we forget to talk about it – but networking with other bloggers and content creators in your niche is a great way to stay current in your field and maximize opportunities you might not even have dreamed yet!

Are you using each of these tips to its fullest potential, or is there one you should re-emphasize in your business today? I’d love to hear – leave me a note below!

12 Days of Content Marketing Challenges: "I Can't Write!"

One of the things that seems to scare people about the idea of content marketing is that they believe themselves not to be good writers.  Whether it’s something left over from an old composition teacher, a parent, or just something they’ve told themselves enough times they now believe it to be true, a self-limiting belief that you’re not a good writer can certainly be quite a stumbling block that prevents you from creating the content marketing pieces you need to effectively promote your business.

Thankfully, content marketing doesn’t require anything particularly highbrow when it comes to writing.  Even though it’s important to create great content, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist. Nor do you have to be Shakespeare himself.

What do you need in order to provide great content?

The 5 Things You Need to Provide Great Content:

1. Desire

Maybe this seems obvious, but in order to create great content marketing material, you have to want to create great content marketing material.  I would have thought this was obvious until the last day or so, when someone in my mastermind group posted a link to an article about a content marketer who basically created fictitious personalities in his guest postings on various sites. One of his quotes about what he was doing was that he was writing “high quality crap” for search engine optimization purposes.  I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry – I mean, at least he was honest about the value of what he was creating.  Seriously, though, I can’t imagine anyone with any level of integrity saying that out loud about his or her own work.  Yikes.  Have a desire to create great content!

2. Passion

Creating great content is about passion, and about letting the words you choose express that passion to others.  I have to laugh – lately I’ve been writing blog posts that are a little more honest and “snarky,” and a bit less neutral and nice. Strangely enough, people have responded much more positively to the passionate, honest posts.  Go figure.

3. Integrity

I believe that creating great content demands integrity, which is why I find the prospect of creating fictitious personas for posting reviews online in order to game the SEO system to be troubling – even if it’s less successful than it used to be, courtesy of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.

4. Committment to Excellence

As I said, you don’t have to be Shakespeare. It doesn’t take the Bard himself to do skills of basic research in order to present useful, relevant information in an understandable manner.

5. Willingness to Learn

Providing great content marketing material means that you have to realize you don’t know everything. Heck, you don’t even know everything there is to know about your own subject. Providing great content requires a humble understanding that there is much you don’t know in general and about your specific topic. It’s about spending the time to do the research. It’s about being willing to improve as a writer and accept constructive criticism. In short – it’s about being humble enough to realize that until you’re 6 feet under, you still have more to learn about crafting content and about life.

Does writing great content scare or exhilarate you?  I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!

Content Marketing Success: 3 Tips for Creating Highly Shareable Content

The number one way to use content marketingcontent marketing formats to build your business and brand using the tool of content marketing is to create content that your audience wants to share.

Sounds obvious, right?  But the fact is, there are still a number of “content marketers” (more like information spammers) who spend more time on trying to learn how to apply SEO tactics to an article than they do trying to create content that is worthy of their own audience’s time (much less worthy of their audience’s connections’ time).

Seth Godin has talked about this in his blog (hey, if I’m going to name drop, might as well make it good).  But if I knew of a better example of it from another blog, I’d use it.  He was talking about it relative to Twitter, and how list size isn’t as important as share-worthy content when it comes to content going viral.

Here’s his premise in a nutshell. If you have a gigantic list and mediocre content, your content might go wide in initial distribution, but it’s likely to die out quickly because it’s not valuable (interesting, informative, poignant or funny) enough to share.

On the other hand – if you have a smaller list and incredible content that has your readers clicking the share button before they’re even all the way through reading it, your content actually will have longer legs than if you spent more time growing your list but producing content that isn’t as good.

So how do you create highly shareable content?

Content Marketing Gold: How to Create Highly Shareable Content

1. Listen

There’s an old saying that the good Lord gave us one mouth and 2 ears as a suggestion that we’d be a lot happier if we listened twice as much as we talk.  In content marketing, listening is one of the most important skills for creating content your audience is likely to share for the simple reason that it allows you to find out what they’re interested in!  I’ve talked about this before, but don’t assume you know what your audience wants! Instead, use social media to listen strategically to find out what it is your audience wants and then provide it (well written and delivered, of course).

2. Use Analytics

Take time to discover when your content has the most impact.  Experiment using analytics programs to find out what time your audience is more likely to read and share your material (and it might be different for content marketing delivered via blog versus Twitter).

3. Where Is Your Audience?

Not every business has an audience in the same place on social media.  Know where your audience prefers to read and share content and focus your efforts on that particular network. Is your audience more likely to repin than to retweet?  Make sure to include a highly re-pinnable picture (with your URL included) with every blog post, and make sure to pin it to Pinterest.  Are your followers on LinkedIn?  Be sure to include posts in this network as part of your content marketing strategy.

How do you create highly shareable content? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below.

Content Marketing Strategy: The 5 Kinds of Content You Can't Afford to Overlook

Content Marketing Format Word Art

One of the biggest mistakes that business builders make in using the power of content marketing to build their business is failing to use multiple kinds of content.  Why is this such a mistake?  It’s simple.

Have you ever heard of different learning styles? Basically, the theory is this.  Everyone learns, understands, and retains information that’s delivered in a format that resonates with them most.  I prefer text-based learning (not surprising as a word nerd).  I prefer to read content, and remember it more when I read it.  My husband is an audio learner – he loves to listen to podcasts and the like and remembers an astonishing amount of information from them.  Many of the people in my mastermind group are video learners and would prefer to have their content marketing information delivered in an audio format.  And still others are hands-on learners who need some kind of interactive component to bring the learning home.

And while it sounds nice to separate out these different categories on paper, in reality, it’s not so clear cut. All of us are a mix of learning styles. We might have a primary or dominant style, but we likely learn best with a combination of 2 or 3 of these styles.

If this is the case, you can’t afford to deliver content that isn’t prepared in a number of formats (and across multiple platforms).

It’s easy to think of content marketing as blogs – and certainly blogs are at the core of any solid content marketing strategy. But if you think that a blog is the only component of your content marketing strategy, you’re missing a lot of business.

What kinds of content should you also be considering in any content marketing strategy?

Content Marketing Strategy: The 5 Kinds of Content You’d Better Not Overlook!

1. Videos – For those who prefer to receive their content in a video format, you will miss them by only delivering content marketing messages via textual formats (blogs, written messages on FB).  Consider delivering weekly messages via You Tube but keep them short.  Honestly, more than about 3 or 4 minutes, and you’ll start to lose people.  Integrate your video content into your blog and Facebook wall to make sure your video-loving customers see your content in this format.

2. Social Media (Content marketing via Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  – Many people new to using social media marketing to grow a business miss that social media updates are a form of content marketing. This means that any content marketing strategy that includes social media needs to be integrated with the rest of the content marketing efforts such as a company blog.  If your message isn’t coherent and well thought out, it’s more likely you’ll commit a social media faux pas and have to spend more time in recovery mode.

3. Call to Action – A call to action is such an important part to creating engagement rather than just broadcasting that I’ve included it as it’s own kind of content rather than as a “part” of creating quality content marketing strategies. Each form of content should include a call to action. If it’s a Facebook post, consider a question to generate engagement. If a blog post, ask people to leave a comment or ask them to Tweet a link to your post.  If it’s a how-to video, include a downloadable PDF worksheet for people to answer questions you pose in your video. Give your audience something to do as a result of your content.

4. Webinar/Audio Content –  For your audio loving audience members, consider taking your latest webinar and offering a downloadable version, either as a stand-alone paid product or as a bonus product upgrade for one of your core products.  Or make a shortened form of it into a free MP3 download. Either way, you’ve just expanded your content to appeal to your audio learners, making them more likely to trust you for future content.

5. Blog – I know – you thought I’d leave this one out since it’s so obvious. But it’s funny, how many people hoping for a better position on Google search don’t understand how critical creating regular, informative, highly valuable content is for a viable marketing strategy. Without creating blog content on a regular basis, it is very difficult for a business to begin moving up in Google search.  Not to mention that in recent research, customized, well crafted and professionally written copy is considered the gold standard for any content marketing strategy.

Are there any forms of content you’ve been overlooking in your marketing strategy?  Which ones are most challenging for you – I’d love to hear (and help!) Leave a comment below!

Content Creation: Just Make Content (aka just live a little!)

What an amazing day! I had the pleasure of spending a girl day with my daughter and my dear friend – what a treat!

With having celebrated Thanksgiving, I wanted to show both of them how grateful I am for them.  We enjoyed pedicures this morning, lunch at my daughter’s favorite restaurant, a trip to the American Girl doll store, and then dessert at the Cheesecake Factory.

It was a beautiful day, and one we’ll all remember for a long time. My daughter came and sat on my lap a few minutes ago and mentioned that when she made a wish tonight on the wishing star, she wished that tomorrow would be a family day and that sometime down the road we might have another girls day.

I don’t know the last time I’ve just taken off and enjoyed a day away from the computer, away from most of the responsibilities and just had fun.  These are precious years with my kids. And while I want to make every moment matter in our lives, the reality is that I can’t. Juggling family life, kids, church, etc., it is impossible to make every moment matter.

So I settle for an occasional day like today. And it truly was magical.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the have to do’s that we forget to improve the quality of our content marketing via the most organic way possible – actually having rich life experiences to draw from.

When’s the last time you got away from your desk and just played for a day?  I promise – it will enrich your content and make you a happier writer. 

Content Marketing Tips: The #1 Keyword Research Tool I’m Really Grateful For!

the keyword research tool im grateful for

The number one thing I’m thankful for in my professional life this year is the opportunity to learn and grow a business – while getting to be home and raise my 4 kids. I am so incredibly grateful that I get to home school my kids!  At the same time, my husband and I get to be active in our role as parents daily.  What a blessing!  I haven’t lost my professional identity, though!  I’ve learned so much this year as I’ve built my content marketing business! And if you’d have told me I’d have come so far in such a short time, I would’ve laughed.

But I still think the best is yet to come!

Because I am so grateful for all I’ve learned, I wanted to share a little gem of a tool with you.  I think this is incredibly helpful in conducting keyword research for anyone who’s doing content marketing.  It’s a nifty way to discover some contextually related keywords you might not have even known existed!

Content Marketing Keyword Research – Contextual Targeting Tool

Google Contextual Targeting Tool:  I admit I haven’t been using this tool long.  The more I use it, though, the more I love its results!  It’s yet another way of using Google’s Adwords feature to find related search terms based on real Google data.  Pretty nifty, right?

So for instance, say you want to look up social media marketing, and you’re just starting your keyword research.  You want to make sure that you don’t miss any keywords so you make sure you’re getting the best targeted traffic possible.

Open up Google Adwords, and select the Tools and Analysis tab.  Scroll down to the Contextual Targeting Tool and select it. 

Your screen will look like this:

Content marketing keyword research tool

Notice that in the text field at the top, I typed “social media marketing” (without the quotes)

The CTT will return results that are formatted with an anchor keyword in the left hand column and a group of related keywords in the right hand column.

 

Content marketing keyword research results image

Look at the content marketing phrase ideas down the left hand column.  You might well discover contextually related keywords that you might not have known people were looking for in your niche.  To find more contextually related keywords select one and enter it into the CTT. You’ll discover even more keywords to help boost your rich content marketing and its SEO ranking.

If you see a category that catches your attention, click the plus sign next to the anchor keyword.  It will expand a list of even more related keywords for your content marketing pleasure.

content marketing expanded keyword group

The beauty of the CTT is that you don’t know every keyword you’ll want to use in your content marketing campaign. And with this – you don’t need to.  In fact, even if you think you know what keywords people will want to use, it’s better to use the contextual targeting tool to examine your content marketing keywords just to be sure.  It’s like trying to proofread your own material.  You might be so familiar with it that you are overlooking what basic keywords and searches people might be performing related to your content.

QUESTION:  Do you find keyword research to be the most interesting or most tedious part of your content marketing efforts?  I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!

Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours!

Content Marketing: Do You Know Why You Blog?

I had some great responses to my post last week about content marketing and how not to create content that, well, sucks!  It was exciting to hear people get into discussions about what really makes for engaging content, and what the role of SEO is in the process.

One question that was raised brought up a good point that I’d like to clarify. The writer asked about a statement I made that being found by Google isn’t the purpose of your blog.

She was surprised and asked what I meant.  Clearly if your blog isn’t found by the major search engines like Google, it’s unlikely that people will randomly find your blog and read it, even if it contains content to rival Shakespeare (or Twilight, depending on your preference for reading).

So I wanted to take a moment to explain what I meant.

Of course I want your blog (and mine!) to be found by Google. I want Google to see me as authoritative on the subject of content development and content strategy and to including my content close to the top of a Google search on subjects like content marketing and content strategy.

But that’s not the purpose of my blog. Or at least not the sole purpose.

Content Marketing – It’s Not Just About Google

SEO and improved rankings via Google exist to facilitate a further end with respect to your blog. The reason you want your blog to show up close to the top in a Google search is for the human readers you want to come to your site, read your blog, develop a relationship with you, and, if you have the goods or services that match their needs, to become your customer.

But even if you have the greatest SEO in the world, they’re not going to do that if your content isn’t compelling enough to click, read, and come back regularly.

In other words – if your blog is optimized for search perfectly but no one actually clicks the link from Google (much less reads beyond the title), the SEO has been for nothing.

It’s sort of like that old philosophy question – if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, did it make a sound?

The purpose of search engine optimization is to get your blog found.  The purpose of content is to get your blog read.  Together they make your online business building efforts reach new heights.

I’m so passionate about the role that quality content plays in attracting and retaining customers that I am co-hosting a free webinar with Liz Maness of AssistSocialMedia.com on Tuesday at 7pm CST.  We’ll be talking about strategies for SEO to get your site found – and techniques for developing great content your audience can’t wait to read week after week.   Register here – and can’t wait to see you there!  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2190781662790589440

 

 

How to Create Content that Doesn’t Actually Suck

My mom might just kill me when she reads that headline.  (I’m 30-something, and that concern still crosses my mind)

But I’m becoming more and more passionate about the power of content marketing – and more irritated when I see content marketing that is poorly executed (aka, it sucks).

A special target of my loathing includes keyword-stuffed spammy content marketing that might, if you’re lucky, tell you one or two new things. That’s if you can get over the sense that you’re reading something that says “blah blah keyword, blah blah keyword.”  (It sounds a lot like those old Peanuts cartoons when the teacher is talking.  Wah-wah, wah-wah, wah-wah.)

Another favorite kind of content to hate (can I have a favorite-to-hate?) is obvious PLR content, especially PLR content that hasn’t been edited and enhanced to be a unique piece of writing.  Nothing says you don’t respect your readers by foisting a piece of poorly researched and even more poorly written content on them (that looks identical to the next piece in the meta description).

If you’re not writing your own content marketing materials and you’re not hiring a content marketing professional to create custom content for your blog, please don’t cut and paste PLR content!  Don’t buy an article that isn’t uniquely written for your audience and needs.  And for the love of all that is holy, please take the time to make it unique for the people reading your blog.  (Side note – as those Google algorithms featuring pandas and penguins and future black and white animals get smarter, your blog will actually be penalized for duplicate content if you have bought PLR articles and used them without enriching them and making them uniquely yours.)

I’m being more blunt than usual.  But please.  Stop creating content that sucks.  Sure, you can SEO-the heck out of crummy content.  You can land your way on the top line of a Google search even – but if people who are conducting the search aren’t compelled to click your titles, much less invest time in reading your article, it doesn’t matter what your ranking is.

How Do You Create Content Marketing That’s Good – or Great?

Since I’m being blunter than usual, I’m going to throw out another 4-letter word that makes some people uncomfortable, quite frankly, as the secret for creating content that’s rich, compelling, and even great.

The secret is this – it’s work.  Whether it’s in the researching, the framing or the actual act of putting the rear in chair and pen to paper (or hands to keyboard), it takes work to get better at creating content.

It takes reading. Obsessively.  For those of us who are self-professed word nerds, this is a labor of love, of course. But it’s not just a “nice to do.” It’s so essential to our existence and growth as writers that it’s a planned activity in our personal development, and when we skip it, our writing is deprived. Suffocated. Starved.

It takes practice. Obscene amounts of practice. It takes the ability to step back from one’s own writing and examine it closely for strengths and weaknesses.  It takes a relentless drive and desire to become a better writer with each and every piece written.  It takes seeking out new techniques and styles and trying them out, seeing how to appropriate them and make them one’s own.

And for those of us crazy enough to enjoy the art and science of content creation – this work is indeed a form of fun.

Creating content that doesn’t suck take something deceptively simple.  It takes not settling for mediocrity.  And no matter where you are on the road to learning to create content – that’s the very first step that anyone, no matter his or her skill level, can take.

 

Content Marketing: The #1 Secret to Mastering SEO For Your Business

content marketing strategyWhat if I told you that the #1 secret to outstanding SEO is something you already know, even if you’re brand new to social media marketing?  What if I said that after Google’s last updates, Panda and Penguin, that SEO became simpler than ever?  And would you believe me if I announced that the less you know about anything any expert told you about SEO marketing, the better off you are in your online marketing efforts?

Those claims about online marketing sound pretty audacious, even to me (and I’m the one making them).  But I honestly believe them with everything that’s in me, and here’s why.

Once upon a time (aka, before Google updated its search algorithms), optimizing the pages on your website was a bit of a crude art.  It mostly relied on choosing a set of 10 or 15 keywords that you pretty much stuck with, and tried to work them as many times as possible into your article, even if that meant sacrificing the readability of your page.  And that was the legitimate folks.  Illegitimate marketers would create entire pages and sites stuffed full of nothing but keywords, and unfortunately, those results would rank pretty highly in Google search.

But the folks at Google did some tweaking and updated the algorithms used to deliver search results over past year or so, and the quality of search results improved as a result.

It was a bit funny, though, to see marketers get worried about whether the changes to Google would affect their placement on Google search negatively.

If you read Google’s remarks on the changes they implemented, it became very clear that their intent wasn’t to affect the ranking of legitimate businesses offering relevant, useful information online. It was to limit the use of artificial tactics such as article marketing and over stuffing websites with keywords to “rig” the search results.  Google continues to tweak the algorithms to deliver better results.

(Good) Content Marketing is Great Business!

For legitimate marketers, this is FANTASTIC news, and here’s why.  It eliminates the advantage that was supposedly gained by trying to game the system with crappy content (yes, that’s a technical term).  It levels the playing field, allowing the content to speak for itself when it comes to online marketing (with some minor SEO savvy tweaks in the background).

Yes, as many social media marketers are proclaiming these days, content is king!

With one caveat.

Content is King, but…

If content is king, then context is the kingdom Gary Vaynerchuk says that context is god.  I can’t quite bring myself to say that publicly given my faith background, so I’ll stick with saying that context is the kingdom.  But I’ll still credit him with articulating its importance.

What is context?  It’s understanding each article, each page, and each website as a holistic entity.  It’s the setting of your article, page, and website.  It’s in terms of the context of your page and your site that your article can be understood.

Quality Content Matters!

This means that more than ever, quality content matters.  No, you don’t have to be Shakespeare to produce well-written content.   And you don’t have to have a Ph.D. in your subject matter to be able to create informative, thoughtful information about it.

What you do need is a genuine desire to create something that delivers real value for your audience.  Creating real value means that you inform, inspire, or entertain your readers in some capacity.  Content that creates real value leaves your readers with the feeling that they gained something by reading your article.

In other words, creating content that delivers real value to your audience means understanding the context of your article.  Your article doesn’t exist to be found by a search engine!  SEO is not the ultimate end of your content. Discovery and engagement by real people is.  Content created without this understanding of context is being penalized and weeded out by Google and other search engines – and to this, I say, “Bravo!”

Traditional SEO matters – in terms of fine tuning your Google placement.  But after that, your content and your context must deliver a combination that is so engaging, people can’t help but click through, comment, and share your content.  Anything less than that does a disservice to your audience and deserves the Google burial it receives.

How are you creating value for your audience?  Entertainment/humor?  Information? Inspiration?  Some combination of the above? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!

The 5 Hurricane Sandy Posts You Wish You'd Written (or Shared) on Social Media

There’s one woman’s name with the power to singlehandedly change what’s being Tweeted and shared from viral politics to viral compassion.

Hurricane Sandy, set to make landfall tonight, has been described as the perfect storm, given the combination of weather systems set to come together over the East Coast. She’s also one of the largest predictable disasters to have hit in the social media age.  Other natural disasters have hit since the rise of social media, though none quite as predictable as a hurricane – a storm system watched carefully from its inception and monitored, along with other regional weather systems.

For the last week or so, everyone has been watching, largely through social media, as residents up and down the East Coast prepared for the storm’s impending arrival.

Recent disasters have showed the power of social media in crisis management, such as during earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. Programs like Skype, Twitter, and a social first responder mapping program called Ushahidi have been used to facilitate communications, alert rescuers to medical needs, and to create maps for first responders to use.

For the vast majority of people not directly affected but watching (courtesy of social media), social networks allow both for information gathering as well as the humor that diffuses natural human tension in crisis situations.

Stories can fly – and quickly. Who has provided good info?  What’s gone viral?  And what did you see and think, “Wish I’d written that”?

5 Hurricane Sandy Articles You Wish You’d Written First:

1.       Mashable – 5 Fake Hurricane Sandy Photos You’re Sharing On Social Media

Have you seen these on your Facebook wall yet?  There are some seriously heartwrenching photos coming out already, like the one of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with its guards getting rain and wind soaked, or the one of the Statue of Liberty with an ominous cloud overhead. While they’re powerful, they’re also fake. They’re either from prior dates or edited altogether. Share if you must, but don’t claim them to be real.  Better yet – search for real information and photos that might help those who will be in true need as this disaster unfolds.

2.  Mashable (again) How To Use Facebook and Twitter Without The Internet

Alternate communications are important in times of natural disasters.  With power and internet connectivity already being affected along the East Coast, it’s good to know your full range of communication options.  Whether you want to let family and friends know that you’re okay or to send a message to summon help, Mashable reminds readers of the ability to send an “old fashioned” text message to update Twitter and Facebook.  Read the article for specifics – for a quick update, make sure to link your cell phone to your accounts first, then use the specific codes to update your status on either service.

3.  Mashable (do you see a trend?) 5 Emergency Apps to Download Before Hurricane Sandy Hits

A solid list of emergency apps to ride out the storm, from Hurricane Tracker to iMap Weather Radio, to an emergency plan creator called Your Plan. Not to mention a flashlight app, too.   While you’ll want to save your batteries for sure, might we suggest a game app, too if you’re needing to amuse children?

4. Hubspot 5 Creative Hurricane Sandy Newsjacks from Savvy Marketers

While the hurricane and its effects are serious, bits of humor are unfolding, from a “weather map” showing the liquor buying region to other marketers taking full advantage of hurricane humor.  The savvy crew at Hubspot snagged 5 of the most creative examples of people finding the fun in the storm, from makeup to, well, social media marketing itself.

5.  New York Daily News Hurricane Sandy: Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, other celebrities react to the Northeast hurricane

Okay. I don’t actually know a Snooki from a Kardashian.  But hey, the purpose of entertainment is to, well, entertain. And if the gossip page is your thing – by all means. Indulge. Tell ’em I sent you.

In all seriousness – along with the serious supplies, having something fun, be it a copy of People, or an analog Kindle or solitaire game (aka a book or a deck of cards) is a smart idea if you’re at home or in a shelter as recovery efforts continue.

How else has social media changed our disaster planning p rocesses?  Are there other good apps to have on hand in an emergency?  And are there other great articles out there today?  Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear.

And if this is useful to you – Tweet this please (while the Internet’s still up!)

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