Raising Resilient Children and Teens in the Digital World

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Raising Resilient Children and Teens in the Digital WorldMore schools are giving students laptops and tablets. Many students–regardless of grade–have cell phones in the classroom. What can we do to make sure our children are becoming good, digital citizens?

This is a little off topic for the flyte blog. We’re usually about how to can build your business online.

But recently I had the opportunity to present side-by-side with my dad, Dr. Robert Brooks.

My dad is a well-respected author and keynote presenter on topics of resilience in children and adults. He speaks all over the world in front of schools and business groups, sharing the importance of resilience.

When the Oak Hill School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, asked him to present on the topic of Raising Resilient Children and Teens in the Digital World, he asked me if I’d like to participate.

My dad took the first half of the presentation, speaking on the importance of raising resilient children, developing “islands of competence,” and the role of the charismatic adult in a child’s life. I then took many of those ideas and talked about how to use them in the digital world.

My presentation also focused on my work with Catherine McAuley High School and the Social Media Club that I helped start.

The entire presentation, including Q&A, was over 90 minutes, so feel free to chunk it up for easier watching. ;) My dad’s a great presenter, though, and you should definitely check him out.

By the way, my dad and I are available to offer this presentation to other school systems. We also do weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Rich Brooks
Son of Dr. Robert Brooks

15 Ways Video Helps You Generate More Online Leads

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Video Lead GenerationAdding online video to your marketing efforts can generate more leads and sales for your small business. Here’s how.

Are you ready for your close up? Don’t worry, even if you’re not, you can still increase your online visibility and generate more online leads through video. Adding video to your marketing mix doesn’t need to break the bank, either. If you’re reading this post on a smart phone, tablet, or laptop, chances are you already have all the equipment you need to get started in online video. Below I’ve outlined fifteen ways that video can help you generate leads for your business. So read through this post, take a deep breath, and hit record!

1. Video improves your search engine visibility.

You’ve seen it before. You do a search and the top three results are all videos. Google and Bing want to show your video as part of the mix. In fact, if your competitors consistently beat you at the search engines and they’re not using video, adding video to your marketing mix might be the best way to leap frog them in the page one results.  (more…)

Social Media and Cellphones in the Classroom: Help or Distraction?

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The Social ClassroomCan social media and cell phones be used to help aid education in the classroom…or are they just a distraction?

Earlier this week I traveled down to New Orleans (one of my favorite cities in the world) to present at The Center for Development & Learning’s Plain Talk Conference. While it might seem odd to have a social media business consultant speak at a conference on reading, the topic was The Social Classroom: Using Social Media as an Aid in Education. The presentation covered:

  • How George Middle School in Portland, Oregon, changed their learning climate with social media
  • What the purpose of public education is, and whether social media can help
  • The good and dark sides of social media and children
  • The Catherine McAuley High School’s Social Media Club
  • How classrooms across the country are using social media and cellphones in the classroom today.


5 Ways to Drive New Traffic to Old Blog Posts

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How to Freshen Up Old Blog Posts to Attract New CustomersDo you want to drive more traffic to older blog posts? Here are five simple ways to dust those posts off and put them back to work for you.

Chances are, you’re promoting your new blog posts. You share them on your social networks, you alert your email subscribers, you might even call your mom.

You also get a certain amount of traffic while the posts appear on the home page of your blog or in the recent posts list. However, once they fall off the home page and land in the archives, the traffic they generate often drops precipitously.

However, all is not lost.

With a few simple steps you can reinvigorate archived posts, attract new prospects and customers and generate more leads from your blog. Here’s how.

Improve your title tags.

Even in the Age of Social Media, search engines still drive a lot of new traffic (read: prospects) to your blog posts. Well, they do if you have optimized your posts for the search engines.

One of the easiest ways to improve the search rankings for your blog posts is to improve the titles of the posts by making sure your keywords appear in the titles.

If you need a primer on how to write blog posts titles that rank well, check out What Should I Title My Blog Posts for Maximum ROI? In that post I  talk about using the All In One SEO Plugin for WordPress. That’s still a great plugin, although I’m using Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin for this blog and The Marketing Agents.

Replace those tired old images.

Consider replacing your images with new, Pinterest-friendly images. By that I mean taller, graphically-interesting images that are more likely to get pinned and shared on the world’s second biggest driver of social traffic: Pinterest.

I like to find a good image and then include an easy-to-read, oversized caption that explains what people will get if they click through to Pinterest. Like the one on this post.

Link to older posts from newer ones.

Linking to relevant, archived posts from new posts can drive traffic to those older posts. In addition, those links will improve the SEO of the original post as well.

For example, if you’ve got a new post about Twitter, link to a supporting post you’ve already written called How to Get More Engagement on Twitter. (See what I did there?)

Schedule tweets & updates.

Using a tool like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or Buffer, you can schedule tweets (and other updates) to promote archived posts. I’m not a fan of automating tweets or social media updates, but we’ve seen good response from scheduling.

Example of tweet driving traffic to archived blog post

Pro tip: If you’re posting to Facebook, tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can reduce your engagement. Instead, use Facebook’s own scheduling tool.

Pro tip 2: If you’re using social sharing plugins, (and you should be,) make sure there are no “goose eggs” on the post to which you’re trying to drive traffic. In other words, make sure there’s a retweet, Facebook share, Google “plus one,” etc., even if you have to click on them yourself.

This is in part to show social proof. When people see that other people have shared your post (even if it was just you!), they are more likely to assume the post is valuable and share it themselves.

When I see a blog post with goose eggs across the top of the sharing buttons I think to myself, “not even the author could recommend this post!”

Deemphasize the date.

The worst thing you can do with evergreen content is put a date on it. You may see it as a way of letting people know when you created the post, but in reality it just looks like a expiration date.

Obviously if you have a news site, or cover other topics that are quickly changing, having a date showing prominently above your post can be helpful to your audience. However, articles on leadership or parenting that don’t change very often would be better served to remove the date entirely or to bury it at the end of your post.

Admittedly, this may not directly drive more traffic to your post, but it will encourage people to read and share your content, which will have an indirect effect on your traffic.

Do you have any other tips?

How do you drive traffic to your archived posts? Is there something I’ve forgotten? Let me know in the comments below!

Rich Brooks
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The Benefits of Blogging [Infographic]

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There are a lot of reasons for blogging, from improved SEO to a home for your intellectual property, to a hub for the rest of your social media activity. (After all, not everything can be shared in 140 characters or less. Except maybe a link to your latest blog post.)

Below is an infographic, illustrating some other important factors for businesses considering a blog. Although not as data rich as some other infographics out there, there are some key items here:

  • Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors (unclear if it’s compared to competitors that don’t or what they had before they started blogging, but more quality content generally means more visitors)
  • 57% of marketers acquired customers from blogging (would be nice to know if the the other 43% didn’t blog, or just sucked at it)
  • Businesses that blog more than 20/mo get 5 times more traffic than those who blog less than 4/mo (I think we can agree that most small businesses would struggle to create 20 posts a month, but is it possible to create more than one blog post a week? Especially if you “cut corners” with those annoying “infographic posts?”)


7 Social Media Marketing Rules You Can Ignore…and Still Succeed

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Social Media Marketing RulesWhether you’re just getting started with social media, or you’ve been doing it a while, chances are you look to social media experts for guidance in how to behave in the social arena.

And there are a lot of social media experts out there–including the ones who claim there’s no such thing as a “social media expert”—who are only too happy to tell us how social media works, how it doesn’t work, and how you must behave while doing social media marketing.

While there’s a lot of good advice out there, it’s framed as the only possible way to behave, and how every business and professional must behave. However, a lot of it is based on the expert’s personal experience, and that may be of little value to you.

Even the most well-intended advice can be completely off the mark when it comes to your small business.

There’s nothing wrong with expert advice, but when guidelines become rules, they need to be re-evaluated.

What follows are some of the oft-quoted “rules” that you need to question as you develop your own social media strategy.

Rule 1: Social Media Has Changed Everything

Hogwash. Yes, we’ve got shiny new tools, and consumers can give more public, vocal feedback on your products and services. However, leads still need to be generated, sales need to be closed and invoices need to be sent; no business survives otherwise.

And here’s another thing: networking didn’t start with LinkedIn. Before there was social networking there was real-world networking. And you know what? It came with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, so it wasn’t all that bad.

Although there are a lot of great books on social media today (Gary Vaynerchuk’s Ja,b Jab, Right Hook comes to mind,) arguably the best book on social media marketing predates social media marketing by several decades: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Go and (re)read that book; everything he talks about is still true today, it’s just that now it happens on Twitter. (more…)

Should Instagram Be Part of Your Marketing? [Infographic]

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More brands are jumping on Instagram to engage their audience. Should you follow suit?

Last night as I lay in bed I flipped through my Instagram feed. I also checked to see my recent activity…who had liked or commented on my photos and who had begun following me.

I was surprised to see that my newest follower was Constant Contact. Maybe I shouldn’t have been that surprised. Plenty of companies–large and small–are jumping on Instagram as a way of meeting their community on their own turf.

And why not? It’s a hugely popular platform that attracts users of all ages, as the infographic below shows.

Do you use Instagram? Does your business? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share your Instagram URL with us. You can find me here. (more…)

Why We’re Shutting Down flyte.biz

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Closed SignF.W. Woolworth’s. Bennigan’s. Pan Am. The XFL. 

Sometimes it’s just time to move on.

When I first changed the name of my company to flyte new media, I tried to secure the domain flyte.com. It was taken, but it didn’t look like it had been updated in a while and I made an offer. It was rebuffed. I made a counter-offer. It too was rebuffed. And so were several more.

Interestingly, I don’t believe the website has changed since 1999 when I first approached the owner.

I settled on flytemedia.com and also bought up flytenewmedia.com as a redirect.

When the dot biz domains were released I gobbled up flyte.biz and redirected all of my domains there. At first, dot biz domains had the reputation of a place for spammers…a bad neighborhood on the web.

I awaited the inevitable gentrification.

Unfortunately, it never really came. And I believe that our  dot biz domain is hurting our email deliverability, even though I have no hard proof this is true.  (more…)

What is Bitcoin? Where is Mt. Gox?

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207 Grape TossIs Bitcoin the future of money, or just an easy way for criminals to engage in illegal activities online? Is Mt. Gox the sequel to Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham?

To address these questions and more I stopped by 207, the evening news program on Maine’s NBC affiliates, to talk about this digital currency.

If you missed last night’s episode, either due to geography or alternate plans, you can check it out at the 207 website or down below.


Should You Pay Attention to the Mobile App Jelly?

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Rich Brooks on 207What is the mobile app Jelly all about, and can you use it to market your company?

The other day I was at WCSH on the 207 set, talking about a new app called Jelly. 

Jelly connects you with people in (and just outside) your social network as a way of asking and answering questions. Because it was created by Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter, a lot of people “in the know” have jumped on, giving it some instant street cred.

But is Jelly something you should pay attention to? Should you try and use it to market your business?

In the segment that you can watch below or at the 207 website, we’ll talk about all things Jelly.

Here were the talking points from the segment:

What is Jelly, and why should we care?
  • Jelly is mobile app that allows you to ask questions and get crowd-sourced feedback, as well as answer other people’s questions. Each question is paired with an image…either one you take or one from Google images.
There are a million other apps out there…why is this one making such an immediate splash?
  • It’s creator is Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s co-founders, so it’s got a good pedigree.
How do you get started?
  • Download the app for your iPhone or Droid and connect it to your Facebook or Twitter account. From there you can start asking questions or answering them.
How do you ask a question? 
  • Snap a picture or choose from Google images. Type in a question and hit send. You can also use a drawing tool to draw on top of your picture.
How do you answer a question?
  • Jelly will serve up questions from people you’re connected to on Twitter or FB, or who are one connection away. If you have answer, just tap on the image and type in your answer, or use the drawing tools and hit send.
What kind of questions can you ask? 
  • Anything, but my favorites are when people ask questions that can have multiple answers/opinions.
What do you think of the app so far?
  • The tools are a little rudimentary.
  • I wish I could respond to people who answer my question directly, to follow up with them. That would make it a much better tool for businesses, too.
  • I’d also like to see the ability to better target questions, or search for them, based on location, topic, etc.

What do you think? Would you use Jelly for personal or professional use? Let us know in the comments below.

Rich Brooks