Fitness Magazine Cover Contest – Reader Covergirls

June 28, 2012

Engaging cover contest works out well for Fitness Magazine

Nothing like having your readers generating questions, comments, suggestions or other content. A stroke of brilliance to feature them on the cover. The possibilities are endless on that one. Special edition covers, ready to share and promote. I will definitely remember this idea.

By the way, Fitness magazine had 3,500 women entered the contest bringing an additional 50,000 Facebook fans to Fitness Magazine. Talk about engagement. Read more at


Cash Mobs’ Use Social Media To Splurge In Locally Owned Stores

April 17, 2012

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Reuters) – Flash mobs have been blamed as a factor in looting during urban riots. But now a group of online activists is harnessing social media like Twitter and Facebook to get consumers to spend at locally owned stores in cities around the world in so-called Cash Mobs.

At the first International Cash Mob day on Saturday, wallet- toting activists gathered in as many as 200 mobs in the United States and Europe, with the aim of spending at least $20 a piece in locally owned businesses, according to the concept’s founder, Cleveland lawyer Andrew Samtoy.

“It’s my baby but I’m not a helicopter parent,” Samtoy told a crowd of more than 100 people gathered Saturday at Nature’s Bin, a grocery store that specializes in local and organic food, in Lakewood, an inner ring suburb of Cleveland.

The 32-year-old dreamed up the Cash Mob idea last year after spending time in Britain during summer riots that unleashed looting in cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham. His first Cash Mob, in Cleveland last November, brought around 40 shoppers packing in to the Visible Voice book shop, on a welcome spree in which each of them spent on average $40 within an hour-and-a-half. “We are kind of slow in November so I wasn’t going to turn it down,” said the independent book store’s owner, Dave Ferrante, who estimated he made about eight times his normal take on that day.

“We have a very limited marketing budget and it brought in people who wouldn’t have been here. It sounds corny but we really build a base one customer at a time,” he added.

After the original Cash Mob in Cleveland, Samtoy’s Facebook friends in other cities picked up on the idea and organized their own gatherings.

Samtoy can rattle off a list of friends from Los Angeles to Boston, from church camp to law school, who were the ‘early adapters’ of the Cash Mob phenomenon.


As well as the spree in Cleveland on Saturday, gatherings also took place in Kansas City and New York. Reuters was unable to verify independently if community shoppers splurged in other U.S. cities and worldwide.

Samtoy’s approach is to target one location bringing as many people to one site as possible but other cities have taken a different approach. “There is no science to it and there are also no hard and fast rules,” he explains.

He told the group gathered in Cleveland that he only has three rules or goals as he explains them: “You have to spend at least $20, meet three people you never met before and have fun.”

Cash Mob participant Amy Marke, from Independence, Ohio, came with her cousin because she wanted to support local businesses and was drawn to this event because the store does vocational training for disabled adults.

“I never do anything spur of the moment or crazy like this but I heard about it and had to come,” she said. Kelly Ziegler, co-founder of the Cash Mob movement in Kansas City, Missouri, told Reuters activists planned flash spending sprees in nine different locations around the metro area on Saturday. “Kansas City is really spread out. We have a really strong following on Facebook and there were calls for cash mobs at all of these areas. There are so many shops to hit we thought ‘why not hit a lot all at once?'”

“I grew up in a family with a small business. I know these small businesses can’t afford a million dollar ad campaign. When you spend $1 at these local stores that stays in the community,” she added.

And in Brooklyn, New York, activists noted how easy they are to organize. “It really doesn’t take a lot of effort,” said Park Slope Cash Mob organizer, Amy Cortese, author of ‘Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From it.’

With the large amount of locally-owned business and culture of entrepreneurship in Brooklyn she says it only made sense to get behind the Cash Mob movement. “It is surprising that no one had thought to do this before,” she added.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and David Bailey)

7 Hip Ways to Recycle Content for an Immediate Lift in Traffic

April 17, 2012

By Amanda MacArthur   •  04/03/2012

As an editor, especially one that writes every day and several times a day, it’s sad to see some of your best content hang out in the background, possibly never to see the light of digital eyes again. With hundreds of articles under your belt, there are surely a few gems that you’re extra proud of and that if someone saw them a year later, they’d still be just as brilliant.

Thankfully, the web gives us lots of ways to recycle our best content. If you’re in the mood to boost traffic while highlighting some of your best work, here’s the lesson plan for today.

Step 1: Dig up all of your favorite posts.

This may take some time, but in the long-run it will be worth the effort not to miss a single one because having a big archive to start with means that you can work more strategically going forward. It also means you won’t need to do this part again.

Step 2: SEO these posts for search.

If they aren’t already, make sure that the titles of these blockbuster posts have awesome keywords. No longer will they sit in the archive under a layer of digital dust; SEO will bring them back to life and continually send new readers. Your best work deserves keywords!

Step 3: Create images and Pinterest away.

Before you say anything, take a look at the strategy behind Wall Street Journal; They’re creating new images using pull quotes. People love to re-pin quotes on Pinterest so this is certainly the most Pinterest-friendly approach we’ve seen from such a business-oriented organization. Of course if you’re writing about knitting patterns then you probably already have the images you need in the post.

Wall Street Journal goes with pull quotes.

Step 4: Craft a white paper.

Find a theme in the lot of your favorite articles and decide how you can transform them into a white paper, ebook, or a round-up post that highlights each individual article. Many publishers create their ebooks from a collection of old blog posts, so why not share your best work in the same way? Package it together with a shiny bow while adding value to your site and boosting your email list.

Step 5: Tweet it forward.

Twitter applications like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to schedule tweets for a reason. In our normal schedule, we post new articles right away and also schedule tweets a month later and then again six months later. This renews them and keeps our feed diverse. You can do the same with your blockbuster posts. Use one of these programs to create an upcoming Twitter calendar that continually re-posts your best once or twice a month for the next year, or for as long as you want to schedule them. Then you’ll know they’re always being renewed and new people will be reading them each time.

Discover social media marketing tips for doing business and building website traffic with Twitter—that you can start using today—when you download Twitter Advice For (and From) Content Marketers for FREE right now.

Step 6: Show some Facebook love.

I’m not talking about your traditional Facebook post here. Actually, I’m talking about that rank-boosting Facebook hack (one of my own blockbuster posts) where you post your article on the pages of other businesses. Now, this isn’t applicable to everyone, but if you’ve ever featured or complimented a business in one of your articles, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t leave them a note that says “hi there, we mentioned you in the article, hope you enjoy!” with a link back to your article. This strategy drives a considerable amount of traffic. Not every business allows customers to post on their walls, but the majority of them do.

Telling The Daily Meal we reviewed their re-design.

Step 7: Submit these posts to popular bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit.

I’ve actually seen significant traffic from these two sites for many different types of publishers. They have very active communities but haven’t yet been littered by marketers. Don’t share every article (because then you’ll be that marketer that everyone hates), but disperse your best posts in a strategic fashion and be genuine about it.

If you’re a food publication, there are 29k editors waiting for new recipes here.

My bonus tip would be to link back to your blockbuster posts in your new articles too (like I did above). If they truly are blockbuster posts, then they’re undoubtedly a go-to resource when you need to reference outside of your current article.

If you follow step 1-7 today, you’ll be happy with the results. As always, I’d love to hear your own tips and tactics for recycling content. Leave your feedback in the comments below!

Will Social Discovery Apps Lead to Meaningful Relationships?

April 17, 2012

  |  April 9, 2012

Click here to find out more!

There was a lot of talk this year at SXSW about social media discovery apps (Highlight, Glancee, Sonar, Banjo, etc.), which got me thinking about social media and how it affects relationships. Now, I have been accused of having too optimistic a view at times, but I think one of the most powerful aspects of social is that it has provided a deeper level of connection to people that, in the past, we may have viewed just as casual friends, work friends, or friends of friends.

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying this as a blanket statement across all of our social connections. There are lots of studies showing that people’s desire to appear popular by amassing large followings (i.e., 500+ “friends”) is in fact not a reflection of true connections. In fact, a study by Robin Dunbar of Oxford University showed that the human brain is limited to maintaining only about 150 meaningful relationships. An even more telling study by Matthew Brashears of Cornell University found that the number of true confidants the average American has, has dropped from three to two over the last 25 years, and that the percentage of people who don’t confide in anyone about important matters has skyrocketed from 8 percent to 25 percent.

The deeper connection I’m referring to is not in this top 1 percent of friends, but rather a subset of connections that, without the proliferation of social networks, would never have developed into deeper relationships. This is the network that you now reach out to when you need emotional support, the friends who crack you up on a daily basis with their posts, the ones you might meet for lunch, arrange a kids’ playdate with, or who might send you a little something in a care package.

As an example, my wife and I have a friend who was a part of our extended circle when we lived in Los Angeles. She was someone we typically didn’t hang out with one-on-one, but always with a group of other friends. She now sends us fruit from her backyard so we can have a little bit of California in Atlanta. Our relationship evolved through a higher level of social participation in each other’s lives as well as a health connection that was born out of a Vegetarian Mamas Facebook group that my wife runs. So, what started as an occasional, casual friendship has grown online and translated into a deeper offline relationship. I believe this is only because she now, through social media, has a view into our daily lives and we into hers.

So, how does this new breed of social discovery apps factor into our online relationships? If you’re not familiar with these applications, they serve to connect you with people who are close by and share a tie like mutual friends, similar interests, or the same hometown. These are also sometimes referred to, tongue-in-cheek, as “hookup apps” because they serve as a nice way to break the ice by giving you a virtual introduction. Of course, this same ice breaking can be used as a networking tool at conferences and meetings.

There are some well-founded concerns about these types of applications being utilized in connection with stalking incidents. However, as is the case with all social network platforms, as the category matures, I’m confident the right level of security restrictions will be put into place.

Are these applications just propagating more vapid relationships? I would say probably less so than a typical “cold” approach someone might have at a bar or coffee house. At least with these digital connections, there is something more that the two people involved have in common outside of just physical attraction. Also, the physical and online relationships are defined not by how the connections are discovered, but rather by how the relationship develops afterward. Looking back to when online dating began, there were many people who felt connections made online were just too impersonal to be meaningful. However, online dating sites have an amazing track record of connecting individuals and forming long-lasting relationships. If discovery apps catch on, it will be interesting to see if they can similarly develop into a common and accepted path leading to real-world connections.

People of Walmart Video

February 24, 2012

Ghetto Physics

February 24, 2012

Ghetto Physics

Ghetto Physics Trailer from Ghetto Physics on Vimeo.

The Birth Of A Word

December 17, 2011

The Birth Of A Word from TED