When people quickly take notes … what did I say so important?

Body language, laughing at jokes and other things are indicators that our audiences are engaged with our presentations and talks.

Another is when everyone all of sudden writes something down. On paper! It’s especially noticeable when they get out paper.

Some take notes on their phones, but don’t we all still think that people are texting or doing something unrelated when they do that … even if they are actually taking notes. 

When people take notes I wonder:

What did I say? LOL. These slides are online, too. I’ll post the Periscope video later, too. No need to take notes. 

But maybe taking notes isn’t about convenience.

When we hear something that struck as important, have aha moments and hear other information we don’t want to forget we write it down.

Even if we never look at the notes again, writing it down longhand helps us remember – at least that’s what I read somewhere.

As I’ve said before, every presentation is also a practice for the next one. I always try to gather intelligence on what works and what doesn’t. What jokes get laughs and which one routinely don’t? It’s not a hard and fast science for sure. I’ve told the same jokes before and on Tuesday people laughed for a while and on Thursday they were borderline offended.

It’s important to learn what works and what doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that we change our authentic stories but it helps us tell them better.

When audiences are engaged they open up. They listen. They are ready to learn.
Speakers can learn by picking up on behaviors – the ones that indicate engagement.

People taking furious notes is a good sign. No need to keep reminding them that the slides are online and can be downloaded.

Keep doing more of what prompted the note taking. 

Posted in Content distribution, Strategies | Comments Off on When people quickly take notes … what did I say so important?

What? They found me on Page 4 of Google Search Results? Seriously!

referral traffic to the authentic storytelling projectSo far this year, just over 21 percent of traffic to my storytelling and content marketing blog here has come from people searching for a topic that I’ve written about.

Some of those searchers went to page 2, 3 or 4 of results to find my blog. I wasn’t even on Page 1.

You’ve probably heard the talk that you have to get to the No. 1, 2 or 3 position in Google search results for people to find you. That of course can be a challenge. It’s a good goal to have – especially when we can achieve that authentically and without using some sneaky search engine optimization trick.

The main traffic sources – social, direct, referral and organic search – are fairly even on the blog. That’s great, but I sometimes wonder what people search for to find this site.

Google doesn’t show us all that many keywords used by searchers, so it’s not as simple as it used to be to find out what people searched for. But it’s still possible. When Google does show me what people searched for to find my site, I pretty much always head over to Google and see where I ranked.

What I found may surprise you. It certainly surprised me. So, I take the keywords, paste them into Google and search. And my post can’t be found on Page 1 of results or even Page 2 or 3. I’ve gone as deep as Page 4 in this experiment.

I almost stopped at the end of Page 1 results thinking Google made a mistake, because, you know, who actually clicks to Page 2? Somebody somewhere made the joke that the best place to hide a body is on Page 2 of Google Search results.

And while many of us – myself included – may hardly ever if not never head to Page 2 of results – some people do. People are searching for the most relevant content out there. If the stuff on Page 1 or 2 isn’t relevant, they keep going.

I suspect – since Google is smart and notices reader action that something on Page 4 is relevant – that when a good chunk of people do this with the same piece of content that it will start showing up earlier in results.

honkenOne example of this is my 2005 interview with death row inmate Dustin Honken. This article showed up pretty low on search results for a while. People kept finding it though and read it. In turn they started linking to it – including media outlets. At the end of September 2015, it was showing in the No. 4 spot on Page 1 of search results. Quite a climb.

What’s the take-away here for all of us content producers?

Keep producing great, unique and relevant content. And while we do have to spend time on promoting and marketing our content, the key thing is this:

Content that isn’t produced, can’t be found. Ever.  So keep producing great content week after week. Some of it will be a hit. Some of it not so much.

Posted in Content distribution, Words | Comments Off on What? They found me on Page 4 of Google Search Results? Seriously!

How can we stop people getting fired for tweeting from the wrong account?

You’ve seen the headlines:

Employee fired for tweeting personal tweet from employer’s account

They are often worded kinder:

No longer with the organization

Relieved of duties


First of all, I can’t remember a single instance of this scenario where I would say it should have been a fireable offense. Maybe a suspension would have worked? Maybe that’s what is meant by “relieved of duties?”

But of course, it’s easier to fire that person than taking responsibility for a potentially  broken process.

Here’s my admission: I’ve also tweeted from the wrong account before – even one with a ton of followers. 

I deleted it quickly and said “whoops. Sorry.”

“OK. Let’s move forward,” was the response I got, which is exactly what it should be. Of course, it helped that I was literally sitting next to that account’s brand manager when it happened. I know exactly why it happened, too.

So how is it possible that people are tweeting from the wrong accounts?

Potential reasons:

They use one tool or device – oftentimes their personal one – to have access to all the accounts that matter in their lives. 

Thank you for the commitment until you say something wrong. 

I suppose the solution could be for brands to staff up to 24/7 coverage or something close to it and only allow tweeting from organizational equipment. 

Employees could also separate business and personal accounts. Use one app for one and another for the other. That’s actually easier said than done, but of course so is the 24/7 comment.

Personally, I can recall getting calls, text and emails from clients asking me for social media help in the moment. Had I not had access to their accounts from my phone, assistance would have been harder. One time, I was literally at Disney World with the kids. 

It is worth noting that some of the stuff that ends up on organizational accounts, I can hardly believe people would post on their own accounts. But people believe what they believe and say what they say. It’s our authentic selves.

Either way, there are plenty of examples out there that just one tweet can cost you a job.

On the flip side, one tweet can also get you a job. Try to go for the latter.

No matter what we say, try to make it worth it.

Final note: This post is addressing this issue in general and as a trend and is not specifically discussion one or another incident. You already  knew that since you read this far down, but just making sure. :)

Posted in Social media | Comments Off on How can we stop people getting fired for tweeting from the wrong account?

A new role: The content marketing journalist

I’ve been saying for a while that great journalists make great content marketers.

Great journalists dig deep for those stories that are worth sharing. They ask the right questions to find uniqueness in situations. They know how to make stories digestible and present them in a way that people actually want to consume them.

Journalists know to how produce under what most of us would call unreasonable deadlines. They also have a nose for news – aka good stories.

Great journalists have the skills content marketers tasked with sharing organizational stories to help achieve business goals need as well.

I started wondering: Why are we talking about hiring journalists to become content marketers? Maybe, potentially we should think about what we call these roles.

For your consideration, I present the role of:

Content marketing journalist

What do you think? Tweet me at @ctrappe.

Job description draft:
As the content marketing journalist you will help organizations and their subject matter experts tell and disseminate their authentic and true stories.

You likely won’t be doing big investigative pieces but other than that it’s very similar to what you do now at a daily newspaper or television station.

If you have been a reporter, producer or in a similar role, content marketing journalist is a natural next step. Hours are likely better. So is the pay probably. There are still daily deadlines from time to time, but not nearly as often as in the actual journalism work.

It’s not “switching to the dark side.” It’s making an impact with your storytelling skills. It’s about helping organizations be authentic and being public about it.

The work is super meaningful and you still get to tell stories. “No comments” are rare because experts want to talk to you. They love you. You help them tell their stories and share their expertise in the best possible way.

It’s storytelling and journalism – except you don’t usually get published on those media outlets. There’s also no byline for you. You are OK with that because your stories make a big impact. You typically ghostwrite from the expert’s point of view. You still watch engagement for stories, though, just like you did when they had your bylines.

You are here to make an impact through meaningful stories.

Apply within. :)

Posted in Journalism and Content Marketing, Training | Comments Off on A new role: The content marketing journalist

Dear Twitter, no need to make tweets longer

The big social media news in late September 2015 was that Twitter is considering dropping the 140-character limit per tweet.

I hope it’s just a test to see how people react and they are considering it only and won’t do it.

What would happen to texting in tweets? I actually LOLed just writing that but you know that was the reason there’s a limit to begin with. People were texting in tweets and that’s all the characters they could send. Maybe that user behavior has changed. I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t texted to tweet in years. 

Either way, giving people more room to tweet doesn’t necessarily mean people have more things to say that are actually worth reading.

And even though there’s a character limit for each tweet, you can send a number of tweets back to back.

I’ve actually seen even traditional 140-character tweets that are about twice the size they need to be. Some people don’t make words count. 

How would longer tweets look on mobile? There are already times when there are just two tweets on one mobile screen (see picture).

Please scroll to finish reading this tweet. 

Yikes, scrolling is a lot of work, you know.

I just hope Twitter isn’t changing something just because it’s time to change something. Or maybe we’ll get five more characters and tweets will then be 145 characters.

I could support that. Ha. That still wouldn’t mean that tweeters have to use every single character available to them.

Make words count.

Posted in Social media | Comments Off on Dear Twitter, no need to make tweets longer

RECAP: How leaders can share better stories #leadwithgiants

#LeadWithGiants Twitter chatI was the guest on the #LeadWithGiants Twitter chat on Sept. 28, 2015 on the topic of the importance of authentic storytelling for leaders.
Some of the topics that we discussed are listed below. I’m answering the questions here as well, too – instead of presenting screenshot tweets to you, which I think aren’t that user-friendly to blog readers.

Why are stories important and why should leaders care about stories?

Shared stories and goals help teams move forward and do that together. If our story is that we care about each other, believe in each and like to work together, that’s our story. People will live it, share it and pass it on. Leaders can lead by example. Live the story first. Then tell it. Not the other way around.

How can leaders lead the way in storytelling?

Leaders can encourage the sharing of all stories – positive and negative. When only positive stories are shared that’s called marketing. When we share positive and negative stories that’s called authentic sharing. Start sharing them internally, work through them and fix things that need to get fixed. Some stories can even be shared publicly. This is scary to many organizations, leaders and even employees. Truly authentic organizations are accepting! And when something needs to be discussed, it does get discussed. And this does not mean people get fired for sharing a negative story. That’s the Industrial Age way of doing things!

What are the biggest hurdles for leaders and their followers with which stories could help?

We don’t want to ruffle feathers or be politically incorrect. But don’t mistake politically incorrect for actually incorrect. We think stories need to sound a certain way – usually market-y. Once we move past that mindset it’s actually fairly easy to spot stories and share them.

What happens when stories aren’t told?

They die. That’s usually the case, but sometimes – depending on the story – somebody else may decide to publicly share it. Think of stories in the past that brands tried to hide and that were then uncovered by journalists. The problem with letting other people tell our stories is that they may not get them right. The problem with some of us sharing our own stories is that we may not be as transparent or authentic as we could be.

How is authentic storytelling learnable and sustainable?

Most of us actually used to be authentic storytellers as children. Just listen to children tell stories. They are sometimes too authentic. They share everything. As we get older we unlearn this and instead focus on finding the right message or answer.

Authentic storytelling can easily be relearned but needs to be encouraged and modeled by our leaders. If it’s not it’s very hard to sustain in organizations.

How does authentic storytelling fit in with business goals?

Business goals that fit in with a bigger mission are really the best and easiest to sustain.

For example:

We build  widgets to solve xyz problem.

Simply enough, you share stories around how you are solving that problem and how people are doing that. Educational content works well, too/

It gets a bit harder when your business reason for existing is:

We build green widgets because we can charge more for them.

It does come down a bit to your authentic reason for doing what you are doing. The more community-minded the reason, the easier it usually is to share great stories. If the only reason is to get as much money out of our customers, it’s just gotten a lot harder.

How do you determine that a story is worth sharing?

There are plenty of stories happening around us. Just go story shopping for them. There are plenty out there. Once we determine that we want to share more stories, it’s easier to spot them. A good rule of thumb: If you want to tell somebody about what happened, it’s likely a good story. Remember that good doesn’t always equal positive.

How can everyone be encouraged to participate in storytelling?

Make it simple. Publish stories. Don’t make the process cumbersome.

What happens if people share the “wrong” authentic stories?

There’s no such thing. Are we mistaken this with the wrong marketing message? Fair warning, though: Some authentic stories can open up serious consequences by others who are involved in the story and if they disagree with their involvement in the shared story. Something to be aware of before publishing: Are you ready for potential consequences?

What if there are multiple versions of the same story?

There likely are. Sometimes the facts differ minimally, which is often not seen as a huge deal. It can get more interesting when people disagree with larger pieces. Even when things are written down, there can still be multiple versions. It’s OK. We can all have our own perceptions. Most of the time nobody is harmed by that.



Posted in Social media, Stories, Strategies | Comments Off on RECAP: How leaders can share better stories #leadwithgiants

The No. 1 reason why there’s crap on the Internet

Copying crap will just produce more crap. #contentmarketingThe Internet is filled with useless, spammy and annoying marketing techniques.

Much of it exists because people copy techniques from each other. Even when those techniques are annoying, they quickly are declared best practices – or at least practices that work. Even though the definition of “working” is pretty low.

Example: People continue to sell to each other on social media because that’s what a lot of people do. It works just well enough to make it feel successful.

Also: On social media, in enewsletters and other channels people make users click because the only way we think we can measure success is website traffic.

There are plenty more annoying marketing techniques out there that are being deployed by many. You probably have your own list of pet peeves.

When I ask people why they do whatever they are doing that is not the most user-friendly tactic here’s an answer I get often:

That’s what Brand A is doing and I read that it’s working for them.

Just because it’s working for them doesn’t make it a non-annoying technique that builds audiences long term. And did they say what they mean by “working?”

I’m all for learning from each other and there are many experts I learn things from. I quote them. I take their ideas and apply them to authentic storytelling to help you and me tell better and less markety stories.

But I hardly ever copy something and I certainly don’t copy entire processes.

Now that wouldn’t be unqiue to me and it wouldn’t feel very innovative. And I want to innovate. What’s next? The next season starts the morning after winning the championship.

I want to create something worthwhile to be part of.  Copying somebody who isn’t even doing it right may sound easy but won’t  get me there long-term. It won’t even get me started. It’s actually wasting time.

I remember reading about a company a few years ago. They were known for calling and annoying people over dinner to get them to sign up for their service.

They were hated by many. So why did they do it? Because it worked just enough to make them a ton of money. Congratulations and today they are still out of business.

Learn from others but be super careful when you copy them. You might risk your reputation on it and our reputation is really all we have longer term.

Posted in Change Leadership, Journalism and Content Marketing, Social media | Comments Off on The No. 1 reason why there’s crap on the Internet

Removing the @ sign before retweeting is bad form on Twitter

Unfortunately I’ve noticed a new, not-so-nice trend on Twitter:

People resharing other people’s Tweets but not until the @ sign before the original poster’s name has been removed. 

Here’s an example:


As you can see this BiLeadsPro account immediately retweeted me but without the @ sign. 

Now, I did ask them why they would remove it but didn’t get a response notification.

This technique could lead to some users not even knowing that they were retweeted since Twitter doesn’t send the original Tweeter a notification once the @ is removed.

It also won’t count in engagement numbers kept inside Twitter Analytics or apps like Crowd Fire.

This month so far, I’ve tweeted around 1,500 times, with around 600 retweets. These new kind of “RTs” won’t show, though.

Stats aside, not giving the proper credit and attribution is just bad form and doesn’t help build a community around a topic.

Why are people doing it? Tell me on Twitter if you know. @ctrappe.

Posted in Social media | Comments Off on Removing the @ sign before retweeting is bad form on Twitter

How to save Periscope livestreams for longer than 24 hours

IMG_3948Periscope, the still somewhat new livestreaming social media tool, is continuing to grow its user base. By default, Periscope livestreams are not saved for more than 24 hours. The point of the app mostly is to allow live interaction with audiences while livestreaming video. The service allows the replaying for 24 hours. After that broadcasts go away.

But there is a work around to save Periscopes for later viewing and I’ve done this from time to time on The Authentic Storytelling Project Blog.

Here’s the process on how to do that before starting to livestream:

  1. Open the app.
  2. Click on the “people icon” bottom right.
    periscope 1
  3. Once on this page, scroll down.periscope 2
  4. Click on “Settings”periscope 3
  5. Flip the switch for “Autosave Broadcasts.” Broadcasts are now auto saved to your phone.
    periscope 4

If you forgot to turn this on, there’s also a way to save your just completed broadcast. But it has to be done right away. When a livestream ends, Periscope gives you the option to “save to camera roll.” Once you navigate away from that screen, that option goes away, so click it if you want to save it.

What to do with saved Periscope livestreams?

If I want to save a stream, I upload the footage from my phone to either YouTube and/or Facebook. I would then take the embed code from YouTube to display the video on my blog. A very easy process.

It’s the best way I’ve figured out to this point to use the livestreaming aspect and save video I want to user for later and more permanent distribution.


Posted in Content distribution, Social media | Comments Off on How to save Periscope livestreams for longer than 24 hours