Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Content strategy: How to write and share accurate stories

Everything on the Internet is accurate. No doubt: Accurate stories all around. Right. If I’d actually stand behind that statement my credibility – if I had any with you to begin with – would have taken a plunge. As brands (people, organizations, businesses, etc.) are trying to connect online by sharing accurate stories, inaccuracies won’t […]

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Closed captions as a content delivery channel

Sometimes I say that I’m obsessed with connecting people to content that is meaningful to them through whatever channel they prefer. There are many channels, of course: Online (desktop, mobile, tablets, RSS, email, etc.), print, word of mouth and, of course, TV. (There are others, too, I’m sure.) As I was watching the Mike and […]

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New Year’s Resolution: Keeping Track of Content

Keeping track of content that we’ve consumed can be a challenge. Who said what … and where? And how reliable is it? How do they know something or is it their opinion? How can we remember everything that was said? And how do we decide what we’ll repeat? Keeping track of content: Where to stop? […]

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Words Matter: “This Will be Complicated”

This is one of the things not to say when giving a presentation, setting up a discussion on a topic or trying to get somebody’s input. Or in a blog post. Why? It can set people up to not listen fully to what the message will be. In the case of a blog post, they […]

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Offer content and options to users on all devices

Christoph

December 22, 2013

Content distribution

While I was surfing the web on my iPhone I stumbled across this note on a site: To comment please visit the full site. I appreciate the honesty and even the difficulty of offering all services on all devices. But will anyone actually do this to comment? Why isn’t that function available on mobile? So […]

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STORYTELLING: Finding your blogging niche

Everyone can start blogging in minutes nowadays. It’s easy to start a blog either through WordPress.com or through self-hosted WordPress sites using services like Bluehost.com, for example. (Other options exist, too.) But once you are set up, what should you blog about? What’s your blogging niche? There are plenty of options. Perhaps these ideas can […]

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Writing a good headline for your blog post

Christoph

December 17, 2013

Content distribution

Writing a good headline for a web post is crucial to get an audience’s attention – the humans and the search engines, which bring more humans. If the headline doesn’t get somebody’s attention in the first few seconds the person might move on to read something else … not necessarily because they wouldn’t have cared […]

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Another Way to Share Your Presentation: Live Tweet it Yourself

We believe in multi-channel content distribution here with the website as the hub. Everything is on the website and then reformatted and distributed on other channels, including social, offline and other channels. Sometimes it can be difficult to send content to all relevant channels at the same time, including social media during a presentation. Obviously […]

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Writing Relevant Timeless Content For The Web

Every once in a while an expert in one thing or another will Tweet a link to an older blog post that’s relevant to a current topic. It’s timeless content for the web. A lot of times others who are mentioning it on their streams mention that it’s from a year or two or whatever […]

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LINK STRATEGIES: Include hyperlinks when relevant

We still read online articles that refer to other sites and sources and don’t link to them. Sometimes, they spell out the other domain name, but don’t link through a hyperlink. What’s the user to do? Copy and paste the text into their browser to check out the site? What if the referenced article can’t […]

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Defining Your Value Proposition

Christoph

November 29, 2013

Strategies

Defining your value proposition can help staff be on the same page and help your business be even more customer-focused. After all, you have to have customers to be a business. A business without customers is a hobby. What’s a value proposition? A value equation specifies the value your business brings to the customer. Value […]

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WordPress Login Tip: Make sure to delete the Admin account on older installs

Christoph

November 28, 2013

WordPress

If you have had a WordPress-powered site for a while, chances are that you are using an account that has the “admin” WordPress login name. It used to come by default for the first account of a new site unless you changed it. We have had a few sites that have run/are running on WordPress […]

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Storytelling with just a Smartphone

Christoph

November 21, 2013

Content gathering

A smartphone is one of the most accessible tools nowadays and it can help us document stories that are worth sharing with our networks or audiences. Fifty-six percent of Americans carry one – a number that’s likely to increase. One way people are collecting and documenting stories is through video. One hundred hours of video […]

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Social media strategy: Sharing content relevant to your organization

It’s easy to be promotional, oversharing and irrelevant today when it comes to social media strategy. It’s so easy to promote my product every thirty minutes or so on Twitter. “Please RT. Product XYZ, which is the best, can be bought right now by clicking on this link: (Here’s the link. I hope it works.)” […]

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Device independent: Words to avoid online

With responsive design, RSS, mobile and direct traffic to websites, there are some words to avoid when writing for online audiences. Let’s take this site for example. Depending on how you are viewing it, the pictures might appear on the right or on the top of the content. The sidebar might be below all the […]

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How to converse online

Christoph

November 2, 2013

Social media

When communication publicly it’s important to remember the human! You are communicating with other people. Understanding and practicing some basic netiquette will help you leave a positive impression on others. And why is that important? People connect with those who leave a positive and relevant impression. Remember when we communicate publicly on the Internet what […]

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Listening to consumers/audience members: How do we do that?

Christoph

November 2, 2013

Customer service

Many companies receive emails, Tweets, or messages through company websites. Sometimes, the consumer/audience member has a question. Sometimes they find a mistake or a user issue on the company’s website. How we respond to those messages shows how well we listen to those voluntary contacts from the public and that can make a big difference […]

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Social Media: Add value and be part of the community

Christoph

November 1, 2013

Social media

Written in September 2013. The date is important because, depending on when you read this, there probably will be new networks, some of the current ones might not be around, others might evolve. I was recently reading a book written in 2007, and it mentioned MySpace and how marketers should pay attention to it. I’m […]

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Social media offline: What are the rules?

Christoph

October 31, 2013

Social media

Should I post this to social media? Is that OK to say? We sometimes – I hope all the time – ask ourself this before posting something to any of our social channels. Oftentimes, we feel connected to what we said. These are our thoughts. Our life experiences. Where we’ve been. What we thought of […]

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How to mix social media and traditional media

Social media and traditional media need to be a part of any business’ communications strategy. They work hand in hand and can complement each other. Let’s look at how communication professionals used to work with traditional media and in some cases still do. 1) Organization has an idea for a newsworthy event. 2) A news […]

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Peer-to-Peer Problem Solving at the American Marketing Association Conference

I was invited to participate in two hours of peer-to-peer problem solving at the 2013 American Marketing Association’s Nonprofit Conference in Arlington, VA. I was one of 24 finalists for the association’s Nonprofit Marketer of the Year Award. And while I didn’t end up receiving the award, I was invited to help problem solve issues […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Mack Collier’s “Think Like a Rock Star”

Christoph

July 13, 2013

Books

I read Mack Collier’s “Think Like a Rock Star“ in 2013. Why did you read this book? I attended Nick Westergaard’s Social Brand Forum in Coralville in October 2012. And since I registered early Nick sent me a free copy of Mack’s book. Mack also spoke at the conference and runs #Blogchat – where bloggers […]

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Defining your brand voice

Christoph

July 1, 2013

Strategies

As more and more brands tweet, Facebook, blog and publish their stories and content on various other old and new channels, it’s also important that you think about your brand’s voice. Your brand voice is how you sound when you write tweets, respond to Facebook questions, respond to emails and how your blog posts are […]

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How To Use LinkedIn Professionally

LinkedIn can get lost in the social media network discussion. Yes, it’s not the firehose of updates Twitter is and there are no baby pictures a la Facebook. But there is value. For me, it’s hardly ever related to an update posted by somebody. Though, I do like to know when friends or acquaintances have […]

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From Germany to Iowa

Christoph

May 1, 2013

Books, Stories

Note: This was part of a book about German American history, traditions, festivals and recipes that Penfield Books of Iowa City  published in 2013. Published here with the writer’s permission. By Mary Sharp Christoph Trappe was sixteen years old when he left Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1995 and moved half a world away to go to high […]

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Book Review: “Idea-Links – the new creativity” by Jim Link

Christoph

April 13, 2013

Books

Q: Why did you read this book? Julie Zielinski, the VP of marketing and strategy at the EDC, recommended the book to me. I like to think of myself as a creative professional, but I never put much thought into where that creativity comes from or how and why I get a creative idea at […]

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Good stories have automatic details

Christoph

April 1, 2013

Stories, Training

During storytelling sessions in 2013 I’ve caught myself referring back to stories I wrote between 2003 and 2007 while working for The Gazette. One of those was a look at traffic tickets. Overall, I learned that if people fought their ticket there was a 50-50 chance that their fine was reduced or the ticket was dismissed. […]

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Where do ideas come from?

Christoph

March 1, 2013

Strategies

Where do ideas for blog posts, columns, videos – anything creative really – come from? The short answer: Anywhere. That’s probably not very helpful, so let me expand on that. It’s important to keep an open mind, listen, and to some level, keep thinking about experiences. A good rule of thumb: If you catch yourself […]

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Multiple channels of advertising still important

Christoph

October 9, 2012

Advertising

Over the weekend I signed up to attend Diversity Focus’ Annual Meeting on Thursday. The sticker on the Corridor Business Journal, which arrived at my home on Saturday, prompted me to do this. Interestingly, this was not the first time that I heard about the event: I saw an invitation through the mail. A volleyball […]

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What’s it like to live in a place where a murder was committed?

Christoph

October 28, 2006

Stories

This article first published in The Gazette in 2006 and is republished here with permission by The Gazette Company. Publication Name: THE GAZETTE Publication Date: 10/28/2006 Edition: F Section: A Page: 1 Headline: They live where murders were committed. Some witness strange things. But they are NOT SPOOKED Byline: Christoph Trappe Source: The Gazette Body: […]

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