Blog

2019

Pet owners want to know how to keep their pet safe

Last week, I shared on MedVet’s Facebook pages this pet safety tip and frankly, I was surprised at how well the post did.

My boss emailed me suggesting I make a Facebook post about the potential pet danger of suffocation in potato chip bags. At first, I didn’t know what she was referring to, but after a little Googling, I quickly discovered that dogs can go digging through the trash, find a potato chip bag, stick their head inside looking for crumbs, and when they inhale the bag gets stuck on their neck, suffocating them. It was heartbreaking to learn that pets have died from something so easily preventable. So, I opened up Canva, and made this graphic:

I made this graphic in Canva
This post did great on our MedVet Columbus page. 199 shares!

This post showed me that pet owners want tips and information that they can share with their friends. They want posts that make them look like an intelligent and caring pet owner. This information helped influence my future content calendar.

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work, work sample

How a Facebook Post Can Evolve Through Teamwork

I wanted to highlight a recent example of how a Facebook post went from concept to publishing and the beauty of how that idea evolved and changed through collaboration.

Concept: Hurricane Barry was barreling right into the path of our New Orleans and Mandeville MedVet hospitals so we were concerned about pets being displaced.
The Regional Marketing Partner reached out suggesting we post on Facebook if lost pets are brought into the hospital. The hospital was set up to temporarily shelter any found pets during the storm. I agreed this was a great idea and set out to make a “found pet” template in Canva.

This was my first draft. I knew it needed to have the pet’s picture, pet’s information and be on brand. I wanted a simple and straightforward design.
This is the second draft, that the Regional Marketing Partner made. I was really impressed by the sense of urgency this post conveys and the icon in the top left corner which could add consistency if we used this template on multiple posts.

Based on feedback from my manager, and from consulting our graphic designer, the post was revised a third time. The background color became lighter, the top left icon changed and we used our brand’s emergency color which is red.

So, after a couple days of back and forth and making three drafts, we needed to use this post template.

This dog was displaced in Hurricane Barry and we used the social post template our team created to find her owners and get her back home safely.

Over the weekend, a female chocolate lab came into our Mandeville hospital. We posted on Facebook about her, using our new template, and it worked! She found her owners.

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work sample

MedVet Facebook Posts I Created

I’m proud to share some of the Facebook posts that I created for all of the 24 MedVet Facebook pages recently. My goal with the content creation has been to engage our audience while still maintaining our commitment to leading specialty healthcare for pets. I’m learning that our audience loves to interact with us, whether it’s sharing pet photos or answering our questions. I made these graphics in Canva and wrote the copy.

This informative post was targeted to cat-owners looking to learn more about what symptoms of arthritis to look out for.
We’re fortunate to have a strong base of digital cheerleaders who leave MedVet glowing 5 star reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp and other sites. I wanted this post to thank our supporters as well as subtly encourage others to leave us a review.
Here’s another informative post we did to help pet owners protect their pets from snakes. With the temperatures rising and more dogs outside this time of year, the hospital emergency rooms often see an increase of pets coming in suffering from snake bites. I wanted this post to give practical steps a pet owner could take to snake-proof their life.
I was proud of how clever this post was. I’d like to repurpose it again closer to Halloween and Valentine’s Day too.
To increase engagement, I created this post asking our audience to guess the name of this dog. I struggled to think of a hint that would be helpful but not too easy. My hint ended up being “4+2=” and most people correctly guessed his name was Six. Our audience loved this post, not only because they got to interact with us and each other but also because they got to learn more about a police dog.
This post was a two-for-one engagement driver. Not only did we ask people to comment True or False, we also asked our audience to visit the blog post on our website to learn more about skunks. (Oh and the answer is True.)
This post drove engagement and educated pet owners about micro chipping. Polls on Facebook Pages are a relatively new feature and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to ask our audience a simple question and try out this type of content.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MedVet.

Uncategorized

My next chapter

I’m proud to announce that I’ve accepted a new position at MedVet as their Digital Marketing Specialist. I can’t wait to join their talented team and help lead the way in specialty healthcare for pets.

I don’t have a dog yet. But I’ve developed quite the dog shrine in my living room.

2019, columbus, marketing, Uncategorized

What I learned at interact19

img_4975

Yesterday, I went to a digital marketing conference in Columbus called interact19. I’ve been to several conferences before and I can honestly say this was one of the best I’ve attended. Every presentation and speaker was filled with actionable knowledge that I could take back and apply to my workplace. So many of the tips were practical and cost-effective, requiring just time and skill. 

I’m starting a new job later this month and in my interview, my future manager asked if I knew anything about Voice Search and I said I wasn’t that familiar with it and needed to do more research about it. Well at this conference, two of the speakers talked in-depth about the state of voice search, how to use it and where it’s going in the future. Now, I have practical information I can tell my new boss about how we should be using voice search. By attending, I learned something I can apply in my job and I can show that I’m staying up to date on marketing trends and best practices.

I definitely would recommend this conference and want to go back next year. I’m grateful to Volunteers of America for making it possible for me to attend. 

I want to share what I took away from each session at yesterday’s conference:

Opening + Morning Keynote: Be Mighty by John Fimiani

  • Unify around the brand promise
  • Best Buy was able to turn around their business by focusing on human relationships and creating human experiences
  • It’s more important to be human than it is to sell.
  • The University of Oregon was able to redefine themselves by investing in simple branding and aligning around a purpose. Now everyone knows that Oregon Football = Faster.

The 1% Content Strategy: Combining the top SEO and lead gen tactics to statistically beat 99% of content programs by Andy Crestodina

  • People link to helpful blog posts
  • When people link to your blog, that causes page authority and is link building
  1. Publish your mission
    • Our content is where [audience] gets [information] that offers [benefits]
      • Content mission formula :Where __ find ___ for ____
      • Our content is where moms get tips on how to save money
      • Marketers are more successful when they have a content mission statement.
    • Answer the webpage visitor’s question “Why am I here?”  Why is your visitor on your page?  Spell it out on your webpage. 
    • Your email sign up link should be
      • Prominent- big and on every page
      • Promising – what will they get when they sign up?
      • Proof- how many current subscribers are there?
      • CTA- Sign Me Up
    • Your social bio is your promise to your followers
  2. Find topics they’ll love
    • What does my audience want?
      • Data-driven empathy
      • Use Google autocomplete
        • “Audience” ______
      • Use keyword tool:  www.keywordtool.io to find relevant keywords and blog ideas
      • Use https://answerthepublic.com/ tool
      • Use https://www.quora.com/ tool
      • Make a list of topic ideas, sorted from least detailed to most detailed
        • High-level list posts
        • Overview of a specific topic
        • In-depth detailed posts
  3. Create Original Research
    • Well-researched and evidenced content
    • Original research gets linked to the most
      • It’s like a citation used in a bibliography
    • Observation: you’re contributing to the conversation
    • Survey: gather new data
    • What are the assumptions in your industry that are lacking data?
    • 10x effort = 100x results
    • Spend more time creating better quality blogs
    • Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long.
    • Most successful content creators:
      • Write 2,000+ word articles
      • Publish more than weekly
      • Spend 6+ hours per article
      • Write guest posts
      • Publish original research
      • Collaborate with influencers
      • Add videos to articles
  4. Write for your prospects
    • What questions is your audience asking?
    • Create content that answers their questions.
    • Talk to other people in your organization to find these FAQ
  5. Upgrade the visuals
    • Infographics, diagrams, graphs, memes
    • Let’s turn our top _____ into ______
      • Let’s turn our top blog post into a video
    • Testimonials using your keywords are gold
    • Test email subject lines on social
    • Update, repurpose high performing content
  6. Collaborate with influencers
    • Influencers who link to your website is gold
    • To find influencers search “your topic” + “blogger” “writer” “author”
    • Use https://followerwonk.com/ tool
    • Use https://buzzsumo.com/ tool
    • Work with influencers for
      • Deep dive interview
        • People love to be interviewed
        • They’ll be flattered
      • Use their quote in your blog
        • Include the influencer in your content
        • Single Point of View content is a thing of the past. Think of it, a news article would never use just one source. You should use multiple sources too.
        • Use a headshot with their quote
  7. Write for other websites
    • Guest blog, collaborate
    • Write an article for them, send it to them.
      • “Here I wrote this for you. Here you go.”
    • Pitch to podcast hosts
    • Repurpose How-To articles into How-Not-To articles to be published on other websites

Research who is linking to your site.  

Research how many links your competitors have.

If you make content that’s Mission Driven, Research Anchored, Influencer Powered, and PR Focused, you’ll be in the 1%

SearchSocial
Long form textCompelling visuals
Answers questionsTriggers emotion
Meets expectationsUnexpected
😬😐
Looking, huntingUnplanned, waiting
Expert quotesinfluencers

 

Growth by Content: Driving Massive Traffic Without a Big Budget by Nadya Khoja

  • Content marketing is easier and cheaper than buying social ads
  1. Goals
    • Set multiple specific goals, like high domain authority, more traffic, higher conversions
    • One piece of content will not meet all of these goals. You need to create content for each goal.
      • One content per goal, not one content all goals
      • You can’t just brainstorm fun ideas to write about.
    • Goal: Domain authority  (your site’s reputation and credibility)
      • Make viral, editorial content
    • Goal: Conversions
      • Make how-to content
    • Goal: Traffic
      • Make inspirational content that will rank for long tail keywords
      • One in-depth content piece for many keywords
      • Publish new information and data
  2. Research
    • You don’t have to write ALL the things
    • Start with keyword research
    • Make content that’s connected to your landing page (or pillar page) that meets your goals
    • Make a spreadsheet with
      • Search term categories  (Words) Your Pillar Term
      • Average monthly searches (#)
      • Difficulty (High, Medium, Low)
      • Keywords related to categories
      • Search terms  
  3. Authority
    • Get high-quality backlinks, focus on link building
    • Guest blogging can help you get backlinks and authority
    • Use https://ahrefs.com/  SEO tool
    • Use https://mailshake.com/ to send a pitch email to ask for links
      • “Hey, can I give you something if you link to us?”
      • Build relationships
      • Offer value in your outreach, give them something
      • Find content that already mentions the keyword you want to rank for. If they don’t have that keyword linked, email them and ask
      • Cold outreach has about a 3-5% success rate
      • Don’t sound like a robot in your cold emails, be yourself
      • Link building is a long term strategy
  4. Promotion
    • 80% time spent on promoting content and 20% of time spent creating

 

The Future of Voice and Its Impact on Content by Adam Deardurff

  • Alexa, Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Bixby
  • Most people use voice for Music, Weather, Fun Questions, Search, Alarms, News, Calls
  • Google serves up Position Zero aka Featured Snippet in voice searches
  • How to get a featured snippet
    • Research FAQ and common searches
    • Answer FAQs on your website
    • Use schema.org markup    
    • Follow baseline SEO best practices
      • Have a Google My Business page
  • Podcasts are growing, especially among ages 12-24 years
  • Consider hosting an internal podcast for employees
  • How to leverage podcasts
    • Understand your audience
    • Explore podcast advertising networks
    • Reach out directly to targeted podcasts
    • Start creating your own
    • Be a guest on a podcast
  • Start talking to your voice speaker. Learn about its capabilities
  • Get specific with your content. Be the Waldo.
  • Get your product audible
    • Podcast ads
    • Influencer marketing
  • Give your people a voice
    • Highlight top employees and corporate culture
  • Accessibility and security

Five Hot Digital Marketing Trends and How They Impact You by Pam Didner

  1. Voice search
    • Optimize text and voice search for how you talk
    • Longer inquiries, shorter answers
    • Use local search like Google My Business
    • Voice is another form of content
    • Explore questions that are likely to be asked
    • Put voice search and voice content in your annual marketing plan
    • Look into Alexa for Business and Google Home for Business
  2. Add intelligence to products
    • Voice controlled microwave
    • Smart plugs to make basic appliances smart
  3. Product Personalization
  4. AI
    • Using AI for lead gens, follow-ups and chatbots
  5. Marketing fundamentals haven’t changed

 

img_4976

How to Be Remarkable: The Unusual Yet Proven Path to Marketing Success by
Andrew & Pete

  • 90% of your effort should be on doing something remarkably well
  • 10% should be spent experimenting
  • Posting something is not better than nothing
    • A successful blogger, SEO pro only has 50 blog posts but generates 200,000 page views
    • He writes long pieces
    • He only makes a new blog when he’s happy with his current blog’s page rankings
  • People who spread themselves thin don’t win
    • You don’t need to be on every platform
    • You can’t do everything well
    • Do one thing remarkably well
  • Make relatable content
    • Lean into the reaction spikes you see.
    • Do more of what’s working
    • Listen to your audience and give them what they want.
  • Reallocate your efforts
    • Readjust your strategy based on where your audience is moving
    • A brand moved from Snapchat to Instagram Stories
    • It’s scary to drop a channel or stop doing something but data will guide your decision
  • Consistency
    • YouTubers promise new content weekly “new videos every Tuesday” giving their audience a reason to come back
  • Create fun content
    • Do you enjoy marketing?
    • Find the Fun
Uncategorized

Grand Opening of the Pickerington Thrift Store

I feel like since 2019 began, I’ve been spending the majority of my time focusing on our new Pickerington thrift store. I worked with our architecture firm and DaNite signs to map out where and what our branding and signage would look like inside the store. This involved helping to choose paint colors, designs and size of the signs, even to placement inside the store.

Now, we’ve announced that we’re opening our doors on March 29 and I’m overwhelmed by the response to our Facebook Event. I made the event and scheduled it to go live as soon as I finished our Instagram Live announcement.

Me leading our Instagram Live announcement

Nicole and I went to the store on March 12 to do Instagram Live at noon. With live videos, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You got to roll with it and recover. We realized our video hadn’t been recording for the 5-10 minutes I’d been walking around talking. Okay, take two. I held my phone, talked to the camera, and showed our followers around the thrift store. I always learn something when I do a live video, whether for Facebook or Instagram.

I ran an ad to promote event sign ups but didn’t expect it to take off like wildfire. I made the event ad on Friday and there were maybe 30 people interested. I check the event ad on Monday morning and there’s over 800 people Interested! Whoa. Now, on Wednesday (still 9 days from the opening) there’s 189 Going and 2.6K Interested!


This event went viral for us
I love reading the comments. People are tagging their friends and family members.
I’m taking this opportunity to Invite everyone to Like Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana. I’ve found this is a great way to increase your followers.
It’s important to me to answer user’s questions and concerns. It’s rewarding to hear how much our audience loves VOA.
Monitoring these posts to answer questions is so important.
I’m working to respond to everyone who asks a question in the Event page.

2019

Two Years at VOA

Today’s my two year work anniversary at Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana!

Reflecting back, I’ve grown a lot in this role. I went from writing social media posts in Excel that needed to be approved each week to leading social media campaigns and projects in a paid software. I made the decision to start using Instagram as a brand and have grown our followers from a mere 30 people to over 700! My manager Stephanie left in the spring of 2018. She helped me grow so much in this role. She supported and encouraged me to try new things. I definitely miss her sometimes.

Our Development & Communications team has elevated the Volunteers of America brand throughout the community. Last year, a record number of backpacks were donated to Operation Backpack and we merged with our Indiana affiliate. I helped rebrand our social media accounts and merge our websites together.

I’ve loved managing our social media strategy, creating content and interacting with our enthusiastic audience. We have followers who are wildly passionate about Volunteers of America, our mission and our thrift stores. One of my favorite parts of my jobs is messaging people who love VOA and thrift shopping just as much as I do.

I’m thankful for my time at VOA and how much I’ve learned and grown.

No alt text provided for this image
2019, About Me, blog, blog post, blogpost, myblog, personal

An unforgettable Valentine’s Day

Nate surprised me with an unforgettable Valentine’s Day. I feel so loved.

He picked me up after work and we drove to campus. The whole drive, I was trying to guess what we were doing and where we were going. We parked at Chadwick Arboretum, where we had a picnic on our second date. Nate told me he had an evening planned walking down memory lane. I started to tear up; it was just so thoughtful. We strolled around the pond at Chadwick, talking about who we were back then and how we were both so nervous and unsure where the relationship would go.

I remember that after the picnic, almost three years ago, we went to the Chocolate Café. So, on our walk down memory lane, that’s where we went next! Okay, we weren’t the only ones with the idea to go to the Chocolate Café on Valentine’s Day but the wait wasn’t that bad. I ordered the lobster bisque soup and a Dirty Girl Scout martini. Nate ordered a dirty martini, the special sandwich which was pulled pork, mango and habanero with a side of cream of mushroom soup. I never get tired of talking to Nate. We always find new things to learn about each other. We talked about our babysitters when we were little. I liked babysitters because they’d ask me what I wanted to do and Nate said he’d just walk over to a friend’s house and didn’t really have babysitters.

Nate warned me that the last thing on our itinerary had a set start time but it was okay if we were late. What could it be? He told me we’d been there before, there’d be food available, and it would probably end around 10pm. I had no clue. We drove back home and parked. That’s when I connected the dots that we were going to a Blue Jackets game. I’d get to see my other Valentine, Cam Atkinson! It was so sweet of Nate to surprise me with hockey tickets. We got there at the end of first period. The guy next to us had a thick British accent and kept yelling very British things like “rough ‘em up, lads!” and “Come on, lads.” I got a tub of popcorn at the end of the second period and ate about half of it. The Blue Jackets weren’t playing their best and lost 0-3 to the New York Islanders. Oh well.

I still had a memorable and romantic evening. We came home and watched some old Pixar shorts that I had on DVD.       

2019, blog, blog post, blogpost, Uncategorized, work, work sample

Blog Post I wrote for Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana

For Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana, I wrote a blog post essentially about how to be the best at donating to a thrift store. I was inspired by my own personal experience of donating to a thrift store. When I would gather up the clothes in my closet to donate, I wondered things like “Should I wash them first?” “Should I tie shoelaces of shoes together so they stay together?” “Should I keep jewelry untangled?”  I wanted to answer these questions for our donors and I knew that answering these questions would help our SEO too. With people asking more and more long-form questions in search, your content needs to answer what people are asking.

I had learned a lot of these answers from responding to questions on social media and by speaking with our thrift store managers. I double-checked these tips with the managers to make sure I wasn’t giving false or misleading information.

 

11 Tips to Maximize Your Thrift Store Donation

11 Tips to Maximize Your Thrift Store Donation
I made the graphic in Canva

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get your life organized? Perhaps you’re tidying up your home, inspired by Marie Kondo and her life-changing KonMari method. When you get organized and declutter your home that creates piles of unwanted stuff that needs to be donated to the thrift store.

With every donation that you make to Volunteers of America thrift stores, you are giving hope to families, veterans and individuals in need. Your stuff is sold in our thrift stores and the revenue is used to fund our community programs across Ohio and Indiana. Thank you for donating your items to Volunteers of America, a 100% non-profit thrift store.

CHECK OUT THESE TIPS TO MAKE YOUR NEXT THRIFT STORE DONATION QUICK AND EASY:

Capri donating her stuff to Volunteers of America

Wash clothes before donating

Toss them in the laundry one last time before donating them. This will ensure the clothes are clean, fresh smelling and ready to be sold in our thrift store.

Check your pockets

Double-check that you’ve removed any coins, business cards, receipts, keys, notes or important items from your clothing. Once donations start going through our sorting process, it becomes hard to track them down again. So, as much as we would love to find a $20 cash donation in one of your pants pockets, make sure you check your pockets.

Tie your shoes together

Keep shoes as a pair by tying shoelaces together or putting a rubber band around the shoes. We need both shoes in order to sell them in our thrift store. Have you ever seen just one shoe for sale in any of our thrift stores? Now, that would just be sad.

Tape the controller to your device

If you’re donating a TV with a remote, be sure to tape the remote to the TV so it stays together. The same goes for video game systems or other electronics. Keep all pieces together. Pay it forward to the shopper who will buy your TV and give them the remote.

Keep like items together

If you’re donating a set of dishes or like items, pack them in the same bag or box so they arrive at our donation center together. Y’know what they say, dishes of a feather, flock together.

Sort your donations into two categories

You can help us out by sorting your donations into two easy categories: Clothing and Household Items. Place all your jeans, shirts, socks, dresses, linens, and anything that has fabric into one bag. In the other bag, place the kitchen, household and miscellaneous items. Bonus points for labeling your boxes or bags! This will help us when we sort your donations.

Keep jewelry untangled in small bags

Place jewelry like necklaces and bracelets in individual bags so they don’t get tangled up together. Nothing is worse than a big ball of tangled up jewelry, right?

Label your fragile donations

Mark on the box if items inside are fragile. We don’t want any of your stuff to be broken!

Double-check your donations before you drop off

Before you load up your car or contact us to schedule a free home pickup, check our list of items that we do pickup and our list of items that we do not accept.

Note that we’re not able to accept donations of certain items like mattresses, pianos, beds, chemicals, or large appliances.

We also can’t accept broken, hazardous, toxic or recalled items for safety reasons. Examples of these items include old paint, cribs, car seats, or fire extinguishers.

When we receive donations of items that we don’t accept, we have to spend money properly disposing of those items. This means, less money to help veterans in our community.

If you’d like to donate something that we do not accept, you can reach out to another non-profit thrift store or your local trash company, and they might be able to take it away. Often you can contact their customer service center to schedule bulk item pickups. In Columbus, Ohio you can contact the City of Columbus Customer Service Center by calling 311 or 645-3111, or online at www.311.columbus.gov

Marie Kondo and her life-changing KonMari method of tidying
One of my favorite Instagram posts from @voathrift

Schedule a hassle-free pick up

Scheduling a home pickup is the best way to avoid driving around for weeks with your old stuff in trash bags in your trunk. We’ll pick up your donations, no problem. Schedule your free pick-up by calling us at 1-800-873-4505 or emailing us at askthrift@voago.org.

Be sure to leave your items out in a spot that’s visible to our truck drivers. You can leave your stuff on the curb, on your porch or any spot that a driver would easily be able to see.

We can pick up anything on our list of accepted items that one man can lift.

Get a tax-deductible donation receipt

When you drop off your donations at one of our thrift store locations, be sure to ask an employee for a donation receipt. This will come in handy if you choose to itemize your taxes and would like to deduct your donations.

Tip: Take a picture of your items before you donate them. Show your tax professional the picture for help in determining the value of your items.

The value of your donations depends on the specific items and their condition. Be sure to use the current fair market value to determine their value. The IRS has a handy guidebook to help you determine the value of your donated stuff.

If you forget to grab a receipt, that’s not a problem. We are happy to send you one. Give us a call at 1-800-873-4505 or email askthrift@voago.org

When you donate your stuff to a non-profit organization like Volunteers of America, you can easily help your community thrive. So clear out your closet, find a Volunteers of America thrift store near you, and do your part to make your community a brighter place.

SCHEDULE YOUR FREE DONATION PICK UP TODAY

social media, work, work sample

LinkedIn Paid Advertising

After merging with Indiana, Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has been growing at a rapid pace and we have a lot of job openings right now. To assist HR with finding qualified applicants for these positions, I ran a paid campaign on LinkedIn from 12/27 to 1/2/2019, targeting people in Evansville, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus with the listed job function of Community and Social Services. (These are the cities we are hiring in.)

For the Text Ads, since you could have multiple variations, I used this as an opportunity to do some A/B testing with the language, the links and the creative.

Three of the Text Ads took people to: https://www.voaohin.org/careers  and three of the ads took people directly to the job listing page. I used a Bitly link to shorten the job listings page.  The top two performing ads pointed visitors to https://www.voaohin.org/careers  

Sponsored Content on LinkedIn. I made the image and wrote the copy.

We ran 5 versions of Text ads on LinkedIn and it’s clear the one with “We’re Hiring” in the headline performed best.

The Text Ad variations. The top performing ad had over 20,000 impressions and 14 clicks.

I definitely want to do more paid advertising on LinkedIn to recruit applicants and to do more A/B Testing.