Social Media

Benefits of a Social Media Management Tool

If you’ve ever tried to manage multiple social media profiles on multiple platforms, you know how quickly it can overwhelm your day. You could outsource to a marketing company, or hire a teenaged intern. But what if there was a way you could more easily maintain your profiles without spending a lot of money. That’s where a good Social Media Management Tool comes in.

There are lots to choose from, but I’ve had great success with Hootsuite. Not only does it have a great feature set and integrate with many platforms, but it has a great free option. In the free option you are limited to 3 platforms and can only schedule ahead 30 posts. The paid models include expanded limitations there as well as additional features.

Why to use a Social Media Management Tool

  1. Schedule ahead. No longer will you scramble to remember to post certain message on certain days. You can set up your Veteran’s Day post months in advance and schedule it to go live at the appropriate day and hour. Just be careful if you schedule too far out in advance that there aren’t any sudden current events that could make the context of your post seem inappropriate.
  2. Create an editorial calendar. Similar to scheduling ahead you can plan ahead. Instead of social media being a daily chore, you and your team can meet once a month and plan out the editorial calendar in a few hours. That makes it seem much more manageable when you’re sticking to a plan versus hunting for fresh content constantly.
  3. Easily collaborate. If you share the social media task with one or more people, you might accidentally post at the same time or duplicate messages. Scheduling ahead will let your collaborators see what messages are planned for the week and maybe they can opt to fill in gaps in the schedule, or ask you to move your post to another day.
  4. Cross-post your message. While I’ve advocated against straight cross-posting, it is still easier to hit multiple sites from a consolidated user interface. You can copy and paste your message onto Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all from the same screen and that’s easier that remembering 3 logins and going to 3 different sites.

If you could use a boost to your productivity, or find social media to be a necessary burden, give a Social Media Management Tool a try!

Graphic Design

Logomarks vs. Logotypes

When designing a new logo, two main components to consider are logomarks and logotypes. You can have just one, or both. Understanding the difference will help you work with a logo designer to get the most appropriate end result for your brand or organization.

What is the difference between a logomark and a logotype?

Dijon Marketing logo

Using the Dijon Marketing logo as an example, you can see two distinct elements. The first is the circular icon resembling an uppercase cursive D. This is the logomark. The text to the right of that then would be considered logotype. The logotype can be as simple as a font, but usually involves some additional styling or flourish. In my logo, I use Roboto font with specific font weights, specific ratio of font sizes, and some additional kerning on the word “Marketing” for a more uniform width.

Do I need a logomark or logotype?

You certain can have a standalone logomark. Some of the most famous brands in the world do. Can you picture the logomark for Nike, Apple, or Target? The use of a logomark alone is best suited for well known brands. If you are just starting out, it may be difficult for people to recognize you without a logotype.

You can also have a standalone logotype. This is one of the most often requested when I start on a new logo design with a client. They most want just the name of their brand to be the logo. But I always say, “A font is not a logo.” You need a bit more than just choosing a font and a color if you’re going to go with only logotype.

The best of both worlds

The best solution in almost every case is a combination of a logomark and logotype. The logomark is iconic, bold, and recognizable. The logotype assists in new brands getting their name associated with the logomark. The other advantage is that you have the ability to create different sizes and combinations of the two elements for Responsive Logo Design. You can keep your branding regardless of the screen or print size you are dealing with.

Best Practices

How to maintain a blog long term

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Many well intended authors set up a blog, feverishly post to it for a few weeks or months, and then abandon it altogether. The main purpose of a blog (like on this website) is to keep fresh content and ideas, and to expand the footprint of an otherwise small website. Additional thought leadership pieces can introduce new keywords and bring new audiences to your page. Finding a stagnant blog that has gone 2 years without a new post, however, can do just as much harm as a maintained blog can do good.

The important thing is to post regularly. But “regularly” just means … regularly. Not often. Not daily. I post on this blog every 18 days, give or take. That gives me time to think of new topics. It gives me a little break between blogs. And it is not too taxing. The reason I chose this topic for today is that it is now the 3 year anniversary of posting every 18 days. Obviously, it has been quite sustainable.

Tips for keeping a blog going

  1. Set a cadence you can easily maintain. Even if you have a ton of ideas right now, there will come a day that the well runs dry. You want to give yourself ample time to discover new topics.
  2. Don’t post every idea all at once. If you have 50 great ideas for blogs, congrats! That means you have 50 or 100 weeks of content queued up. Having a backlog of great topics you can’t wait to write about is a good thing. Don’t squander it too quickly.
  3. Maintain an editorial calendar. Posting regularly doesn’t have to be quite as strict as my every-18-day rule. But it should be spaced somewhat evenly. Don’t do 3 blogs today and then none for 5 months.
  4. Keep a backlog of topics. When you think of the next great topic, add it to the list. Then when it’s time to write your next blog, you can review that list and pick your favorite or most timely.
  5. Write. Don’t wait for inspiration. Don’t hope you feel like it tomorrow. Be disciplined. The hardest part to writing is getting start. So sit down, and write.
  6. Don’t obsess. This is blog content. Get your idea across. Inspire some thoughts, then move on to the next. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can always edit it later if you need to.

I’ve seen far too many blogs putter out and die after far too short of a time. Following these few helpful hints should help you extend your influence out over several years, increasing your footprint, benefiting SEO, and representing your brand!

Best Practices

North Texas Giving Day 2020

Today is North Texas Giving Day – an 18-hour long fundraising push for nonprofits in the North Texas area. Over 3300 different nonprofits have registered with the organization to receive donations through this event and their website. You can search by county, city, cause area, demographics served, organization size, and more.

Visit NorthTexasGivingDay.org to search and pledge donations directly to the causes that resonate the most with you. Especially during the pandemic, a lot of nonprofits have seen an increased need. Unfortunately, that has coincided with a decrease in their typical revenue streams. This virtual event is a great way to revitalize organizations. Your dollars go directly to those doing the most impactful work on the ground in your community.

Client Profile

Choose to Love, Inc. Website Launch

I am proud to help announce the launch of a brand new website and non-profit, Choose To Love, Inc. Their mission is to ensure that children of low-income and marginalized communities have a fair chance at achieving their full health and wellness potential.

Have you ever heard the term “social determinants of health?” In a nutshell, it describes all of the things outside of the doctor’s office that play a role in your well being. Everything from school to home cleanliness to regular nutrition. For low-income kids, a lot of times these factors pit them in an uphill battle towards healthy living.

Choose To Love, Inc. aims to change all that. Through community generosity, they will be able to schedule home visits and determine the best course of action for each case. If a child suffers from asthma everything from a new vacuum cleaner to smoking cessation programs could be offered.

Choose To Love, Inc.

It’s a wonderful cause and a message I was proud to help bring to the world through their new logo and website, ChooseToLoveHealth.org. Take a look, learn more about their flagship program, and help spread the word!

Best Practices

LastPass Unveils updated Security Dashboard

LastPass, one of the top password management providers, has given their Security Dashboard a face lift! With this handy tool, you can prioritize maintenance of your passwords and eliminate weak, old, or repeated passwords. The new Security Dashboard is available from a link in the left-hand navigation of your LastPass Vault. It integrates much better into the vault than the previous password checker.

Security score

First, you’ll see an overview of your Security Score from 0-100%. To receive a perfect score:

  • Enable Multifactor Authentication
  • Disable offline access
  • Restrict devices
  • 50 passwords with no old, repeated, or weak

Click on “View passwords” to see an individual evaluation for each. They are grouped into categories requiring attention. You can then filter to focus on Weak, Missing, Reused, or Old. Many larger, popular sites will have an option to auto-update your password. No effort for you! Others may require you to navigate to the site and manually go through their password update process.

Dark web monitoring

Another great feature available is dark web monitoring. Sounds spooky and cybernetic. Really, it just means that any of the email addresses associated with your accounts are added to a monitored list. Any high profile breaches or leaked data will be checked to see if you have been impacted. Most of the time, encrypted data ensures your plain text password remains safe. However, even hashed passwords can sometimes be reverse engineered if they are common or weak. With dark web monitoring, you can change the potentially compromised password immediately (and upgrade it if needed).

Give the new LastPass Security Dashboard a spin. If you haven’t implemented any password management in your life, maybe this is a good time to try their product absolutely free. You’ll see all the benefits a well organized and managed password list can bring!

Best Practices

Yoast Readability Score

The Yoast WordPress Plugin is most known as the most popular SEO tool. But don’t overlook the Readability Score tool included with it. It will make your content easier to read, and could thus indirectly improve the SEO by increasing the number of shares or the time each visitor spends on your site consuming that content.

Readability aspects Yoast checks

  • Subheading distribution. See above. I sectioned off my list of checks with a subheading. That helps you key in faster on the info you want.
  • Flesch Reading Ease. This is a score between 0 and 100 that predicts how easy your content is to read. It looks at both sentence length and also how many polysyllabic words you use. (Using that word is going to hurt my score.)
  • Passive voice. This one is the hardest for me and makes the biggest improvement in my writing when I pay attention to it. “Limiting passive voice can make an improvement in your writing,” sounds better if you say, “Limiting passive voice improves your writing.”
  • Sentence length. Chopping up long, complicated sentences makes consumption faster and easier. If you are targeting a global audience, it is also generally better Global English and makes machine translation more accurate.
  • Paragraph length. Same as dividing up your sentences, giant monolithic blobs of text are hard on the eyes. A few line breaks can help people skim your content and find what they’re looking for more easily.
  • Transition words. I get docked for this one often because I’m not writing narratives. I am often listing technical aspects and don’t use a lot of flourishes like “therefore,” “hence,” or “thus.” Sometimes I ignore this suggestion.
  • Consecutive sentences. If I write like this. If I use repetition. If I don’t vary my sentence structure. If I flagrantly violate the rules. Then you can see why consecutive sentences is a check.

Yoast Readability Score Screenshot

As you type, your readability score will automatically update. You may notice that as you correct one issue, another pops up. Perhaps when you divided that sentence into two, you used passive voice without a transition.

The first time I paid attention to my readability score, I thought it wasn’t helpful. How can automated rules improve my writing. But over time, I’ve come to find it a handy tool. The end result of my articles are often much improved from the first draft just by improving my readability score. Check out the Yoast SEO Plugin if you haven’t before and start taking advantage of the Readability Scores on your website!

Best Practices

Using Permalinks in WordPress

A permalink is exactly what the portmanteau suggests – a permanent link. All WordPress content, whether it’s a post or a page, has a permalink. That lets you easily create internal links and to build a backlink portfolio for SEO. But there are a few tips for making the best use of permalinks.

WordPress General Settings for Posts

Each new post can be assigned a permalink in a few different ways. Navigate to Settings > Permalinks from the main WordPress menu. There you will see options for:

  • Plain /?p=123 (bad choice)
  • Day and name /2020/20/08/sample-post/
  • Month and name /2020/08/sample-post/
  • Numeric /archives/123 (bad choice)
  • Post name /sample-post/
  • Custom Structure

You’ll notice I’ve marked anything that uses numbers to represent your blog posts as a bad choice. The URL can be configured to contain keywords that you want to rank for. Giving up the opportunity to add keywords to your URL is a mistake. Be sure you’ve selected one that uses the post name. On my blog, I use a custom structure of /blog/%postname%/.

Edit a Permalink

In both a post and a page, the Document Settings > Permalink will allow you to edit the permalink after it’s been generated. It will default to the post or page name, forced to lowercase, and separated by dashes. For example: using-permalinks-in-wordpress. If you want to change that, you can do it from the URL Slug under Permalink Document Settings.

Just be careful that you either create a 301 permanent redirect or that you’ve set up your redirect plugin to automatically create redirects when you change a URL Slug. If it’s a brand new piece of content there’s no risk, but if it’s been indexed by Google or linked to by someone else, those links will break when the permalink changes.

Just a few easy settings, and little bit of forethought will have you with attractive, easy to read, high CTR links in Google results!

Best Practices

Volunteer Management System Features

Almost every nonprofit charity lives and dies by its volunteers. As your organization grows, eventually you are going to need to find a way to manage those volunteers. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the task, that’s a great problem to have! Online volunteer management systems, like Volgistics or BetterImpact, come with a host of features to make the life of a coordinator easier.

Reasons to have a volunteer management system

  1. Maintain a single source of truth for volunteer contact information and availability that users can update themselves as needed
  2. Use a centralized communication platform. Your message arrives in print, email, or text format at the preferred recipient address.
  3. Empower volunteers to self-schedule. They can view available time slots, assign or remove themselves, and free you from the task
  4. Recognize, reward, and celebrate milestones in volunteering

After you’ve implemented a volunteer management system, it frees you up for more important tasks. Let volunteers manage their own data and scheduling. You can set up a sign-in kiosk or just auto-crediting hours to individuals. Then you can gamify things like adding badges to name tags or sending out birthday or hour-milestone emails automatically. The benefits of an online, secure, self-service portal definitely justify the cost, so take a look at some options today!

Client Profile

Dallas Hope Charities Collective Hope Coalition

Dallas Hope Charities announced this week the creation of a new LGBTQ suicide prevention program – Dallas Hope Coalition. This is the first of its kind for a couple of reasons.

First, the focus is local. Other resources operate at the national level, but the idea is to keep a focus on Dallas County. Second, they will aim to eliminate or mitigate underlying causes of suicide in addition to intervention or prevention. This includes addressing everything from food insecurity to housing needs. This is especially important for the LGBTQ community who can often find themselves suddenly homeless (and hopeless) if coming out to their families does not go well.

This fits well with the overall mission of Dallas Hope Charities to provide food, shelter, and services that instill dignity, stability, and Hope For All.

To learn more about the Collective Hope Coalition, or to view volunteering or donating opportunities, visit DallasHopeCharities.org.