Tag Archives: Social Fabric

The Blogger’s Playbook (Free eBook!)

As an influencer content marketing company that partners with and employs incredible social influencers and bloggers, we’d like to think we know a thing or two (or 200+) about blogging. With droves of new blogs popping up everyday, we decided to put tried-and-true knowledge out there for the newbies, the veterans, and everyone in between (for free!)

We present to you…

Don’t Fall Down the Rabbit Hole: The Blogger’s Playbook

2016-02-24

This Ebook contains over 400 pages of tips on everything you might need to know about running a successful blog including:

  • how to build an engaged community
  • ways to drive traffic
  • syndication tricks
  • social platform breakdowns
  • how to make money
  • and more!

Each chapter was written by bloggers for bloggers. Our Social Fabric community is filled with the most creative and hardworking influencers out there, so who better to put pen to paper about establishing top-notch personal blog brands? The kicker? Each download = $1 donated to fight child hunger.

Ready to make 2016 the year your blog skyrockets? Click here to download the ebook today. Don’t forget to check back on our blog each month where we will be featuring a different chapter addressing key blogging topics.

 





Influencer Marketing, Shopper Marketing, Shopper Social Media, Content Marketing, Collective Bias, 12 Ways to Kill Authentic Content




3 Apps for Planning Your Black Friday Expedition

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. You’re still full from multiple plates of casseroles and pies. You’ve been having dreams (or nightmares) of shopping crowds and checkout lines that seem never ending. But you can’t turn down a day of deals; you crave the clearance stickers and percentage off signs. You get up, get your most comfortable crowd-fighting gear on and take on Black Friday.

Black Friday has the opportunity to be overwhelming to consumers, but 51 percent of US shoppers say they love the excitement created around Black Friday deals, according to hhgregg’s annual shopping survey. In fact, two-thirds of Millennials even report getting a rush out of Black Friday deals. The notorious shopping day is becoming more popular with groups of all ages, especially Millennials.

Shoppers are looking forward to Black Friday more every year, but it always helps to have a few shopping tips in reserve. There are several apps available to help Black Friday shoppers prepare, organize and find additional deals while saving time.

TGI Black Friday 2015

TGI Black Friday 2015 is the ultimate shopper’s guide to navigating Black Friday deals before ever stepping in the store. The app allows you to view deals by store, category, general coupons or by using the search option. Most major retailers are featured on the app including Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy and more. You can even compare prices online and create a shopping list to mark off items as you buy in-store.

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Black Friday

FatWallet’s Black Friday app allow you to plan out your shopping trip by viewing ad scans of your favorite stores and brands. Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday deals are also included in this app. Want to know what time a store opens on Black Friday? This app can tell you. Don’t want to shop in-store? You can purchase Black Friday deals through the app.

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Waze

The deals keep getting better on Black Friday, but the traffic gets worse. Waze is a real-time traffic app that keeps you updated on the best routes. Accidents, road closures, stopped police officers and other hazards are reported through the app alerting you as you drive. You can also share your route with friends to notify them of your ETA and location, a perfect tool for meeting up with friends for a day of shopping.  

Sweet Success of Pairing Sweets and Content

Infographics by Blake Reynolds

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Stellar news for brands and retailers: sweets purchases during the week of a national holiday are also steadily growing. In fact, 17.9% of all candy sales for last year occurred during the top five weeks. What were these top five sales weeks, you ask?

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How can brands and retailers increase holiday-specific sweets sales even more?

Cater to your audience and don’t forget the smaller holidays where people will be on the lookout for sweets to pair with their celebrations. The most personal way to cater to your consumers is through social influencers. In fact, 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions, according to Nielsen. Check out these incredible Food Network-worthy recipes made by Social Fabric influencers using their favorite sweets for their most personal moments.

For Purim, a Jewish holiday, Michelle at Delicate Construction took a traditional treat called Hamantaschen and added… M&M’s Crispy!

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As a fun, all-American treat, Dana at This Silly Girl’s Life whipped up Twix Bites Whoopie Pies for Memorial Day!

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When turkey time trots around, why not add a dash of sweetness? Alexa at He & I crafted some incredible looking Thanksgiving OREO balls.

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Beyond The Mommy Blogger: 7 Bloggers Breaking The Mold

Written by Stephanie Glover

The blogging industry is booming with millions of blogs existing on the web. A vast majority of these bloggers are those that would fall under the category of “mommy bloggers.” While the term “mommy blogger” may stir up negative connotations to some, it only begins to scratch the surface of the variety of bloggers that are out there.

There is so much more to bloggers than cute pictures of their kids and product reviews. Many bloggers who once would have been categorized as a mommy blogger have broken through and expanded their focus on other areas like lifestyle, fashion, DIY, and even finance. There are many influential bloggers who have crossed over the mommy blogger line and are proving how valuable they are to brands.

Below are 7 bloggers who are breaking through to the other side and redefining the term “mommy blogger.”

Adrianne Lentine of Dream Book Design

Dream Book Design is a DIY home design and parenting blog. Adrianne and her husband started their blog journey by fixing up their old 1950s home DIY style, and have moved on to a second home and now professionally flip homes. Not only do they blog their home designs, they document parenting their two young boys.

Colleen Kennedy of Souffle Bombay

Colleen writes the food blog Souffle Bombay, where she shares fabulous recipes that anyone can make for any occasion. Her 10 year old daughter Samantha is often at her side and occasionally takes over her mom’s blog, sharing her own experiences in the kitchen. Colleen authored a unique children’s cookbook which was sold on QVC.

Aleah Milham of Premeditated Leftovers

Alea Milham is the owner of Premeditated Leftovers. She encourages her readers to make the most of their time and resources to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. She enjoys creating recipes, gardening, and DIY projects.

Davida Kugelmass of The Healthy Maven

The Healthy Maven is a blog where healthy food meets delicious flavor and being active is fun! THM is not about counting calories, workout schedules or how to lose weight. It’s about eating real and unprocessed food, getting creative in the kitchen and leading an active and balanced lifestyle.

Amiyrah Martin of 4 Hats and Frugal

Amiyrah is a New Jersey Mom, Wife, Airman in the US Air Force, African-American blogger and all around Frugal maven. On 4 Hats and Frugal, she loves to chat about family, food, fashion and finance; her 4 hats in life. For the past six years, she’s built up her small corner of the internet as a place for financial accountability and a learning space for her readers. She’s a firm believer in living a frugal lifestyle without deprivation, and it’s her goal to show that with each article on her site.

Katie Stuart of All Glammed Up

allGLAMMEDup Style is a life and style blog focused on living a glammed up life on a budget. Katie hopes to bring The Light into the fashion industry, do what she loves, and encourage others to do the same!

Samantha Curtis of The Samantha Show

The Samantha Show is a lifestyle blog that covers everything from fashion tips, to parenting advice, to heartfelt rants and more! If you are looking for things to be sugar coated, this isn’t the blog for you! Samantha prides herself on being honest and telling it like it is.

About the Author: Stephanie Glover is the blogger and photographer behind A Grande Life. She lives life with her two boys and husband, taking it one latte at a time! You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

The Truth Behind Why Bloggers Blog

Written by Jo of Jomygosh.com

Money. Swag. Book deals. TV shows. It’s undeniable that some bloggers have made it big. Really big. Take The Pioneer Woman, who has an empire including cookbooks and a television show, Tucker Max of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell fame, or Lisa Stone, the founder of BlogHer.

It’s really an enticing dream: you build something, you get discovered, you get paid. It’s the American Dream for the 21st Century.

It’s no wonder that many people assume that bloggers are in it for the cash. (Or, at the very least, that we’re all handsomely paid!)

But the reality is much, much different. I’d posit that most bloggers—probably the vast majority of them—begin blogging for reasons that have nothing to do with money… or fame… or fortune. In fact, I posed this question to a group of more than 600 bloggers and not a single one mentioned financial gain or success as a motivating factor.

To Share

There are the bloggers who started writing because they wanted to share what they make with the wider world. I’m in that category! I began blogging after my fiancé deployed to Afghanistan. I was alone, sad, and addicted to making silly and elaborate care packages. I didn’t realize that anyone else would want to see them… but I wanted to share them anyway, especially since the care packages were fleeting. They would take hours to shop for and make, and then, once I handed it over the counter to the mailperson, it was gone. Taking photos and posting them online gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment and gallery to look back on.

To Teach

There’s something that all of us can teach someone else… and some bloggers have gone online to teach. Alicia from Two Kids and a Blog (twokidsandablog.com) loves to quilt and shares that passion with the world: “I wanted to teach a younger generation to quilt using amazing fabrics and having a blog has given me access to the best fabric and biggest fabric companies!”

To Write

Many bloggers start their blogs to have a platform dedicated to their writing craft. Pam from The Coastie Couple (thecoastiecouple.com) began her blog exactly for that reason. “I’ve always loved writing and blogging gave me a chance to do that daily.” Jodi (jodisgoing180.com) “started blogging as a creative outlet” because she wants to publish a novel. Her blog keeps her true to the daily discipline of writing daily. Kristen from If the Saddle Fits (ifthesaddlefits.com) uses her blog as a place to write… in a different way. “I originally started blogging because I felt like all the academic writing I was doing for college was changing the way I wrote in general and I didn’t like it. (I started out pre-Law),” she says. “I wanted a place I could write with personality (and attempt to be funny) without so much guidance, but could still share for feedback.”

To Document

Heather (sugarnspice-life.com) began her blog to document the stages of her home’s building process. Amber (airingmydirtylaundry.com) blogs because “my memory is awful and I knew I’d eventually forget everything. Having posts from a few years back is amazing—I can read and be like, ‘Oh right! I remember that!”  Others begin blogging to keep in touch with family and friends, to keep a log of a life-changing event (like a move to a different country), or to keep a journal of the cute (and not-so-cute) the kids are doing or saying.

Obviously there are many, many more reasons to start a blog than just these. What were yours?

About the Author: Jo is the creator of Jo, My Gosh! (jomygosh.com), a popular military spouse and significant other lifestyle blog. Her work can be found in military spouse digital and print publications. She is currently collaborating on an ebook for Millennial military spouses and significant others. Find her on Facebook (facebook.com/jomygosh), Twitter (twitter.com/jomygosh), Instagram (instagram.com/jomygosh1, and Pinterest (pinterest.com/jomygosh1) and say hi!

 

Why Influencer Content Matters

Written by Julie Sancken

Brands that want to connect with their consumers on a more personal basis need to rely more on influencer content. It is becoming the hub of the authenticity that brands want to represent. Previously, brands were coming up with marketing that didn’t feel relatable, and lost consumers within the message they were wanting to portray. Now they have the option of letting their consumers develop content for them at a lower cost.

Within this spectrum of user-generated content, brands should be working with individuals that share their vision for their products and services. This is where they will find the most success. Typically the brand’s message is lost when they use influencer content that is not authentic or genuine. When influencers advocate for a brand, they do it with a genuity and flair that is showcasing how their lives are better because of a certain product.

According to ByReputation.com, there were 360 billion pieces of user-generated content shared on Facebook in 2010. The benefit here is that Facebook is a free platform, so the content generated there is cost effective. However, it may not always be in the light that the brand would want, therefore taking the focus off of what the brand is doing successfully. It’s a gamble for companies but when done correctly, can have a huge impact.

The Colorado Tourism Office had a hashtag that they encouraged people to use when taking photos of themselves being active and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer. From that hashtag, #ColoradoMovesMeTo, users were showcasing all about the state of Colorado while also being entered to win prizes from companies like SmartWool. The Colorado Tourism Office then had access to lots of photos just because of that hashtag and were able to foster that community due to the user generated content.

Overall, brands that have users generate content for them can be a positive thing when done the right way. It’s a marketing tool that isn’t going to fade away anytime soon.

About the Author: Julie attended Illinois State University and graduated with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. She is a wife to her high school sweetheart, and stay-at-home mom to Brayden (6) and Kenley (3). In her spare time, she blogs over at Just Julie Ann and has her own photography business. She enjoys life in Central Illinois helping with her husband’s farm and at her parents’ aerial application business.

 

7 Seriously Mindboggling Benefits of Social Fabric University

Fondly called SoFabU, Collective Bias’ proprietary eLearning platform offers a no-cost education for the members of their Social Fabric community. Our tagline is: Education for the Professional Influencer. Courses cover current topics of concern to today’s blogger/influencer. Amy Callahan, COO and co-founder says, “We had three goals when launching SoFabU. The first was to provide expert education, training, and resources to help our community members become world-class influencers. Concurrently, to help them increase their readers/followers/influence so they can grow, thrive, and prosper. Lastly, to build loyalty within the Social Fabric family.”

What is Seriously Mindboggling about The U?

It is FREE to SoFab members. However, that just scratches the surface of the valuable content available at The U. Here are seven highlights of the program:

  1. Online Learning at Your Own Pace

From Blogging to Tech and Social Media to Photography and Marketing, we offer training to Social Fabric community members to benefit growth of their businesses and blogs. You can learn everything necessary to become a professional blogger/influencer at SoFabU!

  1. Fits Your Lifestyle

Many of our students are full-time parents with busy lifestyles. With that in mind, our on-demand SoFabU workshops, classes, and seminars are designed to allow the student to participate according to their schedule. Our training is available anywhere and anytime, so students can tap into the course materials whenever it is convenient for them.

  1. Suits Your Learning Style

SoFabU embraces technologically advanced methods of eLearning. Video, audio, podcasts, eBooks, webinars, live events, Facebook groups, etc. are the core of our diverse course delivery systems. The online courses work across multiple platforms and all digital devices from any location with access to the Web.

  1. Learn the Latest from the Best

Top Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the blogging and social media space teach our courses. Students choose from three learning tracts – Content, Social Media, and Business. Photography, Storytelling, Video, SEO, Content Marketing, and E-mail Marketing are just a few of the courses in the current curriculum.

  1. Engagement, Engagement, Engagement

We encourage interactivity and collaboration at The U. We host SoFabU On the Road events to bring our courses to life. Communication techniques, which create an interactive online environment, include live chats, blab sessions, demonstrations, streamed videos, personalized coaching and mentoring, discussion groups, chat rooms, e-mail, tips, tutorials, FAQs, and much more. SoFabU students encourage and instruct each other and, most importantly, keep each other accountable. We think of it as a support community within a support community.

  1. Seriously Mindboggling Support

The SoFabU team is dedicated and available to our students through our Student Lounge, the SoFab HUB, e-mail, and help desk. We encourage students to communicate with each other and us. We offer coaching and mentoring programs for those needing additional help. The team is available to give you feedback on your course ideas, review your coursework, troubleshoot issues, and motivate you to become a life-long learner.

  1. Commitment to Your Success

This is our guiding mission. We want our members to succeed and grow as influencers in their blogging/social media space.

SofabU is the new face of online learning and exemplifies the strong commitment we have to our community. Social Fabric University sets the new standard for eLearning in the social media space.

Cereal Doesn’t Always Live in A Bowl

Eating cereal conjures images of a spoon and bowl. At least that’s what pops into my head when I here the word, but cereal can make so many other far-from-mundane edible items that will surely put a smile on any child’s face!

Between 3% and 6% of kids spend 20 hours a week or more on extracurricular activities, and thirty-one percent of those kids have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. That doesn’t give them much time to sit down for any meal, let alone breakfast. Check out these creative cereal alternative perfect for kids on-the-go.

Froot Loops Marshmellow Treats (from Spaceships and Laser beams)

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Rice Krispies Granola Bars (from Mostly Homemade Mom)

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Cereal Breakfast Pops (from Mom Favorites)

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S’mores Granola Bars (from Happy and Blessed Home)

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Froot Loops + Marshmellow Bombs (from Blackberry Babe)

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The next time you need an alternative for your kids, try one of these creative ideas for portable breakfasts and snacks. Your kids will never know what hit them!

 

Stop Words: What are They and Why are They important?

Written by Andrew Eaton

Stop words are function words and an integral part of sentence and phrase structure. Although there is no “absolute” list of stop words, they consist of words like; the, it, is, and, as well as, and so on. Stop words are typically ignored by computers while reading the data because they do not relate to the content. They provide value only when read in a sentence by a person.

Importance of Stop Words

Why is it important to recognize stop words? If you publish articles on the web, it’s important that you know about stop words, when to use them and when not to use them. Search engines take them into account as part of their algorithm when crawling your blog. Search engines recognize stop words when they process data from your blog articles, blog titles and URLs.

When a search engine is crawling your blog, it will see your titles, URLs and content. All of which may contain stop words. Knowing when and when not to use them may help you perform better in search engine results. Using stop words properly may increase your positioning in search engine results.

When to Remove Stop Words

Removing stop words from URLs is good practice because search engines like short, valuable URLs. When search engines crawl your site, they don’t need to read words like “the” or “and” in your URLs. These words carry no value and do not describe your content. There are certain exceptions to the rule, but they are few and far between.

Use as few stop words in your blog titles as possible. Using function words in your blog titles may be necessary to convey the content of your blog article. There is no need to sacrifice your titles to impress search engines. For best practice, keep stop words to a minimum while conveying your message.

From a search engine’s standpoint, you want to use valuable titles that convey the message without being long and drawn out. Using as few function words as possible will help you create titles that are optimized for search engines to read.

Example:

Original Title: How to Impress the One You Love Without Spending a Whole Lot of Money

Stop words: how, to, the, you, a, lot, of

New Title: Impress Your Love without Spending a Fortune

Stop words: your, a

Wordsmithing this example, we cut the number of stop words from 7 to 2. Of course, recognizing stop words should become part of your keyword research to determine the best phrases and titles for your blog articles. Search engines will, in most cases, ignore stop words completely and only focus on keywords. This means when doing your keyword research, there’s no need to look for phrases with stop words in them.

Considering these factors, there is no need to cut every stop word out of your blog titles. The focus should always remain on the humans who will be reading your blog titles, both on your blog and in search engine results. If it sounds good to you, it probably is.

Continuing on to the URL, for our example, it may be best to use: “/impress-love-without-spending-fortune” as the URL slug, which removes all the stop words and gives the search engines the juicy data which best reflects the content of the article.

Don’t Stuff with Stop Words

We know longer articles do better than short articles in regards to search engine rankings. We know that articles should be at least 400-500 words in length to do well in search results. However, using function words to extend your articles is unlikely to benefit you.

When writing a short article, it may be tempting to replace “and” with “as well as” to snag an extra two words and beef up your word count. Since these are likely considered stop words, the search engine isn’t actually reading them for value and stuffing these stop words into your article will have no benefit.

Stop Words Best Practices

Search engines hold their algorithms in the most secretive manner, which is why we may never know the actual list of stop words they use or how they use them to determine search rankings. However, there are best practices which can be derived from other aspects and SEO knowledge.

  •         Excessive use of stop words may hurt SEO
  •         Remove stop words in URLs
  •         Limit stop words in titles
  •         Use stop words naturally in your articles
  •         Do not stuff stop words to increase word count

Finally, never sacrifice your writing or your reader’s experience. Using stop words will not negatively impact your search engine optimization, unless you’re using them in an excessive and unnatural manner. However, using them sparingly and removing them when they provide no value to the reader is considered best practice and may help improve your position in search engine results.

About the Author: Andrew Eaton is a New England native who enjoys the freedom of freelance blogging, web design and social media management. He loves to explore the nooks and crannies of New England as well as travel across the country with his best friend and better half, Katie. He is an avid DIYer, a magician in the kitchen and a geek at heart. He blogs at Scrappy Geek.

Homegating For The Win

Everyone has been to or heard of a tailgating event. This is where one gathers with friends, family and fans to celebrate their team with food, drink, and fanfare before they head into an event. The tailgating phenomena began in the 60’s when Georgia fans traveled down to Florida for a game, but there were no bars around to celebrate in. They decided to party out of their cars instead. As we know, this tradition spread and has become a culture for events these days. In recent years, a new tradition has emerged called homegating. There are various reasons why celebrating at home or, “homegating”, has been catching on. One is due to the economy and rising prices for tailgating adventures. From the cost of the admission ticket to parking fees to tailgating supplies, this can really add up for fans. In 2013, it was estimated that $35 billion is spent on food and beverages alone for tailgating every year. That’s quite a market. The average tailgater is a college educated male between the ages of 35-44 who spends over $500 on tailgating food alone. Just imagine how the rest of it adds up?

As rising costs are leading the way for people to turn to homegating, so are other factors like people wanting to make it more a family event or to use their big screen TV they purchased for the home media room. Some even just want to avoid the crowds. Families are now enjoying creating homegating parties with family and friends. From recipes to decor, you can find inspiration all over the Internet. One study showed the average cost of tailgating versus homegating, and the savings really did add up! Tailgating came in at $5,235 for a family of four and only $2,725 for a homegating event. That’s a significant savings. Some feel being at the actual event is priceless, and you should not worry about finances when you really want the experience for you and your family. Whichever mindset you take, it’s a fact that many are turning to homegating now as a great option to celebrate their teams. The Social Fabric community of bloggers have some of these homegating fans. Here are some great ideas from them about making homegating a win in your household!

Rustic Football Chip, Dip & Suds Station (from Kendall Rayburn)

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Football Party Ideas (from Michelle’s Party Plan-It)

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Game Day Party & Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn (from Mammamoiselle)

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Crowd Pleaser Tailgate Party (from Aprons and Stilettos)

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Football Snacks in Mason Jars (from It Happens In A Blink)

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DIY Football Food Stadium (from Happy and Blessed Home)

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Football OREO Cookie Balls (from One Artsy Mama)

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Big Game Treats (from Julie is CoCo and Cocoa)

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