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https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-promote-documentary-storytelling-series-social-media/

Does your marketing include episodic video content? Wondering how to promote your series? In this article, you’ll discover how to release and promote a documentary storytelling series on social media. Why Marketers Should Consider Documentary Storytelling Using storytelling rather than product pushing in marketing content can give you a significant edge. While traditional marketing highlights […]

The post How to Promote a Documentary Storytelling Series on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

What’s the most helpful writer tool you’ve discovered this week?

https://econsultancy.com/visa-makes-a-huge-fintech-bet-with-5-3bn-acquisition-of-plaid/

Plaid, which bills itself as “the technology layer for financial services”, helps companies like Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase, LendingClub and Betterment connect to consumers’ bank accounts for a variety of purposes. For example, lenders and personal finance apps can use Plaid to programmatically retrieve their users’ financial information from their bank, credit card and investment accounts.

End users provide their login credentials for their accounts and Plaid uses them to retrieve the data associated with those accounts.

Without Plaid, fintechs wanting to connect with their users’ accounts would need to integrate with almost every financial institution. With thousands upon thousands of financial institutions, most of which do not provide direct access via an API, this would be virtually impossible. As a result, many fintech apps either wouldn’t exist or be anywhere near as successful because they would not be able to offer the kind of low-friction user experience that consumers want.

Plaid does the heavy lifting to create and maintain integrations with financial institutions, including through scraping where necessary, and as a result of its extensive coverage, the company is used by 80% of the largest US fintech apps. Visa says a quarter of American consumers with a bank account have used a service that employs Plaid’s technology and that figure hints at the reasons the world’s largest payment network is buying the fintech startup for twice what it was valued at in its previous funding round.

In a presentation, Visa says Plaid will improve the payments giant’s ability to cover P2P and B2C use cases and support Visa’s “network of networks money movement strategy” by enabling efficient bank account authentication.

Visa also believes that Plaid will expand its addressable market by allowing it to provide high-value services to fintechs. For example, according to Visa, the total addressable market for Plaid’s services in the lending market is approximately $1bn but it has captured just 2% of that to date. Other markets, including consumer payments, banking and investing, and financial management, also represent ten-figure opportunities.

Additionally, Visa thinks it can help Plaid grow outside of the US, where it says there are 15 times more fintech users.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that Plaid last year entered the UK, its first market outside the US. Unlike the US, the UK has Open Banking regulation that requires regulated banks to let their customers share their financial data with authorized third-party providers through APIs. That makes it much easier for Plaid to operate in the UK and at launch, the upstart boasted integrations with eight banks home to over two-thirds of the current accounts in the country.

In the US, Plaid’s integrations with more than 11,000 financial institutions aren’t so easy to maintain. In fact, just recently, PNC, one of the ten largest banks in the US, temporarily shut off access to Plaid in a security spat.

With Visa’s weight behind it, Plaid could find that its fortunes only improve as the payments giant obviously has a greater ability to push for Open Banking regulation in the US or exert direct influence on financial institutions.

Whatever approach it takes, the $5.3bn deal for Plaid not only provides validation for fintech, it also suggests that in the end, the most successful fintechs are more likely to end up in the hands of entrenched financial powerhouses than the other way around.

The post Visa makes a huge fintech bet with $5.3bn acquisition of Plaid appeared first on Econsultancy.

Drop a site below if you’ve recognized anything cool for authors!

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Wait a second. Did you just hear that?

Pick meeeee . . .

There it is. You heard it, too. Don’t try to tell me you didn’t. That was the sound of a semicolon in the throes of a self-esteem battle.  Poor semicolon, the most misunderstood punctuation mark.

If you’re not sure how to use semicolons in your writing, you’re in the write place (oops, sorry, bad habit). Read on for:

  1. Semicolon definition
  2. Semicolon mistakes
  3. Semicolon examples
  4. The 2 places to use semicolons correctly
  5. Semicolon writing exercise

2 Ways to Use the Semicolon

Semicolon Definition: What Is a ; (Also Known as the Super Comma)

Semicolon. A punctuation mark that is stronger than a comma, used either to separate two independent clauses or to separate items in a list when there are parenthetical commas present.

The semicolon is sometimes called a super comma, and rightly so, because it can act as a kind of upgrade when just one comma isn’t enough or is confusing.

Semicolon definition ; thewritepractice.com

Why Most People Don’t Know When to Use a Semicolon (;)

If the semicolon were just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated.

Sadly, many writers have a confusing relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use them in their lovely sentences.

Some have rejected it outright, including Kurt Vonnegut, who said that the only reason to use a semicolon would be “to show you’ve been to college.”

Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.

Not sure you’ll ever figure out how to use a semicolon correctly? That’s cool! Consider using a grammar checking tool like ProWritingAid to tell you when you should and shouldn’t use semicolons. Check out our review of ProWritingAid here to see how it works.

The 2 Times You Can Use Semicolons Correctly

In all seriousness, the semicolon is probably the most misunderstood button on a keyboard (except for maybe whatever the heck the little hat over the 6 is). When it’s used properly, however, the semicolon can add beauty and sophistication to your writing.

There are two reasons you’ll need to use a semicolon. Let’s look at them both.

1. Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses.

You know what an independent clause is, right? You’re a writer!

Sometimes, however, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the semicolon, and you’ll want to use it everywhere. Don’t.

If you’re going to use it, make sure that each clause can stand on its own as a fully formed sentence. If it helps, mentally separate the two clauses with a period to test their independence.

Justin didn’t walk; he ran.

Justin didn’t walk. He ran.

Or another example:

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief; he was in need of a good pair of glasses.

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief. He was in need of a good pair of glasses.

The semicolon in this sentence connects the two independent thoughts without bringing the narrative to a full stop in the way that a period would. A comma is completely inappropriate here because that would lead to a comma splice, and as we have previously discussed, comma splices are evil.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

2. Use a semicolon in a list to separate objects that also have commas.

Semicolons can also be used as a kind of super comma, and should always be used in a list when separating objects that also have commas. Take the following sentence:

Diana included Athens, Greece; Paris, France; and Vienna, Austria, on her list of honeymoon cities that were not to be confused with their American counterparts in Ohio, Texas, or Virginia.

If Diana had included Athens, Greece, Paris, France, Vienna, and Austria on her list, her travel plans would be way more confusing. Using semicolons indicates that we can think of “Athens, Greece” as a single unit, even though there are more commas to come and more items in this list.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

2 Essential Rules for Using Semicolons

In order to use semicolons properly when you’re not making lists, it’s important to remember a few things.

1. Each clause of the sentence needs to be an independent clause.

Let’s look back at Martin and his lack of corrective eyewear.

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief; he was in need of a good pair of glasses.

We need a semicolon here because the first half and the second half of the sentence can both stand on their own. Independent of each other, they’re both complete sentences in their own right.

What if we said this instead?

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief, wishing he had glasses.

“Wishing he had glasses” isn’t an independent clause. It can’t stand on its own without the first part of the sentence in front of it.

If you want to get technical about the grammar of this situation (and let’s face it, I always want to get technical about the grammar of a situation), “wishing he had glasses” is a dependent clause. There’s no subject in this clause, and so it needs the first clause, “Martin squinted as he read over his news brief,” to provide one (Martin).

In this case, where an independent clause and a dependent clause are connected, use a comma.

But if you do have two independent clauses (which you know, because you can split them apart into two separate, complete sentences), use a semicolon with confidence!

2. Use semicolons sparingly.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly about being right. You can use a dozen semicolons on a single page of writing, and if they’re all separating independent clauses or adding clarity to your comma-filled lists, they can all be correct.

But Kurt Vonnegut was on to something when he warned against the dangers of too many semicolons. I don’t think you should cut them all out! But do use them with care.

It can get exhausting for your reader if there is too much going on in one sentence. If there is too much going on in each sentence for a full paragraph, that may result in reader mutiny, and you’re going to have trouble bringing them back.

Use the semicolon to connect ideas that are related, but don’t try to connect every single idea in a paragraph. Periods are your friends (at least in this context).

Ellie subtly flared her nostrils; the smell of lilac and lavender filled the air; it reminded her of her summers in the hills of Ohio; she and her cousins would make crowns of daisies and give them to their mothers.

For the love of God and the sanity of your readers, do not do this.

Ellie subtly flared her nostrils. The smell of lilac and lavender filled the air; it reminded her of her summers in the hills of Ohio. She and her cousins would make crowns of daisies and give them to their mothers.

Put the Semicolon to Use With a Creative Writing Exercise

Don’t be afraid to experiment with semicolons. Sure, you might place a few incorrectly before you get the hang of it, but soon you’ll be able to use them with ease. It takes some practice, but you’ll start noticing places in your writing where a semicolon would add a welcome breath to the prose.

Do you like to use a well-placed semicolon, or do you agree with Vonnegut that they’re unnecessary and pretentious? Let us know in the comments.

Need more grammar help? My favorite tool that helps find grammar problems and even generates reports to help improve my writing is ProWritingAid. It works with Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, and web browsers. Be sure to use my coupon code to get 25 percent off: WritePractice25

Coupon Code: WritePractice25 »

PRACTICE

Practice writing with semicolons. Use the following creative writing prompt, using as many semicolons as you can; you can even create a couple lists if you have to.

Prompt: Billy is going backpacking through Asia and needs to get vaccination shots.

Spend at least fifteen minutes on this. When you’re done, share your practice in the comments, and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

The post Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ; appeared first on The Write Practice.

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How to Make Content SEO Friendly

Building consistent organic search traffic is every digital publisher’s dream. But what does it really take to make your content SEO friendly?

The good news is it is not a rocket science.

On top of that, despite what many people think, it has nothing to do with “tricking” Google into thinking your content is high-quality or SEO friendly.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, which basically means making sure a search algorithm can easily access and understand your content. There’s no dark art involved.

Here are the steps you should take to make your content SEO friendly:

1. Match Your Content Idea to a Searchable Phrase (Search Query)

So you have an idea in mind which you feel like writing about. This is where any content creation starts: “I have something to say on this topic, and I feel like it will be interesting and/or useful”.

Is anyone searching for this topic?

Chances are, if you have come up with the topic, there should be other people who may feel intrigued enough to research it in Google.

But how exactly are people searching for it?

This is the key question you should ask if you want to generate organic search engine traffic to your future content.

You need to know what people type in a search box when trying to find answers to questions you are covering in your content.

So your first step is to find those actual search queries.

This exercise is also useful because it helps research. Knowing what people are typing in Google’s search box will likely help you discover interesting angles, narrow your initial idea down to make it more specific and even structure your future article to make it more useful.

So even if you don’t really care about organic search positions, keyword research is useful to do.

But how?

The keyword research process — at its core — hasn’t changed much over the years. We do have much more data to work with, but the actual process is the same.

These days, we have a variety of tools that help you identify a keyword to focus on. Here are a few tools and approaches you can try:

1.1. Type Your Terms into Ahrefs

Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is a great tool for that because it offers “All keyword ideas” tab that broadens your initial idea to related and synonymous terms.

So if you were to type [grow tomatoes] and click through to that section, you’d find both phrases containing the term (e.g. “how to grow tomatoes”) and related concepts (e.g. “when to plant tomatoes“):

Ahrefs

This broadens your outlook and helps you come up with more words to include in your copy.

1.2. Discover What Your Future Competitor is Ranking For

If you’ve done at least some research on your content idea, you may have found some resources that are on the same or similar topic. So use those URLs to discover what they are ranking for.

Serpstats’ URL Analysis section is great for that:

SERPstat

Notice that Serpstat is also showing all “extra” search elements that show up for each query in Google, so you get a good idea of what your future target SERPs (search engine result pages) may look like.

Note that both of these platforms offer “keyword difficulty” metric signaling of the level of your future organic competition. Obviously, the lower the keyword difficulty is, the better.

On the other hand, the higher the search volume, the more clicks each SERP may drive. So you want to try and pick a keyword that has high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

Here’s a more detailed guide on keyword research for you to become better at it. And here are even more keyword research questions answered.

2. Put Those Keywords in Prominent Places

While the process of researching keywords hasn’t changed much, the way we use keywords within content has.

These days, we don’t sacrifice the quality or flow of our copy for the sake of keyword density. In fact, we don’t pay attention to how many times we have used those keywords on-page.

We do use those keywords in prominent places on the page to make both Google and our human visitors more comfortable and confident there.

To put it simply, upon landing on your page, your users should clearly see terms they initially typed in the search box. That will put them more at ease and prompt them to linger a bit longer.

Keyword prominence means making your keywords visible on the page. It helps both search engine optimization and user-retention. Both of these help rankings.

Basically, you want those keywords to appear in:

  1. Page title
  2. Page URL slug (which in WordPress will be transferred from your title anyway)
  3. First paragraph
  4. Page subheading(s)
  5. Image alt text (Do make those alt text descriptive as it helps accessibility)

Keyword prominence

Many SEO plugins (like Yoast and SEO Editor) can handle a lot of these SEO elements, so it is a good idea to pick one.

3. Use Semantic Analysis to Match Google’s Expectations and Make Your Content More Indepth

As I have already stated before, Google has moved away from matching the exact query to the pages in its index. Ever since its Hummingbird update, Google has slowly but surely become better and better at understanding each query context and searcher’s intent behind it.

To match that context better and optimize for the intent, use semantic analysis, which is basically about clustering each query into underlying and related concepts and covering you in your content.

Text Optimizer is a tool that takes Google’s search snippets for any query and applies semantic analysis to identify areas of improvement. Text Optimizer can be used for writing new content from scratch:

Text Optimizer new content

You can also use the tool to analyze your existing content to identify areas of improvements:

Text Optimizer existing content

As you can see, Text Optimizer also helps analyze whether your content meets the query intent.

To increase your score at Text Optimizer:

  • Choose the most suitable words for your content and include them naturally into your article. Avoid keyword stuffing. Only choose terms that you find fitting your current context.
  • You may modify sentences or write new ones until you reach at least 80%

4. Diversify Your Content Formats

Google loves textual content, but the Internet in general and Google in particular has moved beyond text-only. Web users expect to see more formats, including videos and images. And Google recognizes that demand for content diversity, so it will feature all of those content formats.

In my previous article for Convince and Convert I described how videos improve SEO on many levels, including more exposure in search engine result pages and better on-page engagement.

With that in mind, any time you work on your article, think which other content assets can be created to enhance its value and improve SEO.

Luckily, creating videos doesn’t require any budget or skills. With tools like InVideo you can turn your articles into videos in a matter of seconds:

  • Select “I want to convert article into video” option
  • Paste in a maximum of 50 sentences (I usually use the tool to turn my article takeaways or subheadings into a video)
  • Pick the template and let the tool do the job
  • You can upload your own images (screenshots), tweak the subtitles and select the music

Invideo options

You are done! Now, upload the video to Youtube, add a keyword-rich title and description and embed it to your article.

For images, you can use Venngage or Visme to create nice visual takeaways or flowcharts (in case you have instructions to follow).

5. Set up an On-Page SEO Monitoring Routine

Finally, there’s always room for improvement, so monitoring your organic traffic is an important step here.

The must-have tool for that is Google’s own Search Console, which will show you which queries are sending you traffic. Just check your “Performance” tab regularly:

Google's own Search Console

Another useful tool to have is Finteza, which shows your organic traffic performance allowing you to dig deeper to see whether your organic traffic clicks engage with your ads.

Finteza

… or whether each search query sends traffic that brings conversions.

Finteza conversions

6. Don’t Forget External (Off-Site) Signals

Obviously, it is more to Google position than on-page optimization. You still need those backlinks that would help Google assign some authority to your content. But that’s a topic outside of the scope of this article. Besides, there’s a lot of content already written on that. And here’s another collection of tips on how to build links.

Finally, the above steps apply to any kind of optimization, whether it’s a blog, product pages or lead-generating landing pages.

I hope this guide will help you optimize your content to make it easier for Google to understand and hence help the search giant’s algorithm assign search positions it truly deserves.

The post How to Make Content SEO Friendly appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

A Short Analysis of Don Paterson’s ‘Rain’

Published as the final poem in Don Paterson’s 2009 collection of the same name, ‘Rain’ is probably Paterson’s best-known poem. As well as being a fine poet in his own right, Don Paterson has also written some excellent studies of other poets’ work: his introduction to Michael Donaghy, Smith: A […]

The post A Short Analysis of Don Paterson’s ‘Rain’ appeared first on Interesting Literature.

Hit the like button if you love this info!

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Wait a second. Did you just hear that?

Pick meeeee . . .

There it is. You heard it, too. Don’t try to tell me you didn’t. That was the sound of a semicolon in the throes of a self-esteem battle.  Poor semicolon, the most misunderstood punctuation mark.

If you’re not sure how to use semicolons in your writing, you’re in the write place (oops, sorry, bad habit). Read on for:

  1. Semicolon definition
  2. Semicolon mistakes
  3. Semicolon examples
  4. The 2 places to use semicolons correctly
  5. Semicolon writing exercise

2 Ways to Use the Semicolon

Semicolon Definition: What Is a ; (Also Known as the Super Comma)

Semicolon. A punctuation mark that is stronger than a comma, used either to separate two independent clauses or to separate items in a list when there are parenthetical commas present.

The semicolon is sometimes called a super comma, and rightly so, because it can act as a kind of upgrade when just one comma isn’t enough or is confusing.

Semicolon definition ; thewritepractice.com

Why Most People Don’t Know When to Use a Semicolon (;)

If the semicolon were just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated.

Sadly, many writers have a confusing relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use them in their lovely sentences.

Some have rejected it outright, including Kurt Vonnegut, who said that the only reason to use a semicolon would be “to show you’ve been to college.”

Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.

Not sure you’ll ever figure out how to use a semicolon correctly? That’s cool! Consider using a grammar checking tool like ProWritingAid to tell you when you should and shouldn’t use semicolons. Check out our review of ProWritingAid here to see how it works.

The 2 Times You Can Use Semicolons Correctly

In all seriousness, the semicolon is probably the most misunderstood button on a keyboard (except for maybe whatever the heck the little hat over the 6 is). When it’s used properly, however, the semicolon can add beauty and sophistication to your writing.

There are two reasons you’ll need to use a semicolon. Let’s look at them both.

1. Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses.

You know what an independent clause is, right? You’re a writer!

Sometimes, however, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the semicolon, and you’ll want to use it everywhere. Don’t.

If you’re going to use it, make sure that each clause can stand on its own as a fully formed sentence. If it helps, mentally separate the two clauses with a period to test their independence.

Justin didn’t walk; he ran.

Justin didn’t walk. He ran.

Or another example:

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief; he was in need of a good pair of glasses.

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief. He was in need of a good pair of glasses.

The semicolon in this sentence connects the two independent thoughts without bringing the narrative to a full stop in the way that a period would. A comma is completely inappropriate here because that would lead to a comma splice, and as we have previously discussed, comma splices are evil.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

2. Use a semicolon in a list to separate objects that also have commas.

Semicolons can also be used as a kind of super comma, and should always be used in a list when separating objects that also have commas. Take the following sentence:

Diana included Athens, Greece; Paris, France; and Vienna, Austria, on her list of honeymoon cities that were not to be confused with their American counterparts in Ohio, Texas, or Virginia.

If Diana had included Athens, Greece, Paris, France, Vienna, and Austria on her list, her travel plans would be way more confusing. Using semicolons indicates that we can think of “Athens, Greece” as a single unit, even though there are more commas to come and more items in this list.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

2 Essential Rules for Using Semicolons

In order to use semicolons properly when you’re not making lists, it’s important to remember a few things.

1. Each clause of the sentence needs to be an independent clause.

Let’s look back at Martin and his lack of corrective eyewear.

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief; he was in need of a good pair of glasses.

We need a semicolon here because the first half and the second half of the sentence can both stand on their own. Independent of each other, they’re both complete sentences in their own right.

What if we said this instead?

Martin squinted as he read over his news brief, wishing he had glasses.

“Wishing he had glasses” isn’t an independent clause. It can’t stand on its own without the first part of the sentence in front of it.

If you want to get technical about the grammar of this situation (and let’s face it, I always want to get technical about the grammar of a situation), “wishing he had glasses” is a dependent clause. There’s no subject in this clause, and so it needs the first clause, “Martin squinted as he read over his news brief,” to provide one (Martin).

In this case, where an independent clause and a dependent clause are connected, use a comma.

But if you do have two independent clauses (which you know, because you can split them apart into two separate, complete sentences), use a semicolon with confidence!

2. Use semicolons sparingly.

Okay, so this isn’t exactly about being right. You can use a dozen semicolons on a single page of writing, and if they’re all separating independent clauses or adding clarity to your comma-filled lists, they can all be correct.

But Kurt Vonnegut was on to something when he warned against the dangers of too many semicolons. I don’t think you should cut them all out! But do use them with care.

It can get exhausting for your reader if there is too much going on in one sentence. If there is too much going on in each sentence for a full paragraph, that may result in reader mutiny, and you’re going to have trouble bringing them back.

Use the semicolon to connect ideas that are related, but don’t try to connect every single idea in a paragraph. Periods are your friends (at least in this context).

Ellie subtly flared her nostrils; the smell of lilac and lavender filled the air; it reminded her of her summers in the hills of Ohio; she and her cousins would make crowns of daisies and give them to their mothers.

For the love of God and the sanity of your readers, do not do this.

Ellie subtly flared her nostrils. The smell of lilac and lavender filled the air; it reminded her of her summers in the hills of Ohio. She and her cousins would make crowns of daisies and give them to their mothers.

Put the Semicolon to Use With a Creative Writing Exercise

Don’t be afraid to experiment with semicolons. Sure, you might place a few incorrectly before you get the hang of it, but soon you’ll be able to use them with ease. It takes some practice, but you’ll start noticing places in your writing where a semicolon would add a welcome breath to the prose.

Do you like to use a well-placed semicolon, or do you agree with Vonnegut that they’re unnecessary and pretentious? Let us know in the comments.

Need more grammar help? My favorite tool that helps find grammar problems and even generates reports to help improve my writing is ProWritingAid. It works with Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, and web browsers. Be sure to use my coupon code to get 25 percent off: WritePractice25

Coupon Code: WritePractice25 »

PRACTICE

Practice writing with semicolons. Use the following creative writing prompt, using as many semicolons as you can; you can even create a couple lists if you have to.

Prompt: Billy is going backpacking through Asia and needs to get vaccination shots.

Spend at least fifteen minutes on this. When you’re done, share your practice in the comments, and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

The post Semicolon: The 2 Ways to Use a ; appeared first on The Write Practice.