2022 Poems #1

Words eroded by the passing of time.

Literature that used to elicit senses of love and pain, now mean nothing I feel such shame.

Wonder what’s in store if this is happening so near the shore.

What ever happened to my Never More, she sailed on tides with Eleanor.

How to engage your content to your audience?

Introduction

Tash just published a new blog on a trending topic in the industry. She’s checked it for grammar and accuracy, optimized it for search engines with SEO, and distributed it on all the appropriate channels or platforms. Now it’s time to sit back and watch all the new traffic pour in. 

But when she checks the analytics a few days later, Tash discovers that her post isn’t getting the traction she anticipated. Tasha is vexed. She was certain she’d done everything correctly. What could possibly have gone wrong?

The most likely answer for this tepid response is that her content didn’t engage her readers. And she’s not alone. Content creators everywhere face the same challenge. 

In todays post, you’ll learn what engaging content is and why it matters for your business. Then, you’ll learn to avoid boring content mistakes and follow several tips for creating content that stokes engagement and prompts meaningful customer relationships.  What Makes Content Engaging?

What do we mean when we say that content is “engaging”? What’s the difference between the forgettable, humdrum content that we scroll past and the stuff that stops us in our tracks and makes us pay attention? 

Engaging content checks off several boxes. Review the checklist below to learn some hallmarks of engaging content. 

Relevance. Customers are searching for solutions to specific challenges and concerns—meaning they’ll respond best to content relevant to those needs and interests. Relevant content trains its sights on the topic at hand and resists veering into tangentially related topics. When customers recognize focused content, they’re more likely to engage.

Value. Customers prioritize content that is useful or meaningful to their unique challenges or concerns. Valuable content is often actionable in the sense that it provides a tool, resource, or insight customers can use to accomplish their goals.

Entertainment. Are you more likely to sit through something dry and boring, or something that augments its usefulness by amping up the entertainment? Most people prefer entertainment. This need for stimuli is a default setting. Content that strikes a balance between educating and entertaining wins customers.

Resonance. Engaging content respects customers as real people with rich and complex lives. It reaches them on a human level and elicits an emotional response, whether that’s laughter, inspiration, empathy, nostalgia, pride, or frustration. When customers form emotional associations with your brand, it’s the first step in relationship building. 

Newness. Most subjects have been covered inside out and top to bottom. With all of that material out there, content often blends together. So, if you can find a fresh angle or entry point to the discussion, your material will feel new—grabbing a reader’s attention and engaging them.

Catchiness. Content competes for our attention from the moment we wake up. Most of it, we ignore. And rightfully so. But engaging content demands our attention. It grabs us by the collar and says, “Listen up, because I have something to say.” A clever headline, a striking image, a surprising fact or statistic—all are effective attention-getting methods.

Personality. How many times have you picked up a ringing phone only to hear an automated voice on the other line? If you’re like most of us, you hang up quickly. The same principle applies to content. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re listening to a robot. They crave human connection, and the most engaging content offers that. It does it through language that’s affable, conversational, or colloquial.

“Good content marketing makes a person stop, read, think, and behave differently.”

A lot goes into creating engaging content, but it’s worth the effort. Engaging content moves people and plants the seeds for rewarding, long-term customer relationships. Consider the benefits of creating such content below—and flip the cards to learn more.5 Mistakes That Lead to Boring Content

So, how do you create engaging content? First, you’ll need to sidestep some common mistakes. Companies often fall into the trap of writing boring and uninspiring content by committing any one of several blunders. 

Learn the five common mistakes—and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1 Flat Writing

Flat writing starts at the sentence level, which is the marrow of your content. Flat sentences are often passive, meaning they lack strong action verbs or an easily identifiable subject. In addition, there is usually a palpable absence of sensory details that breathe life into the work and create a vivid experience for the reader. 

Sentence structure and variety are common problems, as well. Short, staccato sentences can feel awkward, while long, meandering ones can obscure meaning and cause the reader to lose interest. Engaging writing features varied sentence structure and length. Flat writing typically has no voice or personality, erecting even more barriers to engagement.

Mistake 2 An Unclear Audience

There’s an old saying that goes, “Try to reach everyone, and you’ll end up reaching no one.” Content geared toward too wide of a target audience runs the risk of diluting your message, making it hard for readers to engage. Conversely, if the audience is too niche, you can alienate a large segment of potential customers. 

If a customer is reading your content and wondering, “Why am I reading this?” or “Who is this for?” then you’ve already lost them. Your audience is searching for content that speaks directly to them and their needs. 

Mistake 3 Misleading Hooks

Headlines, titles, blurbs, and loglines all establish a pact with the audience. Those elements should indicate the type of content we will encounter and why it’s valuable. But too often, when we click on something, we find that it’s not what we’re looking for or what it advertised itself to be. 

When content doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, customers pack up and move on. Or worse, they trudge through and arrive at the end realizing they’ve wasted their time. It’s a bad look that’s not likely to land you referrals or positive reviews. 

Mistake 4 Poor Design

How many times have you clicked on a link, only to find an endless stream of text? Nobody wants to read large blocks of words that never give their eyes a rest. We need something to break up the monotony, as a lack of visual stimuli can give us brain lock. 

But the opposite is also true. Too many bells and whistles scattered everywhere can detract from the message. There are other mistakes that lead to ineffective design, as well. Boring or inconsistent fonts, page clutter, pop-up ads, outdated graphics, and poor colour contrast can all distract the reader and make them lose interest. 

Mistake 5 The Hard Sell

When you go shopping, is there anything worse than an overzealous sales rep who follows you around the store trying to push products? There’s no faster way to steer customers toward the exit. 

The same principle applies to content. The hard sell has become less effective as a marketing tactic, and content that is too eager to sell us something is a big turnoff. Instead, customers want content that gives them value beyond making a purchase. 6 Tips for Creating Engaging Content

Now that you understand what makes content engaging—and where it can go wrong—it’s time to broaden your repertoire. Expand the rows below to learn six tips for creating more engaging content. 

Get Their Attention

Attention spans have shrunk considerably over the years, and this relates directly to how we consume content online. If content doesn’t grab our attention immediately, we lose interest and move on. 

So, the first hurdle is to craft an opening salvo that hooks the reader and keeps them interested. Don’t settle for dull, straightforward titles or headlines. Instead, hooks should act as a teaser and hint at the value to come. 

Find a Fresh Take

Keep in mind that your competitors write about the same topics. Few things are more valuable than a fresh and unique perspective. Don’t recycle the same old talking points. But understand that mining untapped potential in a well-trod topic requires serious intellectual excavation. 

It might also require self-reflection. Demonstrate your willingness to entertain alternate viewpoints. Challenge your assumptions, go against the grain, or re-litigate tired truisms and cliches. 

As with everything, it requires balance. Don’t be a contrarian just for the sake of it, and don’t rely on shock value to turn heads. The primary goal of an original take is to provide new value to your customers in a meaningful way. 

So, when possible, give your content a human touch. Case studies, personal experiences, and fictionalized scenarios help break through vapid corporate lingo and give your customers the connection they’re yearning for. 

Make It Aesthetically Pleasing

Big blocks of text are an eyesore. In fact, text alone often isn’t enough to hold our attention and keep us engaged. Content today works best when it’s dynamic, and the most effective layout and design combines text and multimedia. 

Strive for a clean and orderly arrangement of items on the page, and find organic ways to integrate images, videos, gifs, graphics, and other media. In addition, creative use of white space, headings, and bullet points makes it easier for customers to scan and retain information. 

Make It Actionable

Content should motivate your audience to take action. “Action” can mean a lot of things. For instance, there are several ways you can urge readers to get involved. Ask them to comment in the community forum. Use social media to pose questions or prompts that invite discussion and debate. Get creative with customer feedback opportunities that ask for their input. 

One simple way to get customers to take action is to make the content easily shareable. Social media widgets and icons allow readers to share your content on their social channels with the click of a button. And don’t underestimate the power of brief, yet helpful reminders asking them explicitly to do so. 

If your content helps solve a problem, makes connections, or assists with a new project, then the language should issue some variation of a “go forth and conquer” challenge. Getting customers to take tangible action is a great way to engage them.

Educate and Entertain

Content isn’t just an information dump. Customers can find information anywhere. But you’ll get them to engage if you give them something more. That something more is a little bit of dazzle. 

The trick is to educate while you entertain them. “A Spoonful of Sugar,” as they say. So how do you accomplish this? Think about your favorite school teachers. What did they have in common? They were probably funny, first and foremost. And they likely had an outsized personality. 

In writing, you can approximate a funny personality through casual, colloquial, or conversational language, a wry, sarcastic, or witty tone, and offbeat, ironic, or satirical comments or observations. 

Remember Tash from this lesson’s introduction? Let’s take a closer look at her unengaging blog post to see if we can help. Below is Tasha’s headline and opening paragraph. 

How to Break Out of a Funk and Beat Depression for Good

Everybody falls into a funk now and then. Sometimes, things just don’t go the way we planned, and it can be tempting to give in to the frustration and let ourselves get down in the dumps. But there are plenty of strategies to combat these feelings and break out of that funk, such as diving into a calming and edifying candle-making project with our DIY candle-making kit. When you follow these simple steps, you can get back on track in no time. 

What do you think? There’s nothing inherently bad about Tasha’s headline and opening paragraph. Unfortunately, it’s just not very interesting or engaging. Tasha Follows Your Advice

You’ve given Tasha some great suggestions, and she’s receptive to those ideas. Tasha revamped her headline so that it is catchier and less misleading, crafted a casual and personable tone, and incorporated concrete details that better set the scene. Lastly, she eliminated awkward self-promotion of her products that might be off-putting to readers. 

The final product below leaves a stronger impression and is more likely to engage her audience and get results. Let’s take a look before she sends it back out into the world and reaps the benefits! 

You Are Not Your Thoughts: How to Get Out of That Funk

Have you ever had one of those weeks? The boss is breathing down your neck. The car needs a new alternator. And you don’t even want to think about your bank balance. If you’re not careful, the apathy, negativity, and other unhealthy thought patterns can creep in. Before you know it, you’re in a full-fledged funk. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world. The first step is recognizing that, even if you can’t change your feelings, you can change how you feel about those feelings and stop letting your brain have so much power over you. I’m here to tell you how.

Summary

Engaging customers relies upon making a strong impression. If you fail to do so, they won’t hang around for long. The content you distribute is often their first encounter with your brand, giving you an opportunity to develop a lasting relationship. 

But it’s not enough just to get their attention. Engagement means getting them involved, and you do that by providing an experience that is relevant, entertaining, and valuable. The benefits are threefold: it drives traffic, builds trust, and humanizes your brand. 

Of course, creating engaging content isn’t easy. There are several common mistakes that lead to uninteresting content, such as dull writing, bad design, or pushy sales tactics. So be sure to follow these six tips for creating engaging content: Get their attention. Find a fresh take. Weave a narrative. Make it aesthetically pleasing. Make it actionable. Educate and entertain.

When content reaches your customers on a human level and inspires them to take action—whether that means sharing your work, subscribing to your newsletter, or solving a problem—you achieve a level of engagement that forges a bond and ensures customer loyalty. 

Remember the person behind the reader. Don’t bore them with tired cliches and corporate lingo. Be friendly, and don’t be afraid to show your personality. Treat them like real people, and they’re more likely to respond and engage.

What is click bait and how to spot it?

So what is clickbait anyway? The term “clickbaiting” was coined in 2006 by Jon Ronson, the co-author of New York Times bestseller Blink. Clickbait is where an advert is intended to look like a social media post. When you click the link rather than it take you to an actual set of content it’s an advert.

Sketchy ads, like those for miracle weight loss pills and suspicious-looking software, sometimes appear on legitimate and well-regarded websites. It turns out that most websites do not actually decide who gets to show ads to their viewers. Instead, most sites outsource this task to a complex network of advertising tech companies that do the work of figuring out which ads are shown to each particular person.

The online ad ecosystem is largely built around “programmatic advertising”, a system for placing advertisements from millions of advertisers on millions of websites. The system uses computers to automate bidding by advertisers on available ad spaces, often with transactions occurring faster than would be possible manually.

Programmatic advertising is a powerful tool that allows advertisers to target and reach people on a huge range of websites. As a doctoral student in computer science, I study how malicious online advertisers take advantage of this system and use online ads to spread scams or malware to millions of people. This means that online advertising companies have a big responsibility to prevent harmful ads from reaching users, but they sometimes fall short.Programmatic advertising

The modern online advertising marketplace is meant to solve one problem: match the high volume of advertisements with the large number of ad spaces. The websites want to keep their ad spaces full and at the best prices, and the advertisers want to target their ads to relevant sites and users.

Rather than each website and advertiser pairing up to run ads together, advertisers work with demand-side platforms, tech companies that let advertisers buy ads. Websites work with supply-side platforms and tech companies that pay sites to put ads on their page. These companies handle the details of figuring out which websites and users should be matched with specific ads.

Most of the time, ad tech companies decide which ads to show through a real-time bidding auction. Whenever a person loads a website, and the website has a space for an ad, the website’s supply-side platform will request bids for ads from demand-side platforms through an auction system called an ad exchange.

The demand-side platform will decide which ad in their inventory best targets the particular user, based on any information they have collected about the user’s interests and web history from tracking users’ browsing, and then submit a bid. The winner of this auction gets to place their ad in front of the user. This all happens in an instant.

You will have seen some of this regularly, it pertains to talk about something you have researched. So say you have done a Google search (other search engines are available) lol. For “Car Rental” there will be a link that looks to be about car rental, but when you click it it’s an advert for something else.

The concept of a button or tag linking an article was first proposed in 1993 by Jack Kent Cooke when he noticed people using link bait while reading articles on the internet which sometimes made them scroll down for little more than five seconds at time. That’s all about us as people, but I think you’ll agree that there are tons of the latter – sometimes they seem like harmless fun online! Othertimes they have more viral implications, not going viral, but as in it downloads software or malware and your PC gets infected.

Is Elden Ring Dead?

Many people have speculated that because of the complexity and difficulty that Elden Ring has lost half of it’s player base since it was released.

Elden Ring however is alive and well! In fact, it only got revealed during E3 in 2019. When you consider the likes of Skyrim and how it’s been going for more than 15 years and various incarnations, It’s silly to consider Elden Ring is completely dead.

No, Elden Ring isn’t dead. It’s alive and well – just waiting for the right time to come out swinging and to kick some more monster ass; and also add more content with possibly some DLC content for the new year.

Luna Cryptocurrency

At the time of writing this, Luna has been suspended from trading and its prices dropped from $120 to $0 on Wednesday.

I don’t want to come across as naysayer, but I did post a couple of videos on Tiktok advising that several crypto currencies were in trouble.

Terra, the group behind Luna are attempting to raise $1 billion to ride out the economic crisis.

It’s a wider symptom of turmoil as Bitcoin lost 50% of its value in a week. So it may be time to cut your loses and see if they will allow you to cash out, many aren’t allowing it and have stopped withdrawals.

You’ve setup your home network incorrectly all this time.

https://share.synthesia.io/embeds/videos/27858fa8-9598-460a-82f7-9319f9914dcf

Good afternoon, I know it’s a pretty bold statement. Even if you’re an IT professional from a small to medium business I can almost certainly guarantee you have followed the same mistakes as the traditional home user. So let’s qualify what we mean by incorrectly?

You get your router from your ISP. You know the little box that is your modem, wifi point and ethernet switch in one? Yeah, that white or black box with lights on. You connect all your devices to it, you maybe add an additional lot of network switches when you’ve used all the 4 or 5 ethernet ports on the back.

So what have you done wrong? Well have you ever had your internet go down, maybe the line gets blown over or you lose connection for a few days? Yeah, me too. Now if you’re a home user, that’s maybe a week of PUBG or Fortnite you don’t get to play. Your ISP will give you £5 a day for every 24 hours your internet is down. If you’re a business, even being down for a few hours can cripple you in lost revenue.

So what is the right way? It’s called REDUNDANCY, no not laying off your staff. Devices that can take over from another when there’s an issue. With standard internet connections, it’s called a Single Point of Failure. Your ISP goes down, so everything connected goes down as well.

So you have say one ISP, in my example it’s EE because that is who I was with at the time of discovering this Single Point of Failure in my infrastructure. They went down after a storm and I was working from home. So I couldn’t work from home anymore. So I got a redundant ISP, Virgin Media. So now if EE goes down, it switches to Virgin. That’s the Redundancy for my ISP.

But extending that into the building, or into your business. Say you have one Network Switch, that is also a Single Point of Failure. If the switch goes down so does every PC and device connected to it. So, you get a second switch and you cross wire everything into both switches, that way you have a redundant switch in a case of failure.

You can extend that further if you’re a small business. It’s all about cost. You have a Server, build a redundancy. A second Server to take over the load of the first if it fails. Your ISP’s router with it’s built in wifi access point. Get a second or third access point. Those white discs you’ve seen in coffee shops normally from Cisco?

But, as I was saying as a home user you have built your internet and network incorrectly. Even some large companies have the same issue. You hired some up-and-coming Network Technician straight out of Uni. Then one day for about 6 hours your servers go down. Millions of pounds of business lost. Just because they built your network like they have it setup at home. With One Single Point Of Failure.

BUILD IN REDUNDANCY.

Multiple ISP’s not all using (Fibre over copper) – Multiple Network Switches – Multiple Wifi Access Points – Multiple Servers – Multiple PC’s. Even down to Multiple RAID arrays of Hard disks with redundancy.

Do not go gently into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.