Disney “princess culture” a tool for social and emotional learning?

According to a new study from Brigham Young University, little boys exposed to “princess” culture become more pro-social and kinder. “’Princess media and engagement may provide important models of femininity to young boys, who are typically exposed to hypermasculine media,’ the researchers wrote.”

Read about it here:

New study proves that the ubiquity of Disney princesses affects little boys, too

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Event Review: Get Known, Get Remembered, Get Business – with Social Content

Get Known, Get Remembered, Get Business – with Social Content

How do you get better known in your industry or among your peers? Content marketing combined with social media can be a powerful strategy to do just that.

According to communicator Donna Papacosta, content marketing involves “creating and publishing relevant, valuable material that attracts and engages a clearly defined audience.”

Such content also must have an objective, she adds. “And it is not sales-y material.”

The key is thinking like a publisher. Content marketing involves a different mindset than the one you use when directly marketing your services on your website. You need to think about the topics your audience cares about and the problems they want to solve, and then help them to connect with information and solutions they need.

Your blog is a great way to share such content, acting as a hub for your content marketing online. Adding to your blog will also boost your website’s SEO rankings, since search engines love fresh material. And most importantly, your blog is a way to publish and get known as an expert.

Tips for blogging like a pro:

  • Blog consistently, with your goals in mind.
  • Write for humans, but think of SEO. What words would people use to describe your topic?
  • Use photos, graphics, and other multimedia to go along with written blog posts. This gets people’s attention.
  • Make it easy for your blog visitors to share content and subscribe.
  • To keep it interesting, use different types of content on your blog, including podcasts, videos, infographics and other visuals, case studies, webinars, guest posts, syndicated content, and news items that you comment on or introduce.

Papacosta recommends Todd Defren’s “70/30″ rule when figuring out your content mix: i.e. 70% should be content you curate, and 30% is created – i.e. your content.

So how do you find great content as a curator? Besides online publications and your social networks, here are some ideas:

  • Set up Google Alerts for your own name, your company name, clients, and topics you – and they – care about.
  • Try RSS aggregators such as Feedly
  • Check out Newsle (it looks at your networks in Twitter and sends email aggregates of links where those people are mentioned)

Once you’ve found great content, use social media to share and expand your reach, build relationships with influencers, and grow your list of potential clients and colleagues.

There are so many places to share. In addition to the usual suspects (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and so many more), there’s Buffer (a scheduling tool), Paper.li (helps you quickly create a daily e-newsletter of curated content), SlideShare, and Medium. There’s also lists and TweetDeck to manage Twitter.

Of course, all this effort should be measured and tweaked as you go.

“We get hung up on page views, shares, and likes,” says Papacosta. “What really matters is lead generation.” Downloads, form completion, email and blog subscription, referrals, inquiries, speaking and blogging invitations (a measure of thought leadership), and actual sales are great outcome-focused indicators.

So, how do you do this and not end up spending all day on Facebook? The key is streamlining your workflow:

  • Keep your objectives in mind: always ask, is what I’m doing important?
  • Scan feeds and searches in the am; use TweetDeck and Feedly.
  • Schedule tweets and other content throughout the day (but not when you won’t be around to answer).
  • Engage with others on social media only during quick breaks from regular work.


This article is my edited review of IABC Toronto “Get Known, Get Remembered, Get Business” event featuring Donna Papacosta of Trafalgar Communications. The event was hosted by the Professional Independent Communicators group on March 10, 2016.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Back a winner


If I had one piece of advice to give about grant writing and proposals, it is this: Don’t make “the cause” your first priority. Write so your prospective funder knows they’d be backing a winner if they funded you – you are the one to get the job done. Why is your horse the best at the starting gate? What training does it have? What’s its history and track record? Who is behind it? In other words, why will it (you) almost certainly be the one to WIN?

This is my guiding principal in non-profit grant writing. Ask yourself: Why is our organization the best possible choice to get the job done, to start the proposed project, to meet the need? Or if writing for corporate social responsibility: Why is this project and solution REALLY going to meet our CSR goals? Why is it the winning choice?

Many writers start with the need (or cause), or focus on it solely. Say they’re writing for a non-profit that offers shelter services for people who are homeless or marginally housed, and they spend most of a proposal speaking about homelessness and why it needs to be addressed. It’s not that “the need” isn’t important – of course it is; no one would debate that. It should be made clear in your proposals. But every organization can write about the need. Only you can write about why YOUR organization is the best opportunity a funder has to address it. As an outsider with fresh eyes, I’m often uniquely positioned to see what it is about an organization that makes it the odds-on favourite, a real leader among its peers.

Make your prospective funder feel as if they’re backing a winner, THE winner (because they are, right?), and … you’ve already won.

Feedback is a gift

Feedback is a gift. I’m not the one who said it – Seth Godin did – but it’s something I firmly believe. Feedback = gift, always.

When people take time and put themselves out there to share their thoughts on something, they are giving something very valuable – a new perspective.

After all, they don’t have to do it. What if you, the creator of that thing, don’t recognize the gift that it is? It’s so much easier for a reviewer to say, “It’s good,” rather than “It’s good, but I would have hoped for Y as well.”

Does this mean that I think that all feedback is right and should be immediately incorporated? Of course not. Reviewers can “get it wrong” sometimes, most certainly, just as content creators can. They may have overlooked something. Or they may have identified a problem, but they may not have the right solution.

The key is to open up a dialogue. And when that happens, when smart, passionate, outcome-focused people begin to listen to each other and hash ideas through, the final result can only get better.

Slowly, something that’s not working will start to coalesce. Or something that is working will become that much more nuanced, stronger, exhilarating, or whatever.

And that’s a gift indeed.

Social media trends for the year

It’s 2016, and that means the inevitable slew of trends articles for the year, some helpful, some not. Here’s one predicting  five top social media trends for business by Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootesuite. I really hope he’s right about social media on the rise in workplaces as a means of internal collaboration and communication (replacing the endless time-waster of internally focused email strings), and I can’t see how he can miss in predicting a HUGE growth in social advertising, including online video.

Here’s to a productive year online for all of us.