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Kathleen Porter – Finalist in San Diego Magazine’s 2017 Celebrating Women Awards!

ETCN Chair Kathleen Porter has been selected as a finalist in San Diego Magazine’s 2017 Celebrating Women Awards.  She was selected in the “Nonprofit Visionary” category for her exceptional work and dedication to ETCN and adult education over the past two years.  She will be featured in the September issue of San Diego Magazine and will be honored at the Celebrating Women dinner event on September 26 at The Westgate Hotel.

The final award winners will be named in each of four categories including: Industry Leader, Nonprofit Visionary, Rising Star and Military Service.  The Woman of the Year will then be selected from those categories.  The honorees are voted on by a panel of past Woman of the Year winners, and announced at the event.

Good luck, Kathleen!

Click here to see the full list of finalists.

5 Tips on How to Strengthen Your Online Presence

Although you may be working for a company, the most important brand you should be concerned with is YOU.

Not only should you be concerned with your personal brand in the work place and among peers, you should pay the same amount of attention – if not more – to how you convey yourself online.

Here are five tips to strengthen your personal brand online:

  1. Spring Clean

Start going through your social media accounts and make sure there isn’t any evidence of misbehavior. Delete or un-tag yourself from any posts where you may look indecent or unprofessional. Keep your privacy settings up to date so that any negative conversations you may have had will remain unseen by visitors.

Including current material is very important. When people look at what you do, they shouldn’t be looking at what you did five years ago.

  1. Network

It is not what you know, but who you know. Reach out to people. It doesn’t have to be often, as long as you stay in touch. A friendly “hello” or a brief conversation can go a long way. If you needed a favor, help or advice in the future, they will be willing to help you.

  1. Stick to your niche

Avoid talking about anything. Stick to what you’re good at. When sticking to your niche, you sound intelligent and well-informed, the goal is to not ramble about any topic.

  1. Create a website

If you invest quality time to build your own website, it will capture people’s attention in a way that will benefit you. Investing effort and time will make everything work out in your favor.

  1. Sell yourself

There are approximately seven billion people in the world. This means there is a lot of competition for attention. If you want to compete, show your capabilities. Put your best abilities on your website and in your social media.


10 Tips and Tricks for Perfecting Your Photography

Besides the ability to write well the demand for photography and video skills are rising, given that nearly everyone owns a photography studio in the form of a smartphone. The question is how to do you take better pictures?


We gathered a few tips from photographers on how to perfect your shots:


  1. Get closer.

It’s hard to capture detail from afar. Move in a bit closer for a photo that displays what you’re trying to convey.


  1. Set the scene with your shots.

Shoot from far away, medium distance and close up. This is essential with video but also matters in still photography.

Example: Shoot a high-level overview of a farmers market, a person at a booth in said farmers market and a detail such as a close-up of a child getting her face painted. With these three shots in mind you can really capture emotion in an event with just a few photos.


  1. Fill the frame.

You know those photos where your subject is standing what seems to be miles away surrounded by extraneous space? Don’t do that. When photographing a person, use the whole frame. Try not to put the head at the center of the frame.


  1. Apply the rule of thirds.

Photographers consider this a basic tip, but many beginners don’t know it. Start with your subject a third of the way from either the left or the right side of your frame.


  1. Look for the light.


The most important tip for amateur photographers is always look for the light. You should move your subject near the light. More light means less noise, truer colors and sharper photos. The best light is usually near a window. When taking a photo, put the window at your back, and move the subject close, but not into direct sunlight.


  1. Get down and dirty.

Try different angles, which may require you to get a little dirty. If you kneel or lie on the ground, buildings will appear taller and more majestic. If you’re worried about messing up your outfit, bring a small blanket or scarf, she says.

Group shots are also better if you stand above — say, on a staircase — and shoot down.This allows you to avoid unflattering squatting poses.


  1. Crop and filter.

Instagram brings good news and bad news: It raises the bar for professional photography, but lowers it for what will pass as a useable photo, Johansen says. With Instagram, anyone can learn how to compose images and have them look good without spending weeks and tons of money on film.

Crop and filter before posting. It’s not always possible to get a great shot, so take some time to remove extraneous bits and run it through a filter or twoGet comfortable with a photo editing app on your phone, such as Enlight or VSCO Cam, so you can rescue any photo mishaps immediately on deadline.


  1. Treat images like headlines.

Hiring a pro is the best idea, but it’s important for writers to think about photos the way they do headlines and leads.


  1. Watch the background.

Be hyperconscious about visual junk behind the subject. Visual junk is anything that distracts the eye — and therefore the viewer’s attention — from the actual subject.


  1. Use drones, Steadicams or tripods.

Shots in motion make video look professional and cinematic. Shaky shots look cheap and unprofessional. Drones and Steadicam help you produce stunning shots. If all that is beyond your skill level, at least get a tripod to steady your shots.

3 Tips on How to Make Your Facebook Posts Stand Out to Consumers

When it comes to social media, Facebook no doubt reigns supreme.

Roughly 79 percent of internet users in the U.S. use the platform—and most use Facebook more than any other social media site or app. That presents a huge opportunity, and challenge, for marketers.

What makes a Facebook post get more likes, shares and comments?


Here are three elements of Facebook posts that can help win over consumers:


  1. Short is sweet.

Long posts aren’t always best: Facebook posts which generated the most engagement had fewer than 50 words. Additionally, posts that shared links earned higher interaction when those links led to posts with only 1,000 to 3,000 words. Less is more when posting on Facebook.


  1. Time your “likes.”

The best time to post on Facebook is during off-hours, when there is less competition to be seen in users’ news feeds. By posting on Facebook during off-peak hours, your posts have a greater chance of being seen, read and shared—setting you on the right track for greater engagement.


  1. Share videos to captivate.

With so many Facebook posts dying to be seen and shared, grab readers’ attention through videos. They’re shared on Facebook more often than other types of content. Visual content is the most shared content, with videos being king.


Below are more surprising findings:

  • Be Brief: the most engaging posts were less than 50 characters. Interactions dropped sharply when posts were longer.
  • Link to long articles: Posts sharing links got more engagement if the links were to posts of 1000-3000 words
  • 79 percent of Americans online use Facebook
  • Questions got more likes than all other post types

4 Rules to Live by for a Successful Blog

It’s no secret that blogging has become vital for perpetuating the success of businesses, organizations and individuals.

They increase search engine traffic, build authority in competitive industries, generate more leads and improve conversion rates.

Small businesses employing blogs report a 126 percent increase in leads, search engines index 434 percent more pages for websites with blogs, and companies that blog receive 97 percent more inbound traffic from outside links.


The following are four reasons why those blogs win and why so many others fail:

  1. Content

Blogs should provide information about trends and developments in trades that will benefit visitors. They should spotlight your proprietary knowledge and expert wisdom, not spew sales pitches.

Blogs attract visitors when they profit from your expertise, so bloggers should write with those visitors in mind. The lack of a defined voice and specific niche represents the downfall of many blogs.


  1. Consistency

It helps to say, when posting new material, “This blog is updated every Thursday at 9:30 am,” or, “Check here for new content on the second Friday of every month,” so readers know when to return. They might visit every so often without a calendar, but they will move on if they don’t see new content consistently. Vagueness in timing for the sake of attracting a few additional page views is counterproductive.

Many bloggers fail because they begin with an overly ambitious mindset. They blast out of the gate, publishing three times a day with writing that engenders a fury and zeal for their subject.

A consistent post schedule is the key to attracting regular readers.


  1. Promotion

Visitors won’t read your blog solely because it exists. The internet is too vast to expect that readers will somehow discover it themselves and then remember to return. Bloggers often spend too much time on content without a corresponding amount of effort pitching it digitally.

You need to promote whatever content you write. Using multiple social media platforms, email marketing, online advertising, giveaways and partnerships with larger brands to create a core following that can expand.


  1. Money and prestige

Most blogs fail because their writers set out to earn riches and gain celebrity overnight. They set incredibly ambitious goals of pulling in lots of advertising dollars and attracting millions of followers. It rarely works.

Successful bloggers are passionate about their vocation and informing their audience. They offer a rare perspective on their industry and commit to weekly or even daily updates, in addition to marketing themselves aggressively.

8 Tips for More Engaging Content

With an infinite amount of content posted and uploaded to the internet every minute, there’s very little chance that it’s all great.

So how do we create a content strategy that cuts through the noise? How do we generate content that excites and inspires our audience? Most important, how do we use that content to generate sales, revenue and customers?

Here’s our tips on how to create the most effective content:


  1. Start by asking why.

Before you even start typing, ask yourself why you’re writing.

Too much content is produced without consideration for its purpose. What will this piece of content achieve? Why is this content so important?

By answering these questions, you’ll give your content purpose and focus. That means you’ll create better content.


  1. Tell a story.

You don’t have to come up with the next best-selling novel, but try weaving stories into your content. Stories are infectious. They keep us reading; they intrigue us. A story gives your brand a human side, making it more relatable.


  1. Start recycling.

Good content should take hours or even days to create. Don’t waste it with just a blog post

Use the scraps for a podcast or a video. Take the key bits of data, and turn them into an infographic. Host a webinar or a live chat. Recycling content gives you multiple chances to use your research and insights.


  1. Go live.

Live streaming is too important to ignore in this day and age. Facebook has altered its algorithm to prioritize live streams, and Snapchat and Twitter have made live, instant video a core part of their platforms.


If you’re not coming up with live streaming ideas for your business, you’re missing out on the fastest growing content element of 2017.


  1. Deliver it faster.

It’s easy to get creative with content ideas. However, don’t forget about the tech aspects.

Speed matters when it comes to showing off your content. If you’re curious about how fast your website server responds, check out the speed checker at Bitcatcha. You might want to prioritize speed after seeing your results.


  1. Embrace native advertising.

For the uninitiated, native advertising is advertising that blends into the content you produce. For example, National Geographic might publish a piece about the Canadian Rockies, but it’s paid for (and sponsored by) the Canada tourism board.

It’s neater and less intrusive than banner ads or popups, and it generates direct income from content.


  1. Start using data and analytics.

It may be a bit boring but it will help you see your content strategy much more clearly.Look at which content is working. What generates the most clicks? What content is shared most often? Which stories generated the longest time on site? Which drove conversions to your products?

Identify what’s working, and do more of it. Ditch the ideas that don’t hit the mark.

Next, get deep into your audience analytics. Who are your readers? Determine their location, demographics and interests. You can mine all this data through Google Analytics and social media metrics. Find this information, and use it to create better content.


  1. Double your promotional time and efforts.

Too many content marketers are still focusing on quantity over quality. Pumping out hundreds of blog posts is not a content strategy. Generating engagement is.