Sunday, March 26, 2017

What if Supervillains had JotCast?


Easy, clear communication helps everyone -- even supervillains. While the heroes band together to fight evil in various groups like the X-Men and the Justice League, their nefarious nemeses are also gathering, taking questions from fans and minions. Their meetings take place in cyberspace, though, on the JotCast platform. Let’s join the conversation.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Expanding Your Reach

We've all been there (and many of you still are). You have a terrific product, service, Halloween costume, etc that you're extremely passionate about. You're sure it's a game changer. First-page-of-Reddit worthy, in fact! But, you're struggling to reach your audience. The internet is a place crowded with many interesting, bizarre, and sometimes scary things. How do you break through all that to find your market. Or rather, how do you let others find you?

Step 1 is making sure your website (step 0 is build a website!) implements the best practices for basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This can span a number of areas, from your URL structure to what you have on your page.

But lets say you've checked off all the basic TO-DOs. What's next? Today, it's all about content. Even Bill Gates agrees that Content is King. You need great content to drive people towards your site, which means you need content that people want and are excited about. That's the tricky part -- generating unique and valuable content that your audience craves, even if it doesn't directly lead to a sale.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can generate content and expand your reach. And a lot of them allow you to express yourself as an individual, not a faceless corporation. For example, you can start a company blog and encourage individual employees to make posts. They don't even need to be related to what your company does. But by showing the human side of your organization, you're going to connect with...wait for it...other humans! So unless your target market doesn't include homo sapiens, strongly consider creating a blog.

Podcasts are another exciting way to create material and let people learn more about you. It doesn't take much to start your own. You can create it directly through iTunes and record from your personal computer. If you have the time and energy -- and ideas you want to share -- go ahead and do some research on podcasting tips and tricks, then give it a whirl. Or if you don't want to start your own podcast, search for existing ones in your field and try to make a connection with the owners. Listen to a few of their podcasts and see if you can come up with a topic the host and their audience would enjoy hearing about.

Another often underutilized method of finding people is to physically walk out the door and start looking! No, I don't mean meeting random people off the streets. But sites like Meetup and Eventbrite let you search for all types of activity and networking events. These can be kind of hit or miss since you don't really know who's going to show up, but then again, you never know who's going to show up. You might make a terrific business connection or a new friend, or you might have fun hanging out and learning about other people. It's kind of a win-win. And by interacting with a diverse group of business leaders you're bound to come up with some new ideas for generating information.

In case you were wondering, we're not just giving out random advice we don't believe in. We practice what we preach. We go to meetup events to find new and interesting people and we participated in our first podcast recently. Clearly, we're fans of blogging, too.

So get started creating content and connections. You'll be amazed how much your reach can grow.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Website Redesign - Sneak Peak

With spring coming up fast, we decided to refresh our look a bit. We're really excited about the results, so we wanted to offer you a sneak peak of the changes.

We're making the site more streamlined and modern with a cleaner, more minimalist appearance. The screenshot below shows the new form for creating a chat. You'll have to wait for the next release to see the other pages!

What do you think of the redesign? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Communication is Key

We are in a state of transition. We have a new President, new members of congress, new department heads, and pretty soon we'll have a new Supreme Court Justice. That's a lot to take in, especially considering how divided our country has been. Whether it's about race, religion, or politics it feels like we're more polarized than ever.

So, what are we going to do about this? A lot, hopefully. Whether you plan to volunteer your time helping the needy, donate money to causes you believe in, write letters to congress, protest, or even run for office, there's one thing EVERYONE needs to be doing right now - COMMUNICATE!

We want to remind everyone that regardless of your beliefs, the best way to enact meaningful change is with constructive communication with those who agree with you, and those who do not. In case you were wondering, constructive communication does not mean a vicious back and forth on Facebook where the focus is on insulting whoever disagrees with you. We mean real communication - listening, hearing and understanding what others are saying and why they feel the way they do.

Yelling at someone until they've had enough and agree with you isn't a solution (or realistic). Neither is retreating inward and surrounding yourself with people who think just like you do. Instead you have to look outward towards those people who do not agree with you. Engage them! Make a sincere effort to understand their point of view, and then make a sincere effort to communicate your point of view without making them feel like they're under attack.

Lastly, make sure you communicate whatever actions you do take. Let people know what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how they can get involved. Social action is the vaccine, you are the carrier!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Resolving Your Resolutions

Welcome, and happy 2017! This is the perfect time to reflect on the past year - to spend time thinking about your accomplishments, shortcomings, and goals. If you're like most people, this process probably helped you create a few resolutions for 2017. And if you're like most people, you probably gave up on your resolutions about two weeks ago. That's OK, resolutions are tough! But they don't have to be. Here are some great tips for how to follow through on your resolutions!

One of the biggest barriers to achieving your resolutions is, in fact, the resolution itself. It's easy to get carried away with all of your hopes, desires and dreams. But reaching for the stars can easily leave you empty handed. Instead, try focusing on a few simple things you'd like to accomplish. Maybe call your parents or loved ones at least once a month, or give your pocket change to someone in need, or brush your teeth every night before bed (you should all be doing this)!

The point is, don't go crazy with resolutions you won't be able to keep.

Case in point - this year JotCast resolved to identify small feature improvements that will have a substantial impact on user experience, and to release those changes as soon as they're ready (in addition to our regular release cycle). And with that, we're proud to announce:

  • Network Disconnect Detection - We've all been there. You take the time to craft the perfect message just to hit send and realize you've lost your internet connection, and your message too. Well, you no longer have to worry about spotty or lost internet connections! You'll now be notified when your messages don't send, and you'll have the ability to resend them.
  • Automated YouTube Links - It's now even easier to insert YouTube links into your chat. We've cut out the media insert button, so you can now paste your YouTube links directly into the chat message.

We'll keep you updated with our resolutions as the year progresses. Feel free to comment on how your resolutions are working out for you!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Enhance your blog with live user engagement

In case you haven't heard, blogging is in. Just how in is it? Well, 2.7 million blog posts are published every single day. Tumbl alone has over 319 million blogs created in the last five years. And it doesn't stop there, just look at how quickly this daily counter of published blogs goes up.

So, unless you've been cut off from civilization for the past 35 years à la Brendan Fraser in Blast From the Past, you should be very familiar with how popular blogs are. They're an excellent way to communicate your beliefs, feelings, inspirations, and random thoughts to millions of people all across the globe.

But despite their broad reach, individual bloggers can still find it difficult to stand out among the rest of the World Wide Waste. Even bloggers with thousands of readers can struggle with keeping things new and exciting for their readers. So while the blog format is very much alive and well, a new twist on an old platform is needed. That twist is live user engagement.

With traditional blogging, writers make a post and then leave it for their audience to read later. They sometimes respond to user comments, but that's not the norm. Live user engagement in the form of an interactive Q&A chat turns this paradigm upside down. It doesn't replace the tried and true blog format, but is a supplement that enhances the user experience by letting your fan base ask you whatever their heart may desire!

Consider the possibility. Once a month try NOT making a blog post, and instead field questions and comments from your users in a live chat. It's easier to do than you'd think. Just check out this post explaining how to set it up, or go to www.jotcast.com and click Create Chat. And of course remember to tell your readers in advance when you'll be starting the chat.

I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. Don't worry, here it is...you can put the chat directly into your blog! Don't believe me? Look below! I created an ongoing chat and placed the HTML into my blog. Pretty nifty right? Just don't expect me to reply to your comments right away. Happy blogging!


 

JotCast Has a Blog!

Welcome to the first installment of the JotCast Blog.

Our mission is to help you interactively communicate with and engage your user base so that they keep coming back to you for more. Whether you're an educator fielding questions from students, a sports writer discussing the day's games and trades, a news organization following the latest trends and hashtags, or a fellow blogger looking to interact with your readers, we're here to help you develop and grow your brand.

Lets start with the basics.

So what is JotCast you're wondering? Good question! JotCast is a chat program. Well, not JUST a chat program. You decide which comments to publish, which to reject, and which to save to publish later on. Only once you publish a comment will everyone else see it. That way you control the content and flow of the discussion, while filtering out any unwanted input. After all, this isn't the Wild Wild West.
You see, anyone can enter the chat and submit comments or questions, but as the chat host only YOU see those comments.

Ok, how do I use JotCast? Well that's easy. First create a chat by going to www.jotcast.com and clicking Create Chat in the navigation. Fill in some chat details, like chat name and start time, and hit submit. You can then create a free account, or log into your existing account. It's that simple! Once the chat is created you can share the chat URL with your users, or use the iframe code we generate to put the chat directly onto your website.

How can the service be free, is there advertising? Nope, we don't advertise at all in our chats. Your free account gives you 1,000 minutes of reader time per month. That means that you can have 1 reader in your chat for 1,000 minutes each month, or 1,000 readers for 1 minute, or anywhere in between. If you don't have a lot of users, don't have a lot of chats, or just want to see what JotCast is all about then the free account is probably what you're looking for. If you have a larger user base from hundreds to thousands of readers than you'll probably want to upgrade to one of our paid plans, or contact us to create a custom plan that matches your specific needs.

Well, I think that's enough for one day. Thank's for reading!