TOOL TUESDAY: Wordle Turns Words Into Art

September 20, 2011 by

Wordle logoHard pressed to come up with an image for your blog post or email newsletter? Try Worldle, a toy for generating word clouds from text.

  1. Go to Wordle
  2. Paste in a bunch of text, plug in the URL of a website or blog post, or enter the user name of a Delicious user (Delicious is a social bookmarking service)
  3. Make a word cloud
  4. Play with fonts, color schemes and layouts
  5. Make a screen capture
  6. Adjust size as needed in your photo editing program (if you don’t have one, read my blog post about Picnik)
  7. Upload to your blog or website

They don’t even have to be your words! Grab the text of a political speech or a news story. Word clouds are very good at instantly finding themes. Here’s the text of the press release for President Obama’s American Jobs Act made into a Wordle:

American Jobs Act Wordle

10 IDEAS FOR WORD SOURCES

  1. Print newsletter
  2. Appeal
  3. Blog post
  4. About page
  5. Press release
  6. News story
  7. Speech
  8. Staff bios
  9. Book excerpt
  10. Delicious user (see my Wordle below, based on http://www.delicious.com/karvetski)

Wordle

Be sure to browse the Wordle gallery for inspiration. Even more fun is this Google Images search for Wordles.



TOOL TUESDAY: Turn Your Print Pieces into Google Juice With Scribd

July 19, 2011 by

Before blogging and Tweeting and Facebook, there was paper. Remember newsletters, annual reports, brochures, guides and white papers?

Scribd logoThere are great stories in print pieces, keyword-rich content that could help your nonprofit or business get found by search engines, and therefore donors, volunteers and customers. Google juice! But all those beautiful keywords remain trapped in dead wood and dry ink.

Google Juice
Photo credit: Johannes P. Osterhoff

You’ve also spent time and money designing your print pieces. Reconstructing them for web consumption can be costly and time-consuming. In many cases the content is simply too long for viewing online.

Sure you can turn your document into a pdf and post it online. But that puts a small hurdle in front of your visitor. Your visitor must download the document, and some folks will choose not to take the leap.

There’s a better option.

Turn your print pieces into Google juice with Scribd.

Scribd publishes your document online with your formatting intact. Fonts and graphics stay put. The service surrounds your document with features that make it findable (keywords, descriptions, categories), shareable (Facebook, Twitter, email, download), sticky (follow), social (comments), measurable (stats) and portable (embedding).

The American Red Cross posts safety checklists, disaster relief reports and white papers to its Scribd channel. (via Wendy Harman @wharman)

Here’s a sample of a Red Cross document hosted on Scribd and embedded on this blog:

Wildfire Safety

Check out what these nonprofits are doing with Scribd:

Scribd accepts a wide array of file formats:

  • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc/ .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls/.xlsx)
  • OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw)
  • OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi)
  • OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc)
  • All OpenDocument formats
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)

Categories include presentations, books, business/law, creative writing, government docs, puzzles, recipes, speeches and op-ed pieces. Topics include business and marketing; cooking, food and wine; parenting; news, politics and nonprofits; and self help.

I highly recommend starting with Scribd 101, which links to related guides for uploading, sharing and stats, among others.

Give yourself time to learn how Scribd works, and if you want to convert some newsletters or annual reports, start with recent publications and work your way backwards. Your new stuff is probably the most topical.

Think strategically about why you are putting particular documents online. Let your supporters know about your newly available content by mentioning it in your online newsletter, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Give your print content wings! Good luck.