Blog Happy Tips

My previous post provided blogging tips from an article I had discovered. My enjoyment in writing about it, as well as analyzing my own blog in the process, has led me to my latest post: How to Enjoy Blogging.

While I’m no blog expert, and I certainly wouldn’t be qualified to dole out advice on how to have a successful blog, I can admit to enjoying my blogging. As I thought more about it, I decided to make my own list that might prove informational for readers and recreational for myself. So here it is, my very own Advice Blog Post:

How to Enjoy Blogging

1. Make it interesting…to YOU!

  • As I mentioned, my primary motivation for writing this very post is my own self-interest. In fact, EVERY post I write is out of pure selfishness. I write about things that I enjoy or show an interest in, thereby reflecting the enthusiasm in my posts. Life is too short to blog about things that bore you.

2. Mix it up.

  • While many people try to keep their blog pertaining to one particular topic, I find it much more interesting to show a little variation. If it’s a professional blog, that doesn’t mean that you need to post goofy pictures or silly YouTube videos. My blog, for instance, relates primarily to Public Relations and Social Media. However, I can’t resist the urge to share new discoveries. I usually post these under the category of “Stumbled Upon.” Sometimes, however, it’s an old tune that I just need to share, or a favorite quote. Mix it up, keep it fun for yourself and others.

3. Look around.

  • I’m not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg, my looking through media news or my looking for a post topic. Either way, I try to stay up to date with media and PR trends. While I look around some of my favorite websites (i.e. Mashable), I often come across an idea for a blog post. Sometimes I’m just stuck and, as I mentioned, I’m not going to write about something that I don’t find interesting. In these cases, I go to random websites that have no bearing on media at all. Sometimes I even turn to what I did that day. Look around you, both on the internet and in your life in general. There are plenty of topics waiting to be written about.

4. Be proud.

  • While you may feel like your blog is barely a plankton in the Blog Sea, you are still taking the initiative to get your voice heard. Even if your hits total 5 or 6 a day (been there, done that, still doing that in fact), be proud that those 5 or 6 people chose to view YOUR blog. Don’t get discouraged.

5. Don’t let your blog be a cause of guilt.

  • Okay, this one I’m admittedly still trying to deal with. Just because you haven’t posted for awhile, or don’t quite feel like going on one day, it doesn’t mean you’ve skipped out on some responsibility. Your blog is just that, YOUR BLOG. Don’t let it dictate what you do or else you’ll stop enjoying. Don’t let an inability or disinterest in posting make you feel guilty. Don’t be afraid to take a weekend, or a week, off from posting. It should be on your time.

6. EMBRACE THE BLOGOSPHERE.

  • This is the most important piece of advice yet– don’t just stay put in your nice little corner of the internet, go explore the blogs of others. You’ll find it to be a pleasant and relatively friendly community filled with well-wishers (and the occasional nay-sayer). Embrace the feedback you get and give. Embrace the blogosphere!

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10 Tips of Blogging & a Tip Taking Blogger

I came across an article on Ragan.com today that claimed to reveal “10 tips for writing for the web.” While I usually tend to avoid these sorts of lists, for better or for worse, I decided to take a quick look and evaluate my own blog by these standards.

Here’s the list of ten, as well as an appraisal of my own blog. Spoiler alert: I might need to write less in future posts.

Here are 10 tips to help you write better Web copy:

1.  Keep it short

  • And right out of the gate, we see one of my first biggest problems. I understand that we have a tendency to scan articles– be it online or in the newspaper– but I just can’t stop myself from being overly verbose at times. I like words, and I also like getting my point across– as long windedly as possible.

2. Make your last point first

  • I always try to do this, especially because I know I am capable of quite random tangents. This is kind of liking stating your thesis in the introduction to a paper. The concept seems like common sense, but working as a writing tutor for the past four years has opened me up to a whole new world ‘college-level’ writing.

3. Keep paragraphs short

  • Once again, back to our tendency to scan. The appearance of large blocks of texts can be intimidating and must certainly scare-off the most timid of readers. Instead, and I feel like I’ve mastered this skill quite well, it’s important to keep paragraphs short and succinct. Check! What else you got?
  • (Oh, and by the way, I thought it was interesting to note that the article suggests checking out the BBC website, “one of the major U.K online media sites where content is written specifically for the Web.” And yes, I checked, this article is British-based).

4. Use numbered lists and bullets

  • While this particular post certainly meets those requirements, I can’t say I use lists/bullets on a regular basis. Note to self: make more lists– grocery lists, to-do lists, favorite things lists– and post them. Okay, maybe the topics of my lists need a bit of work…

5. Use emphasis/bold

  • I hereby solemnly swear to place more emphasis on my words, to use bold type more liberally, and to underline to my heart’s content.

6. Use links

  • I always try to provide as many relevant links as possible. If people are actually taken the time to read what I write, I can only assume they have some sort of actual interest in the topic. Therefore, it would be only natural that they would want to follow up on it. I like to make that easy for them! Plus, when credit is due, I feel a necessary obligation to give it.

7. Use headings and subheadings

  • I do not do this. I don’t think at all. But note to self– good idea. This is another helpful way for me to learn to break-up my wordy paragraphs. As the article states, these headings/subheadings act as “anchor points,” and I certainly don’t want anyone sailing away from my page!

8. Avoid ‘big’ words and marketing speak

  • I don’t think I use any jargon, or ‘marketing speak,’ but I would have to go back and look. As to ‘big’ words– it depends on the audience. I don’t think I exercise my vocabulary too liberally on this site, but then again…who knows? Well, I shall attempt my foremost to abstain from indulging in the employment of gratuitus prouncements.

9. Think carefully about the headline

  • Some posts are easier than others to come up with witty titles for. I always try to post my blogs with fun, attention-gathering names. For instance, as I write this very sentence, I’m try to think up some sort of clever play of words for the title. This might end in failure, however, and I’ll just have to hope that a listing above my blog is incredibly witty and a user mistakenly clicks on mine instead– only to find this wonderous trove of treasure!

10. Don’t forget SEO

  • SEO, Search Engine Optimization. When everyone and their mom ( I really do hate that expression) has a blog, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Especially those times when you fail to produce a witty title, you can at least include as many key words as possible to increase the chances of that blog post showing up during a search. For blogs such as WordPress, you can use the tag posts to help with this. In fact, I like to tag my posts with as many words as possible, meaning that I get a big A+ in this category.

My conclusion?

Well, my blog certainly isn’t perfect, but whose is? I feel like this list makes valid points, and I’ll certainly attempt to follow the 10 tips. What do you think? Anything this list got wrong? Anything you would add?

I’m open for suggestions. Oh, and I’m surprised it didn’t include anything about pictures. I love adding pictures.

Fortune 100 and Social Media

During my internship I was assigned to log onto a clients’ twitter page and follow all of the Fortune 500 companies. Our client worked as a business to business counselor, so any connections we could make for her with big name companies were greatly appreciated. And so I set to work, searching company by company according to the list. Needless to say, the process became a bit tedious, but I was interested to discover the number of these large corporations that enlisted the use of social media.

An article from Ragan’s PR Daily has revealed to me further social media trends of the Fortune 100 companies. The information comes from Burson-Marsteller’s social media study released yesterday. So what do you think? Any surprises?

1. Twitter is the most popular social media platform.

77% of companies have a twitter page.

2. Companies are interacting more on Twitter.

67% use “@” to communicate with consumers.

3. Fortune 100 companies have more Twitter followers.

4. More people are talking about companies on Twitter.

5. Facebook use increased by 13 percent.

The number of ‘likes’ have increased 115%.

6. Companies are giving their stakeholders a voice on Facebook.

75% let customers post on their walls; 72% respond to wall comments.

7. The number of YouTube accounts increased.

57% have a YouTube page.

8. More companies are using “all four” social media platforms.

25% have a Twitter, Facebook, Blog, and YouTube page.

9. Asian companies are helping fuel the increase in social media.

10. Companies are embracing the blog.

The average number of blogs per company increased 63%.

 

Oh, Thank Blog!

The other day, my post on Meme’s gained some attention after being “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress. My measly 10 random views a day skyrocketed to over a thousand. Comments came pouring in, as did ‘likes’ and even subscriptions to my blog. In fact, the primary reason most of you are reading this now is probably due to my one minor success. I’m not writing this as a boast, but rather to convey my disbelief that quickly led to some over-analyzing of the splendid situation.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons:

  1. To vent to an online community of nameless readers.
  2. To keep myself updated on PR & Media related events.
  3. To get myself (and my resume) out there, even if only as a resume builder.
  4. To deliver news as well as my own opinions.

Going into this experience, reasoning number four was not necessarily leading the pack. I realized that as “just another silly blogger” my chances of actually delivering my messages to a mass audience were pretty slim. I’ve been on twitter for some while, and despite any wit or wisdom (or at least what I would consider to be the two), my followers still mostly include real-life friends and the random spammers who want me to buy prescription drugs off the black market (and I of course don’t block these individuals because, let’s face it, I like to see my number of followers as high as possible–even if they are scumbags or robots). Due to my limited success on twitter, I came into the blogosphere with similar expectations. I planned for it to be more of a personal social networking tool, rather than one with mass appeal. But after the other day’s “Freshly Pressed” occurrence, I found my blog open to whole new opportunities.

The idea of people actually reading these posts is slightly intimidating (sorry for all the grammar and spelling mistakes…), but even more frightening– it’s slightly empowering. While I know my readership isn’t exactly of epic proportions, it’s more than I would ever expect. These readers, and the supporting and informative comments they’ve made lead me to the ultimate point of this latest post: The internet and its social networking sites have truly revolutionized the power of the people in getting their voice heard.

Perhaps I was first struck by this idea when I heard that Tweets would start to be recorded for the Library of Congress (so, years from now, some extremely bored relative of mine can look up my nonsensical 140 character ramblings). This latest blog experience has added to my disbelief. The internet is such a powerful resource in getting our voices heard. PR and Marketing companies caught on to this trend from the very beginning, capitalizing on the free publicity and tools. The best examples of the public using this power comes from Presidential elections, especially this past election when the youth voters made up a great majority of Obama’s support. Our ideas and opinions can be posted for the world to see. There is not filter or gate-keeper to keep our voices from being heard. Of course, garnering enough attention to make your message worthwhile is another campaign, but there remains that ability to freely voice your opinion to the possibility of a mass audience.

I know people will be reading my posts now. This fad may only last another week, or another month, but I at least know that my voice is being heard. People value my opinion and what I have to say. Whether they agree with me or not, whether they learn something from my posts or find them to be aimless ramblings– I know that people are at least taking the time to look at these words that I’ve put effort into creating. This is a wonderful feeling.

While I wanted to (quick) post to reflect upon the powers of the internet, I also want to take the chance to thank everyone for their support. The internet is filled with faceless and nameless viewers that I may never meet, but the positive and encouraging reactions they have to my writings are humbling. Thank you so much for your support and viewership. I wish you success in your blogs, and look forward to reading what everyone else has to say. We live during a very interesting time, and it’s wonderful that we can get the full effect of events through the opinions of others.