10 Things to Remember When Blogging

I’m fairly new at this whole blogging thing too so I don’t know everything, but I hope these 10 things that I have learned are of some help. Enjoy.

1. Write about subjects you enjoy!

Nothing is more bring than reading material written my by someone who could care nothing about the subject matter of their work. By choosing topics that interest you, your post are way more likely to be interesting and fun to read. Passion in communication is vitally important to the audience whether it’s a professor in a lecture hall or a blogger who is just starting out.

2. Make your blog visually appealing.

As a graphic designer this may fall higher on my list than it would be for others. But seriously, the quality of your blog’s design is you 1st impression! No, I mean NO ONE, will be care that your writing is good if your blog looks like it hasn’t been updated since dial-up internet was the hot new thing to have. This is because no one will be on your site long enough to get the reading war. Your blog doesn’t have to be a work of art it just has to be remotely aesthetically pleasing. For starters stick to a complementary color scheme that uses no more that 3 main colors. Secondly, use images in every post. Pretent its elementary school; people are only gonna read the ones with the pictures.

3. Give credit where credit is due. 

You may be smart but it’s highly unlikely that you will be a Rhodes Scholar on every topic you blog about. So make sure you always link back to sources you quote and to main subject of each post.

4. Be personal.

It is rare that a stuffy sounding corporate memo is what you readers would like to be inundated with. Their is an appropriate tone that will very from blog to blog, and there are some that require a high level of professionalism but being professional does not mean sounding like a drone. Even if you work in a highly corporate environment, chances are, they hired you to be a more person voice that will make valuable connections.

5. Encourage Feedback .

Ask questions, leave some topics open ended and respond to comments. These practices make your readers feel more invited to interact with your ideas and ad their own.

6. Shake things up.  

Variation is the spice of life. Although your blog may have a specific topic, make sure you are not reposting the same thing in different words. Refer to fields and topics that are closely related to your own and interact with similar and differing points of view. This makes reading more interesting. Also, use different mediums of communication in your blog. Not every post should be two paragraphs and five bullet points. Uses videos, info graphics, and photo galleries to make your blog content more rich. Plus, using these elements will improve the aesthetic of your blog because the use of visuals will break up a page of monotonous text.

7. It’s not all about you.

Remember, PR is about relationships. be sure to highlight people about organizations that are not you own. This way, you build bridges that can prove to be very valuable later on. Also it breeds good will and positive perception of the organization you represent.

8. Lead with the good stuff.

People do not have a very long attention span, and I think we all realize how much the span continues to diminish once you get online. So make make it very clear what each post is about from the get go. Unless someone is desperate for certain information or they are just a MAJOR fan, they will not endure every blog post being a doctoral dissertation. So do not get long winded.

9. Know your audience.

Your readers should be a focal point when you are deciding what to say on your blog. Be engaging and appropriate. Remember that every reader is a potential relationship and maybe even customer.

10. Be Consistent.

Depending on your industry, make sure you are posting at the very least every 2 days. If your post are few and far between and your blog is not constantly updated your readers have no reason to check back it and therefore cease to be your “readers.” If communication is too inconsistant one day you will have something important to say and no one will be there to listen.

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KEEP CALM and READ THIS POST

It is truly incredible to me that great design is truly timeless. The story of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster is one such example. The simplicity and timelessness of this poster has had a resurgence of of popularity online and has been reproduced and parodied in a way that is a testament to the power of great design.

The Instagram Effect

In October of 2010 an quirky and fun photo application named Instagram launched on Apple’s App Atore and quickly gained popularity. In fact, over the next two years the app gained over 27 million users on iPhone and Apple’s other iOS mobile devices. During this time, Google’s Android became the number one mobile smartphone platform in the world, but its users did not have have the pleasure in being a part of the vibrant social network that Instagram users had created. But Instagram made a lot of Android users very happy on Aril 3rd, 2012 when they launched their ever popular app on the Google Play App Store. In under a week Instagram had over 5 million downloads on Android devices making the application’s popularity uncontainable. Not even one week later, on Monday, April 9th, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced that that they were in the process of being acquired by Facebook. Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg made a similar blog post the same day.

In under two years Instagram went from being a small one-platform application to being incorporated with the largest and most popular social network experience in the world. I seriously doubt that is creators, Keven Systrom and Mike Kieger, ever were able to foresee the exponential expansion and transformation their invention would undergo. It is quite clear to me that when it comes to the technology industry the traditional collegiate perceptions of what standard business growth should be tend go up in smoke. Yes, the story of Instagram is an exceptional success, but there are many up and coming technology startups that are not too far behind them. It will be very interesting to see how this generation of uncommon business innovations will shape the global economy. Just a thought.

– Daniel.

Evernote – My New Best Friend

Evernote is incredible. I cannot think of a more useful cross platform productivity application. It tis he perfect assistant for a variety of taks including but not limited to managing class work, event planning, journalism, and photography.

At its very base, Evernote is a note taking application, but if you use it for any time at all it becomes obvious that you are working with much more powerful than your grandmothers steno pad. An Evernote document does more than just store your text notes. To that text note you can attach photos and website clippings, record voice notes, or even create a sketch. This means than all the information for any project at hand will truly be in one place. Just the vast array of uses for this application are testament to how useful and versatile it is.

Part of what makes Evernote so useful is that it is useable. On every platform, the developers of Evernote have provided a clean, straight forward and organized user interface. This makes curating, retrieving, and using your information incredibly simple.

Yes, there are other note taking applications that offer some similar features, but what I thing sets Evernote apart and above the rest is how accessible and cross platform this application is. Their are Evernote apps that are available for your Android, iPhone, and Blackberry smartphones, Android Tablets and iPad, as well as powerful desktop applications for both Mac and PC. Plus, if for some reason you don’t have one of your own pieces of technology at hand at the moment you can log on to your Evernote online and use their equally competent web app on any computer. Because the cloud is the hub of what make Evernote so use full their is not complicated syncing process. If you jot down a not and attach a picture on your smartphone, seconds after saving, your new note will be available on your tablet, laptop and of course online. So their is virtually no way to be without your notes as long as you have an internet connection.

The Evernote Tech Blog has posts on countless ways that Evernote can be used, I encourage you to give some of them a look.

Constantly Changing, Yet Never Changing the Constant: Media & Church.

Every day it seems that our culture become more and more difficult to reach. In order to reach a culture that is so self consumed organizations, businesses, and individuals have turned to the media to communicate their messages. The every multimedia medium challenges us be more and more cutting edge, more and more creative, and in a lot of ways it has been the catalyst for a cultural renaissance of sorts.

The need to to be culturally engaging has become very apparent to modern church. There is a lot of discussion surrounding the methods we use to communicate the gospel in an environment where mere moments are all that is available to capture the attention of a culture that is constantly inundated with media messages.The following are several notable voices in Christian culture that are actively engaging this discussion.

C3 Global is an organization of churches and pastors that has is committed to engaging this tension with one goal in mind; to show people Christ. They champion call of creatively communicating the gospel in churches week in and week out.

Cameron Strang, editor of RELEVANT Magazine profoundly says that “Even if you think that church, christian culture, religion; all these things are irrelevant to  your life, that God is relevant. They are are pioneers in Christian culture and are effectively communicating this reality.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/h6pvgtTWcQI?p=1 width=”480″ height=”307”]

CALALYST is an organization that directly targets church culture leaders and three times a year hosts a major conference to recharge and pour into the leaders of the church that are so often drained of all they have to offer. This experience is incredible. The CATALYST team truly utilizes mediums that capture all of the senses. Leaders leave inspired and full of fresh ideas. Each year they select a theme that that always seems to be exactly what the church body needs to hear.

Questionable Politics, Solid Branding.

Mr. Obama and I don’t see eye to eye on many things politically but when it comes to ensuring that his brand is communicated effectively I have to give him props.

Never have American politics been so effected by by branding, design, and promotions as it was in the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. “The Obama presidential campaign was an innovation in American politics and American design. For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people—capturing their voices in a visual way.” – Designing Obama 

Scott Thomas, director of design of the Obama campaign, is truly a branding visionary. The design that surrounded this iconic campaign was a tasteful blend of classic Americana and cutting edge graphic design. it is remarkable how this collection of highly varying artwork still retains cohesiveness and communicates a unified message.

This campaign is a huge inspiration to me as a designer and a PR practitioner. Take a look.

“Fotoshop: By Adobé”

This video it brilliant! As someone who has had a little experience working for a women’s magazine I have had to use all of these Photoshop tools for won purpose or another. But I do wonder when does it cross the line from just helping a person out with their photo to really projecting a false sense of beauty. In the industry I want to be apart of it is a question that I will have to always wrestle with. But this video is a satirical portrayal of o what really has to happen to a photo to be considered “cover ready.”

What I Learned About Haro

HARO, standing for “Help A Reporter Out” is an online social interface that allows reporters to directly interact with sources. HARO was started by Peter Shankman originally as a Facebook page in 2008. Shankman, who has a background in public relations, has created a pretty effective query/answer environment in which users may respond to reporters who need confirmable sources for stories and news releases. Users may also request that their blog information be included in the stories that cite their source information.

The following is an excerpt I found of a great blog that offers some pretty helpful advice on HARO at Resources for Writers by Joanne LaSpina.

What Can Reporters Expect From Joining HARO?

Plan to get three e-mails every weekday with “shankman.com” listed in the subject line. The e-mail begins with an advertisement – a few lines of text with a link or two. Shankman makes the advertisements themselves interesting as he interjects personal statements such as “I wish this was around when I was a kid” or “This is a great hotel and they’re offering HARO members a big discount”. Following the advertisement, expect a few lines from Peter himself. Often, this is information about business trips and speaking engagements – where he is and what he’s doing. It’s almost like hearing from a friend a couple of times a day.

Then the query list begins. It is indexed into categories:

  • Urgent
  • Business and Finance
  • General
  • Health/Fitness
  • Lifestyle
  • Technology
  • Travel

Typically, the list includes 30-40 queries. Under each category is a line explaining what the writer/reporter/ editor is seeking. A new addition has been the ability to click and link directly to the specific information- reporter’s name, media outlet, contact information, specific need, etc. Additional links for “Back to Top” and “Back to Category Index” make it easy to navigate and look through the e-mail quickly.”

I encourage you to take a look around the site and consider joining. HARO’s motto is “Everyone is an expert at something” this give those who are passionate about journalism and public relations.

Guests Blogger Liz Colburn: 6 Tips for Event Marketing

This post is really great commentary on event promotions from a really great friend and colleague. I have had the pleasure of working with Liz Colburn over the last year on the Student Body Leadership Council (SBLC) at Southeastern University. We both have served on SBLC as event marketing & promotions coordinators and have experienced the unique challenges that arise when trying to communicate event happening to the entire student body. We both have embraced the “try, fail, learn” strategy when developing our marketing campaigns.

I hope you enjoy the advice.

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What is event planning?  Well, it is many things.  Event planning is everything from brainstorming for ideas, to going to shopping for supplies, to creating a budget and run sheet, and actually executing the event.  There are so many little details to planing events, but every detail is very important.

Lets say you went all out – you rented a huge arena, bought tons of food, and had awesome decorations and entertainment – but not very many people showed up.  Reason?  Poor marketing!

Marketing an event is one of the most important details of event planning.

Photo Credit: eHow

I have had experience as an event marketer so I definitely know the tips and tricks to a successful event.  Marketing is also way more than creating a flyer – it has multiple stages and processes.

So here are some tips for effective event marketing:

  1. Determine your audience – who do you want at the event?  Where can these people be reached easiest to advertise?
  2. Create multiple forms of marketing – A catchy graphic, a Facebook page, Twitter, a blog, and Purple Cow!  Also,  If it is a large event, contact the newspaper and radio stations and ask to do an ad
  3. Purple Cow – Purple Cow Marketing is something that gets people’s attention.  Something tangible or visually out of the box.
  4. Viral Marketing – place the graphic that was made everywhere – from the bathroom stalls, to windshield wipers – people have no choice but to notice!
  5. Follow Through – keep going back to the places you left flyers and replenish them, tweet about the event and post updates on the facebook page.
  6. Pictures – everyone loves pictures – so why not post pictures about the current process of the event?  Ex: The event is a fashion show – post pictures weeks and days ahead of time of people selecting wardrobe, sneak peaks of the models, and the building of the runway – this will get people excited.

Photo Credit: SethGodin.com

So find something that will really catch people’s attention – and make sure to follow through!

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Read more of Liz’s blog at Randomly Ravishing

New Inspiration

Ever here someone speak or see their product or observe what they do that is resonates with you so much that you kind of say to yourself “I want to be just like you?” Well maybe that’s a little much but that’s just how I felt when I listened to three of the best speakers at the 2012 Southeastern University National Leadership Forum.

The first for me was Nancy Duarte, CEO and creative genius behind Duarte Design Inc. Nancy and Duarte Design have had to opportunity to work with some of the worlds most prominant brands to create stunning visual presentations used for product launches, social media campaigns, and more. Her commitment to excellence in everything, especially design, was truly refreshing. Her presentation was about delivering messages that will resonate with your audience using beautiful compelling visuals, and engaging story. She also presented what I think is a brilliant discovery. She said that every great speech follows the pattern of repeatedly present icing “what is” in contrast with “what could be” and in this the audience can truly appreciate the greatness of what you are “selling” and the “new bliss” your product or company or skill will create in their lives.

On day two of The Forum, film maker Phil Cooke gave a similar “rock my world” presentation. He also spoke of story and howyour story should be used to uniquely brant your message product or organization to provide distinction from the clutter that is modern media. He also pointed out the common pitfalls that a lot of people fall into that hinders the message of their brand.

The third and final speaker to completely blow my mind was Erwin McManus, revolutionary pastor and film maker from Mosaic Church in Los Angeles California. After hearing Duarte and Cooke present putting such emphasis on excellent visuals and design Erwin takes the stage and profoundly delivers a message on how great design has to be intentional and is essential to life. “Beauty and aesthetic and atmosphere were not supplemental to God, but essential to life” and “to be the image of Christ is to be uniquely who he created you to be” are just quotes from his entirely thought provoking segment.

All in all, these three voices were truly an inspiration to me as a graphic designer, a public relations student, a creative, a Christian, and a person as a whole. Their words have given me a new dose of energy for my profession and I am happy for the opportunity to share it with you.

– Daniel

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