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.

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

Blog Scraping. Just Don’t.

Everyone loves to be quoted, referenced, and commented on, but no one liked being plagiarized, copied, or overlooked. Blog scraping definitely falls into the un-liked category.

Blog scraping is when one online publication completely or partially copies any certain article or work and the posts it on their own blog. Similarly to academic plagiarism, blog scraping is completely unethical and highly offensive. To use someone else’s words or ideas as your own, neglecting to give them proper credit, is wrong and illegal.

If there was a situation in which a post from my clients blog had been scraped or lifted I think I know what methods I would take to resolve the situation.

I would immediately contact the blogger or the company they represent and inform them that they are using original content and have neglected to source their information and supply the proper credit. I would politely, but firmly, ask them to provide the proper credit or remove the post from their blog immediately. After giving the sufficient time to complete this, if they would still refuse I would contact my companies legal department or a lawyer we would use on retainer. From here, this could end in several ways. One of which being that a lawsuit may be filled and damages paid. But sometimes all it takes is to threaten legal action to get people to comply with your commands. Or, the case might go to court and to avoid the costs of a trial the opposing council might advise the defendants to settle out of court.

I of course hope that is would not come to taking such action but I believe that protection the intellectual property of any entity is important to their success.

AP Style, or is it Ap style, or maybe AP STYLE idk.

I think that is any public relations or journalism major can get a firm grasp of this they have accomplish a significant milestone. Until I get there the AP Style book will be a my side when writing.

I honestly did not realize how many rules the were to consider. I also was surprised by how much AP Style differs from some the traditional grammar rules that engraved in your brain by you elementary school english teachers. You almost have to “unlearn” those rules in order to embrace the new ones.

But after a couple hours of frustration trying to wrap my head around the concept I have really come to appreciate it purpose. The chief function of  AP Style is to make reading newspapers, press releases, magazines, and other publications as efficient and direct as possible. It also allows the reader to glean the most pertinent informations ate quickly as possible.

Most of the rules of AP Style have been brought about through the process of printing traditional newspapers. Because of ever rising printing cost and such a vast away of publications be produced their came a need for some uniformity and continuity that also made printing as cost effective as possible.

AP Style is also designed to protect brand names, uniform the formatting of dates, times, military and political titles and even religious positions.

Although I have come to appreciate it, one of the most daunting aspects of AP Style to me is the use of abbreviations and punctuation as they relate to addresses, dates, and time. I think this because they are so commonly use

Comments. The Cold Hard Truth.

Let’s all be honest, the whole point of using the internet, besides Googleing, is to have interaction. Whether it’s followers, likes, friends, or having full circles we want to be engaged over online. Hopefully this is not replacing real life interaction, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

When it comes to blogs comments are proof that you are not rambling on to a vast dark audience of zeros and ones. Comments let you know that people care. Not just care, but care enough to respond with their personal Ideas about what you have shared. A blog without comments is like a president without a country, a singer without and audience, or a professor without students.

Comments can range from kind and heartwarming to deep and thought provoking or even rude and hurtful. But either way… YOU GOT NOTICED! Lets try and stay away from the rude and hurtful contributions though.

Comments provide the valuable opportunity to have an exchange of ideas. These exchanges can lead to meaningful conversation that can effect thought. But nothing happens if you don’t speak up.

Also, It is good internet etiquette to respond to those who found you interesting enough to interact with. If someone comments on one of your posts, it is always appreciated to leave a reply comment or even interact with the on their blog pages.

So do some good and comment!

Remember to pay it forward, and make the internet a better place.

And I’m an Internet Socialite

Being the techy and internet junkie that I am, I naturally gravitate to social media and all it has to offer. I also would definitely consider myself and early adopter. But I would also consider myself a moderate to avid user. It’s actually kind of funny; I often find out about new social media outlets from the ones I am already using and apart of… and the cycle repeats.

There are several social media services that I am apart of and find useful. My favorite at the moment has to be Twitter. I don’t suppose this is a shock to anyone considering that Twitter is one of the fastest growing internet services available. Even though I love it there are certain highlights and low points that I must bring to your attention. I think Twitter is absolutely invaluable for promotions of groups, products and services. Any modern business that has any hopes of expanding it’s brand loyalty, or creating a vibrant online community MUST use Twitter. I honestly can’t think of any other online service, even the ones that cost thousands of dollars a year, that can match the effectiveness of Twitter. What I don’t Like is when people use it as their personal micro diaries and document every waking action and thought. I think most of you can agree.

Being that I find Twitter to be such a great networking tool, that what I use it most for. Sure I do post personal anecdotes, photos, and happening, but not nearly as much as I retweet and interact with organizations, businesses and causes. Most of my personal social networking happens on good ole Facebook. Facebook is definitely where I go when it comes to catching up with old friends, arranging parties and get-togethers, and posting photos. In a way Facebook seems more intimate. Weird, I know.

And then there’s MySpace….That was funny let’s move on.

As for Google+… I have one, but I have to be honest I have not done much with it, but I have a feeling that might change soon at the rate it is growing. I do like how integrated it is into the rest of the web and makes the entire internet feel a little more social.

There are other I dabble in like Pintrest, Tumblr, Foursquare (which I think is another great promotion tool), StumbleUpon, Youtube (which goes without saying), and more!

But enough about me, which social network services to you like to “waste” time on?

Your input is welcome in the comment section below.

Infographics: Charts & Graphs…. For Cool People

As a graphic designer I really appreciate infographics. Infographics display information visually, just like ordinary graphs and charts. But what makes them different is that info graphics have a certain cool-factor that you probably won’t fin in your statistics book. This is because the are designed and meant to catch the audiences attention, especially on the web. Being that I love them so much, I whipped one up. It’s a really simple one but I hope you enjoy!

WILAAAI (What I Learned About Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms)

So, I have always thought the words “abbreviation” and “acronym” were somewhat interchangeable, and I didn’t even know the word “initialism” existed. So I think it’s safe to say that this was a very beneficial blog for me to read.

I learned that at acronyms, and initialisms are both types of abbreviations. Any shortened form of a word is considered an abbreviation, but there are different types. “Nov.” is an abbreviation for November but it is not an acronym or initialism.

Initialisms are shortening a multi word title by using the first letter for each word. For instance, “CIA” is an initialism for “Central Intelligence Agency.”

Acronyms are a little bit different. They a similar to initialisms in most ways, but what sets them apart is there ability to be pronounced. Example: National Aeronautics and Space Administration is shortened to the acronym NASA. But the difference is, one says NASA not N.A.S.A. as one would say C.I.A.

It surprises me that every time I think I have grammar all figured out, it becomes apparent that it is more complex than I have realized. As a person who is sorta bilingual (I pretty much speak spanish), I feel like English has a lot of loopholes, exceptions, and hidden rules that seem to pop up when you least expect it.  Ok, I may be over-dramatizing, but it’s how I feel.

It is apparent that Grammar Girl will be a faithful sidekick of mine and an often used secret weapon. Hopefully with time, I will be half as knowledgable about writing as she is.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/

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