Category Archives: Social Media

Blogs Are Thirsty for Content

Once you’ve decided that a blog will serve your communications needs, it’s time to do some planning. The blog fairy – a cousin of the tooth fairy — is generally too busy to make content appear magically, so you’ll need to give it some thought.

Fairy_Pixabay

Think about your audience(s),the subjects that interest them and the messages you’d like to convey to them or the information you’d like to disseminate. Instead of using the space to directly advertise products or services, consider offering  useful advice or fresh ideas. If you provide interesting content, your readers will see you as an enjoyable read or a good source and they’ll be more tempted to return to your website.

Start your ideas flowing by creating an editorial calendar. This is nothing more than a chart displaying the publication dates for your blog posts and the topics each post will cover. It may look daunting, but brainstorm with your colleagues and you’ll have the calendar filled in before you know it.

Think about natural markers, such as seasons and holidays. There are bound to be topics that suit particular times of the year. For example, since my blog generally focuses on language, in advance of Valentine’s Day, I might write a post exploring pickup lines today and in the past. Quirky, but interesting.

Writing concisely is better than being verbose, especially in today’s world of short attention spans. Try to keep the length of your posts from 300 to 500 words. You can always break a topic into portions and run them consecutively, rather than overwhelming your readers.

Even though blogs are language-based, readers are attracted to images, so try to include at least one with each post. There are sites that offer free photos, such as Pixabay and Freeimages; the photos may require attribution, but it’s worth the “price”!

Finally, don’t forget your spell check feature, one of a writer’s best friends online. Nothing will hit a wrong note with your readers like spelling errors.

Take the blogging plunge and enjoy the results!

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Filed under Social Media, Writing

So, You Want to Create a Blog

Social media are here to stay, as evidenced by the ongoing popularity of tools such as Twitter and Facebook. However, if you prefer to convey your ideas in complete sentences or phrases longer than 140 characters, blogging may be the vehicle for you.

If you’re reading this, you are already familiar with blogs. A blog – a shortened version of the term web log — is nothing more than an ongoing series of articles or stories posted online on a particular website. These posts generally appear in reverse chronological order, newest first.

Your blog can stick to a specific topic – mine is generally about words and language – or can be a collection of musings on a variety of subjects. It can also be a tool to keep employees or clients up to date on the organization’s plans and activities.

For organizations and individuals, blogs can be a great way of keeping website content fresh, even if the majority of the site remains static. A clothing store’s blog, for example, might contain posts about the latest fashion trends and hints about wearing a particular item of apparel with style.

Before you take the plunge, however, do a bit of research to be sure that a blog is the right tool for you. If you’re going to put the time and energy into creating a blog, you want to make sure it meets your needs. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What kind of information will interest/intrigue them?
  3. Who will write the blog? Who will they be representing (e.g., the CEO? The organization as a whole?)
  4. Who needs to approve the copy before posting?
  5. How often do you plan to refresh the copy? Once you begin, you need to be committed to adding posts regularly.
  6. Who is responsible for posting the copy and making changes, as needed?
  7. Will you allow comments? If so, who will respond to them?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to roll. All you need is content. I’ll address the guts of a post in my next blog entry. Stay tuned.

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Filed under Social Media, Writing

Alphabet Soup and Social Media

Have you ever thought that the world of social media has plunged us deep into a bowl of alphabet soup and left us to climb out as best we can?AlphabetSoup

I’m referring to acronyms, of course – those “words” that are created by taking the first letter of a longer phrase or title and stringing them together. We all use acronyms in our conversations – think NATO, for example (North American Treaty Organization). Sometimes, they are even so well integrated into our language that we forget that the term we’re using is actually an acronym; scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) is one that comes to mind.

The advent of social media and cellphone technology, however, has taken acronyms to whole new level. Given the character limits imposed by Twitter and the need for speed when texting — or Keyboard_Twitterthe reluctance to type more characters than is absolutely necessary – an entire new collection of acronyms has come into being. These acronyms are rarely spoken, because they are generally unpronounceable (LMAO, anyone?), and besides, they were designed for an online medium that is read, not verbalized.

If you are new to texting or to Twitter, you are suddenly assaulted by a barrage of terms that seems foreign and incomprehensible. When I first came across LOL (laugh out loud), I was puzzled. Lots of love? How did that relate to the sentence I had just read?

It’s all a matter of exposure, however. Everyone can play the game – they just need a teacher to guide them through kindergarten, as it were. These days, I can decipher online acronyms with the best of them. IMHO? In my humble opinion, of course. ICYMI? In case you missed it.

Today, when I come across an online acronym I can’t identify, I just say WTH* (What the heck – known in other circles as WTF) and google the translation. If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of online acronyms, it’s time to GWTP* (Get with the program) before you drown in your soup.

*My own creation

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Filed under Language, Social Media, Writing