What 2 Years of Regular Blogging Has Taught Me

In May 2011, my friend Mark Schaefer challenged me to blog more frequently. While I’ve had a blog since 2004, I didn’t post with regularity. He said that I was a good writer, but I didn’t write enough to actually build a community. His point was well taken, and I started blogging more–eventually. Before talking with Mark, I would only write when I was “inspired.” Some months I would write several posts, and then I would skip months entirely. I wrote without consistency, focus and voice. Then in the fall of 2012 I started teaching the class on digital marketing, so I wrote with discipline and consistency. My goal was to write a minimum of two posts per week. Lesson 1 – If you post, they will come Below is a chart showing the data over the last two years. The blue lines are the number of posts (indicated by…

Thanks For Your Help! Making my Blog Better…

Last week I asked for your help in making my blog better, and thankfully I can report that I received some incredible feedback. In fact, 50% of the visits that I received on 3/14 provided feedback. On Facebook, Google+, Blog Comments, text message, and the Google form, friends provided meaningful useful feedback to improve reading experience. So, what better activity for a sunny, March Saturday than to set about fixing them. Google Form Feedback on the forms provided some great insight into the perception of my blog. For one thing, I noticed that when I post, only about 5% of visitors comment or provide feedback on another platform. It was nice to see the feedback: First, I wanted to know the frequency of visits. It was cool to see that 90% of respondents read every post. Then I wanted to know whether readers found the content interesting. A little more…

The 3 C’s of Content Curation

If you have more than one friend on Facebook, one Twitter follower or one blog reader, then you have a following. Congratulations! Now, what exactly are they following?! The magnitude of the pipe of information spewing into our brains is overwhelming. We could never sleep again just consuming the content that will be generated and published in the next 72 hours. Data overflow demands that we follow trusted guides to deflect the irrelevant content and lead us to the information that is relevant to our lives both personally and professionally. Gatekeepers In the past, we had a few channels of information and each channel had a few gatekeepers that sorted, prioritized and reported the information to the public. News editors identified “newsworthy” content and then it was reported to the readers / viewers. Today, information-consumers have an endless supply of channels. News, entertainment, gossip and professional development all drain into…

Enough With Paragraphs: Writing Consumable Content for the Wired Brain

I know. It’s a travesty that our brains have been rewired by the Internet and we can no longer process deep thought et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Let’s face it though: it’s true. We consume information all day, every day, so when our eyes see long blocks of text in paragraphs, we “click out” whether on email, blogs, articles or websites. As we react to information overload (and why wouldn’t we with the world’s data doubling at such a rapid rate), we consume only the content that is, well, consumable. I’m the worst, and I admit it. People will contact me and say, “I sent you an email a few days ago, and I haven’t heard back from you.” Then they go on to tell me a two-sentence summary of the 4,000 character email that they sent me. In a quite unprofessional admission: I don’t read long emails–even though…

If You’re Going to Do it Anyway, Here’s 10 Steps to Better Blogging

I know, I know, here I go talking out of both sides of my mouth with my recent post why you should n0t be “compelled” to blog, and now a post on being a better blogger? Honestly, as you might guess, I’m actually a huge fan of blogging. Your blog is an excellent venue to explore ideas and develop your voice as a writer (and possibly expert on your subject matter). Blogs extend a personal, human voice to your readers. My friend Alice made this point clearly in her comment on the previous post: “Blogging is where idea sharing happens on a larger scale.” Done well, your blog builds great content that is indexed by search engines Here are a few best practices for blogging: 1. Define the Focus of Your Blog – What is the purpose of your blog? Keep your blog content within a well-defined focus area. For example,…

Don’t Start Blogging: It’s Not Worth the Guilt

Warning: Herein lies heresy: Not everyone should have a blog. In fact, 95% of the blog owners shouldn’t have a blog. Blogs may increase search engine rankings, build communities, establish expertise within a given field, provide a human side to your brand, engage customers, and becomes the vehicle to build loads of content. So, why do so many bloggers jump ship? Blogging is hard work. So, you have permission to say “no!” Let’s face it: • Blogging takes time (more than many admit) • Many thoughtful blog posts go unread • Establishing expertise requires, well, expertise • Your audience doesn’t read blogs • Your #1 keyword referral will not be what you expect When the new wears off, your blog will go months before it is updated. After carrying the unnecessary, blog-imposed guilt of not posting any new content (which is something that you never wanted to do in the first…

Deck: Basic Elements of Blogs

In tonight’s class, we discussed the basic elements of a blog. The following deck provides the general technical information: Blog Engine URL Selection Wireframe of Blog Page Design Considerations Header / Navigation Subscription options Elements and allocation of labor per post Commenting systems Sidebar elements Social sharing options Connection – syndication options This deck is loaded with links, so feel free to click away. I’m open to any suggestions. If anything is unclear, feel free to let me know!

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I consume a number of audiobooks, but how do you retain all of the content? Here are a few tips that I use to improve comprehension and use of audiobooks.

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