While comparing what I knew when I first started blogging and what I now know, I find myself truly amazed. Starting off, I thought I knew exactly what I was doing but when I read some of my first blog posts, I find myself smacking my forehead at the mistakes I made.
With anything in life, you become better with practice and there is no exception when it comes to blogging.
I don’t consider myself an expert but I do believe I can offer some valuable tips on blogging for all you newbies!
The name is half the game: Brainstorm and come up with a catchy name for your blog. Don’t just write “PR 101” or “Learning PR.” Talk about BORING! Trust me, that is no way to gain readers.
Looks are everything: Make sure your blog is appealing to the eye. Don’t have a billion columns or a crazy font size. (I recently saw a blog that had tons of videos uploaded that stretched outside of the columns they were suppose to be in. I left that blog before it gave me a headache!)
Stay hip: The only way to stay hip is to stay relevant! Write and talk about issues that are going on today. Don’t live way in the past but try to be on top of current events. Talk about issues that are causing interest now!
Follow the leader: Find professional bloggers who have been blogging for years and follow them. See what they’re talking about and learn from them in the way they write, post, and communicate with others.
A picture says a thousand words: Adding pictures to your blog posts are a sure way of drawing more readers in. If you have a stimulating or even controversial photo along with your writing, people will be drawn in to read.
Communicate: When someone comments on your blog, make sure you take time to comment back. This builds relationships between you and your readers. This is one of the main points of blogging!
Videos: Sometimes there is something you want to write but instead of typing it out, there’s a video you find that says that same information. Why not post the video in your blog? Or even better, record yourself talking about what you would have originally wrote. This adds variety and people like variety.
Break it up: Make sure you don’t write in long paragraph form. I see people who have been blogging for several years still making this mistake.
Establish a voice: Make sure you have good tone in your writing and have enthusiasm. You can turn a reader off immediately by how you sound in your writing.
Have fun: I know it sounds cliché but its true. You will be surprised at how much fun you can have!
Blogging can be intimidating at first. You can feel like your alone, sitting in your chair, typing out information that won’t be seen by anyone. But be encouraged and know that your posts could be found by some of the greatest, most well-known bloggers out there. And maybe one day, you will become one of those great bloggers…
On Nov 6th, Family Worship Center in Lakeland, Florida opened its doors to a familiar face. Dr. Mark Rutland, current president of Oral Roberts University and past president of neighboring university, Southeastern.
He walked up on stage and with that smile of his, lit up the entire room before he even said a word. He chose to speak about something that had become heavy on his heart and something he said, “People desperately needed to hear.” He spoke on envy.
From his teaching, I learned that envy is not only when someone wants what someone has but it can also be someone not wanting another person to have what they have, even if they have no desire for that thing.
As he spoke, I looked around at the audience and saw them intensively listening and digesting his words. I also saw them laughing at his jokes that were so effortlessly woven within his message. I shared in those laughs too.
I walked around from that service with a greater knowledge of what envy was. I gained an understanding that I needed to be content with what God had given me.
It also gave me a greater desire and motivation to make sure I didn’t allow myself to become envious of others. A lot of times we don’t even realize we are being envious.
“It doesn’t show up and say hello, I’m envy! Envy is sneaky,” said Mark Rutland. He is absolutely right.
I encourage everyone to listen to the full audio podcast. I hope it enlightens, motivates, and encourages you like it has for me.
Citizen Journalism is a new trend that is becoming more popular each day. The term refers to normal day people taking the roles of journalists. For example, someone sees a man stealing a woman’s purse and captures a photo of it with his phone. Then, they upload the picture on Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of social media.
Citizen journalism can take shape in many different forms. It can be a photo, video, blog, comment on a blog, or a podcast.
The growth of technology and social media has equipped the average day citizen with the tools necessary to become a journalist. People often have their phones readily available and so wherever they are, if something is happening of importance, they can record it and share it with the world in a matter of seconds.
A real example of citizen journalism would be when the U.S. Airways plane crashed into the Hudson river. A man named Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida took a picture of the plane and posted it on Twitter with his mobile phone. It was the first photo taken of the accident. Yes, he beat of all the “real” journalists in capturing this moment and sharing it with others. Thirty-four minutes after Janis posted his picture, he was asked to be interviewed by MSNBC live on TV as a witness.
After watching the TED video with speaker Eli Pariser, I was surprised and in some aspects, shocked. The information I was digesting was eye opening and shed light to something I was completely unaware of. It was the first time I faced the reality of “filter bubbles.”
By “filter bubbles,” Eli Pariser was referring to how different organizations, like Facebook and Google, monitor the links and websites people visit and then edit what they are able to see based on the links and websites they find they are frequently choosing to visit.
Proof: Eli Pariser prooved this by showing how two different people can type in the exact same thing into Google search, at the same time, and get two completely different lists of information and links to choose from.
Also, he showed how his Facebook newsfeed was being filtered. He explained that he was a liberal and would often click on links that contained liberal infromation or opinions. Facebook monitored his actions and in return edited his newsfeed to the point where his conservitive friends’ links would not appear in his newsfeed anymore. Eli had been placed into a filter bubble. He was just one of the many billions of people who this was happening to.
Problem: The danger with “filter bubbles” is that it gives you only a portion of the picture. It doesn’t give you well-rounded information but it merley gives you what you want to hear. People don’t need to only see and read information that they agree with, they need information that they oppose. They need to be faced with new ideas and ways of thinking that aren’t normal to them. In essence, orgaizations like Google and Facebook are taking away individuals freedom to search the web and find information themselves. They are shaping the way humans think.
To hear more, watch the entire video of Eli Pariser as he talks about the dangers of “Filter Bubbles.”
When you want to explain complex information in a quick way, infographics are the direction to head in. Why bore your audience with long and often boring paragraphs, when you can grab their attention quickly with a splash of color by using infographics?
Infographics are visual representations of information, data, or knowledge. (They often come in handy in PR when writing a story for a client).
Infographics are comprised of three elements:
1. Visual Elements: Color coding, graphics, and reference icons
2. Content Elements: Time frames, statistics, and references
3. Knowledge Elements: Facts
When creating infographics:
Keep it simple: infographics should be clean and concise. All the information being displayed should be well-organized and easy to read.
Keep the attention: Many readers lose interest quickly so its important to be as clear as possible and to the point before readers have a chance to miss the entire message.
Splash of color: Color draws people in and gives readers conceptual and emotional impressions. Color makes the information stand out and keeps the information more appealing to the eye.
People are automatically drawn to visual things. As humans, we are driven by what we see. That’s why infographics can play such a vital role when writing a story for a client. It brings excitement to whats being said and it gives a more stimulating effect to the reader.
This week, I chose Leslie Ludy as my guest blogger. Leslie is a best-selling author and speaker who has a passion for reaching her generation with the hope of Christ. The first time I came across her blog was this month, when I saw it taped on a wall in my dorm. When I read it, I began to cry because I was so touched and moved by her words.
Leslie Ludy has inspired me to fall more in love with God. I hope you find inspiration and are moved to do the same. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Setapartgirl.com
“In some of my books, I’ve mentioned how I love to listening to Scripture on my IPOD – while I’m driving, cleaning, or waiting for an appointment. This week as I was cleaning out my closet (part of the whole “nesting” instinct, since I have another baby coming in a few weeks!) I was listening to the book of Mark, and heard the story of the sick man who’s friends were so determined to get him to Jesus that they climbed up onto the roof and let his bed down through the ceiling:
And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. (Mark 2:4)
When Jesus saw their faith, he forgave the man’s sins and healed him from his sickness. They knew that Jesus was the only one who could help their friend. So they loaded him onto a bed and brought him to the place where Jesus was. When they saw that it was impossible to get to Jesus because of the crowds, they didn’t turn back and say, “Oh well, at least we tried.” They refused to give in to defeat. They were willing go to any and all means to remove the obstacles keeping them from laying their sick friend at Christ’s feet. This is the kind of dogged faith and spiritual determination that God responds to. Their determination and commitment yielded great rewards.
This story convicted and challenged me in a whole new way as I heard it. How many times do we allow the “crowds” to keep us from laying our cares at Jesus’ feet? Without Him, we can do nothing – He is the one who has everything we need for life and godliness. But how often to we allow circumstances, busyness and distractions to keep us from Him? The past few weeks, my life has been exceptionally full with travel, deadlines, household projects and of course caring for three little munchkins under the age of four! During busy seasons, it’s all too easy to make a half-hearted attempt to guard my time in God’s presence – rather than being willing to do whatever it takes to come and kneel at Jesus’ feet. Andrew Bonar once said,
O brothers and sisters, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper – and sleep too – than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber.
Are we willing to lose sleep, food, productivity, social status, and “down time” in order to come before our Lord every day and make Him the highest priority of our life? Do we have a spiritual determination that says, “no obstacle will keep me from my King – even if I must go to the rooftop and break through the house tiles to get to Him!”? Or do we make half-hearted attempts to spend time in prayer, and when distractions arise say, “Oh well, at least I tried.” God has been challenging me on this point at a whole new level. I have realized afresh that I must allow nothing to become an excuse to keep me from Him. Whenever I catch myself saying, “Well, I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’m 7 months pregnant, so I probably should just have a short quiet time and call it good,” that’s when I know that my spiritual determination has weakened, that I’ve allowed the cares of this world to creep in and keep me from my King. May we never be content with a paltry, half-hearted spiritual life or say, “once I’m done with this busy time, I’ll get back to true prayer.” Rather, let us doggedly, determinedly remove any and every obstacle that keeps us from coming to Him daily, spending hours in His presence, and receiving everything we need for life and godliness!”
Storify is a clever tool for telling stories using social media such as Facebook posts, Tweets, photos and videos. It gives you the ability to search multiple social networks from one location. When you find the information you want, you simply drag individual elements into your story. You can also arrange the information into any order you want and add text to give context to readers.
Photo Credit: bebestilo.com
What does storify mean?
According to storify.com, “storify” is an obsolete word that used to be in the dictionary that means “to form or tell stories.” The website also mentions that it was a word used internally at The Associated Press, where co-founder of Storify was a correspondent. Editors sending messages to reporters asking them to do a story would often write: “Can u pls storify?”
Benefits for PR and Journalism?
PR professionals and journalists all over the world are sharing information through social media. But since new information is always appearing and old information is constantly being updated, streams of information are quickly being lost into a sea of endless information.
However, with the help of Storify, people in PR and journalism can put together the best photos, videos, Tweets, and even Facebook posts to create stories that will never be forgotten. And since the stories are embeddable, they can easily share them with anyone.
Here is a great video tutorial on getting started with Storify: