Three Tips for Blogging

Blogging is not always as easy as it looks, especially if you want to keep your blogging consistent. Last night we discussed “How and When We Find Time For Blogging” during #blogchat on Twitter. Below are some tips I have for finding time to blog.

  • Make a plan. I feel like it is very important to have a plan for your blog. It gives it structure, along with helping you narrow down topics to write about. I have never really had structure to my blog before, but last Sunday I sat down for a few hours to revamp my website and plan out my blog. I came up with categories to write about each day of the week to narrow down what my blog post for the day would be. For instance, Monday’s are general topics, Tuesday’s are Twitterquette Tuesday’s and Friday’s are Friday Faves.
  • Pick a time. What time of the day works best for you? Early morning or late at night seemed to be the most popular responses from bloggers during the chat last night. Personally I tend to write my post at night and schedule it to post the next morning around 9am. I try to be consistent with the time I post so my blog followers know when to expect a post from me for the day. The main reason I do this is because I work from 7am- 3pm five days a week, and I want my post published in the morning. It will be different for everyone!
  • Get inspired. If you are like me, or most other bloggers, you will probably have an inspiration for a blog post pop up at any time of day. Always write it down! Find a method that works for you. I personally use the notes app on my iPhone or write the idea down in a notebook I keep on my desk. If you are having a hard time getting inspired read news articles, blog posts, or hashtags on Twitter to see if you can find something that inspires you. I try to have three blog posts up a week, however there may be a week where I have no inspiration to write a post that day. If this happens to you don’t force the post! Always remember, quality over quantity.
I will leave you with this quote from the chat last night: “The biggest secret to blogging productivity is not some cool app, but good habits & self-discipline. #blogchat” –@DanBlank

What other tips would you add to the list? How do you find time to blog? 

Related articles: 

How and When Do You Find Time For Blogging?

13 Tips to Find Time to Blog

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Twitterquette 101: Lesson Six

Twitter chat?  What is that? 

They’re awesome, that’s what they are! No, but really, they are. When I wrote Twitterquette 101: Lesson Two I briefly mentioned Twitter chats, but I did not delve into how they actually work, so I thought this would be an important topic to cover. I cannot tell you how much useful information I have taken away from participating in a Twitter chat, along with how many great individuals I have connected with. Now you may be asking how a Twitter chat works if you have never been involved in one.

How Twitter chats work: 

  • It all starts with a founder and hashtag. For instance, #JobHuntChat is one of the first Twitter chats I ever participated it and it was created by Rich DeMatteo. This particular chat focuses on job seekers and provides useful discussion on how to land a job.
  • After you discover a Twitter chat you would like to be involved in, find out how often the chat takes place. For instance, #JobHuntChat takes place every Monday from 10-11 pm est. Some chats are weekly (like #JobHuntChat), while other chats may only happen biweekly or monthly.
  • What next? So now you know when the chat takes place, so what next? Show up to the chat at the indicated time ready to discuss the topic for that specific chat! Usually the moderators of a chat will tweet from the chats actual Twitter handle (most chats have one… see @JobHuntChat for an example) well in advance what the topic for the upcoming chat will be. Some people wait to find out the topic on the day of the actual chat, while other people, myself included, like to know in advance.
  • While the chat is going on the moderator and the Twitter handle for the chat will tweet out a specific question for the chat community to discuss. Each chat topic/question will pertain to whatever the specific chat is about. #JobHuntChat went on last night, and here is an example of a question that was asked: “Q3: I’m not sure I like the job I’m interviewing for but the company is amazing. Should I still interview? #jobhuntchat”
  • When a question is tweeted you should do your best to answer with your own opinion. When you tweet your answer, be sure to include the hashtag of the chat so everyone participating can see your response! The responses to each question during the chat is what really gets the discussion going. Here is an example answer to the above question that I responded with: “3- If you don’t see yourself working in that position, why interview? The company may be amazing, but will you be happy? #jobhuntchat” Tip: If you are answering the question directly, be sure to include which question you are answering with the question number so other participants will know what you are responding to.
  • While it is important to give your own opinion to each question, be sure to follow along with the conversation and see what others are saying. This is why I love Twitter chats! Don’t be afraid to reply to something someone else has tweeted, that’s what really gets the discussion going. I always leave a Twitter chat with a ton of knowledge and thoughts about something. For instance, all of the answers people had to Q3 during #JobHuntChat last night really got me thinking, because honestly I had not even considered some of the responses I saw until someone else mentioned it.

Now that you have a rundown of how a Twitter chat works, it’s time to go get involved in one! Before you know it you will be a Twitter chat pro! There are Twitter chats about tons of topics out there. Here is a schedule of Twitter chats for you to look into: Twitter Chat Schedule.

My top favorite Twitter chats:

#JobHuntChat | #PRStudChat | #PR20Chat | #4SqCHAT | #nywicichat | #blogchat

Questions? Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section or through my Let’s Socialize page! Hope to catch you in a Twitter chat soon!

How a Part Time Job Can Help Your Future

Since the age of 15 I have held a part-time job working in the food industry. That’s 7 years! Why the food industry? I love food of course! Okay, that isn’t exactly why I have always worked in the food industry. I mainly just wanted a job while I was in high school to pay for extra things, like going out with friends to the movies, that I hated borrowing money from my family for. I never imagined how beneficial the part-time positions I held would actually turn out to be. Below are a few things I have taken away from various part time positions I have held.

  • Work Ethic. Having a part time job while you are in high school and/or college really helps boost your work ethic. I come from a very hardworking family anyways, but getting a job at the age of 15 really taught me about work ethic. I have worked in several different restaurant settings, and each one has shown me different types of work ethic from coworkers. It has helped to mold me into a very hardworking and motivated individual.
  • Leadership. While I have been in school here at Western Carolina University, I have held a part-time job at Subway. Throughout these past few years I have gained the trust from upper management to help train new employees, and as of last week was promoted to Store Manager. While I have no plans of furthering my career at Subway once I graduate with my PR degree (unless corporate is in need of a PR pro of course), working my way up the career ladder at Subway has shown me how hard work and dedication in the future will pay off.
  • Time Management. This is so important to have throughout life. Learning to be on time to work is a skill you will need to possess outside of college and a part time job. Something I learned in high school marching band has carried over into the work side of my life. Early is on time, on time is late, and late… well if you’re late, you’re screwed. Always be at least five minutes early! It shows you care. Along with being on time, when you are at work you need to make sure you set aside enough time to fulfill each task you have that day. Let’s face it, in the PR industry we have to be pretty awesome at managing our time, along with multi-tasking, hence why we are attached to our smart phones!
  • Balance. My senior year in high school I took on two jobs, marching band, and was a full-time student. Yes, this was tough. However, it taught me very early on how important balance really is. Thinking back on it now I have no idea how I managed to have a life outside of all of these things, but I did! While working two jobs didn’t last very long (I enjoy my social life), it did teach me that taking on too many things can be bad. Like I said before, I enjoy my social life, and I also enjoy family time. Working in the PR industry is time consuming, we students are aware of this. Therefore we have to find a good, healthy balance between work, social life, and family time. Too much work is not always a good thing! Sometimes your mind needs a break.
  • Communication Skills. One thing I wish my high school offered was a communications class. I feel like every high school should, because communication is so important out in the real world. Having a part time job has taught me how to effectively communicate with co-workers. For instance, I work morning and night shifts at four different Subway’s (they are all owned by the same guy). Doing this requires extreme communication with coworkers. All four stores operate a little differently, so I cannot be afraid to ask questions and find out answers to be able to work to my full potential. In the real world you have to be able to possess this skill! Communication really is key in the work world, and life in general.
  • Customer Service. We all know the customer is always right, right? If I have taken anything away from working in the food industry (I’m sure this goes for any retail industry… I know it does for Mary Kay as well, because I sold their products for a year) it’s that customer service skills are so important to have. Working in PR we will be faced with circumstances where we will have to deal with the consumers/customers of our clients. It is so important to understand how you should approach situations, and I must say, dealing with very hungry people at Subway, or when I was a waitress, is a great way to build those customer service skills. Hungry customers are not a force to be reckoned with!

Have you ever had a part time job? If so, how has it helped prepare you for the real world? If no, do you feel well prepared for the real world anyways? 

Spelling: Get it Right!

Let’s face it… every now and then you have to think about the correct form of “your” and “you’re,” or any of the other typically misspelled, or misused, words out there. What’s an easy way to remember commonly misspelled/misused words? Why none other than these spelling lessons by The Oatmeal! Enjoy. 🙂

Click here for the original image on The Oatmeal.

What are some ways you remember all of these spelling rules? 

See my post about National Grammar Day 2011 here.

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. Relay For Life 2011.

This is the first time year I have been a part of Relay For Life, and I have no idea what took me so long to get involved!

Relay For Life of WCU became a client of CatCom exactly one year ago when I met with the current Co-Chairs of the event. They are amazing and I am very glad I was able to get to know, and work, with them over the past year as the PR and Marketing Chair/CatCom Liaison. This is an experience I will never forget. One that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life.

After being at the event tonight I realize I want to be more involved in the future. Relay For Life has so many great things to offer, and it is an amazing organization! If you do not know about Relay, learn about it and get involved today. Cancer hits home for many of us, so celebrate the lives of those who have won the fight against cancer, remember the ones who have lost the battle and most importantly: fight back.

I relay for my uncle who lost his battle with cancer when I was 8, my grandma who had a cancer scare this past year and the cancer scare I personally faced two years ago. Who do you Relay for?

Important Lessons from Grey’s Anatomy

It is no secret that I have a huge addiction to Grey’s Anatomy, and yes I realize it came out in 2005. While I recently discovered this show, I have quickly picked up on a few things that stand out that can apply to the work world.

  • Mixing professional and personal. Right off the bat, surgical interns Meredith, Izzie and George move in together because Meredith was looking for roommates. It is great to have roommates, but something I have noticed about these three is when they are having issues at home they tend to bring them to work. In a professional environment it is not acceptable. While people love the drama of the show, drama in the workplace is immature and unprofessional. It is always great to make friends with coworkers, but make sure you keep personal and professional separate. Do not let it impact the work you can do!
  • Communication is key! This phrase is said constantly, and for a great reason: it is true! If you want to have success within an organization or company, you need communication. This does not only apply to PR and the communications industry, but everything. The show is about surgeons, and to me it seems like the communication should be constant with them. However, since it is based mainly on the interns they are still learning and the audience sees many times how there is lack of communication between the interns and the resident surgeons. For there to be success, there needs to be communication.
  • Being an intern does help! Some universities do not require students to have internships prior to graduating, but some, like mine, do. Like I mentioned before this show is mainly about the interns. Before watching this show and other shows like it, I had no idea that surgeons had to intern for as long as they do. It makes sense though. While I have never had an operation in my life I do not think I would feel comfortable having someone fresh out of school that does not have a lot of experience operate on me. So how does this relate to PR? No we are not going to be making operations on anyone when we graduate, but we will have to deal with many other things that may occur, like a crisis situation for instance. By interning we have the opportunity to learn and be mentored by professionals before jumping into the fire.

While I may be a little late to the Grey’s Anatomy party, noticing these points in the episodes I have seen has shown me that students are all the same. We are constantly learning and growing. So what do you think… are there hidden messages like the ones I have mentioned above in other television shows? Do you think this is on purpose?

The Verdict is Out

Yes, you heard correctly. The verdict is out. On what you ask? Formulists. What about Formulists? My decision on whether or not I actually want to try this service or not. After creating a poll a little over a week ago, here are the results:

  • Yes: 0%
  • No: 16.67%
  • Not really: 0%
  • You should definitely try it!: 83.33%
  • Other: 0%

The few comments I received on the post were against Formulists, and after this poll and doing more research on Formulists this past week, I must say I will not be testing out this service. For me, lists help me keep track of people that I tweet with, such as PR professionals, PR firms, people I meet at conferences, etc. I like to personalize these lists and with Formulists it does not seem like you can do that. Now correct me if I am wrong, but this service reminds me a lot of “bot” tweets.

I check to see what lists I have been added to almost every single day and because of Formulists I will be added and removed from lists within the same day. This really bothers me, because it does not seem very personalized.

What do you think? Are Formulists less personalized?