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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Friday Faves: Instagram

There are numerous photo editing apps out there for the iPhone, but my favorite, by far, is Instagram. Why, you ask? Instagram has so many great features and has the ability to make your personal photos look like they were taken by a professional photographer. Maybe they were, as I am sure there are professional photographers on Instagram, but if you are like me you really like to take pictures and share them with your family, friends and social media peeps.

There are so many great features with this app. I love that you can add hashtags similar to those on Twitter, but these only show results of pictures other users on Instagram have posted with the same tag, along with the fact that you can keep up with the crazy lives your family and friends live. Instagram is one of the must-have apps for iPhone, or at least I feel like it is. In fact, the first app I downloaded when I got my iPhone was Instagram! Would it be bad to say a huge reason I wanted my iPhone was actually for this app!?

The camera on the iPhone is already amazing (I have a very nice/expensive Canon digital camera and my iPhone takes better pictures than it sometimes), but Instagram allows you to edit and share your pictures within the app. When you take a picture and edit it you also have the option to upload to Facebook, or share on Twitter or Tumblr. Not only can you edit and share photos, but you can also tag the location with a feature provided by Foursquare.

A reason I love the sharing features that Instagram offers is because it allows me to upload the pictures I take to Facebook so my family can see what I’ve been up to. I don’t get to travel home very often, so it allows my family to see what I’ve been up to lately because I upload my Instagram photos faster than when I take pictures with my digital camera. It also saves every picture to my phone so I can send pictures from Instagram via text message. After all, sharing is caring!

Here are a few photos I have taken with Instagram:

*Taken at Western Carolina University*

*Taken at Cullowhee Falls*

*Taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway*

*Taken in Sylva, NC*

George, my Betta. (I had to add this one a little late, but I love it too much not to put it on here!)

What are your thoughts on Instagram? I would love to know what you think!

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!

It’s Not ALL About Social Media

Social media. Where did it come from? Why is it important? What about the traditional stuff? 

Don’t get me wrong. Social media is absolutely wonderful. I use it everyday, and I have networked and met many great individuals via social media. However, people tend to forget the importance of traditional PR because of all the hype and attention social media has gotten. With social media comes many great opportunities. Virtual internships, networking, constantly staying updated, etc. However, you cannot solely rely on social media to further your career in public relations.

What do I mean by this? 

While it is great to have a social media internship, along with great knowledge of how the realm of social media works, you also need to know the basic skills of the industry. Go beyond a virtual internship. Yes, virtual internships are great. You learn very important communication skills (you aren’t in the office, so communication is extremely important), you work from home, you can have one while you are a full-time student, and the list goes on. However, virtual internships lack in one thing: the experience you will gain through a more traditional internship. For instance, I want to work at an agency where I am able to work on several client accounts. A traditional internship will offer me so much more than a virtual internship in this aspect because I would be in the actual office and able to get help/advice from co-workers at any given second.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of virtual internships and I am currently looking for one. My point is that you cannot solely rely on  social media to get you the experience you will need for the real world. As PR students we need to learn to be well-rounded. It is great to spend a lot of time learning and utilizing social media. It is also great to get out there and put those basic PR skills we learn in the classroom to use. If you focus on just one area of PR while you are in school you will miss out on so many things, and becoming a future well-rounded PR professional could be one of those.

To be successful we have to become well-rounded in this industry. We have to stay up-to-date on current trends, but we also have to stay in touch with the traditional side of PR. Social media has made networking and internships so much easier, but we need to keep in mind it isn’t all about social media. Don’t just rely on social media. Get out there and gain experience in person!

What are your thoughts? Is it really all turning to social media? Is the traditional aspect still important to gain experience in? 

Related articles: 

Is traditional PR dead? 5 ways technology has impacted the communications industry for better or worse

Is Traditional PR Even Worth It?

Why I Almost Considered Divorcing My Droid

It is no joke that I am completely in love with my Droid Incredible. I have had it since last July (I waited a whole month to get it!) and it is the first smartphone I have ever owned.

The Android version of me!

When I first started looking at smartphones, I took the time to research all of them. I originally wanted a Blackberry Curve, but after speaking with several Verizon Wireless customer service representatives I decided the Droid Incredible was the phone for me, and not because it had just been released, but because it was what would work best for me. I absolutely loved all of the features the phone had and realized it would do everything I needed a smartphone for.

While I have only had my Droid for a little less than a year, I recently started to think about going back to a normal cell phone. Why, you may ask? I feel extremely too connected sometimes. Even when I try to take a break for a day, I feel as if I am constantly checking my phone. If I am not constantly checking my phone, I feel like I may miss something important, or I need to inform everyone I am taking a day off from my computer and phone, which I feel is completely impossible to do most of the time.

My smartphone is a great asset and I will not really get rid of it. However, I have decided I will stop checking my phone past a certain time each day. Yes, it is great to be connected, but there is a fine line between connected and too connected. The past few months I feel as if I have been too connected and I want to make a change so I do not feel like I have to constantly check my phone when I am away from my computer. There may be some exceptions, like if I am waiting for something important from someone and I know they will email, or contact me, late at night. However, like my mentor says, many things can wait until the morning!

What are your thoughts? Are we way too connected with our smartphones? Should we disconnect after a certain time each day? If so, what do you think is a good time to stop checking  your phone?

You can read the article that inspired this post, here.

Twitterquette 101: Lesson Two

Last week was my first lesson in Twitterquette and it covered the basics of what is okay to tweet. This week I thought it would be appropriate to discuss hashtags, and how to use them without stepping on any toes.

I will admit, hashtags are one of my favorite Twitter features. While I use hashtags on a daily basis, and in almost every tweet I compose, I also think there is a right and wrong time to use this awesome feature.

When is the right time to use a hashtag? My answer to this question is simple: whenever you have something to say that you would like to share with other people in the Twittersphere! Hashtags help get your message across to more people than just your followers. Using hashtags is a great way to strike up some interesting discussions regarding public relations, or any topic for that matter. When you use a hashtag just make sure it fits whatever message you are sending. For instance, if you are tweeting a question about public relations and you would like feedback from other students, use a hashtag like #PRStudChat. This is the first hashtag I use if I need advice from fellow PR students or if I have something exciting to share.

Twitter chats is another prime time to use a hashtag. Personally, I love Twitter chats and there are some great ones out there (#PRStudChat, #pr20chat, #internchat and #u30pro to name a few) to get involved with. Twitter chats not only offer a chance to chat with other students and professionals once a week, biweekly or monthly, but they also offer amazing communities that you can build relationships with fellow community members. This is one reason I participate in Twitter chats. I simply love the communities that come with them!

When is the wrong time to use a hashtag? The only time I think it is the wrong time to use a hashtag is if a Twitter chat is going on with that particular hashtag and you randomly send a tweet promoting something. I have seen this happen before and the response was not very pretty from the Twitter chat community. While some communities may not mind, keep in mind that it could rub some communities, or community members, the wrong way.

Other than that, I do not think there is another wrong time to include a hashtag in a tweet. What are your thoughts? When is it right, or when is it wrong, to include a hashtag in a tweet?

So You Are New to the Blogosphere…

So you are new to the blogosphere, now what?

Everyone is new to blogging at some point or other, but how do you get started? I started my blog a little more than a year ago and I never imagined I would ever get any hits on it. That has changed and it has a lot to do with things I have learned through my own experiences and reading other blogs.

The following are some tips I have for those of you who are new to blogging or want to jumpstart your blog again.

  • Make a plan. The first year I started my blog I did not really have a plan for it. My goal was to get a few posts up a month, but nothing far beyond that. When I decided to buy my domain name and attended Real World PR for the second year in a row, I decided to make a plan and be more serious with my blog. Maybe it took spending money on a domain name, or attending a conference two years in a row where they stress the importance of social media, but I now have a plan for my blog. In your plan, decide what you want to base your blog on and create topics you would like to write about. I suggest this to anyone starting out. It really helps!
  • Research. As PR students we already know the importance of research. When it come to blogging this is no different. See what other PR students and professionals are doing with their blogs and what they are writing. Along with this research you will create a list of blogs you will read daily or weekly.
  • Network in the blog world! Almost everyone is on Twitter, and there are Twitter chats for almost everything. One of the first few chats I was ever in is #blogchat. This Twitter chat has helped me network with other bloggers and get a lot of questions I had about blogging answered. While there are a wide range of bloggers that participate in this chat, you can still find a lot of useful help by participating. If you really want to network with bloggers that are interested in the same topic as you, find a hashtag that fits you. #PRStudChat introduces me to a lot of PR students who are interested in the same field as me and blog about similar topics.
  • Comment on other blogs and share posts. To me, this is very important. Read other blogs and join in on the discussion in the comments. This is a great way to get your name out there and show that you are not just promoting your blog, but other blogs as well.

What are other tips you have for starting bloggers?