Posts tagged ‘blogging’

February 4, 2011

Always Leave Them Wanting More— How the Adage Applies to Blogging

Etsy, Thetwitterpatedtoad

Problogger recently suggested twenty nine ways to generate or sustain blog traffic. In an effort to evaluate my own blogging success, let’s take a look at the list together:

  1. Teach me how to do something.
  2. Entertain me.
  3. Stimulate me to think.
  4. Tell me a story.
  5. Present me with some interesting research results.
  6. Make me laugh.
  7. Review a product or service to help me make a decision.
  8. Tell me why and how something applies to me.
  9. Show me a case study of something you’ve (or someone else has) done.
  10. Make me feel like I’m not the only one who….
  11. Predict what will happen next.
  12. Collate what other people say about….
  13. Inspire me.
  14. Give me a project to go away and do.
  15. Give me a sense of belonging.
  16. Explain what something means.
  17. Summarize a topic or issue.
  18. Intrigue me.
  19. Introduce me to someone of interest.
  20. Tell me your opinion.
  21. Link to something that I need to see or read.
  22. Share something I can relate to.
  23. Provide me with a list of resources.
  24. Stimulate me to enter into a dialogue or debate.
  25. Give me a point of view that is different from the rest.
  26. Encourage me to keep going through something I’m finding tough.
  27. Keep me up to date with the latest news or developments in a field of interest.
  28. Guide me through a process.
  29. Solve a problem that I have.


Of the above criteria, I can identify my strengths for sure. Alternately, I can see areas of improvement. I encourage you to consider what you like about this blog or any others you visit, and what sustains your interest over time.

Source: Darren Rowse, “29 Ways to Keep Me Coming Back to Your Blog Again and Again“, ProBlogger.net

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December 2, 2010

Romance and Happenstance

Whenever I find a creative, innovative, aesthetically-pleasing but still informative blog, I’m a happy girl. Recently, I stumbled upon Romance and Happenstance, a fresh and inspiring wedding and event planning blog. Its creator, Courtni, has such an eye for detail and kitsch, something I can’t help but be drawn to.

Courtni and I recently joined forces, and using thumbprints as our theme, collaborated on a post. If I didn’t know better, I’d say we share a brain, or at least similar tastes and perspectives.

Photo Credit: Romance and Happenstance

Courtni, I enjoy your blog so much, and look forward to working with you again!! You’re a doll and I think you’ve got such great taste. Success is definitely headed your direction!!

What Do You Think: How crucial is theme when planning a wedding or special event?

November 22, 2010

Marie Claire Magazine: Damage Control Mode

Photo Credit: Derek K. Miller, Flickr

Blogging allows organizations to engage in active, informal, two-way communication with key publics. Print media, especially, benefit from this communication channel, since their industry operates around deadlines that prevents them from producing content as rapidly as other media (like television and radio). An effective blog can further an organization’s mission and reach new publics, or, in the case of Marie Claire after a recent public relations faux pas, can put the organization in some deep water.

Maura Kelly, a Marie Claire blogger, recently revealed her personal feelings about the overweight and obese population, in response to a television show she recently viewed. In her article, “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” Kelly writes:

So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

She goes on to write:

But … I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.

(I’m happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it’s cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you’re getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there’s plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you’ll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can’t afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)

You’re waiting for the context for these comments, and unfortunately, I can’t offer much in the way of a defense. Obviously, this article offended Marie Claire readers. In fact, the article received 3,860 comments, varying in severity and disapproval (with some offering support).

As a result of the backlash, Kelly posted an “update” (my interpretation: presumably-forced apology) that reads:

I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I’ve said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive, either.

I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I’m truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it’s great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it’s worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.

To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that’s an accurate insight.

People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it’s actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset.

Now, do I understand freedom of expression? Sure I do. Could these remarks made by Kelly simply be a sincere example of wrong word choice? It’s possible, though appears not to be the case. Regardless of the motive or intent behind the article, the damage has been done, I’m afraid. Kelly’s comments failed to align with the the Marie Claire mission, which is:

Marie Claire is more than a pretty face. It is the fashion magazine with character, substance, and depth, for women with a point of view, an opinion, and a sense of humor.

The Marie Claire reader is interested in seeking out fashion, beauty, and shopping ideas from a magazine that brings her both inspiration and access—a magazine that challenges her mind as well as her sense of style. Each issue is edited for a sexy, stylish, confident woman who is never afraid to make intelligence a part of her wardrobe.

Marie Claire is a culturally relevant experience that touches women beyond the newsstand. We understand that our readers are more than any label or stereotype could place on them, and we celebrate that every reader is more than a pretty face.

Hmm. Well, these words are certainly hard to misinterpret. It appears to me, and more importantly to the readers of the magazine, that Kelly’s opinion undercuts every letter of the organization’s mission. And while I have no personal investment in the matter (I openly admit the only time I’ve read Marie Claire was in the check-out line at the grocery store), I can see how this flub would jeopardize relationships with readers.

What Do You Think: How should readers of Marie Claire feel about the situation? How would you respond? And what, if anything, should be done to remedy and repair the relationship with key publics who were offended by Kelly’s piece?

November 10, 2010

Dance Like No One’s Watching, Blog If No One’s Reading

We are all guilty of it: busting a bit of a move assuming no one can see us. My latest example of this? Two nights ago, I was out of milk and ran to the grocery store at 9 PM (it was a cereal emergency…I was out of milk!). Upon my arrival, almost like in the movies, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” began playing. I felt the spirit of dance and decided to dance my way to the milk. The man who watched me do so was thoroughly entertained, despite my not knowing he existed until I heard laughter. What can I say, I’m a natural performer.

Moral of the story? Sometimes our best work is done when we think no one is watching, or listening, or even knows we exist.

This includes blogging. In “Ten Reasons to Blog- Even if Nobody Reads It”, several definitive reasons why professionals and organizations should be blogging even with low or virtually zero readership are offered. These include:

Marketing differentiation – Finding a way to stand-out may be the most difficult chore a business faces. Do your competitors have a blog? If not, this might be an opportunity to establish the voice of authority in your industry and enhance your brand image with customers.

Infinite search life — A few weeks ago I received a call from a potential new customer in the Middle East looking to me as a possible marketing consultant.I had to wonder how in the world they found me! Turns out they were looking for somebody who could help explain where the future of social media was going and when they entered this into Google, a blog post I wrote a year ago popped up!  Your content keeps working for you month after month!

Crisis management — A blog is an essential channel to explain the facts amid chaos. In less than an hour after the earthquake hit Haiti, The Red Cross blog had news of their activities and information on how to donate.  Company responses through blogs are often quoted by mainstream news sources.

In an instant-satisfaction age, PR professionals must remember benefits may be longterm. The internet is forever and we can never be sure just who sees our efforts. So, put on your favorite guilty pleasure dance song and blog like no one’s watching.

What do you think (let’s ask a fun question tonight): What’s your favorite song to dance to? Ha!

Source: Ten Reasons to Blog- Even if Nobody Reads It