Tag Archive | "Blogging"

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Think You’re Done With That Blog Post? I Think Not.

Posted on 29 June 2010 by Eric Alpin

If you ask some bloggers, they’ll tell you that when they write a blog post, they’ve created a work of art.  Without a doubt, their blog post is the best on the Internet and it should be making the front pages of Digg and Delicious, not these other hacks and their stupid content. They’d say, “Seriously, who would ever choose to read these stuff over my awesome blog posts?”

If you’re one of those bloggers, I have news for you…

Your blog post sucks.

Your blog post doesn’t cut it. A work of art? No, it’s a work in progress at best.

Do you think that when Michelangelo was sculpting his ultra-famous David statue that he was satisfied the first time? Or the second? Maybe on the third but probably not.

What about Da Vinci? Was the Mona Lisa right the first time or did he have to do some extra work? He’s not here to tell us but I’m probably thinking it wasn’t an instant hit.

I could list hundreds of artists, movie producers, writers, and business folks who didn’t get it right the first time but I think you get the point.

Believe it or not, your blog posts are in the same boat as the David statue and the Mona Lisa; they aren’t perfect the first time around.

Humble Pie is Good for the Soul

I’m right there with you; it’s tough to humble yourself and realize that your work, life, and passion isn’t the best on the first time around. We naturally want to be good at everything we do but we’re not.

It’s extremely important to humble yourself and become a person who revises work instead of creating soul-satisfying material the first time around. If you do, you will be able to develop your writing style more than you can imagine.

Since I’ve started blogging two to three times a week for Folk Media, I’ve become a better writer. For example, I never used semicolons but now I try to implement them often in my writing; they just make things flow better (and look cooler). Also, my writing used to be fluffy and off topic. Not so much anymore.

Revising my blog posts for Folk Media has given me a better sense of my style and has allowed me to grow.

Humbling myself to a position of a writer AND editor can work wonders for your content and progression as a blogger or writer.

The Challenge

I normally would challenge you with something like, “Try to go back and revise at least five of your most recent blog posts.” Well, that’s well and good but it’s not what I think would be the most beneficial to you.

Instead, I’d like for you to commit to becoming a writer and editor for the next 60 days. It’s two months that you might have to work a bit harder but it will be worth the work.

We’re going to call this the 60 Day Editing Challenge. In this timeframe, there are no specific requirements to meet; whatever works for you is what I want you to undertake. Instead of just writing, posting, and repeating, throw in some editing here and there. Go back and revisit some older posts and see what you can improve. It could be call of your content or only a select few articles.

On Sunday, August 29, the challenge will end. Starting now, I’d like to hear your experiences with incorporating editing into your blogging mix. It could be a success story or a challenge you’re facing. I want you to email me and let me know your thoughts and comments about what you’re undertaking.

I hope that you can become a better writer and editor in the future and not just the next 60 days. Its a process that takes time to develop but it will help you for the rest of your life.

Don’t let your blog posts suck any longer; take some initiative and edit your copy after you’ve posted it. Remember – masterpieces aren’t created the first time around. Practice and hard work really do make perfect.


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

*Photo by JJR

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Uncle Rico’s Guide to Social Media Success: Diversify Your Assets

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Eric Alpin

If you’ve ever watched Napoleon Dynamite, you know that Uncle Rico is famous for his ideas.  In 1982, Uncle Rico planned to play pro football (and he would have had the coach put him in during the fourth quarter of the state championship) but he also thinks he can sell nylon polymer and female enhancement drugs for some hefty profits.  Without a doubt, Uncle Rico doesn’t put all of his eggs in one basket.  Well, neither should you.

[If you've never had a chance to check out the movie, watch the clip below to get a taste of Uncle Rico.]

Some companies take only one approach to social media, whether it’s blogging, Facebook, or Twitter.  Sure, having a Twitter or Facebook account is better than nothing but it’s not the desired plan.  It’s important to diversify your strategy.  If you want to have a solid plan for the future, be sure to invest your time into a diverse social media strategy, including blogs, social networking sites, and email marketing.

Why Diversify?

Good question and the quick answer is that it will meet the needs of your potential customers.  Normally I’m not the type of person to recommend doing many things at once but when it comes to managing social media profiles, it’s good to have a few.

Not every potential customer is going to be on Twitter or Facebook.  If you have a profile on each site, you can theoretically reach double the amount of customers.  Who doesn’t want to do that?

Instead of attempting to have a client create a Twitter account just to follow your updates, why don’t you meet them on Facebook?

Meet your customers where they are and they will listen to what you have to say.

Do It Well

Although he had a good idea to diversify, one of Uncle Rico’s many faults was the fact that he didn’t do anything well.  Take note; this is not what you want to do with your social media profiles.  Don’t become complacent with your Facebook or Twitter account.  If you’re going to be present on Facebook, make it known that you’re there.  If you’re going to tweet, distribute content that is worth following.

No one wants to know an Uncle Rico so make sure that you “do” social networking like the best of ‘em.

Displacing Your Doubt

If you’re about to jump into social media or only have one active profile, you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy.  And you have every right to think that.  In all honesty, I don’t have any solid proof or numbers to show you.  I can’t convince you with tangible data that says, “You need to have multiple social media profiles to be successful.”  And, to tell you the truth, I would think I’m crazy, too.

Fortunately for you, I’m not crazy.

The doubt that you’re feeling is natural.  You’ve been ingrained to resist change and new ideas.  You’re constantly bombarded with messages telling you that change is bad, safety is the way to go, and risks should be minimal.  However, that’s not the case and in life and it’s not the case with social media.

In order to keep up with today’s shifting culture – a culture that is focused on individuals and not corporations – you need to make an impact with your clients and customers.  Where are your clients and customers?  The Internet.  How do you capture their attention and make them lifelong consumers of your goods?  Meet them where they are and do it well.  That’s it.  If you meet a need, they’ll come back for more and right now, there are millions of people on Twitter and Facebook and YouTube that need your product.  You just need to find them.

My challenge to you is to subside your doubt and implement multiple social media profiles and to do them well.  If you aren’t effective with your profiles, take a step back, re-order, and try again.

Don’t be like Uncle Rico.  Don’t be a living-in-the-past, doubtful, and selfish social media manager.  Serve your customers and meet them where they are.  If you try it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

*Photo by scifisuzi

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Four Truths About Incorporating Images Into Your Blog Posts

Posted on 29 April 2010 by Eric Alpin

Images are everywhere – no matter if we look outside or in the darkest room.  Our mind still captures an image and stores it for future use.  Mental images are important because they allow for you to recall a person, place, or thing.  For example, when you’re lost and you pass by the local movie theater twice, you know that you’re going in circles.  In addition, mental images serve as compliments to what we hear, guides for our actions, and much more.  Images are essential to our lives…

…and our blog posts.

Blog post images don’t serve as your guide for life but they do have a significant impact on your reader.  In order to be an effective blogger, you must know how to incorporate effective images into your writing.  Choosing not to use images or using ineffective images can hamper your progress and reputation as a blogger.

The good thing is that using powerful images effectively isn’t hard.  It can be easily mastered and will make a difference in your blogging and your impact on readers.

Truth #1: Create linkbacks to your website.

On the Internet, stats and ranking are everything.  No matter where you turn, someone is talking about ROI or Google page rank.  Oftentimes, bloggers get tired of hearing about these things because they don’t know how to increase their page rank or use ROI.  Let me in on a little secret:

If you want to increase your page rank, create linkbacks using your images.

It’s pretty simple.  Whenever you pull an image from a royalty-free site, such as Flickr or stock.chng, leave a comment on the image saying that you used it for your blog post.  Be sure to include a hyperlink to your site and not just a passing mention.  The more you get your name and URL out there, the higher your page rank will go.

Truth #2: Choose relevant images.

Relevancy is probably the most important criteria for evaluating effective images.  As a rule of thumb:

If it’s not relevant, it doesn’t belong.

When you are browsing the ‘net for images to include in your post, please pass on the images that do not pertain to your post.  Yes, that dog doing tricks might look cool but it has nothing to do with chemistry.  Your readers will most likely remember your post by your image.  If the image you choose doesn’t match your topic, you’re confusing the reader and chances are slim that they’ll think about your post again.  Make it easy for them; choose relevant images.

Truth #3: Name your images carefully.

I think it’s interesting to go through Google images and look at how many images use a naming convention totally unrelated to the subject of the image. (I know, I’m nerdy.) A majority of the time, the images are named using a word and then a string of numbers.  How is this effective?  It’s not.

When you’re uploading an image to your site for use, make sure you name it appropriately.  For the images at Folk Media, we usually name them according to our blog post.  So, the image you see above is named “four-truths-about-incorporating-images-into-your-blog-posts.”  This creates a better page rank for our blog post and it helps us organize the images on our server.  Make sure to effectively name your images.

Truth #4: Don’t be image happy.

Have you ever been to a website that is image happy?  Have you ever seen a blog post with an image before or after every paragraph?  It’s annoying isn’t it?  Yes, the images help the reader rest their eyes but they also distract the reader.  I don’t know about you but I can’t understand and remember an article if I need to look at 10 images in the process.

As a common courtesy, only use two or three images per blog post.

This does not mean full size images, either.  Keep your images small.  Remember, the images you include need to compliment the text.  They are not a replacement for words.  It is your job to deliver the message to your readers and your images are only supplementary to your words.


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

Learn Social Media


*Photo by ahmed76

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Recommended Plugins For WordPress

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Joel Mark Witt

Here is a list of recommended WordPress plugins that we at Folk Media have used for our own blogs and websites and for our clients.

Fighting Spamhttp://akismet.com/

SEOhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

Category controlhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/order-categories/

Commentshttp://disqus.com/comments/wordpress/

Page displayhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/exclude-pages/

Share on Facebookhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-share-new/

Share on Google Buzzhttp://www.clickonf5.org/google-buzz-button-wordpress

SEO & Sitemapshttp://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/

Pages Managementhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pagemash/

Social Media Sharinghttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sociable/

Share on Twitterhttp://help.tweetmeme.com/2009/04/06/wordpress-plugin/

Share on Twitterhttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twitter-tools/

Visitor Statshttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stats/

*photo by baboon

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Setting Up A WordPress Website For Beginners – Teleseminar

Posted on 21 April 2010 by Joel Mark Witt

We’ll show you exactly how to create a website that looks amazing, attracts customers eager to buy what you’re selling and is easy to update and manage using a free tool called WordPress (Even if you don’t know know anything about website code or HTML)

[The live teleseminar is over - register below to download the slides and audio]

Join us for a free teleseminar to learn why major companies like The New York Times, MTV and People Magazine use WordPress and the exact steps you can take to produce a great looking website and attract customers.

Here’s just some of the keys you’ll learn by attending this event:

  • How to make an AWESOME looking website for free using WordPress. I’m not joking. We use WordPress to design and manage the site you are on right now and we don’t know HTML or other web code.
  • WordPress is a free online publishing tool that makes updating your website easy and quick – we’ll show you exactly how this works with screenshots and graphics.
  • Why using a WordPress blog can be the smartest strategy for attracting customers and clients online.
  • We’ll show you how using WordPress to manage a blog is so simple you can literally START USING IT WHILE YOU ARE STILL ON THE CALL!
  • We’ll talk about why Google loves WordPress and how just by using WordPress you will show up to potential customers in search results… which in turn sends customers to your site to buy what you are selling.
  • We’ll show you how you can use WordPress on your own website and can customize it to look how you want (YourBusinessName.com)
  • We’ll show you how you can switch the look of your website any time by choosing from thousands of free themes.
  • If used right – WordPress is a “customer attracting machine.” The problem is most people don’t know how to set up and use it properly. We’ll cover the mistakes that you are most likely to make and how to avoid them.
  • Plus: answers to all your specific questions. (In fact, feel free to ask some questions below).

I’m Joel Mark Witt and the publisher of Folk Media. Folk Media is on pace to help over 500 small businesses create, use and profit from a solid social media strategy in 2010.

Joining me for this training is John Lucchetti. He’s an expert at online marketing and a frequent contributor to the Folk Media site.

On the call, you’ll be learning the same WordPress strategies we share with our private clients and which we’ve used to grow our own businesses.

I’m serious – we use WordPress on all our sites – even this one. Look around and see for yourself what a simple free tool can do for your business. It’s very powerful.

What we’re going to focus on is a fast-start version of using WordPress that you can implement right after the call. (or during the call)

We’ll talk about the power of WordPress, the WordPress tools for managing a website without sucking up all your time, and the step-by-step plain English instructions that you can start doing right away – without hiring any “guru” or agency!

On the last teleseminar we had people from all over the world call in. Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Canada and Australia were just some of the places people joined us from.

On this call we have only 100 spots and expect to fill up fast. It is critical that you register for this free teleseminar now



After you register, leave your most important questions about WordPress and blogging in the comments section below. We’ll answer them right here on the post.

*Photo by

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Yes, It Does Matter: Choosing the Best Font For Your Products

Posted on 13 April 2010 by Eric Alpin


In the digital age, we’re surrounded by different forms of media – audio, eBooks, websites, and YouTube videos.  We can’t escape them.  No matter where we turn, we are interacting with a piece of media that has a purpose.  For example, the parking meter payment center.  It’s there for a reason.  We use these different forms of media seamlessly as we go throughout our day.  However, have you stopped to think about what allows you to use that media?  Believe it or not, it all lies in the font.

Yes, I said it.  The font selection of the chosen media allows for an individual to effectively use the device.  Everything hinges on the font.  If a person can’t read the instructions or captions, how are they going to use the object?  Exactly…they won’t.

Choosing the correct font is important no matter what you’re creating.  Whether it’s a 500 page manual or a checklist for Sally the house sitter, font matters.

What can you do to choose the correct font and create an effective document?  How can your font selection work in favor of your product and not against it?


1. Know your purpose.

The first step to picking an effective and usable font is to know the purpose of your document.  Without that information, you’re unable to select various design elements, including the font.

If your purpose is to create a document that is laid back and non-invasive, you want to use a sans serif font.  A sans serif font does not use serifs, or the fancy “feet” found on some fonts.  Examples of sans serif fonts would be Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana.

However, if you want your document to look professional and informative, use a serif font, or a font that has the “feet” on the end of each letter.

This is Garamond.  See how this text makes my writing appear more professional?

Other serif fonts include Courier New, Georgia, and Times New Roman.

2. Choose readability over elegance.

As we discussed at the beginning of the article, a font needs to be readable to allow your audience to effectively use your product.  If your font is not readable, you will not attract a large amount of customers and, in turn, your exposure and profits are relatively non-existent.  When reading, people want to do as little work as possible.  They want the process to be natural, not forced.   So, when you choose a script font instead of a simple sans serif font, you’re making the reader do more work, which turns them off.

Which one is better?


3. Don’t change fonts too much.

Too many documents create confusion for readers by switching fonts.  I went to a website the other day to locate some information about a local business and I was bombarded with a different font on every page.  As a general rule of thumb, select two fonts and stick with them.  One font should be used for your headings and focus items (pull quotes, key instructions, etc.) while the other is used for your main text.  These are called complimentary fonts.  Take a look at various magazines and books to see how they use their complimentary fonts.  If you use more than two, your readers will be confused and will stop using your document.

4. Unless it’s necessary, don’t use Times New Roman or Arial.

This tip may shock you a little but it’s true.  Let’s break it down and think about it…

What do you think when you hear “Times New Roman” or “Arial”?  Most people would think something along the lines of standard, default, or basic.

What do you want your document to be?  If you’re like most people, you would probably say anything other than standard, default, or basic.

See the conflict of interest?

Yes, Times New Roman and Arial are great fonts.  Don’t get me wrong; both are very readable and effective.  If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be two of the most popular fonts.  However, they don’t breathe creativity and uniqueness into your document.  If you don’t want to go down the “standard” road with your font selection, choose Franklin Gothic Book (sans serif) or Garamond (serif).  They are effective but not used too often.

5. Use effective, not crazy, formatting.

Formatting is a big issue for a lot of people.  Most people don’t know what formatting techniques are effective and which should remain unused.  As a rule of thumb, you should only format key text, such as terms, phrases, or pull quotes.  Formatting your entire text will create too much work for your users and will lead to an ineffective design.  Also, try to stick to using only bold and italics.  Other formatting, such as underlining, can really throw a reader off. 

6. Try, try, try again.

Once you’ve decided on one or two fonts for your product, change them.  You don’t have to change them permanently but you should experiment with other combinations before coming to a final decision.  You never know, you might find a more effective font to use.

Font selection is critical if you want to design an effective document.  Fonts can really change perceptions, attitudes, and even the buying habits of individuals.  Make sure your font selections are on target.  You will be glad you did.



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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.


*Photo by hisks

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Unknown Power: How to Develop and Effectively Use Lists On Your Blog

Posted on 08 April 2010 by Eric Alpin

Lists – we’ve all used them at some point in our papers, plans, and other documents.  Lists are a great way to easily organize a multitude of information and can be a great relief to the eyes after reading paragraphs of small text.  However, most people don’t use lists effectively.

You probably don’t think lists can be super effective but I’d like for you to consider this:

You’re up for a promotion and the success of your latest report could give you edge over other candidates.  There is a part in the document where you note five key areas of improvement.  How do you want the information displayed?  Which would be more effective?  Which list would give you that edge?

Unfortunately, most people don’t know which list would be more effective.  Some would argue that the list on the left would give a more fancy and professional feel to the project, while others would say the list on the right is crisp, clean, and effective.

Although it might seem like a nuance or an insignificant part of your writing, effective lists can change a document and the perception it gives, thus impacting your customers and the choices they make.  It’s a series of chain reactions.  Here’s how it goes:

Effective lists = perceived experience = better reputation = more customers = more money

So, now that you understand how effective lists can work in your favor, what do you need to do in order to create them?

1.  Pick a readable font and an appropriate size.

The first step to creating an effective list is picking a readable font and a good size.  Choosing a readable font is critical because without an understandable font selection, your readers won’t know what you’ve written.  You can’t go wrong with standard fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman.  Nothing fancy, though.  Go for readability over elegance.

As far as size is concerned, you want to stick to what you’re using already.  If your document is in 12 point font, keep that size.  Shifting sizes will cause the reader to be confused.  They won’t know which text is more important, your list or your paragraph.

2.  95% of the time, align to the left.

Most of the time, you’re going to want to align your list to the left.  Basically, it should look like this:

  • One
  • Two
  • Three

Not this…

  • One
  • Two
  • Three

…or this:

  • One
  • Two
  • Three

In English speaking cultures, readers scan from left to right.  So, aligning your list on the left makes it easier for the reader to notice as they are going through your document.  The only time you would want to use a different alignment is in a case where you were adding effect.  If you want your list to stand out, give it center alignment.  But, realize that this could backfire on you and that it shouldn’t be done more than once in a document.

3.  Don’t mix-and-match font styles.

When you’re formatting the text of your list, don’t mix-and-match styles.  So, don’t make every other item bold so it can stand out.  If you’re going to bold text, make it all of the text.  Also, remember that applying different formatting options doesn’t always make your list more effective.  In fact, most style take away from the effectiveness of your list.  But, as I said before, if you’re like to add a little bit of emphasis here and there, create a bolded list.

4.  Keep each item short and to the point.

If you need to say a lot, a list isn’t the way to do it.  Lists are intended to be short and concise.  Typically, each item on a bulleted list should only have a maximum of four or five words.  If you can’t say it in a few words, don’t create a list.

5.  Don’t create more than five or six rows.

One of the biggest mistakes writers make when creating lists is that they include too many vertical items, or rows.  A reader doesn’t want to linger their eyes for a long period of time and, if your content is being viewed online, they don’t want to scroll up and down a page to read listed content.  If your list includes more than five or six items, extend your list horizontally instead of vertically.  Go across the page instead of down the page.  This will keep the reader’s eyes in one area but will clearly separate your items.

6.  Use a consistent structure.

When you are writing your list, use consistent word structure.  Don’t do this:

  • Cats
  • The dogs
  • The loud geese
  • The soft, yet dangerous, bears

Keep a specific word structure.  If you’re going to use only nouns, use solely nouns for each of your items.  If you’re going to be a little more detailed and add in adjectives and adverbs, do it for every item.  This will keep the reader on track and will not cause them to feel overwhelmed.

7.  Choose professional, not fancy, bullets or numbers.

Bullet selection is critical, mainly because it’s the first thing a reader sees when scanning your list.  They don’t read your content first and then look at the bullet.  They see the bullet first and they immediately form a perception about your list and your credibility.  Stick with professional bullets and shy away from using playful or fancy bullets.  It really can make a difference in your list.

Lists are an efficient way to organize content for easy readability and reference.  However, if your list does not facilitate effectiveness, it might cost your company in the end.  Keep your lists professional and succinct.  If you do, you’ll be sure to make an impact no matter what type of document you are creating.


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

Learn Social Media


*Photo by bizior

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10 Secrets to a Successful Blog

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Eric Alpin

Blogging isn’t new.  In fact, there are over 50 million blogs in existence.  Some are news related, others deal with sports, finance, or hobbies.  No matter what you’re interested in, there is most likely at least one hundred blogs you could read on your favorite subject.

But, good blogging is quite rare.  Out of the 50 million blogs that exist, very few of them are highly functional sources of information.  Most blogs are just skeptics ranting and raving about a particular topic.  There is no life, no strategy, and no validity in those blogs.  Good, solid blogging is rare so when you encounter it, you’re knocked off your feet.  As the reader, you’re captivated and want more.  You are excited about updates and you peruse through the archives to find useful information that may have been published years ago.  You hand on every word the author types and you can’t get enough.  That is a good blog.

Want to know the kicker about good blogs?  They aren’t too tough to develop.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s no walk in the park to create a successful blog.  A lot of work is needed but it’s not as difficult as a person might think.  Check out these tips for creating a successful blog.

  • Pick a topic and stick to it.  Readers are much more likely to visit your page if you blog about one or two topics compared to dozens.  Most people like consistency rather than change.  Blog readers are no different.
  • Update often.  Many people don’t visit blogs because they aren’t regularly maintained.  Create a schedule of when you will post blog entries and follow it.  Once again, consistency goes a long way.
  • Encourage discussions.  Blogs aren’t solely about you telling your side of the story.  Blogs enable readers to chime in with their thoughts and feelings, too.  Ask questions and create an interactive community.
  • Ask for feedback from readers.  Chances are good that your readers want to see your blog succeed, just like you do; therefore, they won’t be shy to offer their feedback on how you can improve their experience.
  • Post a variety of content.  Readers get bored with text-only entries.  Spice things up by including links to other articles, videos, and slide shows.  The more interactive, the better.
  • Form partnerships with other bloggers.  Instead of developing content on your own, contact other bloggers to see if they would be willing to guest blog on your site.  It’s a great way to form a partnership and to gain exposure.  Don’t forget to return the favor!
  • Create an email subscription list.  Most people don’t have time to look through your site so you want to bring the content to them.  An email subscription list is easy to develop, maintain, and customize.
  • Be candid when posting.  Very few people like to read material that clearly lacks heart, passion, and honesty.  Make sure you’re “shooting straight” with your readers.  They’ll respect you tell them accurate information.
  • Give something away.  Whether it’s a document you created on desert animals or a $25 gift card to Subway, find something to offer your readers.  When you show your appreciation by giving something away, your readers know that you are passionate about your work.  Blog readers love passionate people.
  • Remember that it’s not about you.  It’s about your readers.  When you make decisions about your blog, you should keep in mind that you are serving your readers.  Instead of asking yourself, “Will this make the blog better?” ask, “Will this make my readers happier?”

Successful blogs aren’t created overnight.  In fact, it takes months or years to cultivate a great blog.  But, stick with it.  Continue practicing the ten tips described above and develop your own list of thing that make a successful blog.  The Internet awaits you and what you have to say.  Make the most of it.  Become rare and become great.

If you have any great blogging secrets of your own that aren’t mentioned here, share them with us in the comments section.  We’d love to hear from you!

Eric Alpin

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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

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*Photo by debsch

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The ABCs of Building a Successful Blog

Posted on 24 March 2010 by Guest Author

This post was written by guest author Chris Tompkins.

As we have all seen over the past few years, blogs are popping up everywhere! Everyone from the famous Hilton Hotel chain to the cat lover around the corner from you are launching their own piece of the blogosphere.

Why are they doing it? Well for many reasons but the ones you are probably interested are:

  • they are top credibility and customer relationship builders for businesses
  • they create many new opportunities to grow your business

So, let’s get down to basics…and I do mean basics (anyone familiar with the blogging platform – avert your eyes now).

A blog is basically an online diary where you can share your opinions, expertise, favorite videos, relevant pictures.  Basically, anything that you want to communicate to your target market of readers. What makes it different from your commerce website is that the language is more conversational and should inspire comments and conversation with your readers.

As a business person, think about a blog as a conversation starter with your customer. Every time you write to your customer (by posting a note or article on your blog) you are blogging. As you are the author of your blog postings, you are considered a blogger. I share this with you because sometimes the above “blogging lingo” can over complicate such a simple concept, so it is best to understand these terms before you dive in.

Blogs allow your customers and prospective customers to learn more about you and your business and to interact with you. The by-product is that when you share your expertise with the masses, you build your credibility in your industry. And best of all, it can work as a direct funnel of pre-qualified leads directly to your website.

These are the steps to get started:

  • Sign up for a free blog on either WordPress or Blogger (the two most used FREE blog sites….I prefer WordPress)
  • Using their ready-made design templates, choose a suitable layout for your blog (make sure to use one that fits your message and topic. No puppies spilling out of baskets if you are a chain of funeral homes)
  • And then start posting!

OK, simple enough. But what the heck do you write about? The simple answer: anything that is related to your business or area of expertise. If you are an economist, write about some of the recent advances in economic policy. If you own a computer software company, share ten tips to a faster desktop computer.

A great way to easily generate activity on your blog is to look at every piece of information that you have written in the past (articles, ebooks, marketing materials, brochures, company bios, etc.) and see if you can recycle it. Post it on your blog and you have instant content!

Now that you have a site, design and content…it is time to let people know it exists. Let everyone know about your little piece of heaven on:

  • Your email signature
  • Your company website
  • Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing)
  • Digg and Technorati
  • Email newsletters

Also, anytime you write an article online, make sure to add the link to your blog including discussion rooms and message boards.

Now that you have people coming, make sure that you write new blog postings packed with useful information at LEAST twice a week. The trick to effective blogging is not to do 100 posts a week, but to pick a number and hit it consistently. If once a week is all you can spare, that’s fine as long as you make sure to do it every week.

Blogging does not create instant results but as your followers grow, so will the number of business opportunities. In my opinion, blogging is one of the crucial marketing mediums that every company and individual should not ignore. (Plus, it can be a lot of fun!)

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Chris-Tompkins-Photo
Chris is the CEO of Go! Media International, LLC – an integrated marketing firm specializing in cutting edge social media strategy and online marketing campaigns. Chris is a fundamental supporter of education in the online marketing technology sector (for companies and individuals) and speaks at national and international conferences alike. If you’d like to find out more, visit his blog or follow him on Twitter.

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*Photo by laruth

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Five Must-Read Social Media Articles (1/18 Edition)

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Eric Alpin

five-must-read-social-media-articles

I’ll be honest – there is a lot to know about social media. I consider myself to be a social media connoisseur but it is hard for me to keep up with the world of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs from time to time. However, when I do come across an interesting or valuable article, I’ll bookmark it to refer to at a later date. I might use it for inspiration, reference, or sharing. Throughout the past few months, I’ve created quite a collection. Now it’s time I share my collection with you.

I have included five articles on social media below. They are in no particular order; each article has just as much valuable information as the next. It is my hope that you will find these articles helpful and relevant to your social media campaign.

HOW TO: Manage Successful Social Media Promotions (Mashable)

Tags: Twitter, Facebook, Social Media Marketing, Promotions
Description: Many companies are using social media outlets to promote sales offers and discounts for their brand or product. However, it’s tough to get social media promotions work properly. If you’re interested in improving the success of your brand on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, this is a great article to read.

How To Blog With Passion and Purpose (Jeffbullas’s Blog)

Tags: Blogging, Passion, Purpose, Content Creation, Stats
Description: In a world where everyone has a blog, what separates the ideas of one person from the ideas of another? Passion. When you blog with passion and purpose, you create instant credibility for yourself and your words. Communities and formed and lives are impacted when you begin to blog with passion. If you want to have a greater impact with your blog or social media campaign, this article will offer you some guidance.

How to Develop a Niche Blog Content Plan (ProBlogger)

Tags: Blogging, Content Creation, Purpose
Description: People are often disappointed in the success of their blog. Most individuals and companies think that their blog will be an instant hit but that is far from the truth. A “hit blog” takes time, effort, and a community of dedicated readers who are willing to share your content with others. This article posted on ProBlogger will help you transform your blog from a regular website to a site that has meaning.

Twitter Tips: 5 Proven Ways to Get Retweeted (ComputerWorld)

Tags: Twitter, Retweets, Marketing Strategy
Description: Twitter is a tough community at times. If you have used Twitter for any length of time, you know that it is an honor to have a post retweeted. Whether it is a fact, question, or blog post, having your content retweeted gives you a great feeling. However, retweeting doesn’t simply happen. In fact, there is a bit of a science behind retweeting. If you’re looking to step up your Twitter campaign and want to have your content shared, this is an article that will be helpful.

What’s Working for Social Media Marketers? (eMarketer)

Tags: Social Media, Marketing Strategy, Facts, Facebook, Twitter
Description: There are numerous ways to market to customers through social media. However, do you know how effective your marketing strategies really are? According to this article, buying targeted ads and tweeting regularly will only get you so far. This article is a great source of relevant and helpful data that could have a huge impact on your social media campaign.

What are some articles that have proved useful in your quest to make the most out of social media?


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

Learn Social Media


*Photo by dhammza

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