Tag Archive - blog

I Invite, 6 Platforms

Imagine you’re inviting people to a big party at your office. How will you reach them? Each communications platform has its own style. Smart business communicators use each correctly.

Text: <3 our kewl partay next week! Be there!!!!!

Email: Our office is holding its annual customer appreciation day next Thursday from 1-5. We hope you will join us.

Blog: Blog on how much customers are valued with a graphic that shows the theme. It might include an Eventbrite for reservations, or it might just be an open invite.

Facebook: 5 days till the customer appreciation party – just bought the decorations. Hope to see you there! (attached to a link on the blog about the party)

LinkedIn: Please join us next week for our annual customer appreciation party. (attached to a link on the blog about the party)

Twitter:  We love our customers! Join us next week! (shortened link to blog attached)

Business professionals need to know the vernacular of each communications platform and use it. When I text, don’t expect me to ever type “kewl” or “partay.” On the other hand, I might reply back with a “k.”

I am over 40. When you send me an email, I expect it to include complete sentences, with appropriate capitalization and punctuation.

When I get an email that is phrased like a text, unless it is from a digital native under the age of 20, I am offended and question the sender’s professionalism. “Kewl Partay!” comes across as effectively as showing up for work, dressed in a bathrobe, going commando, wearing no pants, with varicose veins popping all over the place. As I read such messages I cringe just like I do when someone talks to me who has bad breathe.

Know each platform. You can follow its standards and maintain your own voice. At the same time, remember that the voice we use in the board meeting has a different inflection than the one Ma Kettle used when she clanged her triangle and hollered for her kids to come in for dinner.

And the person who wears a tux and tails to the beach party is going to look like an overstuffed lobster ready to be baked.

When you use the wrong form, people notice your bad form and miss your message.

6 Ways Tumblr Introduces Blogging to Students

Tumblr Iconphoto © 2007 Chad Swaney | more info (via: Wylio)
If you are looking for a way to introduce teen students to blogging, consider Tumblr. As a free mini-blog platform, Tumblr has a small learning curve but introduces its users to basic blog concepts they will encounter in more complex platforms like WordPress. Tumblr doesn’t have the bells and whistles of WordPress but works. It helps a new student blogger master the concept of blogging on the go via mobile.

How Tumblr introduces blogging to students:

  1. Themes. Users have some selections for themes – some paid and others that are free. Though it lacks the flexibility of WordPress, it helps a student instantly see how a new theme changes the whole feel of a blog. They will learn technical skills that will give them an advantage if/when they move to more complex blogging platforms.
  2. Public/Private Posts. Students who create public accounts will need to be taught common sense public posting – how to share information without being stupid – to reveal themselves without revealing everything.
  3. Mobile Post as You Go. Tumblr lets students begin to experience posts on the go. This is especially helpful with photos and video. Students who develop this mindset will be well-prepared for the next generation of blogging.
  4. Short is Sweet Writing. This platform helps students develop their writing skills for the new generation of web readers. Studies show those who read on the web scan when they read. Students who learn to write things in short snippets will be better prepared to write for this audience. 
  5. Video. Students can learn to embed video on their Tumblr, following the same steps they would with WordPress. This gives them a first taste of embedding code into a post.
  6. Tags. Students learn to tag their posts via category.

Every student heading to college needs to already know how to begin a blog and post on it. They will most likely need to do so for at least one college class. If they learn those skills before college, they can focus more on the quality of their blog content than the technical stresses of beginning a blog. A student can have multiple Tumblr  blogs.

Both WordPress and Tumblr have frustrating learning curves when you first begin to use them. Keep plugging through that frustration, and it will get easier.

Recommended steps to start and master Tumblr:

  1. Customize your name, graphics, and photo.
  2. Post a photo.
  3. Post a blog.
  4. Post a quote.
  5. Post a link to other information.
  6. Embed a video.
  7. Follow other tumblrs.
  8. Reblog what someone else blogs.
  9. Update your tumblr via a smartphone.

After you master these 9 tasks, you’ll be able to maintain your own Tumblr.

Writing By Dawn’s Early Light

Graphic provided by Mystfren Designs

A candle is lit, Pandora is playing praise music, and the lights are out. 

Is it a date with my husband? No….it’s a date with God I’ve been making every early morning the past week. I pray.  God listens. I listen.  God answers. I write. 

Before dawn’s early light, I can’t get distracted. Because it’s dark, I can’t look around the room and think of all the things I’ve not done on my to do list. My Pandora Praise station responds to what I need like Bumblebee does in Transformers. Whatever I need to hear, it plays. 

What am I doing this for and why? 

Last fall, I met Cheryl Mochau, author of He Knew I Would Tell. God told her to write a book. She asked Him how she was supposed to fit writing a book into her schedule. The next morning, she woke an hour early, realized He was providing her time to write, and she began. 

Last month, I felt God’s urging me to write a book. It was to be a book of encouragement, telling how we can overcome adversity and turn it to good. 

Yes, I’ve written blogs and magazine columns for 10 years. My 5 year personal plan includes writing a book, after my kids go to college. 

We shared coffee last week, and I asked Cheryl how she published her book.  I told her my concern was time and maybe I should ask God to show me when. 

“He might answer you,” she jokingly cautioned. 

“If He wakes me up tomorrow morning, I’ll post on your Facebook wall so you know,” I answered. 

The next morning I woke at 3 a.m. I prayed for an hour, asking God to show me what to do. By 4 a.m., I knew I had to write. Out came the candle and music.  As I listened, the words flowed. Every morning since then, I’ve awakened early – before my alarm – and written. 

Genesis 50:20 inspires me. Whatever our challenge we face, God can use it for good to help others.  

I write because I’m happy. I write because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. 

The tentative book title? 

He Uses It For Good 

(Thanks to Mystfren Designs for providing the candle graphic. Mystfren provides digital graphics and designs for web, print, and t-shirts.)

6 Blogging Tips for Boomers

If Charles Dickens blogged today, no one would read him.  He used too many words.

Boomers can have great ideas, but they have to relearn how to write if they want people to read them. Less is more. Long is never read. How can a boomer with great ideas learn to sift for gold and shake out the good stuff? What tools should they use?

  1. Twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Savvy tweets use 120 or fewer characters so they are more easily retweeted. The more you tweet, the better your writing will shift to the new paradigm. Overly long tweets will make you look old school and past your prime time.
  2. Main Point. What’s your main point? When I teach document layout to non-graphic business people, I tell them to print a page, hold it at arm’s length, and squint. What stands out the most is what the average consumer will see first. Design the rest of the ad around that point. This applies to writing too. Step back from your blog, squint, and determine the main point. Write around that point. If you have more than 1 point, you have more than one blog.
  3. Blog with Word Count. Don’t just blog. Keep the word count at 300 to 400 words. If you go longer, you have a blog series. Start with your premise, your thesis, and evaluate every word and sentence to assure they are essential to your thesis. Don’t repeat yourself. Cut the fat.
  4. Bullet. Bullets are like related tweets and are more likely to be read.
  5. Graphic. Include a graphic or video with your blog. Back link it to your website for better SEO.
  6. Link. Tweet your blog on Twitter. Link it on Facebook. Link it on LinkedIn. If you link properly, it will be read more often than if you just include it in a status line. When you link correctly, your graphic in your blog will show on Facebook and LinkedIn. Links with pictures get more clicks.

I blogged back in the days of 900 word limits. Today’s blog is not a 5 paragraph essay. It is not a dissertation. It is a foot in the door. Smart writers use these tools to powerpack a content rich punch that stands out from boring blogs.

PS: Have keyboard. Will blog. For hire.