Blogging Conferences: I’m going to be at ShiftCon 2018! Will you? #ShiftCon

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ShiftCon

Are you still finalizing your blogging conference schedule for 2017-2017? I know I am! I’m so excited to be speaking at ConnectHer17 and also facilitating at ShiftCon2018. Two very different conferences but both with unique learning and networking opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and influencers.   ShiftCon is the only eco-wellness influencer conference in the US and after 2016 in New Orleans it is returning to California.

You may be thinking, “But Lisa, I’m not a ‘green’ blogger.  But you maybe more eco-well than you think you are. Do you worry about what your children eat? Do you research what cosmetics you use before you buy them? Do you look at labels before you buy a sunscreen? Are you going gluten free? Are you making changes to your lifestyle for health and wellness and sharing with your readers? Maybe you are great at creating crafts and recycling products and “trash.” Whatever it is that you are doing and sharing may be more eco-friendly than you think. You can learn how to do all those things better – AND -how you can better share them with your audience. Not to mention the chance to learn from other influencers, network and so much more!

ShiftCon 2018 Details

ShiftCon Social Media Conference will be February 1-3, 2018 in Irvine, California at Hotel Irvine. ShiftCon was born, by Leah Segedie of Mamavation.com, out of the idea that together we can create a profound impact on the world around us.  I first started working with Leah when it was “BookieWe can literally shift the way we eat, raise our families and our impact on the environment. That shift has begun, and now it’s time to come together and leverage our collective voice. ShiftCon was created to give wellness and eco-friendly influencers a place to network, share ideas, learn from experts, empower one another and organize their efforts into social change.

What happens at ShiftCon?

  • Professional workshops on social media growth, wellness topics & ways to increase your revenue without compromising your values
  • Keynote messages from professionals who are pioneers in their field
  • An exhibitor hall with over 50 brands and organizations who want to work with influencers
  • Networking with hundreds of your peers
  • Fitness events and NonGMO meals

 

 

Get Connected with ShiftCon 20178and find out more about speakers, topics, events and opportunities to volunteer! 

Visit the Website: http://www.shiftconmedia.com

Follow on Twitter: Twitter.com/shiftconmedia

Like on Facebook.com/ShiftCon

Are you ready to register for ShiftCon 2018?

Here’s my referral link. I would appreciate it if you would use and am excited to see you there!

Want to be involved? Apply to be a speaker, a sponsor or a volunteer at ShiftCon 2018

From the 2016 conference:

ShiftCon 2016 Videos On Sale For a Limited Time

ShiftCon 2016 was very memorable in the fun loving city of New Orleans. Did you miss out on all the fun? Or did you miss out on some workshops you wanted to see because they were during the same time as another one you went to? Well, we have solved you problem! ShiftCon is offering workshops from 2016 on sale TODAY. We have broken up the video series into two categories for you: wellness and professional. The wellness videos concentrate on science, wellness, public health, safer products & food, sustainability and justice issues. The professional videos focus on helping you build up your social media platforms, make more money and sharpen your skills.

Sale Starts Today and Ends Friday 6/16

We are offering you a discount to purchase your videos THIS WEEK and giving you $50 off each video set. Both sets are $99 each and if you take advantage of our sale you can have one for only $49! And if you decide to pick up both of them, they will be less than $100 for all the workshops at ShiftCon last year. If you would like to purchase one or both sets of videos, use code “shiftconwithlove” at checkout.

The Wellness Video Track

The ShiftCon 2016 Wellness Track: Click here to purchase. This series has eight videos. Speakers include Pete Meyers, Dr. Jessica Shade, Amy Love, and more! This video track includes the following:

Session 1: Dropping Science – Pete Myers of Environmental Sciences takes on Endocrine Disruption and Causes

Session 3: The Race Forward – How Challenging Racial Stereotypes Benefit Eco-Friendly Industry Growth

Session 9: Hot Science – How Organic Agriculture Improves the Environment

Session 10: What the F-ck Are We Eating – An Overview of Labels

Session 12: Hot Science – How Organic Supports a Healthy You

Session 13: From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics – Solutions to Safeguard Our Children, Health, Family & the Ocean

Session 14: The Future of Sustainable Food Production in a Time of Climate Change. Sponsored by California Almonds

Session 15: Overcoming Obstacles – Keeping It Real When Life Is Crazy

The Professional Video Track

ShiftCon 2016 Professional Track videos: Click here to purchase. This series has seven videos. Speakers include Robyn O’Brien, JP Sears, Anya Katts and more! This video track includes the following:

Session 2: Going Pro – Using Email to Grow Your Audience and Turn it into a Profitable Business

Session 4: Backlash and Blowback – How to Navigate the Frontline, from Hashtags to Haters, to the Strength of the Human Heart with Robyn O’Brien

Session 5: From Pitch to Publish – How to Navigate the Realm of Traditional Publishing

Session 6: How to Successfully Pitch Traditional Media Outlets

Session 7: SEO Tips, Techniques, and New Technologies You Can Easily Utilize to Build More Traffic and Expand Your Audience

Session 8: How to Use Video to Grow Your Presence

Session 11: Stories, Not Selfies – Instagram Awesomeness for Influencers

 

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Facebook Pages Feed: Instant engagement and feed information

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How to and Benefits of Using Facebook Pages Feed

A great number of bloggers I know frequently say “just don’t know what to share on Facebook.” They don’t want to be egocentric and only share content from their blog. But what they do want is engaging content, information and hopefully not have to pay for the increasing their engagement through the use of boost or ads. One really fun way of finding new content for my pages Facebook Feed is to look to use the “Pages Feed” tool available on each of your Facebook Business Pages.

How to Use the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

facebook pages

Start with making sure you are following the blogs, brands and news sources you know and love. For example, if you frequently create and/or share recipes there are probably a number of food brands out there that you follow like Red Gold or Hillshire Farm.

facebook pages feed tool

Check your Facebook Pages Feed when you are looking for interesting content to share.

facebook pages feed tool

Read down through the pages feed content and when you find something you think your readers will enjoy share it.

Be sure to include the original content and create a status post which not only includes a tag back to the original source, but add a few comments or thoughts. Returning to the food brand idea – say Hillshire Farms posts a recipe. You could share it, tag Hillshire Farms and indicate that you may try it tonight – after all it’s easy and you already have all the ingredients at home. Then maybe ask them to share what they are making for dinner that night.

Benefits of Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool

There are actually several benefits to using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool.

Stay on top of the brands, blogs, services and events which are of interest to you as a blogger and writer, but also those which may be of interest to your audience. 

  • The key to this: know your audience. Look at other posts and see what types of content they respond to on your Facebook business page. What makes them like, share or comment.

Using the Facebook Pages Feed Tool saves you time.

  • I also use Google alerts, but the pages feed tool helps me quickly and easily stay on top of the information I need and want to know from brands, businesses, services and events. The less time I have to spend on research the more time I can spend on other things like graphics, social media, content, images, and learning more about the tools of my trade.

Be seen as an expert in your “field.” 

  • Using the Facebook Pages Feed tool you are “in the know.” So could everyone else be if we actually saw EVERYTHING which those we follow share on Facebook. But thanks to the Facebook algorithm we don’t. As a result, you may have knowledge which others don’t. This creates a trusting relationship with your audience as they continue to see you as knowing what they want to know you that you will share it.

Creates engagement. 

  • Not just engagement with your audience, though that may be a result too. But you will also create engagement with the brands, businesses, events, services etc., which you want to get to know and which you want to get to know you. I know I check to see (and I know brands do too) who has shared what from my Facebook feed and as a result use those opportunities to not only learn what my audience likes, but also to create opportunities for engagement, conversation and relationships with those I want to work with in the future. Brands will do the same thing. Noticing that your ability to share and create opportunities for others to know what they are doing, will continue to bring you to their attention and possibly lead to an email or private message and an opportunity to work with them on a more official basis.

 

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10 reasons to Switch to a Custom Domain Name

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reasons to own a custom domain name

I did it. I admit it. I was once upon a time a blogspot blogger. I started out with a blog, just for fun while I was freelance writing for Yahoo and other online and print magazines. I know how easy it can be, but I also know that at some point you may want to grow beyond where those types of sites can take you. Once you are ready to take that step it is time for a custom domain name.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are used to support this site and my family. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, based on my own experiences and education.

 10 reasons to switch to a custom domain name

  • Increased opportunities to make money. Have you ever wondered why you didn’t get an opportunity you applied for in a network, affiliate company or group? Or even get accepted to some blogger networks? Some have rules that they can’t accept anyone without a custom domain name.
  • You control what people see when they “Google” you. Did you know having a custom domain name can actually make some of your less than complimentary posts, comments, or pictures drop further down in search engines? On the other hand, it increases your presence in search engines as they identify you with your brand and your blog. It also can translate into increased page views – as visitors are more likely to click on a custom domain name link than those which are not.
  • You have control over your online presence. Some people purchase their name as a domain name just so no one else can have it. They don’t plan on using it, but it makes sure that no one else uses it for less than honorable purposes.
  • It’s a tax write off as a business expense. Both your hosting and domain name purchases are tax write offs in the expense column. If you are making any money you know how important those can be, no matter how small.
  • FREE – doesn’t always mean free. It can come with a pretty hefty price. You know all that work you have put into your images and content. You may own it, but someone else (WordPress, Weebly, Google) actually OWNS your site. This means that they in essence own your content. They can shut you down and no one even has to tell you why. All your hard work is GONE.
  • As a blogger your online presence is evidence of your brand. How often have you visited a website and quickly “bounced” off of it because you didn’t think it professional? Because it wasn’t well organized? Unfortunately, not having your own custom domain says that to those who visit your site.
  • You are limited in what you can do – from the types of design you can have to the types of ads you can use. Sure you can depend on sponsored content as your only source of income but why would you? And why wouldn’t you create a website, presence and brand which shows off who YOU really are and what your expertise and interests are?  Do you want to be limited in your business efforts?
  • Customer support. How often have you encountered difficulties on your site and have to spend time looking for how to fix them? And how often have you just given up and let it go or moved everything else around to accommodate the problem. I’m not saying you don’t have site outages or other problems, but when you do have your hosting company, who is quite often your domain name provider can provide you with customer and technical support.
  • Other forms of revenue. Do you have a store? Create printables? Plan on adding e-books, clothing or other branded items to your blogging business? Adding yourname.weebly.com simply is advertising for your free service not for your business.
  • Which brings me to no. 10. Don’t take it personal – but in the online world it’s not considered professional. With a custom domain name you now have a professional business email address in addition to your blog.  If you don’t take the time, effort and money to invest in something as minor as a custom domain name then others aren’t going to consider you a professional blogger- and they may not be willing to invest in you and your skills.  It adds to your credibility as a social media influencer, author, expert or other business owner.

Getting a domain name and hosting service can cost you less than the price of a couple of visits to Starbucks each month depending on your services. I’ve purchased domain names for $1.99.  Purchasing a custom domain name doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and in the end it may even make you much more than you will ever spend on it.

There are many hosting services available both where you purchase your domain name or you can purchase them separately. You can start with “baby” plans and always increase your services to more bandwidth, faster speed, and more image storage when that day comes around. But it won’t come around as long as you let someone else have control over your online presence.

 

Resources: 

HostGator has made WordPress a breeze! Optimized WP Packages for as low as $12.95 a month!

To switch from Blogspot to Custom Domain Name

www.whois.net – lists registered domain names

Yahoo Small Business

GoDaddy.com

Carol Jones/PinkhairedPixels.com 

Debbie Tortorigi/ Langniappe Group  you can also submit a request for a quote under “Project Inquiry”

Affiliate Networks 

shareasale.com

Flexoffers

Impact Radius

Commission Junction

Enroll Now

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The Unofficial Tax Handbook for Bloggers

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unofficial tax handbook bloggers

It’s that time of the year again when bloggers thoughts turn towards taxes. To be honest, we should be thinking about them all the time, but with the approaching deadline to file taxes it becomes even more urgent that we look at our income, expenses and muddle through all the tax do’s and don’t. Becky Mansfield, Mickey Mansfield and Paula Rollo have put been doing this for years, and consulting with CPA professionals in their states and offer up their answers to the most pressing questions which many bloggers have.

If I cook and post the recipe on my site can I deduct the groceries?

Is my gas to and from an event tax deductible?

I have a home office – but it’s the corner of my living room. What do I do?

Frequently asked questions are answered by bloggers who do what you do every day. How do they organize for tax season? What have they learned about home offices and deductions?  Taxes used to be easy for many of us, as we either handed everything to an accountant or simply filled in the boxes on the 1040 on our own, but as blogs grow and turn into businesses it’s important to know what we can and can’t do with our income and expenses.

Find out more about The Unofficial Tax Handbook for Bloggers and pick up your copy. Find out more about Becky and Paula as well as How to Start Your Blog, Get Private Blog Coaching, Why Your Blog is Failing and How to Fix it, you  visit them at Blogging on the Side.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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Perfecting your post before you publish: The ultimate blogging checklist

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blogging checklist

Whether you are an experienced blogger with many years behind you blogging or a brand new blogger a blogger checklist can help you make sure that you do more than dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s before you hit that publish button.

Creating Your Content

  • Research your topic thoroughly.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a parenting tip, article or product review. It doesn’t matter if it’s an “editorial” piece of content on something you saw in the news. Make sure you know all sides of the content you are going to write and be ready to provide sources for them too. Sure, there are plenty of times that you are just writing your own thoughts, but it doesn’t hurt to know what else is out there as you share your experiences with a topic.
  • Draft your content. Now is the time to get it organized, think about transitions and of course concentrate on your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Know what your most common mistakes are and look for them.
  • Have clear and concise content. Break things up with an ad, image or other graphic (like a tweet this) or quote so that content isn’t too long (unlike this list- see I’m not following that checklist item today).
  • Create a call to action. This may be to encourage your reader to leave a comment and share their own experiences, directions to by tickets or another method of follow up like an ad for the product you mentioned.
  • SAVE FREQUENTLY! It doesn’t matter if you are drafting in a document program like WORD or if you are drafting in our blog, be sure to hit SAVE DRAFT after each change.
  • Can you use a header, or other breaks in the content? the <h2> before content and </h2> after creates a visible break as well as adds to your SEO. Use it well.
  • Do you need list or bullets to break up your content into more manageable pieces?
  • Include any sources or links you need to in order to support the content.
  • Final draft. Now that your content is clear, concise and error free put your final draft into place.

Headline and Titles

  • This is where I like to create my headline. Sometimes I just need the content to be completed before I know how to do the headline. Other times I already know what the headline/title will be. It should be catchy, thought provoking and clear. It should be between 40 and 69 characters.
  • Decide if you are going to use a hashtag in your title. It is helpful and something I’ve started doing for some content but not all.
  • Edit your pictures. Are you using just the pictures you have taken? Do they need some cropping, straightening or formatting? What size are your pictures? Are they visible. While bigger may be better 640×640 usually works quite well on most blogs. It all depends on your design and spacing.
  • Add your image to your media library. Be sure to create a title, caption, alt text and description. You can skip the caption if you like, but adding the alt text and description can help with your placement in search engines as well as search engine results.

image in post

  • Consider this .. .would a pinnable graphic be more useful or should you let the pictures share the story.
  • Connect to other content of a similar type. This can be done through a plug in or you can insert a line of text with anything from “related content” or “for more on this topic,” then link to your complimentary topic.
  • Create social media content. You can even take that Tweet or Instagram post and embed it into your content so that it is easy for your audience to share.  I don’t do this often, but when I do I like the results. I admit I should do it more frequently.
  • Mark your categories on your content.
  • Mark your tags on your content.

categories and tags

  • Set a featured image. This will be the one most likely to be pulled when content is shared or pinned. However not always. If you have a slider it will be the image which appears on your featured content slider.

SEO Settings

  • Complete your SEO settings – this can include a title, excerpt, meta description (133-160 characters) and any changes you may want to make to no-follow links. It depends on your SEO settings tool. Many find that Yoast is one of the easiest for them to use because the tool tells you with red, yellow and green as well as a list after you check what you are missing or could do better.
  • Is your main keyword in your title, header, meta description, excerpt and content. On content make sure it’s no more than 4.0% . Some experts say only 2.5%.
  • Do all your outbound links open in a new tab? No need to direct traffic away from your site.  And yes, there’s a plug in for that, or you can pick and choose as your create your links.
  • Do these links need to be no-follow or can they be do-follow.

seo settings

  • Schedule or Publish
  • Promote on social media channels. Not all channels work for all content.
  • Use your hashtags.
  • On your editorial calendar  set additional days to share again. This is especially important with seasonal content.

 

I’ll be honest. Some days I get all the checklist done. Other days I don’t, for whatever reason.  A great deal of what I do is from memory, and from practice. Sure I’ve been doing this for many years, and I’ve worked with many clients and other publications. But that doesn’t mean I always get it right and that’s where a checklist comes in handy. We forget things. We get in a hurry and we may make mistakes.

While this may be considered by some to be the ultimate blogger checklist it’s also much like a recipe. Sometimes a recipe includes an ingredient, which says “optional” and so should your checklist work. If one or more of these things suggested don’t work for you, your voice or your audience then you shouldn’t do them. But by having them on the checklist, it also may just provide you with the new idea, concept or boost you may need.

Free printable one page ultimate blogging checklist available in PDF

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Can you improve your Instagram instantly?

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instantly improve instagram

After attending a blogger conference where Instagram was one of the sessions, I started wondering is it possible to instantly improve your Instagram? I think it is. But then again it depends on what you mean by improve. Do you judge your improvement by the number of hearts your images receive, the number of followers you have or on being true to yourself and being the best you can be. Personally I sort of judge my success by all of the above. Here are a few ideas you can use to instantly improve your Instagram, no matter what your goals are.

Should you have both your personal and professional Instagram as all one feed? At Blog Elevated  the brand Lilly Jade  recommended you separate your personal from professional and I agree. Here’s why.

  • Everyone needs a little break from work.
  • While you may adore that your baby is learning to walk, and the family wants to know every step, your audience nor the brands you hope to work with may not.
  • Your personal life may not always mesh with your professional life and as a result having one account can “muddy” the message which you are hoping to bring to brands and your audience.

hashtags on Instagram

Hating on hashtags? There is a great deal of discussion out there about hashtags. Hashtags are awesome! Though some may say they water down your message.  While some brands may feel that way, others may not. And, let’s face it hashtags work. As you can see from above. GreatBeerNow headed out to a brand new sports pub in the area. Here he’s used 18 hashtags. He has engagement and 155 likes. It is true to his brand and information his audience wants to know. Would he have received that interaction with fewer hashtags? He thinks not. Take a look at his Instagram feed, where he consistently receives over 100 to over 200 “LIKES” on his Instagram posts using upwards of 10 hashtags.

Do I need to edit pictures before sharing on Instagram? You of course always want to put your best foot forward. Research indicates that first impressions are 80% of a person’s impression of you. But Instagram is meant to be “instant.” Instant means in the moment, but with the easy to use filters available on Instagram as well as many cell phones it doesn’t have to take long to do a little cleaning up of your images.  Look at saturation, the depth of your colors. Look for distractions in the image, does it need cropped? Look at the texture and layers of the image. Remember dominant colors are blue and green. They are appealing to the eye. You do want bright, clear images and if there is a background, Lilly Jade says leave it. It only adds to the story you are trying to tell. Use a variety of images from close up to far away. Use a consistent color palette. The details matter and variety keeps your feed from looking flat.

How can I gain followers on Instagram?  Doing all of the things above can organically gain you followers. It may take time but they will be followers which really are interested in what you have to share. Other ways to gain followers is to follow others, whether it is bloggers or brands or individuals who have images you admire. Give their images a little love and see who else is following them. Follow those that follow the images you are interested in, if they appeal to you. Try an Instagram “loop” giveaway, though I’ve heard many bloggers say that it has gained them followers immediately, but in some cases they eventually fall off.

instagram features

Instagram features are actually perfect for getting attention.  Don’t miss out on the Instagram features which can help you gain attention to your feed. Look carefully at your screen. Are you making the most of the features which Instagram offers?

  • Tag people: Are you posting a picture which features a brand or product, a restaurant, attraction, hotel, travel destination? Then tag them and let them know you are sharing what you like.
  • Location: You will need to turn on your location device for this feature but it can help you gain followers. It will automatically pull up your location (or nearby locations) and then when people do a search on Instagram for that location it pulls up your images. You now have an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise. Be sure you use this nearby, as I’ve been unable to if I’ve moved too far away or tried to do it later from the hotel so I dont’ lose my family while we are traveling.
  • Direct: Direct your images to a specific audience, using a menu much like the Facebook tagging system.
  • Social Media connections: You can link your images to each of these social media channels and your post on Instagram will be posted to these social media account. However only Facebook will actually show the image. Personally I try to take separate ones and do another post to Twitter but link the Facebook account. If you are using both Twitter and Instagram use “tag people” then use the @ symbol for Twitter. This can bring in followers to your Instagram feed from your other accounts.

There are several things which hold true when trying to instantly improve your Instagram and I’ll let others say it better than I can.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. ~ Shakespeare

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11 Reasons why you need evergreen content

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evergreen content

Evergreen is described by Dictionary.com as “something that is evergreen, or enduringly fresh” and “retaining its relevance, popularity, usefulness, etc.; enduring.” I first encountered the concept of evergreen content in college while I was studying Journalism. Evergreen content is content, no matter where it is published, which remains of value to the reader. Some examples may be a recipe or potty training tips or a tutorial.  Other examples are your “About Me” page, interviews, resources and biographical information (e.g. 7 Do’s and Don’ts for those Doing In-Vitro Fertilizaion IVF). As a blogger or web content writer we may find it far too easy to concentrate on the “hot topic” of the day or the Google alerts or “trending” articles to spend much time thinking about evergreen content and why it’s important.  But we should.

Reasons Why You Need Evergreen Content

  1. You can continually attract traffic to your blog or website. For example, a recipe is something someone may be searching for and they come across yours.
  2. Evergreen content, when combined with your SEO tools can increase your placement and rankings. As more people find your content, the more you are seen to be a valuable resource.
  3. Use evergreen content to break up all those “sponsored” posts and “no follow” links which Google doesn’t like.
  4. Be seen as an expert on a topic or topics. For example if you continually share your delicious recipes you can be seen by your audience as an expert in the area of food.
  5. Make sales. By creating evergreen content you aren’t given up the opportunity to monetize your content. You can simply tailor your ads to fit that content. For example say you discuss winterizing your car. Insert affiliate ads which relate to the content, a video you created (with ads), or a free or for pay printable they can use to do their own car winterization.
  6. Brings people back to your “door.” Now that you have been seen by your readers and even brands as an expert they are more likely to a) come back for more, b) buy from your site or c) engage you in sponsorship or ambassadorship opportunities. My favorite emails from publicists say they have visited my site and actually points out specific content which they enjoyed – and which brought them to contact me.
  7. You get more backlinks with evergreen content. As you are researching information and find someone who looks like an expert don’t you link to them? Why not BE the expert and have people linking to you.
  8. Evergreen content drives traffic your way through being continually relevant and backlinks.
  9. You don’t have to delete it. Now, you may want to update it or make sure that the information is still accurate. Maybe you want to even go back and take a new picture or create a pinnable graphic for it to make it more marketable. Maybe you should revisit it to check the keywords. But you don’t have to start all over again.
  10. You always have something to share. Has it been a hard month? Has there been an illness in the family? Are their demands on your time which has made it difficult for you to write? Share your evergreen content with you audience and keep them coming back for more, even while you aren’t publishing more content.
  11. Evergreen content provides you the opportunity to explore your social sharing strategy. For example, Google+ and Pinterest has not always been around. (GASP – say it isn’t so!) So some of your content, like those great crafts, decorations, organization tips, or recipes – while they may be pinned — haven’t been pinned to your profile or account. This leaves you one more opportunity to share your content again.

Don’t underestimate the value and the power of evergreen content. People like reading it. People like sharing it. Some people may even learn from it. Others may be helped by it.

Takeaway – Grab you pen and paper and make a list of evergreen topics and content you currently have available to share. Also start brainstorming ideas for evergreen content you can write for the future.

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Top 10 benefits to bloggers of an editorial calendar

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editorial calendar

 

Have you every sat down at your computer and wondered “What am I going to write today?” Or complained about “writers/bloggers block?” Those two reasons and many others are why it is important to have an editorial calendar.

Reasons to have an editorial calendar

  1. Avoid writer’s block and brain blanks. Instead of staring at a blank page on your word processing program you will be looking at your editorial calendar which you carefully and thoughtfully created. It will provide you with the topic or the prompt you need for the day.
  2. Avoid missing deadlines. Bloggers have deadlines, and if we miss them we lose out on future jobs, earnings and yes, even make other bloggers look bad. Make sure that you do what you are doing what you say you are going to do and when with an editorial calendar.
  3. Use an editorial calendar to keep you “on topic” and focused. Do you have a Food Blog? Don’t be tempted to just jump on the most recent topic simply because it’s trending on Twitter or because you think it will gain you traffic, or worst of all to fill in the space because you haven’t written in a while.  This doesn’t mean you can’t go off topic – you know your audience best and there are things you may feel strongly about or important topics you want to share. If that is the case, then share them.
  4. An editorial calendar can not only keep you focused but let you know what is best received. As you check your analytics each month you may want to mark those items of content which are receiving the most traffic. Note where the traffic is coming from and what you did to make that happen. Once you know that you can repeat it.
  5. An editorial calendar helps you create quality and consistent content by spreading out not only the topics, but also your guests posts, sponsored content. We all want to earn a living, but let’s not forget that it’s important (especially to Google) to have content which is not sponsored, not to mention the value of link backs which can occur courtesy of guests posts.
  6. Do you have more than one contributor to your blog? An editorial calendar can help you with your collaboration, assignments, scheduling and delegating tasks.
  7. An editorial calendar can help you take a break! Bloggers are notorious for not taking a vacation. Even when they are on vacation there is still social media and content to create. Use an editorial calendar to plan ahead, create content in advance, gather the support of other bloggers and actually take a vacation when you go on vacation.
  8. Coordinate your content with your social media with an editorial calendar. It’s no secret we need to create our content on certain subjects far in advance, maybe even up to three months. But just because the content is on the blog doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to share it on social media. For example, while people may be getting excited about Christmas, your content may come up in a search but not necessarily be of interest on social media. Think about it, how often do you see a recipe or DIY on Facebook and think oh yeah that would be cool to try but then can never find it when you need it. It’s not a priority right then. But one week before Christmas it might be. use the calendar to help you integrate your social media with your content in the most effective way.
  9. An editorial calendar can help you just say no.  It’s hard to say no when something comes along that is exciting or interesting, but sometimes it just has to be done. But not always. An editorial calendar can tell you when you are over extended  and when you could move content to another date giving you openings for those interesting and often last minute opportunities which come your way.
  10. An editorial calendar is a one stop calendar shop.  Instead of writing down ideas here and there, as well as having one calendar for this and one for that your editorial calendar helps you have all your thoughts, events, opportunities and deadlines in one spot. You will know when to attend and event and when your content should be published for it, for example, all at one glance.

 

Editorial Calendar Resources

There are actually tons of editorial calendar resources out there. Some are free, some are for pay.  Some offer only the calendar, while others may also include social media, goals, as well as brainstorming or other calendar features. You can use electronic calendars, even something as simple at Google Calendar or you can use a more traditional type with pen and paper (I prefer pencil it makes it easier to adapt). But whatever you use – use what works for you!

Hubspot offers up this free editorial calendar template you can use in an Excel spreadsheet.  Or you can use anyone of these suggestions available on Amazon.com. Many bloggers have created their own forms, ask around and see what your blogging buddies are using and if it may work for you

An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be the Bloggers Bible. Be flexible, be creative and be yourself. Let the editorial calendar help you do that and be organized, as well as informed about your blog and your content.

 

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Blogger Spotlight: Jenn Park of Jenn Unplugged

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Jenn Park of Jenn Unplugged

 

I met Jenn Park, writer and owner of the blog Jenn Unplugged, while we both doing a Disney press junket for bloggers. We had an amazing time learning about Halloween Town at Disneyland as well as some of the great planning and creation that goes on in movies and television like Star Wars Rebels, Alex and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and more.

Jenn blogs about life with honesty and humor, recipes, reviews, her kids, travel and entertainment/Disney. Come see what she has to say about life as a blogger and offers up some advice from her experiences in this interview with New Creative Media. 

Why do you blog?

It started as a hobby. I wanted to be able to stay home with my children and earn money in order to help take care of my family, in addition to my husband’s salary. The rest fell into place and I love being “my own boss”.

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?

The freedom to write and experience things I may not have been able to otherwise.

What is the hardest thing about being a blogger and what you do to deal with those challenges?

Time management and balance. Take deep breaths, make lists and use my planner.

What’s three of the most important things you have learned about social media marketing or blogging? 

There is always something new to learn. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Know your worth.

What advice would you like to give to other bloggers?

Be yourself. Blog from the heart. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, don’t write about it or feature it. Something more fitting will come along at the right time.

Jenn has had the honor of being invited to 3 media trips, 2 being Disney related. She is proud of my site and what it has provided, and continues to allows for and how it provides for her family.

Head over to Jenn Unplugged and find out more about her life, family and travels.

Thanks so much Jenn for taking the time to talk to us today!

 

 

 

 

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Blogger spotlight: Ra Shonda Gibson of Abundant Journeys

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blogger spotlight andrea west

Let me introduce you to Ra Shonda Gibson of  the blog Abundant Journeys.  Shonda is a Certified Travel Associate, Certified Luxury Travel Advisor and is in the spotlight this month on New Creative Media. She is to share with us her thoughts and advice about being a blogger.

Shonda Gibson of Abundant Journeys Blog - Far Right

Shonda Gibson of Abundant Journeys Blog – Far Right

I was able to spend some time with Shonda to ask her a few questions about life as a blogger, especially a niche travel blogger. Here’s what she had to say.

Why do you blog?

 

I blog because of a love of everything travel and luxury living.

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?

Being able to share my experiences.

What is the hardest thing about being a blogger? 

Time! I don’t sleep. (laughter – I know how she feels but I’m working on it).

What’s three of the most important things you have learned about social media marketing or blogging?

1. Always give quality. If you are short on time, don’t post.

2) Give your audience what they want… it’s not about you. It’s about them.

3) Make sure to promote your post. It is not “write it and they will come”. It’s like a social hour… socialize and get the word out.

What advice would you like to give to other bloggers?

Make friends with other bloggers for motivation and camaraderie.

Shonda worked with New Creative Media on one of our Go Houston! Travel Campaigns. Travel with her to Houston as she checks out:

Hotel Sorella – Houston

Royal Sonesta Houston

Texas de Brazil – Houston 

Cyclone Anaya 

Using the Houston City Pass

Rainforest Cafe – Galleria

Black Walnut Cafe

 

Want to be in the spotlight? Share your thoughts about blogging? Complete this form and we will contact you.

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