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September 10, 2009 amymengel.com 1 Tips for Beginning Bloggers Guest Lecture – Amy Mengel ENG315 – Blogging and First Person Narrative College of Saint Rose

Tips for Beginning Bloggers

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Guest lecture given to Daniel Nester's ENG315 "First-Person Journalism and Blogging" Course at the College of Saint Rose, Albany, N.Y. Includes overview of types of blogs, ideas for blog posts, list of blog management software and tips for beginning bloggers.

Text of Tips for Beginning Bloggers

  • 1. Tips for Beginning Bloggers Guest Lecture Amy Mengel ENG315 Blogging and First Person Narrative College of Saint Rose

2. Blog Management Software

  • Self-hosted vs. free software
  • Factors to consider:
    • Design flexibility
    • Level of comfort with coding
    • Available plug-ins and features
    • Ease of use
    • Storage space, ad capacity
  • Questions to Ask
  • Choosing aBlogPlatform

3. Blog Management Software

  • www.wordpress.com
  • www.blogspot.com
  • www.LiveJournal.com
  • www.MoveableType.org
  • www.TypePad.com
  • www.squarespace.com
  • www.Tumblr.com
  • www.Posterous.com

4. Blog Management Software

  • Write some sample posts first and dont publish them. Familiarize yourself with:
    • Embedding hyperlinks
    • Embedding photo and/or video
    • Tagging and categorizing posts
    • Playing with styles and headings
  • Critique blogs that you like from a design and content perspective. What can you incorporate into your blog?

5. Types of blogs

  • News and commentary
    • Most similar to traditional media. Many attempt to either break the news or offer deeper editorial commentary about current news
    • Examples:
      • TechCrunch
      • NY Times TheLede
      • TMZ
      • Dead Spin

6. Types of blogs

  • Review and Critique
    • Product reviews, company or industry critique
    • Examples:
      • Gizmodo
      • Consumerist
  • Thought Leadership
    • Developing a position as a knowledge authority in a particular industry or area of expertise
      • Example:SethGodin(marketing)

7. Types of blogs

  • Educational
    • How-to blogs, detailedinformation on a narrow topic
    • Examples:
      • Digital Photography School
      • Get Rich Slowly
  • Documentary-style
    • Follow a particular person or group through an experience
    • Examples:
      • John is Fit(weight loss blog)

8. Types of blogs

  • Location
    • Blogging about happenings in a specific geographic region
      • Examples:
        • Gothamist
        • AllOverAlbany
  • Lifestyle
    • Blog about a specifickind of lifestyle(vegan, urban,cowboy, etc)
      • Examples:
        • FatFreeVegan
        • Married to the National Guard

9. Types of blogs

  • Gimmick
    • Similar, recurring posts around a theme or gimmick
      • Examples:
        • Julie Powell
        • Tiny Art Director
        • Leila Texts
        • Stuff White People Like

10. Beginner Blogging tips

  • Find a niche. How are you different?
  • Be regular with post frequency. Develop aneditorial calendar .
  • Comment on otherblogs . Respond to comments on yours.
  • Find your voice. (Youre not writing essays!)
  • Links are the currency of the Web. Link back to anyone you cite or mention.

11. Types of blog posts

  • Dont stick to just narratives!
    • Lists
    • Interviews
    • Reviews
    • Rebuttals
    • Pro/Con
    • How-to
    • Video/Audio/Photo
    • Events
    • BattlingBloggersBlock: 20 types of posts

12. What to write about?

  • What are your passionate about?
  • What makes you an interesting person?
  • How are you unique?
  • Why is your viewpoint different?
  • Be specific, but nottoospecific
  • The focus of your blog can change gradually over time.

13. Be Interesting

  • Take source material (news, other blogs) and write about it from a new direction or perspective that fits your blogs niche
  • Draw in readers with humor, criticism, honesty or drama
    • Think Reality TV: Why is it so addicting?
  • Dont make your posts generic make sure that each post is something only YOU could write
  • Add a guest post every now and then to provide a different view/voice

14. Be Personal

  • Show your personality in your writing
    • Be conversational
    • Share personal stories that connect with readers
    • Respond to reader comments
  • Decide how much is appropriate to share
    • Make sure what you share is within the context of your blog
    • Be cognizant of other peoples privacy (friends, family members)

15. Your blogwillbe

  • Your online professional profile
    • Content is indexed by Google For-EVAH!
    • Future employers will read it and assess your writing skills, thought development
    • It can complement (or contradict) your resume
  • A creative outlet
  • A time suck
  • A source of frustration
  • A way to make new connections and friends
  • A rewarding experience!

16. Credits

  • Slide 2 image byhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jerrycooke/3171393927/sizes/o/
  • Slide 7 image byhttp://digital-photography-school.com/canon-eos-7d
  • Slide 9 image by Henry Ray Abrams, Associated Presshttp://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/051018/051018_julia_vmed_12p.widec. jpg
  • Slide 10 image byhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mommamia/2217623384/
  • Slide 11 image byhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinbell/35089898/

About Amy Mengel Im a communications professional and consultant based in Albany, N.Y. Ive worked in corporate communications roles for companies like Lockheed Martin and General Electric. I now work with clients on a variety of PR, marketing and communications projects, including how to incorporate social media practices into existing marketing strategies. Im the founder of Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley, the regions first community-focused social media event. I blog about PR, marketing and social media atwww. amymengel .comwhen Im not cycling, hiking, traveling, skiing or watching college football. On Twitter:@ amymengel