Blogging 101

Go ahead. Be Creative!

Blogs are one of the easiest ways to tell a story online. Whether it’s your story as an aspiring PR professional or a client’s story, blogs are simple to create and publish. The difficult part is writing them. But with tools like WordPress, you can go from draft to post in just a few quick steps.

Drafts can be kept unpublished and you can edit them on the fly with the mobile app version of WordPress, then finish up at your desk or laptop.

The only true requirement for a good blog is that it must contain in introduction, a body and a conclusion. You should set up the topic for the reader and then wrap it up for them at the end. A catchy title doesn’t hurt, either!

A note about blogs:

They are typically:

  • written in an informal, engaging tone (less formal than a web page) using active voice;
  • crowdsourced across company employees in a professional setting; and
  • short, scannable pieces that contain elements that break up text such as images, headings, sub heads, bullet points and call out quotes.

When blogging for a company and/or client, it is important to keep to a regular schedule (editorial calendar) AND make sure you have a trusted editor to fact check and catch style or GSP errors and typos.

Don’t Give Up

Before I publish my usual “Happy New Year” post, I want to remind myself (and anyone else who needs it) that giving up is easy. Persevering is hard. And sometimes doesn’t make sense.

I’m a short distance runner. And by short, I mean two miles max. I run every day with my dogs. Rain or shine. Dark or light. Make the bed, brush my teeth, throw my gear on, leash the pups and we’re out the door. It’s a habit. If I don’t get my running fix, I’m out of sorts and my back aches. I doubt that anyone on earth who knows body mechanics can explain it. I’ve been told by many experts not to do it. But it works for me. So I’ll keep running (like Forrest) until I stop.

But that’s not what I want to remember. 

What I want to remember is that after three days of taking a walk instead thanks to Goliath, I needed a run. Badly. Headed out with my girls and Chloe (our houseguest) and it wasn’t looking good. The melt, freeze, melt, freeze cycle we’ve had made it slicker today than ever. Every other step was treacherous. The girls were pulling and I couldn’t keep my footing. The voice in my head had a few choice phrases:

“This is madness.”

“You’re going to break your neck.”

“Don’t be an idiot.”

“Turn around. Now.”

“Are you stupid or something?”

And that’s just a few feet into my culdesac! But I thought, “just a bit further.” I turned the corner. And there it was. Bare pavement. All the way to the end of the subdivision. More than a mile and a half. Sweet relief!

To the voice in my head that tells me a I can’t or shouldn’t, I have a few phrases for you:

“I’m not stupid or crazy.”

“Easy is for wimps.”

“Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.”

Sometimes you just have to keep pushing to get what you want.

Don’t. Give. Up.

DAM Blogs – Sophie’s Choice

Blog Love
Blog Love

What do you do when 59 students have turned into amazing bloggers? I can’t even believe how far we’ve come. Goodbye typos and flat tone of voice, we’re writing like we speak and using humor to make complex topics approachable and understandable.

It was so hard to choose, but here are my faves for the week. Enjoy.

The assignment:

Dam, you’re good. Blog about any aspect of lecture this week (DAM, templates or workflow), but as future digital strategists, I want to see more than a broad brush. Get specific and think about how these tools impact the ability of brands large and small to publish relevant and engaging digital content that reinforces their brand image.

Remember: DAM stands for Digital Asset Management. Don’t reference it incorrectly.

Hot DAM | Maria Tobias

“Excuse your language.“

No, DAM. Digital asset management.

“I’m still confused.“

Digital asset management is a big, fancy word that encompasses a fairly abstract and complicated concept. DAM is a company’s act of distributing digital content and archiving it for further inspection. Read the full blog.

Kate Spade and Templates and Sales, Oh My! | Jordyn Bauerlein

Quick announcement: Kate Spade is hosting a 75% off sale right now!

Why is that important? Well, for starters, their purses are adorable and even cuter when they are cheaper. Secondly, it gives us a chance to look at something “new” on their website. At this point you are probably scratching your head and wondering how a sale would be considered new. Stay with me, I’ll explain. Read the full blog.

Blog Pick of the Week: Listening & Engagement

Image Credit: Melvin Gaal, Flickr
Image Credit: Melvin Gaal, Flickr

I’m perpetually behind. This college prof gig is the most rewarding AND the most demanding thing I’ve ever done. But today is a new day.

My digital students were given the following mission:

Social media monitoring is one of the biggest missed opportunities for businesses today. Also known as social listening, it involves monitoring what people are saying on social media about your business and the issues that affect it. This allows organizations to identify opportunities as they happen and reach out proactively rather than reactively.

Identify a current issue where an organization’s listening and engagement on social media (or lack thereof) has or could potentially impact their reputation. Propose a positive response by the brand.

I enjoy reading all of my student blogs, but here’s my top pics. Enjoy!

Engaging or Imploding?

By Brittany Lee

Twitter is hard. Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to tweet. And while some people get it, others definitely don’t. I think I’m a really funny tweeter – usually because I’m not afraid to tastefully laugh at myself. Granted, I try REALLY hard, but I think I’m hilarious.

There’s just something about making people chuckle that I think is really rewarding.  But I think in a quest to adequately target and entice a young and spry audience, American brands have taken to Twitter in a way that’s – well – bad. Engagement is great. Actually it’s more than great. It is so, so, so, SO important. But humor is so sensitive these days that it’s important to really dissect your jokes before you post them online.

Read more.

Nicole Arbour and Her PR Nightmare

By Kelly Kingston

Last week, Canadian comedian, musician and dancer Nicole Arbour posted a Youtube video titled “Dear Fat People.” The comedian posts many “rant” videos, where she takes a current issue and voices her (typically offensive) opinion. She started gaining popularity when her “Dear Instagram Models” video went viral on Facebook with people praising the harsh truth she spoke. But “Dear Fat People” went viral for another reason, a very negative one.

When a comedian pokes fun at someone who CHOOSES to do the belittling behavior, like posting racy photos on the Internet, people can laugh. But when a comedian chooses to poke fun at someone who has health issues out of their control, people will get mad.

And they did.  Read more.

You better watch that Tone!

Brand tone? Nailed it.

Bauerlein Crossing

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Years ago, when I rocked braces and actually tried to dress up for school, I sat in the back of my high school English class pouring a textbook entry about “Tone”. From that point on I’ll admit I never fully understood it. Last week I found myself in the same exact boat while learning about Social Media Audits.

Sure, I can tell you the definition of tone no problem but what does it really mean? Lucky for you, I’ve researched it a bit; I found that tone is one of the easiest concepts to understand. I’m going to blame my confusion on the fact that we were looking for the tone in old English poetry. As beautiful as it is, nobody really KNOWS what is going on.

Anyway, tone is how you say something; not necessarily what you say. For example, remember when you would say something to…

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Pinterest is Winning!

One of my first pins. Cupcakes from Fair Cake (www.faircake.co.uk)
One of my first pins. Cupcakes from Fair Cake (www.faircake.co.uk)

Remember when you needed an invitation to join Pinterest?

Pinterest soft launched in 2010, I don’t recall the date, but I pinned my first cupcake four years ago (shocking, I know.)

According to Business Insider, the “visual bookmarking” platform is forecast to generate $169 million in revenue this year. The Pinterest team has done an excellent job of monetizing the platform in a way that hasn’t changed the user experience (unlike Snapchat). #PINNING!

The most common question I’m asked … “what’s the next big thing?” I have no idea, but it will be visual and immediate. And solve a problem like Pinterest did (actually being able to find and use something you bookmarked for later reference). We are visual, highly distracted beings. To get our attention, you’ve got to show, not tell, and don’t beat around the bush. Like Violet in Willy Wonka, “I want it NOW!”

Panx -i-e-ty / noun

The FOMO and conflicted feelings I have when I launch Pinterest. Is it possible to knit, bake, craft, decorate while holding pigeon pose and learning to paint?

Featured Student Blog: Five Things I Learned in PR Strategy

Featured Student Blog: Five Things I Learned in PR Strategy

fred-astaireShall We Dance? Keeping Digital in Step with PR Goals.

It’s no secret. I LOVE teaching. It’s an honor and a privilege to share my knowledge and experience with future Public Relations pros. The biggest challenge is connecting theory with reality in the classroom.

One of the ways I reinforce key concepts is through a semester-long blogging assignment. Every student must write, edit and publish a blog each week. It’s a challenge to grade, but worth it. Students get used to the demands of the digital world. They begin to understand the rhythm of web publishing and the importance of writing and editing skills in today’s PR environment.

I get to know students through their blogs and enjoy reading their thoughts and experiences so much that I’m selecting a blog from each class to feature here. My goal? To encourage them to have a unique approach to the topic … to learn how to stand out personally, professionally and learn how they can apply that skill outside of the classroom.

First up? “Five Things I Learned in PR Strategies.” Because four is too few and six is too many! But the true lesson here is that digital must be in perfect step with the overall PR and business goals in order to be effective.

Five Things I Learned in PR Strategies

by Brianna Perrin

Five Key Concepts of Public Relations Strategies

by Karolyn Short