Monday, April 30, 2012

From the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop - Blogging, Branding, and Social Media, Part 1

As I mentioned last week, earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.  The overall event was wonderful, with members of Erma's family on hand to read some of their personal favorites from her work and some excellent (FUNNY) guest speakers. 

From a writing standpoint, the Erma probably wasn't the best fit for me.  The focus, naturally, was on humor and I write mostly mystery and suspense, but there were a number of breakout sessions that crossed genre lines.  Three that I enjoyed were on blogging and using social media to create and promote your brand.  These were led by Debba Haupert, Anna Lefler, and Nettie Reynolds

I planned to do a post today on all the good tips I gathered from these three sessions but there were just too many for a single post, so this morning I'm going to focus on blogging and I'll follow up with the rest next Monday.

13 (gasp) tips on blogging from the EBWW:

Know why you're blogging.  Have a mission statement (even if it's just for yourself).

Keep your voice consistant.  Your regular followers should be able to pick out your voice in a crowd.

If you're a writer, your blog voice should be the same as your writing voice.  (More on this when we get to branding).

Have your own set of blog rules and stick to them, i.e. In my blog I always _____, but I never _____.

Maintain a common thread throughout your blog.

Coin a word or phrase that becomes your verbal logo.  (This one ties into branding, too.)

Add related magazines, web sites, etc. to your blog roll or sidebar.  Search engines check for incoming and outgoing link activity so you want as much traffic flowing through your blog as possible.

Include at least one link (if it's truly relevant) in every post.

Keep your blog roll fresh.

Embed a good quote in a graphic and add your blog link as a watermark.  People are more inclined to share pictures and wherever the graphic goes, your link with go with it.

Use numbered lists in your posts, i.e. Five tips for..., Ten reasons to ...

Use categories on your posts, in addition to tags or lables, so you can pull up all related posts in one block.

Keep an inventory of "evergreen" content - old posts that won't become dated.  Consider these your "classics" and re-use and/or promote them when appropriate. 

Okay, that's it.  How about you - got a blogging tip you'd like to share?

(Please forgive the late post this morning. Blogger and I are not playing well together today.) 

Groaner of the Day: A fellow received a mouse for his birthday and he loved it so much that he never parted with it. He took this mouse everywhere, to work, to parties, to the opera... One day, a good friend of his died and he was asked to serve as a pallbearer. Naturally, he took the mouse, which was perched on his shoulder.

On his way home from the funeral, he realized that the mouse was gone! He retraced all his moves for the day and realized the last time he had seen the mouse was just before they placed the casket in the hearse. He raced back to the funeral home and searched everywhere but the mouse was gone.

The man was filled with grief as he remembered the old adage his mother told him when he was a kid:

Never lock a gift mouse in the hearse.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The last three I'm not so good at, but for the others, the Ninja Captain rocks!

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

These are great tips! Thank you for sharing them. I think I would have enjoyed that conference because humor, and making people laugh no matter what genre I am writing in is one of my main goals.

LD Masterson said...

Go, Ninja Captain!

LD Masterson said...

Kim - I think you have enjoyed it. Maybe we can get you to the next one.

Angela Brown said...

So many tips here that I can benefit from. Thanks for sharing them.

Jess said...

Good post and info. Looking forward to the next ones too. And thanks for popping over to my place! :)

LD Masterson said...

Angela - You're welcome. Thanks for coming by.

LD Masterson said...

Jess - And thank you for following me on NetworkedBlogs.

Jemi Fraser said...

I think I do some of those! There are some ones I really need to work on though!

Donna Black-Sword said...

Some clever ideas in there. I'm liking the idea of a watermark of my blog link in a graphic or photo. And adding more links in the posts. I know I don't take advantage of that. Thanks so much for sharing these tips.

Maria Zannini said...

I actually do most of these already. --aren't I speshul? LOL

I also incorporated a watermark link for the new Getting Back to Basics blog. It'll show up in tomorrow's premiere post. I hope!

But I gotta tell you, it was a bear to create. HTML is not my friend and it took me several tries to get it to load as a default image on every post.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Reminds me I really need to update my blogroll - LOL!

Karin said...

I think your Groaners are definitely an important part of your blog so the humor DOES fit into your mission. And I LOVE them.

I only started a blog (actually a CaringBridge website) when my granddaughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I wanted to have an easy way to keep family (especially her maternal relatives who live in Japan) and close friends informed. I found it was very therapeutic for me and helped me reconnect with dear friends from all over. It has been an eye-opener for me and I have started to visit blogs of all sorts--what fun! (BTW only one more month of chemo! And she has a 95% chance of complete cure!!)

Looking forward to New York and our celebration of survival!!

LD Masterson said...

Jemi - It was a mixed bag for me, too. Some I think I'm doing okay but others...not so much.

LD Masterson said...

Donna - You're welcome. We bloggers have to stick together.

LD Masterson said...

Maria - Speshul? Well, sho you is!

Re. the watermark - in one of the sessions there were suggestions for software to use. My notes leave a little something to be desired but I think they were PicMonkey, BeFunky, and Picasso. I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.

LD Masterson said...

Diane - Me, too.

LD Masterson said...

Karin - You know I'm waiting with you for the doctors to give Nami and the whole family the ggod news.

Then we celebrate!

mooderino said...

I think I follow most of those, my blog is pretty single-minded. Relentlessly so, some might say.

Thanks for sharing these with us.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Rosalind Adam said...

Hi, I saw your comment on Jemi's site and popped over. Excellent 13 points. I really like the idea of embedding your blog link in a picture that's going to travel. Nice one! [which is more than can be said about the joke - groaner indeed!]

My advice for blogging is, while it's perfectly fine to blog about a bad event that's happened to you, don't use your blog as a place to moan and groan about all the little injustices in your life. People don't want to hear about it.
Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

LD Masterson said...

Moody - I've got to agree. Your blog - as the Ninja Captain would say - rocks!

LD Masterson said...

Rosalind - Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you about not using your blog about a venting ground. Who needs all that negativity?

Sarah Allen said...

Ok, these are like, post above my writing desk type tips. Thank you so much for these!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

LD Masterson said...

Sarah - Glad you found them of value. Don't miss Part 2 next Monday.

Jessica R. Patch said...

OOOH! I love these tips. I'll have to bookmark it! Thanks for sharing!

Maryann Miller said...

I'm not sure I agree with this one. My writing voice is so connected to the characters that it really is not me. My blog, however, is me. Would be interesting to see what other folks think.

LD Masterson said...

Jessica - You're welcome. How you find them helpful.

LD Masterson said...

Maryann - I had mixed feelings on this myself but I got the same message in tree separate breakout sessions at the EBWW. Please come back for part two on Monday and see what you think.