Tag Archives: build a better blog

Better Blog Project 2: Goals and Support

benefits of setting goals on blackboardThis is post number  in the Better Blog November Challenge, or #BtrBlogNov that I declared a few weeks ago. Twenty plus p eople have signed on to this free project because we all want to improve the quality/quantity/range of our blogs and blog posts. This is the first set of  info & exercises.

Link 2 #BtrBlogNov intro post: http://bit.ly/jmSOM

Link to Twitter list of people who re giving it a try:  http://bit.ly/4iLz2Z

Reminder of main monthly goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts depending on which our site needs most

Here is Monday’s Nov. 2, Better Blog Project (TM)- A little bit of strategy can inform and strengthen your blog writing. By the way, I am doing the exercises too:

  • Identify our blogging goals
  • Create basic structure to capture our ideas when/where we find them – that works for you
  • Resources for finding blog ideas
  • Blogging Goals – Write down why you are writing your blog, try for 3 to 5 reasons.
    • Try and jot your own ideas down first. Then look at the list below afterwards. Then of your 3-5 goals – rank them in order – think about which of these goals will help you create a Better Blog then keep that in mind when writing your posts. Maybe put it on a sticky note on your computer screen:
      • Some goals: To reinforce your brand, increase your/your company’s name recognition online; to get more readers; to share information about a certain field, niche, or trend; to sell products, get clients, customers, or find business partners; to promote a cause; to monetize your blog and make money directly; to explore a topic; to find connections with others; to get speaking gigs; to learn bout the process of blogging; to get asked to blog for other larger sites; to get freelance writing gigs; or to get a fulltime job etc.
      • Most probably it will be a mix of several of these goals, but as above – ranks the top three and find a mix or balance that will help you create a better blog.
    • Explore your old blog posts, at least the titles to see where you have been, where there are holes you can fill, duplicates to trim, ruts you got in, gaps you left (in the topic, or in time). See what patterns (both good and bad) you can find.
    • Extra Credit: If you are very motivated, and have a blog statistics package set up for your blog (WordPress blog stats or Google Analytics), check them out – find out which posts have been more popular – see what keywords people used to find your site or a post. Don’t get overwhelmed; we might come back to this one later with more detail.
  • Exercise: Create two documents to support your play/work with your blog, in whatever way works for you
    • A document for blog ideasA computer file in which you jot down blog ideas, possible titles, a few sentences, and where you can copy & paste links into the file for reference. Create a shortcut and save it to your computer desktop, so you can open it quickly when you have an idea. I can tell you how, if you don’t know how to do that, or what that is. (also carry a paper notebook around with you to catch those ideas too). Why on the computer for most of us, for me, if I write the whole post on paper, then try and rewrite it on the computer, I can get lazy, it seems boring, I find excuses to avoid it. Your choice. I’ll have another trick in Monday’s version of this email.
    • A Document for the strategy part of crafting a better blog. This can either be on paper, or on the computer, but you want a place for your musings, brainstorming, where you can see the arc of you blogging as it unfolds during our explorations. Suggestion: One file & one notebook, not 3 notebooks – then it’s hard to find what you are looking for. (Tip, if you jot an idea down on a scrap of paper, instead of rewriting it (which I sometimes avoid doing, or end up losing it) instead: just tape or staple it into your main notebook). This is a clarification – thanks to @ NJDreaming – one of our BBP bloggers.
    • Start using these files/notepad today -when you get the seed of an idea, train yourself to jot it down, now (as long as it is safe, like you’re not driving or operating a train or something. ;~)

Resources & Tools:

    • Tools that may help you remember blog post ideasEvernote: http://www.evernote.com/, http://www.rememberthemilk.com/, http://www.delicious.com/. Or your cell phone – use the reminders function, or send yourself a text, or an email: indicate “blog idea” in the subject line (create a folder/label to store these).
    • I’m creating a Delicious.com account to save interesting articles on blogging as inspiration to all of us. You don’t have to sign up for Delicious in order to read my Better Blog Project Delicious files. I have saved the above noted links to my new Delicious account: www.Delicious.com/BetterBlogProject.
    • Extra Credit: I suggest you also start your own free Delicious account, as a way to bookmark cool articles to reference/link to in posts, comment on, or just learn from. Be sure to keep your tags/keywords simple to help you find items later. If it is by a popular blogger I make their name (or twitter name) one keyword, and month/yr as another.
      • Note: Delicious is now working with yahoo, if you don’t already have a yahoo account, you will have to set one up to create a Delicious account. Sorry, it’s new. Tips, create it, when it confirms your account details, at bottom hit: Edit Marketing Preferences- a uncheck all of them (your choice); also check the notifications and decide if you want to hide your profile (i.e. – only use it for Delicious.com, or create another social networking out post) and what notifications you want sent to your new yahoo email account. To keep active you have to login and do something once every 4 months or they can delete the account. Also go to my profile and check hide my age (which it automatically displays). That sounds complicated, but will save you from getting a bunch of junk.
      • Then continue and create your Delicious page, which is much easier. Say yes to the toolbar, then when you find a post you want to save, just hit Tag, login (I rarely log out) and it saves it for you, you add keywords so you can find it later. Cool!

Happy Blogging – No pressure just take what you find useful and move it forward!

I have to add two more inspirations behind this project – @problogger Darren Rowse‘s 31 Days to a better Blog in 2007 (link is on Delicious page and will be in Wednesday’s info, he also has an updated ebook version for $19.95 Click here to view more details ) and http://www.nanowrimo.org/ National Novel Writing Month (also in November) – I thought if people can write a novel in a month, we can improve our blogs in a month!

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Better Blog Month – November Intro 1

Compass ConceptSo some of you know, I had an inspiration, thanks to @journalistics during an online Twitter event called @journchat, to create something called The Better Blog Month Project AKA #BtrBlogNov.

Twenty one hardy souls signed up to participate in this free project, which I’m eager to do myself. There are many other ingredients that go into making a better blog, but this month we are concentrating on content, on the actual blog posts (along with some strategy around and behind the posts).

Basic Goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Depending on which our site needs most, either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts

Basic Structure:
Those who signed up will receive and email Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the month of November 2009. Each email will have:

  • The topic of the day, and Some points to think about
  • An exercise
  • And some resources/links to help people brainstorm, or to provide more information (most of these are not planned as must reads, as I know our time is limited, but they are there to provide more information for those who want/need it).
  • For those who haven’t signed up, I’ll post a brief version of the day’s tasks, and to help get the community involved, I’ll ad some comments based on my experience doing the exercises, and ask for tips from all of us bloggers out there.

The Weeks are loosely themed:
Week 1: Getting Started on a Better Blog – Behind the Scenes Strategy
Week 2: Honing our Message
Week 3: Building our Inventory
Week 4: What comes Next
(Thanks to John Reddish @GetResults for helping me brainstorm the weekly titles)

Each day’s info are simply ideas, jumping off points as it were, gathered from several years of blog reading, time spent reading and absorbing information about blogging from other great bloggers, many years of writing in my work, a year of blogging, and are also informed by my 20 years of Public Relations experience. If I suggest one way/idea, feel free to make it work for you, but if you meet resistance, be sure to ask it to step aside and let you get on with playing and working; don’t let resistance move in front of you and block you from our goals.

I hope this inspires others to create better blogs this month too!

Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com , 484-802-7576, Find me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR (@CathyWebSavvyPR), Find me on LinkedIn:

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