Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

06
Apr
09

If your blog died today… what would it be remembered for?

Darren Rowse
Image by BenSpark via Flickr

Over at ProBlogger.net, Darren Rowse’s “31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge” starts today.  It has been extremely successful in the past couple of years he has done the Challenge which lasts 31 days and almost guarantees improvements in the creative content of your blog if you follow through with the Challenge.  It is so popular among bloggers not only because it apparently really helps bloggers to focus on and achieve their blog goals but because Darren has earned a reputation worldwide for being a bit of a “blog guru” — he has a knack for focusing on the problems that plague us all and presenting exercises that are at once challenging and gratifying (not to mention unique).

For example, one of his most popular blog exercises called “If your blog died today… what would it be remembered for?”  On the surface, it sounds horribly morose but he actually presents the following challenge that forces you to really ask yourself what you want out of your blog, how you’d like it to be perceived and the impact you think it will make versus the impact it is actually making in people’s lives.

In the post, he asks Bloggers to:

Project yourself forward 10 years, imagine that at that point you decide to end your blog having achieved everything that you want to achieve with it and write a short obituary about your blog as you’d like other people to have seen it to that point.  Keep in mind that your blog has been as successful as it can be and you’re ending it at the peak of its game.

The thought of that alone is a bit overwhelming but extremely thought-provoking.  It is also the tip of the iceberg as Darren presents a set of questions (a road map) to help us through the exercise:

  • What do you want people to say about your blog?
  • How do you hope it will have been perceived?
  • What will people miss about it the most?
  • What ground has it broken?
  • What has it achieved?
  • How has it helped people?

This is a timed exercise.  He gives us 10 minutes to answer the above questions and write our Blog Obituary.  It seems like a woefully inadequate amount of time but, then, if you can’t say what your blog is and how you want it to impact the world in ten minutes, then that would indicate a huge problem that needs to be worked through.

That was only the first part of the exercise.  The second part really brings the first part home:

Write an obituary for your blog as it stands TODAY.  Write an obituary for your blog as you think others see it now.

  • What would they say about it?
  • What would people miss about it?
  • What has it achieved?
  • How has it fulfilled a need or service in people’s lives.
  • What ground has it broken?

I have to admit that, for me personally, this exercise is not easy at all.  I read through many of the Comments to his post (77 total) and was not surprised to see others had struggled mightily as well.  It is so easy to open a blog account with a blogging service (as easy as it is to open a box of cereal) that I believe people very seldom put this much thought into what they really want to say with their blogs.  But if we did this work first, imagine how much better our blogs would be!

I’m going to do this exercise tonight.  You can read the original “Blog Obituary” post here.  Is this something that you think would help you?

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23
Mar
09

Catching Up with Blog Academy Members Blogs

Hi everyone!   I hope everyone is doing and well and that all of your blogging dreams are coming to fruition! A few of our members have actually started their blogs and are well underway to being blogging badasses.  Here is an update:

Constantine Markides took the big leap and bought a hosting plan at GoDaddy.com and migrated his extensive library of essays from his now defunct blog at WordPress.com to his new and improved, self-hosted, blog Fourth Night at WordPress.org. Now he is literally the master of his domain! The blog looks great and his essays are so thought-provoking and entertaining (for example, his post called The One Man Tent will grip you like a good novel – it’s refreshing to see this kind of quality writing on a blog!).  Constantine describes his professional skills in the “About” page as “Archaeological proficiency in the archaic newspaper and literary practices of late-twentieth century antiquity” (in other words, a journalist). With his creative fiction, photos (that he’s takes himself) and a fierce eye for beauty (I’ve seen his photos, he does have an eye for beauty) I honestly can’t wait to see his blog develop as time marches on.  You can find his blog here.  It’s an indulgence.

Steve Alleyne took the blogger plunge and launched his self-hosted blog at StevenAllyene.com on WordPress.org.  He uploaded his first blog post Dating on the north side of 40 following a very long-term relationship which is very funny and heartfelt (I mentioned in our first meeting how much I enjoy Steve’s writing – you will too – trust me!).  He describes himself in the following way on his “About Steve” page:  “I’m not quite old yet not as young as I used to be. However, I AM short. I’m dealing with it. [Shrug]” (that’s just the tip of Steve’s iceberg)

Steve shared with everyone in our first meetup that he had procrastinated with launching his blog for a couple of months and, now, he has a blog and a couple of posts up. Steve is a rock star. He admitted how tough it was (like giving birth) but he worked through it and gave his great writing a place to call blog-home.  You can find bits of Steve’s wisdom and humor on his blog at here.  Steve will be doing a guest post for the New York Blog Academy blog about his experience launching his site in the coming week!

Hermann Mazard just launched his blog (Thoughts of a Confused Enthusiast) this past weekend. Hermann has a lot to get off of his chest about the condition of America, how our government is handling our economic crisis and whether we can or will ever recover. He doesn’t mince words and thank god for that. His honestly and bluntness are refreshing and absolutely necessary (medicine isn’t supposed to taste good and sweet!).  Being a college professor, Hermann is very skilled at using the power of the pen to make a point that (though it may be sharp and cutting) is always wrapped in a well-researched, thoughtful essay. His very first post is Why Good Mortgages Goes Bad (warning: he spares no one (dead or alive) in this analysis of what really led to America’s the mortgage crisis and who is to blame). Great read and food for thought!

Jade Dressler (PR expert) sent me her two blogs and I’m so glad she did! The first blog (Jade Dressler) is her perspective on culture and the arts and what a truly unique perspective it is (I kid you not – and I worked in arts and entertainment!). It isn’t often that a blog can get you to see the ordinary in our surroundings in an extraordinary way (Jade does this with such ease I’m almost jealous!).  Her second blog (ITI Phone Home) is a hysterical and bizarre look at pop culture and celebrity from the perspective of someone who clearly is an alien in this strange land. In her “About Me” page she says of herself, unapologetically, “I know what I am and I’ve decided to out myself.”  Thank goodness.  Just blog every minute of it for us please.   Thank you.  Her latest post is “I HEART MAN BOOBS” and it is an ode to man-mammary that will crack you up!

Look for blogs soon from the delightful John Windsor-Cunningham who is in the process of launching his blog which will be a web video blog that will take a weekly comedic look at USA from a Brit p.o.v. (LOVE IT!!)

Also launching soon is Anat Fanti. As she explained in our first meetup, Anat is interested in helping people who are in dark and difficult situations (during these economically dire times) find the light in their situation and move towards it.  Indeed, Anat is a beautiful light herself who inspires people every day in ordinary conversation. One could only imagine how awesome and inspirational her blog is going to be!

As soon as John and Anat give me the word, I’ll share their blogs with all of you! Until then, let’s send them much support and positive blogging vibes! : )

CONGRATULATIONS to our members who launched blogs this past week.  Rock stars.  Each of you!

congratulations

Please check out their blogs, subscribe to them and let them know what you think of their writing in the Comments sections of their blogs.

Blogging is not a destination — it’s a journey.

Warmth and good cheer,

Charlie : )
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23
Mar
09

Jobs for Bloggers

help-wanted3

It may not be a glamorous job, and you won’t retire wealthy with the meager salaries bloggers get paid, but if you love the craft and want to expand your blogging horizons, you might want to look into getting a full or part-time gig as a blogger (paid).  Whatever your interests are, there are blogs out there looking for people to write on the subject from their unique perspective.  Here’s one fact that gets overlooked about online content: there actually ISN’T ENOUGH OF IT (not quality content that is on par with journalists at newspapers).  That’s where YOU come in.

For those bloggers who find creating content on a regular basis to be difficult, you might want to try writing for a blog that features content you are interested in.  By working as a professional blogger (even just part time) you’ll be creating multiple opportunities for yourself and your brand including:

  • exercising your writing muscle and disciplining yourself to write regularly (especially when having to answer to a supervisor for your content);
  • you’ll get editorial feedback on your writing which will improve your craft and help you to define your voice;
  • building your blogging portfolio with diverse content;
  • building a reputation for yourself as a serious blogger in the industry (thereby making you an “expert”);
  • building an audience for your personal blog (which would be in your bio on any site you decided to work for);
  • establishing new contacts with people who can help you grow your personal blog; and
  • extra cash in your pocket.

It might be challenging to find the time to do it all (even just part time) but think of it as blogging boot camp with many benefits (including a pay check).  Worth taking a look!

I found a couple of great, reliable and respected online sources for bloggers looking for employment blogging for sites.  The first bogger job board is ProBlogger.net.  This job board is clean and too-the-point (which I would expect from ProBlogger – the founder of this site, Darren Rowse, has one of the most popular and authoritative sites about blogging online – marketing genius).  Here is a clip of their job board:

problogger-job-site

Each listing on the board has the date of the entry, the specifics of the position (i.e., “Music Gadgets Blogger Wanted”) and the blog category (corporate blog, blog network, etc.).  The individual posts are very detailed and leaves nothing to the imagination.  One job post for a “TV Show Blogger” for Hero World Media reads:

TV SHOW BLOGGER NEEDED

We are looking for a freelance writer/blogger that can generate, on average, 10 articles per week (200-450 words each)

The subject matter is television related. You must be knowledgeable about popular TV shows such as Lost, Heroes, Desperate Housewives, 24 etc, and current TV show news.

COMPENSATION:
You will be an independent contractor and initially you will be paid on a per published post basis (ranges from US $3 to US $6). The basic compensation level will based on your experience and the type of content you generate (micro posts vs. standard articles vs. features).

REQUIRMENTS:

* Be able to commit to 10 articles per week
* Be creative, critical, and articulate
* Have strong research/analysis skills. Check facts well.
* Be familiar with writing for the web and for impatient online audiences.
* Be familiar with using WordPress.
* Must be located in the US or Canada.

WRITING TOPICS:
You should be comfortable with writing on a variety of tv related topics.

ARTICLE REQUIREMENTS:
* The article must be posted in WordPress.
* Include at least one image in each article.
* Intelligent linking of post content to related subject matter and/or to related posts in the same blog
* Assign one primary and a few sub-categories to each post
* Tag all posts

How to apply

Please email samples of your work to kvnfleming(at)gmail.com

Posted on: 03/16

Darren Rowse crosses out jobs that have been filled so anything that is on this job board is an OPEN POSITION unless noted otherwise (including the above position!).  You can find ProBlogger’s job board here.

The second blogger job site that I found to be very well managed with interesting blogging jobs that are updated regularly is BloggerJobs.biz.

bloggerjobs-biz-siteIt describes itself as being “The inside track to a blogging career“.  Unlike ProBlogger (which is a site about blogging in general that features a job board).  BloggerJobs.biz dedicated entirely to the search for blogging jobs.  It is also, appropriately, a blog about blog jobs.  So while you’ll definitely find job listings on the site, it contains much more to support bloggers looking to sustain careers as professional bloggers including directing them to other resources, offering great tips and being an open forum for discussion on blogging assignments.  To underscore my point, here is a list of the categories on the site:

Pretty extensive and varied!  What I like about this site is that, true to blog form, their job posts are not listed with job requirements being itemized like a grocery list.  Instead, a detailed post is done for each job in a more conversational tone.  They also give a bit more background info on the company, location, etc.  For example:

Two Blogging jobs from Splashpress Job Boards

One opening for a Metal/Rock outfit was posted by PureGrainAudio.com, which is an established online magazine who needs bloggers/writers for expansion. They need self-motivated people who are die hard metal/rock fans who can work independently posting on; news, interviews(formal and informal ones), album reviews plus a whole lot more. Current ranks are from Canada and the US and expansion to obtaining writers from overseas and anywhere else as a matter of fact. They need people who can properly manage time that would allow regular contributions, and also contribute to the growth of the site as well with suggestions and proper work ethics.

Definitely worth the click!  You never know what you’ll find and what kind of opportunities will come out of opening yourself up to working for and with other blogs!  No blogger is an island (okay, maybe a few are but that doesn’t mean you have to be).

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20
Mar
09

Recession Breeds New Bloggers on a Mission

recession-bloggers

It stands to reason that during times of upheavel, voices that would ordinarily be silent in more steady times tend to rise above the noise or (at the very least) find a way to be heard amidst the noise.

I was inspired to create New York Blog Academy because of my deep belief that blogging (thanks to a crippling recession that is pushing people to the brink of their desperation and frustrations) will enter a new era (like every other sector of American life struggling to define or redefine itself).

What does that mean?  What we took for granted and merely fiddled with in the past with blogging, we will now not only appreciate, but find a way to use to lift ourselves (and each other) out of this muck.

CNN, the NY Times and other major media outlets have begun reporting on the new crop of blogging voices borne out of the pain of this recession.  These are people who have never had a blog before but who (for the first time ever) feel compelled to express their struggle and to help other people through their struggle.  Having never had a blog myself until recently, I can honestly say that I can relate and that I, too, am a blogging product of the times.

Some of these new bloggers are documenting the recession news, while others are using their new blogs to launch companies as first-time entrepreneurs (after being laid off from corporate jobs) or to find new work.

Here are a few of these new blog-voices as noted in CNN and the NY Times articles:

  • The Daily Bail — “Bailout News, Opinion & Analysis. A Path to Federal Bankruptcy.”
  • Recession Wire — Capturing the stories and improving the lives of urban professionals who (like the three women who founded the blog) are getting effed by the economy.
  • Pink Slips are the New Black — the founders of this blog state on their site:  “We’re angry.  We’re frustrated.  We’re unemployed…  Like you.  There is strength in numbers.  Join us.”
  • Feeling Up in Down Times — Psychologist Marlin S. Potash created this blog to “bring psychology research and clinical experience to you… and to help you to deal with the shifting ground of what to count on”
  • Timely Demise — “Tracking the changing retail landscape in today’s economic environment.”
  • Laid Off Dad — One laid off dad’s stories of life in the big city… unemployed.

Although these blogs may be temporary (because they focus on a narrow, hopefully short-term, topic — the recession) they have brought each of the founders (new bloggers) recognition and an audience they would not have had otherwise.  They grabbed the blogging bull by the horns and met a need head on (the need for people to have somewhere to go to vent about these troubling times, to be encouraged, and maybe even find an opportunity).

I look forward to seeing the blogs our members produce!

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19
Mar
09

Dean Meyers Presentation on Blogging

Moo cards for blogging workshop
Image by Mexicanwave via Flickr

We were very lucky to have Dean Meyers (visual problem solver) come speak with us at the last Meetup on March 14th.  He shared a wealth of knowledge and really illuminating some things about blogging that stumps most people!

Dean has generously forwarded me his slideshare presentation from our meetup for you review.  While you’re at it, take a look at Deans post from earlier today on how to overcome blogger‘s (writer’s) block.

You can follow Dean on Twitter at @deanmeistr.  His website is http://www.deanmeyers.net/

Enjoy!


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17
Mar
09

Worpress.com Tutorial

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