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Posted on May 21, 2011 in Blogging | 23 comments

Becoming a Social Media Superstar

Helloooooooo from Fitbloggin, friends! If you’re visiting for the first time after meeting at the conference, check out my Welcome from Fitbloggin’ post! And if you’re visiting for the first time in general, feel free to read all about meeeee!

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At Whole Foods with Theodora and Tina, NBD.

So I know this is rather misleading, but I really just wanted to quickly share the notes I took from this morning’s presentation by Katy Widrick (@kwidrick) & Jess Milcetich (@jessmilcetich) on how to increase your blog traffic, reach, and just get your name out there! If these notes don’t make much sense to you, or don’t apply to you, feel free to just ignore them. But I wanted to get ’em down for posterity: it was a fascinating session, and I have so many things I want to take action on now!

1. Do a blog assessment first. Where do things stand now?
– Clean design?
– Easy to understand?

2. Start with a mission statement
– What is your blog all about?
– Create a long version & short version

3. Have a clear About page
– Mission statement should be clear on this page
– Include a current photo

4. Make it easy for people to reach out to you
– Include email address and Twitter handle on Contact page

5. Provide category specific links: offer options
– RSS feeds for individual categories, authors, tags, etc.
– Options: Force feed URLS or burn separate feeds in Feedburner
– EVERYONE should be using Feedburner
– Consider a plugin or custom graphic

6. Are you happy with your blog name? URL?
– Change is okay!
– Grab your name across various social networks: NameChk, User Name Check, and Know Em, etc.
– Reserve ANY potential GoDaddy domain names!
– SELF HOST!

7. Create a Blogging Resume/Media Kit
– Can be public or private
– Remember your credentials, set goals and inspire confidence in readers, journalists, advertisers and more
– Years in business
– Areas of expertise
– Press coverage (include screen grabs)
– Ask for references and referrals from other bloggers
– Testimonials
– Statistics/Ad Rates
– Contact information

8. Collaborate

Guest Blogging!
– Reach out to bloggers that cover your topic and offer to write a post for them
– Be very specific about what you plan to write about and why it would benefit the other blogger’s community
– Don’t blast the same email to several bloggers; make sure you know what the blogger you’re pitching covers, and write your email accordingly

Work with reporters
– Offer to be a source to reporters working on stories about your blog topic
– HARO is a great free way to find reporters who are looking sources (http://helpareporter.com)
– ProfNet is a pay service similar to HARO; new ProfNet Connect lets experts set up free profiles that reporters can search to find experts in specific areas (http://profnet.com)

Blogging Buddies
– Reach out for commenting, sharing, etc.
– Buddies support, spread the word and help you find new readers
– Make sure you have a sit that will be sticky!
– Google Groups, Facebook Groups, Email Chains

9. Set up a regular blogging schedule
– Your readers will come up to know when yo expect your posts
– If you write on different topics, you can designate certain days for each
– Having a schedule will help keep you organized
– Utilize Google Calendar; it can send you reminders!

10. Calls to action!
– If you want your readers to do something make it clear what they need to do and how to do it
– If you’re looking for feedback or advice, end your post with a question!
– Use strong words like “subscribe here”, “do this!”
– What plugin to have the sticky “subscribe here” note at the top of posts? (HelloBar)

11. Respond to comments
– Use a comment plugin that allows you to respond by email
– Have your comments emailed to you so you can monitor and respond quickly

12. Manage efficiently
– Publish in more than one place
– Write your content once, publish in lots of places
– Do you have your posts publish to Twitter, Facebook, other social network?
– Life span on Twitter: <1 hour
– Tweetwhen.com
– Visibility on Facebook: <1%
– Repost 2 – 3 times a day; change wording, DON’T SPAM.
– Create a Facebook page for your blog
– Do more than just re-post blog posts
– Make it interactive
– Share photos

13. When to publish
– Specific time of day you publish matters less than publishing on a consistent schedule

14. Dealing with bad press
– No press is bad press?
– React quickly
– Be transparent
– Be definitive (provide all sides and provide a place for safe discussion)
– Have a basic crisis management plan at the ready

*Phew* Glad I got through all that. Don’t worry, I am compiling pictures galore so you will have a real update from the conference (complete with eats and everything) soon. It’s been a lot of information to soak up! More fun to come, hehe.

Update: Check out my fully phototastic Fitbloggin’ recap!

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Posted on Feb 11, 2011 in Dear Diary, Fail | 0 comments

Hrm.

You know, for the first time since I’ve really started writing this blog, I find myself stumped. I’m actually at a loss of what to write! And I *want* to write. Keeping up with an almost-every-day (well, taking into consideration my raging social life that sometimes prevents me from posting on the weekends… otherwise known as laziness, haaaaa) posting schedule is hard work, I can’t imagine what it’s like for those bloggers out there who manage 2 or 3 posts every single day. Whoosh!

In fact, now that I think about it, perhaps doing a double-post day on Wednesday is what is causing my current blogger’s block. I think I tried to up the ante too early. Tsk, tsk Gretchen.

Well, the sort of news for me right now on the health front (other than getting back into 5k training) is that I’m trying to further enrich my nutritional knowledge by partaking in a little thing called reading. After reading about it on Fitnessista, I decided to give Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Diet” book a read. It’s all about her whole-foods, pH-balancing vegan diet, and how you can emulate the same. It’s engagingly written, but there are definitely some points that I’m not sure how I feel about yet.

While I’ve already briefly touched on whether or not I wanted to try a vegetarian or vegan diet in the past, I do think now that I wouldn’t really ever be able to fully embrace that lifestyle. However, this book does make some good points about the benefits of consuming large amounts of raw or very lightly cooked vegetables and whole grains as the staples of a healthy diet. I have noticed just in revamping my eating styles in general that I’m eating a lot less meat than I previously was (esp. red meat) anyway. I’m not really sure how I feel about all her stuff about pH balance and food’s acidity vs. alkalinity (anyone with knowledge on this front, feel free to weigh in!), but I’m only a little ways into the book so far. I’ll give the book a full review once I’ve actually finished it (my first real review of anything! Huzzah!)

In other news, breakfast was a packet of Quaker Hearty Medleys Apple Cranberry Almond oatmeal and a cup of green tea, served in super classy disposable cups at work:

I’d say that my sad disposable-lookin’ brekkie is because I was in a mad rush to get to work this morning, but when have I *not* said that? So at this point, I kinda figure it’s assumed, hahaha. At least I’m still making good on my resolution to eat breakfast every morning! And I even scarfed down a ‘naner before I left the house. Boom.

Hey, lookit that! I cranked out a semi-functional post after all! Guess it’s just all about perseverance. 😉

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Posted on Feb 4, 2011 in Dear Diary | 2 comments

TGIF

Happy Friday, friends! Whew, what a week! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend. Tonight, my parents and I are headed to the Kennedy Center to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform a Disney Pops showcase! All my favorite classic Disney songs performed… oh happy me. 🙂 We’re also going to be eating dinner at the Rooftop Terrance at the Kennedy Center (the fancy schmancy restaurant there) beforehand, so despite it being “casual Friday” at work, I dressed a little nicer just because I wasn’t sure how much time I’ll end up having between work ending and needing to hightail it downtown.

As I’m widening my foray into the blogosphere, I’m discovering some pretty fantastic blogs outside of the food/healthy living area, including personal fashion blogs! Reading those (Kendi Everyday and What I Wore being a couple of my favs), paired with seeing some of the healthy living bloggers I regularly follow (like Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers) start posting fashion-related posts and photos of themselves has inspired me to try to up the ante just a smidge when it comes to dressing myself. After all, getting dressed becomes exponentially more fun the more weight I lose, haha!

Anyway, I can’t even really tell if I have any sense of style, let alone a “good” one, and this may be a terribly misinformed outfit, but here’s today’s ensemble anyway:



Sweater: Old Navy
Skirt: Target
Tights & Shoes: Nordstrom
Penelope Necklace: Stella & Dot
Belt: New York & Company

At least you can’t say I’m not at least *trying* to make an effort! The sweater and skirt are from a bajillion years ago, so I’m sure they’re so far out of season it ain’t even funny, but whatevs. It’s actually kind of a challenge for me to get dressed and attempt to look passable these days, because my wardrobe has been hit rather severely by my weight loss. Not that I’m complaining! But feel free to tell me if any of my combinations just end up being so, so wrong. It might be hard, but I need to hear it. This is, after all, all in the name of progress! I also figure that if I post more full-body photos of myself occasionally it will give me a better frame of reference for my weight loss and how my body is changing. It’s kind of hard for me to tell if any changes are really happening without pictures to compare, you know?

Anyway, I’m not sure if you’re able to really make out the sweet shade o’ blue on my nails in the pictures above, but I’m digging it. It’s in celebration and anticipation of the return of GLEE! Sunday after the Superbowl! It’s part of the Sephora by OPI brand Glee collection (yes, there is a Glee collection!), and it’s called “Slushied” – tres parfait, right? Haha.

In other news, I totally copied fellow blogger Maren and purchased a Fitbook for helping me track my workouts and meals a little better


I have a calorie counting app on my phone that I really like, but it doesn’t have a lot of flexibility to help me record (or, more importantly, plan) my workouts. The Fitbook is split up into 12 weeks with a dedicated page for every day. You can plan out your workouts for the week, and it has little counters for you to be able to determine if you’re meeting all your daily nutritional requirements. Pretty neat! It’s super small and compact too, so it fits easily in my purse. I still need to jot down the little healthified banana nut muffin (120 cals) I wolfed down in my attempt to leave the house this morning, and the fuji apple (80 cals) I’m making quick work of as I type this.

So! That’s my Friday so far. I hope everyone is pumped up for the weekend. Between Chinese New Year and my mama’s birthday on Sunday, mine is chock-full of family activities. See you guys on the flip!

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