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September 2011

Three Secret Ways to Find Post Ideas for Your Blog

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Earlier this week, I posted 44 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Finding Post Ideas, where I featured hundreds of tips from bloggers across the Internet. Coming up with post ideas is one of my favorite things to do, so here’s the post I promise you – my own techniques for finding post ideas!

There are some very tried-and-true methods for beating writer’s block if you’re a blogger, which most of the other bloggers at Brilliant Bloggers have covered so eloquently. Here are a few techniques that I think most of them missed that I personally use to come up with post ideas:

1) Current Events

It’s no secret that you can blog about the news happening in your industry. We do it all the time here at the BlogWorld blog, but even if you typically don’t cover news stories, when you’re in a pinch, voicing your opinions about current events a great way to go. That’s not the secret method I’m talking about here, though. One of the ways I personally come up with post ideas is to look at what is happen in the world in general and build a post that works for my blog from there.

It’s all about finding a metaphor or spin on a popular news story to make it work for your niche. For example, let’s say that you’re a food blogger, but one of the major news stories is that so-and-so celebrity just has a baby. You could write about meals that are nutritious for expecting mothers or how to make your own baby food. Or let’s say you blog about movies, but one of the major news stories is the upcoming World Series. You could write about the top ten baseball movies. I mean, get a little more original than that…but you get the point! There’s always a way to tie together your niche and the general news. You just have to think outside of the box!

2) Stories, Fables, and Parables

One of the best ways to teach others is to use stories. Lots of really smart bloggers have talked about story-telling as an effective blogging method. But what if you don’t have an especially interesting stories to tell about your life? Or what if you don’t feel comfortable sharing such personal information on your blog? You don’t have to use your own stories. Sometimes, fiction works well!

You can retell stories that are already written if you can relate them to your niche, or you can write your own parables if you’re so inclined. It’s an easy way to make a “lesson” post a little more interesting to readers so you don’t come off as preachy, and it’s definitely good for getting the creative juices flowing when you don’t know what to write.

3) Pets and Kids

I don’t have kids yet, but I’ll put them in the same category as pets for this tip because the idea is the same. Sometimes, my cat does funny things or even profound things that translate well to my blog for a post. You don’t have to be someone who blogs about pets or kids for this to work. I certainly don’t, yet my cat, Godiva, has made several appearances in my writing. And yes, she’s a total diva about it.

This isn’t so secret, but I also like to keep a document on my desktop so I can brainstorm when I have time or write down post ideas as I think about them during the day. That way, when I’m stuck for an idea, I can just go to my list and pick something. I also typically have several posts outlined or started within WordPress, which is great for busy days.

What are your best post-idea-finding tips?

Find Kid-Friendly Mobile Apps with Famigo

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Famigo

For those of us with kids, we all know our mobile devices aren’t just for adults anymore. In fact, your child might have taught you a thing or two about how to use the latest technology.

There are a lot of fantastic kid-friendly apps out there, but finding them can be a little tricky sometimes. I was recently searching around the Android Marketplace for an app for my 7-year old and ended up giving up. I saw some apps that looked like they had potential, but didn’t know if I was ready to spend my hard-earned money on them.

This is where Famigo comes in. On their website, they say they make smartphones work for families.  Not only do they find and review the apps, but you can also subscribe via email for app recommendations.

You can browse their site for kid-friendly apps in their sections labeled “New”, “Highest Rated”, “Most Popular” and “Staff Favorites”. They also have a Power Search feature which allows you to search for an app based on age, what you want the app for and what you don’t want it for. For example, you might want an app for your 6 year old that is great for tablets and is good for a single player.

Here’s a walk-through of the features of their first product: Family App Review.

Does this sound like a valuable service to you?

Bye Bye Firefox, Hello Chrome? The Race for Second Place

Author:
google-chrome

According to new data released by StatCounter, Google’s Chrome Web browser could possibly become the second most popular, knocking Firefox down to third place. The data also shows this second place, behind Internet Explorer, could happen no later than December.

Chrome’s popularity has been astonishing and growing rapidly since 2008. They just celebrated their 3rd anniversary.

ComputerWorld shares, “As of Wednesday, Chrome’s global average user share for September was 23.6%, while Firefox’s stood at 26.8%. IE, meanwhile, was at 41.7%.”

What’s the reasoning behind the growth? You could say it’s because Chrome is more user-friendly and so naturally people will start to flock or you could say it’s because it’s owned by Google. I am sure their TV ads are helping somewhat.

Mozilla did release a browser update, Firefox 7, which claims faster web browsing. Have you downloaded it and noticed a difference? Also, which web browser do you use and why?

Will. I. Am. Hangs Out on Google’s Homepage

Author:
Google Will I Am

Talk about a way to get your message seen by millions! Black Eyed Peas band member Will.I. Am.’s Google+ profile is featured on the home page of Google.

Google is promoting the Black Eyed Peas Google+ Hangout, which goes live today (September 30th) at 6 pm EST. You can hang out with the band before they go on stage. The band held a similar hang out last week, but this one wasn’t advertised on the front page of Google.

As far as anyone knows, this is the first time Google has linked to a Google+ profile from this prime advertising spot. This will surely increase the number of Google + Circles Will. I. Am. ends up in. It will also be interesting to hopefully hear some numbers of how many people show up to the Hang Out.

This is just one more step in the right direction for Google+ to open up to brands. There’s been a lot of speculation of when this will happen and what it will look like exactly, but we have a feeling a prime spot like the front page of Google will have brands flocking to Google+. Don’t you think?

Make Search Engines Work for a ‘Real’ You

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Ever since the dawn of the Internet, online pioneers have been trying to move as many aspects of human physical life as possible to the digital world. It started with online directories, but it got really serious with the rapid expansion of search-engine technology, rise of the giants such as Yahoo and Google, and recent social media developments.

Ultimately, it evolved to a sort of “digital renaissance” where web technologies are human-centered, allowing us to manage the online identity by ourselves.

Despite the ongoing “online humanism” and the fact that the Big Brothers of the Internet have given us free reins, the things often go wrong. Google results for a person’s name often returns an embarrassing image or video instead of a meticulously produced resume. Furthermore, it may list all your social media connections, and connections of your connections, rather than instantaneously provide a reliable result which truly stands for your online personality.

In the end, the question we are left with is “how to avoid this?”

The only way to do this correctly is to provide search engines with the personal information in the suitable (and searchable) format:

Create Your Personal Blog

The blog is your online home where you should be comfortable to express your own ideas or feelings. Write about your interests, hobbies, and passions and let this be part of your digital self. Remember to choose your domain name wisely – it would be perfect if you could get your first name, but the first name-last name combination might do the job. Also, do not shy away from alternative extensions. If a mainstream extension is not available try alternative one. For instance, .ME is as personal as it gets plus it can be geo-targeted in Webmaster tools. When you are there get your self a couple of cool email addresses.

Open an Account with Every Major Social Network

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc. are chief means of online communication and despite certain shortcomings they are a ‘must have’. Take your time to write down info about you – make it short, personal, fun (if possible) and identical across multiple accounts. Do not forget that you can edit your privacy preferences on Facebook (especially for photos) as well as with Google+ and LinkedIn.

Create a Splash Page

This is a single page that describes you the best. It usually contains a large photo, short bio, and links to your online destinations (personal blogs, social networks etc.). You do not have to create this on your own – there are many services around the web that offer this functionality. For instance, try About.ME and/or Flavors.ME. Both of the services give you complete control over the data (filtering), provide analytics and may be the best aggregators of your personal content scattered around the Web.

Have Fun

All of this will not work if you are not having fun or are afraid of technology. Keep in mind that privacy can be controlled to a certain extent and that these tips may do wonders for your online identity.

If you are still not convinced that this can make search engines work for you, might want to take one step at the time. Maybe it is too early for a blog, but a splash page could be a good training and possibly a precursor. Also playing with social networks in a responsible manner cannot hurt. Just keep in mind that you are not taking a leap into dark, but into digital.

The .Me Registry operates the .ME domain name which is available for worldwide registration and also offers special, highly valuable premium names through its development program (see details here). .ME Registry (the d.b.a. of doMEn, d.o.o.) was chosen by the government of Montenegro to operate the new .ME domain name extension. ME Registry partners include ME-net, GoDaddy.com and Afilias Limited.

The Difference Between Social Business & Social Brand

Author:
michael brito

Session: Social Business: From Organizational Chaos to Corporate Governance
Speaker: Michael Brito

Did you know that there is a difference between a “social business” and a “social brand”? According to Michael Brito, the SVP of Social Business at Edelman Digital, a business that uses social media channels to communicate with their customers has a social brand but is not necessarily a social business.

In his new book Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization, he explains that a social business is actually defined by its social infrastructure.

“It’s the difference between kind of the internal communications versus the external communications,” he says in the below WebProNews interview. “An organization cannot have effective and meaningful conversations with customers unless they are having effective and meaningful conversations with each other.”

So, which is it for you – do you have a social brand or a social business?

Michael Brito will be speaking about this topic in further detail in his “Social Business: From Organizational Chaos to Corporate Governance” session during the Social Media Business Summit at BlogWorld LA. Be sure to check it out!

BlogWorld and New Media Expo is partnering with WebProNews, a news publication covering search, social media, and ebusiness, in an effort to broadcast how new media can grow your business, brand, and audience. WebProNews has covered BWE since its first show in 2007. Check out reports from previous shows here, and stay tuned for much more coverage from BWE LA.

Google Analytics Goes Real-Time, Adds Premium Accounts

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google analytics real-time

Google Analytics made two big announcements today that might get those of you who love checking those stats numbers very, very excited. First announcement, Google Analytics is finally going real-time.

Google Analytics Real-time offers a set of new reports showing you what’s happening on your site right now. Did you just send out a tweet and you want to see if it did anything for your traffic numbers? With real-time, you can immediately see the impact of your social media campaigns.

This new feature will only be available within the new version of analytics. They’ve only turned on real-time for a limited number of people, but it will soon be available to everyone within the coming weeks. Sign up for early access here.

The second announcement was that of their new premium accounts. Google has learned from some of their largest customers they need a bit more than the current version of Google Analytics gives them. Here’s a summary from the Analytics blog of what the premium account covers:

  • Extra processing power – increased data collection, more custom variables and downloadable, unsampled reports
  • Advanced analysis – attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions
  • Service and support – experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support
  • Guarantees - service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting

They tested this new premium account during their pilot phase with companies such as Gucci, Travelocity, TransUnion, eHarmony. The service will be available for a fixed annual fee. Find out more here.

What do you think of these two announcements by Google Analytics? In regards to the real-time feature, I say thank goodness!

44 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Finding Post Ideas

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Finding Post Ideas

Cue me rubbing my hands together and licking my chops.

Usually, I use Brilliant Bloggers as an excuse to write about topics where I don’t personally have much experience. This week, the topic is my jam. I love coming up with post ideas and spend a lot of time brainstorming for my various blogs. I’m not going to tell you how many blog posts and articles I write or outline every month, for myself and for clients because it might make your head explode. To do that, I’ve had to get really good at coming up with ideas. At least, I think I’m good at it. *pats self on back*

So, tomorrow, I’m going to post my own secret tips to help you come up with ideas for your blog when the well runs dry. I hope you’ll stop back to read it!

But for right now? Well…I have to admit, even I have ideas when finding inspiration is a challenge. We all deal with writer’s blog (or podcaster’s block or vlogger’s block or whatever) from time to time. So even though I hope you will come back to read my idea-finding post tomorrow, it’s even more important that you check out the brilliant bloggers I’ve featured here. These are some smart cookies, y’all – much more brilliant than I am! Check out these awesome posts – and then list one of your own tips for finding post ideas when you’re lacking inspiration by leaving a comment.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

What Topics and Content Should I Include on my 3DS Blog? by Dave Taylor

Okay, I know most of you out there probably don’t own 3DS blogs, but stay with me – although he’s answering the question of someone who runs a video game blog, the techniques Dave talks about for finding post ideas can really be used with any kind of blog. Using a search engine is not something I’ve done in the past, so it was an interesting new tool to add to my repertoire. After reading the post, you can find Dave on Twitter @davetaylor.

Finding Blog Post Ideas in the Most Unlikely Places by Murray Lunn

While a lot of blog posts about finding ideas go over the same old tips, this post by Murray Lunn actually covers some really interesting new ways of finding inspiration for your next blog post. I especially love his tip for using eBay and Amazon – that’s something I hadn’t heard of before that I’m definitely going to use! Check out the entire post and then find Murray on Twitter @murraylunn.

How To Get Killer Blog Post Ideas…Even If You’re Not RVing Full Time by Eli Sorenti-Burns

Eli is an 8-year-old who gives crazy good advice. Like, seriously, when I was eight, I could barely handle brushing my teeth and he’s writing complete blog posts! Now, I suspect that he has some help from mom or dad, but it’s pretty cool to read some awesome advice about finding post ideas from someone who hasn’t been jaded by the world yet. :-p Eli’s going to be an online millionaire by the time he graduates. I’m calling it now. He’s too young to be on Twitter, but you can follow dad at @ralphhb to learn more about this cool RVing family!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 3 Tips to Get Killer Blog Post Ideas by Mani Viswanathan (@mani0993)
  2. 4 Blog Post Ideas to Get You Unstuck by Kristina
  3. 5 Best Ways to Find Ideas for Blog Posts by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen (@QuipsAndTips)
  4. 5 Places To Look At For Your Next Blog Post Idea by Tushar Agarwal
  5. 6 Places to Find Ideas for Blog Posts by Grandma Mary (Andrea Vahl) (@AndreaVahl)
  6. 7 Blog Post Ideas For When You’re Staring At A Blank Screen byDavid Santistevan (@dsantistevan)
  7. 7 Ways To Get Endless Ideas For Your Blog Posts by David Risley (@DavidRisley)
  8. 8 Ways to Collect Enough Blog Post Ideas for the Next 100 Years by Judy Dunn (@CatsEyeWriter)
  9. 9 Tips on Using Forums to Get Blog Post Ideas by Tristan Higbee (@tristanhigbee)
  10. 10 Killer Post Ideas by Chris Garrett (@chrisgarrett)
  11. 20 Blog Topics To Get You Unstuck by Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan)
  12. 20 Different Blog Post Ideas by Jonathan (@blogpassion)
  13. 23 Great Ideas For Blog Posts by Pat Doyle (@patdoyle)
  14. 25 Ways to Use the Web to Find Content for Your Blog by Danny Brown (@DannyBrown)
  15. 33 Blog Post Ideas for the Personal Brand-Building Blogger by Jacob Share (@jacobshare)
  16. 37 Viral Post Ideas You Can Use Today by Skellie (@skellie)
  17. 45 Blog Post Ideas That Always Generate Buzz by Adam Singer (@AdamSinger)
  18. 50 Blog Ideas to Help You Keep Your Blog Fresh by Wendy Wood (@wendywood)
  19. 50 Blog Post Ideas for Business Blogging by Tad Chef (@onreact_com)
  20. 50 Can’t-Fail Techniques for Finding Great Blog Topics by Carol Tice (@TiceWrites)
  21. 52 Blog Post Ideas for Business Blogging by Cheryl Liquori (@cherliquori)
  22. 100 Ways To Find Ideas For Your Blog Posts by Steven Aitchison (@StevenAitchison)
  23. 111 Instant Blog Post Ideas by Easton Ellsworth
  24. 353+ Blog Post Ideas to Inspire You by Amy Schmittauer (@schmittastic)
  25. The A to Z of Blog Post Idea Generation by Danny Iny (@DannyIny)
  26. Are You Running Out of Blog Post Ideas? by Sonny Lanorias (@sonnylanorias)
  27. Finding Post Ideas by Matt Cowan (@matt_cowan)
  28. Finding Blog Post Ideas in Unusual Places by Kiesha Easley (@weblogbetter)
  29. Five Blog Post Ideas When You Have No Idea What to Write About by Mack Collier (@MackCollier)
  30. Five Places to Find Blog Post Ideas by Alyssa Gregory (@alyssagregory)
  31. How I Generated One Years Worth of Content Ideas in One Hour; And You Can Too by Glen Allsopp (@viperchill)
  32. How to Get Blog Post Ideas for Your Blog by Onibalusi Bamidele (@youngprepro)
  33. How To Get Blog Post Inspiration In Your Niche by Lee Ka Hoong (@BloggingWP)
  34. Stumbling for Blog Post Ideas by Justin Germino (@dragonblogger)
  35. Ten Easy Blog Post Ideas For When You’re Lazyby Max Miroff (@MaxMiroff)
  36. Uncovering Awesome Blog Post Ideas by Drew Berman (@drewberman)
  37. Unusual, Cheeky and Fun Ways To Get Inspiration For Your Blog Posts by Michael Dunlop (@michaeldunlop)
  38. Want Infinite Blog Post Ideas? by Andrew Hanelly (@hanelly)
  39. Where Do You Get Your Blog Post Ideas? by Brad Harmon (@brad_harmon)
  40. Where Do You Get Your Post Ideas From? by John Chow (@johnchow)
  41. Where to Find Blog Post Ideas by Andrew G. Rosen (@jobacle)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about finding post ideas? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: TBD

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Nikon Upsets Their Social Media Fan Base

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Nikon Facebook 01

All it takes is one little comment gone wrong to upset a whole slew of your social media fan base and that’s exactly what happened on Nikon’s Facebook page yesterday. Here’s what they posted.

Most of their Facebook fans did not take this status update well. They took it as an insult and felt like Nikon was saying that a photographer is only as good as his equipment, expensive equipment that is.

The status update, as you can see in the picture above, has over 3,000 comments. Here are a few of my favorites (fyi: Nikon misspellings – not mine).

  • A chef is only as good as his oven
  • Thanks nikkon, I guess I suck at photography then
  • Wes; they are promoting their products by telling you that your skills, education, creative eye, etc mean NOTHING; that it is all in the equipment? Man, the kool-aid is getting to you Nikon folks!
  • I hope Annie Leibovitz doesn’t use Nicon equipment

Not all of the comments are bad. Some fans are defending Nikon:

  • What’s the big deal with this post? It’s a camera company marketing department. Their job is to promote Nikon

Nikon responded to the backlash this morning with this update.

Do you think their fans overreacted? Do you think Nikon’s social media strategist who posted that still has a job? Just another lesson in social media and how one little comment can create a firestorm of unhappy customers.

Read This Before You Click Facebook’s “Add to Timeline” Button

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Facebook Add to Timeline App

I was just reading an article on Mashable about a Facebook feature I think every FB user needs to be aware of, before you seriously embarrass yourself or your mother. (My mom is on Facebook, isn’t yours?)

The feature I am talking about was unveiled at the f8 conference. Whether you watched it or not, you may not be aware of Facebook’s auto-sharing feature or “Gestures” as they are calling it.

Basically, instead of having to click “Like” on everything, you just need to click “Add to Timeline” on the website your are visiting or the app you downloaded. This gives the app permission to share your activity on Facebook. Sure, that may not sound all that bad, but it can be.

Let’s say you’ve allowed a website to share everything you have read and you, um, forget. We’ve all read things (haven’t we?) that we didn’t want shared with the world wide web. For a list of amusing articles some of Mashable’s Pete Cashmore’s FB friends read, that were then shared on Facebook, read his article here.

What’s the moral of this story and what can you do to protect your privacy now that Facebook’s “Gestures” have entered the picture? Just know that everytime you click “Add to Timeline” on a website or app, every single thing you read will appear on your Facebook Timeline.

There are steps to take. We just need to educate ourselves on them. There are some good resources out there and I’ve listed a few on this Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook feature.

What do you think of Facebook’s “Add to Timeline” feature and have you seen anything embarrassing from your FB friends?

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