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October 2011

Food Blogger Tackles the Issue of Unhealthy School Lunches

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She is a school speech pathologist by day and an anonymous food blogger by night, until she recently revealed her identity on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Known as “Mrs. Q” on her food blog Fed Up With Lunch, teacher Sarah Wu was ready (well kind 0f) to reveal herself and her mission to make school lunches healthier. For a year she ordered lunch from her school’s cafeteria and snapped a picture of it.

It all started when she forgot her lunch one day and had to buy one from the cafeteria. She told GMA “It was barely recognizable as food”. She found out the chicken nuggets were only 50 percent chicken, as well as a whole hosts of many other unpleasing tidbits of info about her school’s lunches.

Wu never intended for the blog to get as much attention as it did, but she hit a chord with parents. Not only was she shocked to see what the school was serving (and for some kids this was their only meal of the day) but the parents were shocked as well.

It was in December of 2010 that she ate her last school lunch. I love what she says in her post about going with your gut. She had a crazy impulse to start a blog on something she was passionate about, and now she has her own book, a successful blog and is helping her students inch one step closer to healthier lunches in their school.

Watch her interview on GMA in this video clip below.

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Is there a blog that you’ve been wanting to start but you just needed a little push? Consider this your little push. Go for it! You truly have no idea where it could lead you or what it could do for others.

Image: SXC

Tim Hayden Says BlogWorld is The Place to see Communication & Tech are Changing

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Session: QR Codes, SMS & NFC: How Offline Touchpoints & Payments May Rule “The Decision Moment”
Speaker: Tim Hayden

Tim Hayden will be speaking about how mobile is the bridge between offline and online. This is second time attending BlogWorld and he’s fired up to lead the Mobile track!

Hear what else Tim has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

The Napkin Dad Explains: Six Stop Signs on Creativity Road

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Session: The Napkin Dad Explains: Six Stop Signs on Creativity Road
Speaker: Marty Coleman

Marty Coleman will be talking about the “six stop signs on creativity road” – an explanation of the things in a creative person’s life that gets in the way of forward progress.

He’s excited to attend BlogWorld because it seems to be a conference that will have a lot of experts AND a lot of newbies! He loves that combination of helping people and learning from others.

Hear what else Marty has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

How to Prepare You Blog for the Holidays

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I hate the fact that some stores are already playing Christmas music and putting out holiday items. It’s not even Halloween yet! But maybe they’re onto something. Companies start preparing for the holidays now so they can maximize their profits over the next few months. As a blogger, you can do the same. I’m not proposing that you change your color scheme to green and red or add a bunch of dancing snowmen that cha-cha across the screen every time the page is refreshed; I am suggesting that you start thinking about the holidays now – yes, even though it is only October!

Product Pre-Orders

For the holidays, I like to collect gifts throughout the year when I see items that would be perfect for my loved ones. I hate the thought of picking up last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve (or the eve of whatever holiday you celebrate). I’ve started buckling down to collect gifts in the past few weeks, which means that, in many cases, I’m pre-ordering items. Now’s the time for you to talk about these products on your blog!

By the time December rolls around, people are in such a panic to order items that they don’t have time to read reviews and consider multiple options. They just buy. But right now, you’re going to get the attention of more concerned consumers, the type who want to learn as much as possible about products before hitting that buy button. Cater to them with reviews, product buying guides, comparisons, and other more in-depth posts about popular items in your niche that can be pre-ordered for holiday gifts.

Get Linked

If you write posts directly before Christmas, you’re not going to get linked from other bloggers. It will be too late. Right now, if you’re talking about products that people can buy as gifts, there’s still time for other bloggers to link to you when they write gift-buying guides and other holiday-related posts.

When you write posts that include affiliate products, try to be extremely helpful. Readers don’t like to feel like people are selling to them. Instead, be a resource or guide, with the affiliate link as the secondary reason for the post. If you do that, your readers won’t hesitate to buy, but more importantly, as you head toward December 25, others will link to you.

Start Writing Posts Now

During the holidays, people are busier than usual, so you’ll probably see a slight drop in stats (depending on your niche of course). You can combat this by continue to provide high-quality posts without any kind of slow season. One of the reasons I believe most bloggers see a drop in stats during the holidays is that they aren’t blogging as often.

Start writing some posts now that you can schedule or make live when your days are filled with holiday parties and visiting relatives. You don’t have to completely finish them, but having a few almost-done posts waiting as drafts really makes it easy to keep your post count up, even if you don’t want to spend as much time blogging.

Don’t wait. The holidays have this tendency to sneak up on us, and before you know it, it’s already December and you don’t have any posts on reserve. If you start now, slowly producing one or two extra posts every week, you’ll have enough on standby for the holidays but you won’t need to add hours or work to your otherwise busy current schedule. You can even do some special video posts to wish your readers a happy holiday.

Think About Giving

As bloggers, I don’t think we’re obligated to spend time and effort supporting various charities. But during the holidays, it’s hard to ignore that thee are a lot of people out there who don’t have things as good as you do. If you can’t donate money, consider donating some time by writing a quick post on your blog about a cause you support – yes, even if it doesn’t relate directly to your blog’s topic.

It is, however, pretty easy to find something that does interest you – or to work with a well-known charity to do a fun twist on fundraising. For example, Vincent from The Robots Pajamas runs Geeks for Tots every year, which promotes giving to Toys for Tots during the holiday season while also tying into his blog’s geek niche. Get creative! At the very least, take a moment to write a single post promoting giving to your favorite charity. It only takes  a few minutes and doesn’t cost you a dime.

How do you prepare your blog for the holidays?

UNICEF Goes Virtual, Utilizes Social Media for Good

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Did you ever go door-to-door with those orange UNICEF boxes or maybe had a child or two come to your door with one? UNICEF, who raises money to help kids get the health care, clean water and education opportunities they deserve, are taking their efforts virtual.

Kids can now collect money through UNICEF’s interactive web page which includes costumed characters and a virtual costume party.

The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Costume Party is a web app that lets you create digital costumes and share them over your social media sites. For a $5 to $10 donation, you can access more digital costumes and photo effects.

Heidi Klum is hosting. Just visit http://youth.unicefusa.org/ and join the party.

UNICEF is also adding QR codes to their well-known orange boxes. Just scan the code with your smartphone to donate or text TOT to “UNICEF” (864233).

Do you think by going virtual UNICEF will see more donations coming in? I think it definitely makes it easier for us all to give.

 

Facebook for iPad is Here, For Real This Time

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Remember the secret Facebook iPad app that leaked in late July? It was hidden inside the code for Facebook’s iPhone app, so of course someone found it and then everyone reported on it. There were all kinds of bugs, which was to be expected for something not even released yet.

Well, after months of speculation, Facebook has released their iPad app and it’s for real this time. See, they even have a dedicated page for it here. Are you saying “It’s about dang time”?

The team at Facebook is calling it a new way to experience Facebook with bigger and better photos, games on the go and more.

Here are a few of the features you’ll enjoy when you download the app:

  • Play games in full screen mode, thanks to Facebook Platform for mobile devices and iOS
  • Fast navigation – tap, pinch or slide to get from one place to another
  • A drop down menu to easily send messages
  • Less on the screen, which allows you to focus on what really matters
  • Big, hi-res photos with easy flip through – like a real photo album
  • Supports HD video

Have you downloaded the Facebook iPad app yet? If so, tell us your thoughts on it in the comment section below.

One-Person Social Media Marketing with Zero Money

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Session: Budget? What Budget? One-Person Social Media Marketing with Zero Money
Speaker: Leslie McClellan

At BlogWorld LA, Leslie McClellan says her session will be fun and upbeat session as she shares how you can successfully market your destination/business using very little money, instead leveraging social media.

This is the first time Leslie is attending BlogWorld and she’s excited to network and meet some of the people she’s networked with online.

Hear what else Leslie has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

The Craft of Writing

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Session: The Craft of Writing
Speaker: Bill Torgerson

I use a metaphor gifted to me by a former professor to think about my professional life. It goes, “Writing Floats on a Sea of Conversation.” For me, the metaphor suggests we sometimes think/write/work better in the company of others, even if that “company” takes the form of a text such as a website or video. What follows unpacks some of the conversation I have in mind for my presentation on The Craft of Writing:

I come to the Blogworld Convention as someone who thinks a lot about the craft of writing and as someone who is beginning to think of all the ways I might engage virtual audiences with digital texts. A year ago, I’d barely heard of hash tags and RSS feeds and a QR code might as well have been the name of a newly discovered sun for all I knew about the subject. The Blogworld group is a lively and professional one, and I look forward to continuing all the conversations that have carried me along over the past year and all the new ones that will begin in November.

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

iVillage Launches New Celebrity-Centered Blog Where the Celebrities are the Bloggers

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Social Media has opened up a whole new world for celebrities and the ability to connect with their fans. From their tweets on Twitter to their status updates on Facebook, they can personally reach out to their fans. Social media makes celebrities more real, more relateable and a lot of celebs are completely on board with that.

Another way for celebrities to connect with their fans is through blogging. They can let us know first-hand what’s happening in their work-life and home-life.

iVillage is using their large reader base of women and launching a new celebrity-centered blog, where the celebrities are the bloggers. They understand how much their readers love to hear about the personal lives of celebrities and want to share in their life experiences.

Angela Matusik, iVillage‘s Chief Content Executive, told The Hollywood Reporter “We know that our readers love hearing from celebrities about what they’re going through in their real life, especially when it comes to parenting and being a mom”.

Kicking off their new blog, called CelebVillage, is Denise Richards. Her very first article is about life with newly adopted daughter Eloise, as well as older daughters Sam and Lola. Denise will write for the blog once a week for the month of October. Singer Alanis Morissette will take over in November, followed by Dancing with the Stars contestant Ricki Lake in December.

Who would you like to see jump on board with CelebVillage and write about their personal lives?

Three Ways to Use Twitter Lists to Build Blog Traffic

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When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t use the list function at all. I didn’t even realize they had one, and I was following so few people that it didn’t really matter whether or not I had them categorized. As I began to “meet” people online and the number of people I followed grew, I suddenly needed to create lists in order to make sure I didn’t miss the tweets I really wanted to see. I have lists for blogging friends, lists for people I know in real life, lists for those I’m following who are gamers, and more. Organization is important to me, so I make good use of lists.

But lists are great for another reason too. When used correctly, they can actually help you build blog traffic. Today, I wanted to talk about three ways I’ve seen people using lists to drive traffic to their blogs, including some tips I’ve done myself.

Disclaimer: I do not encourage you to have “fake friendships” on Twitter or other social media sites. Basically, tweet with people because you like them, not because you think you can leverage your friendship to make money in the future! These tips are simply ways you can organize Twitter to make it more effective for driving blog traffic while still maintaining friendships and meeting new people.

Twitter List Tip #1: List chat participants.

I love taking part in Twitter chats, including our very own #BWEchat (held every Wednesday). When I participate in a chat that has to do with my blog niche, I like to add participants to a special list. After all, they’re all talking about the same topic, so they must be interested in it! Throughout the week, I often see chat participants asking questions about the topic at hand, and I can swoop in to answer them, even linking to past blog posts if relevant. Throughout the week, I’ll delete people who don’t engage or are spammy, follow the people who are friendly, and then clean out the list to prepare for the next chat.

Twitter List Tip #2: Create a list for conferences.

BWELA is coming up in less than a month, so now’s prime time to start preparing for BlogWorld and test out this tip for yourself. As you see people tweeting about going (follow the #BWELA hashtag), add them to a list of your own and interact with them. You’ll make some new friends, and be able to plan some great meet-ups while you’re in LA. The added bonus (and traffic-driving portion of this tip) is that most people who are going to meet you in real life take a moment to check out your blog.

Twitter List Tip #3: Go for the multiple RTs.

People retweet posts all the time. Sometimes because they’re friends with you already, while other times because they just happened across your link via a friend or search engine and liked the post. Those are people who have already raised their hands and said they like your blog! Add them to a list and build that relationship. You can even notify them when you’ve written something similar to something they’ve retweeted in the past (though try not to be too spammy).

Do you use Twitter lists to build traffic? Share your tips with a comment below!

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