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Involving Your Kids In Your Blog Business

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When I overheard my 11 year old describe my job as, “getting paid to be on the computer,” I knew it was time to involve my kids in my blog a little more. Sure, they are great topics, but I wanted them to understand what I am doing online.

Why do I care if my kids know? There are several reasons, but the most important one is because I write about them on my blog sometimes. I want them to understand how I include them on my blog so they can make them choice whether they would like to be included. I often ask them if I can include a story on my blog about something they did. They should understand what that means.

The second reason is so they understand that I am built a career out of doing something I love. It is possible to create a career if you are not finding what you want working for someone else.

Here are several ways I have started to include them more in the business of my blog.

  1. Share what you do every day. Every night when we talk about what we all did during the day, I tell my family about the posts I wrote. This helps them understand how they are included in my stories.
  2. Have the kids review products. I do product reviews on my blog and if the product is for children, I let them do the review. They use the product and then we create a video and I either interview them or they just tell me about the product and I paraphrase. It is possible to create a video without showing your kids faces. I will show them using the product while they talk about it.
  3. Give your kids a blogging day. This is one that I have been trying to get my kids to do, but so far no one has really jumped on it. They see it as homework I think, but I’m not giving up. I used to hate writing and I never thought of myself as a writer. I discovered I hated writing about the topics the teachers wanted me to write about. Once I started writing about things I am passionate about, I started to love writing. I want my kids to share that love of writing (or at least not detest writing.)
  4. Turn the camera around. I am always taking pictures and filming my kids. When I am vlogging or need pictures of me using a product, I have my kids take the pictures or record the video of me.
  5. Hire your kids. My kids love to feel like they have a job to do (and get paid.) I hire them to research, scan in business cards, enter data in my database and even clean my office. They are more willing to do this when I tell them I am hiring them as I would any other employee. I give them deadlines and let them figure out how it should get done. It gives them a sense of what having a job is all about.

I work at all hours of the day from my home and involving my family is very important to me. How do you involve your kids in your blog?

Images from Microsoft Images.

Keeping Track of What Others Say About Your Family Online

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We’ve discussed where to draw the line when choosing topics to write about your family, but what about information that others may post about you, your family or even your blog. How can you keep track of that information?

First, I need to point out that there is no system that is going to catch everything that is out there on the internet about your family. I have a few methods that I use to track what might be said about me and my family.

  1. Google Alerts. Setting up Google Alerts is quite easy and can be done for just about anything. I have Google Alerts set up for my name, my kid’s names, my husband’s name, each of my kid’s schools, my blogs and a few keywords I track. It was through those Google Alerts that I discovered my daughter had set up an email account she shouldn’t have created, my son’s play received awesome reviews from our local newspaper, an article was written about my husband and someone had stolen one of my blog posts. I have the alerts sent directly to my email and I quickly scan through them. It doesn’t take much effort and can find a lot (but not everything.)
  2. Social Mention Alerts. While this is similar to Google Alerts above, I find that they do overlap sometimes, but Social Mention often finds different things. You can set up alerts again for anything and have them emailed to you.
  3. Twitter Searches. I set up columns in my TweetDeck that searches for each of the names I want to find. This could be done in HootSuite or any other Twitter monitoring tool that has columns. This isn’t quite as accurate because people often shorten things, but once again, I’ve found a few things about my husband’s company.
  4. Tweet Beep. I just found Tweet Beep today, so I have not used it, but it looks like Google Alerts for Twitter. If anyone uses Tweet Beep, let me know how well it works.

The best defense is to be sure you teach your children how to sue the internet safely. But you can not always control the information that is released about you. This is another way for you to track what others might be saying.

What tools do you use to monitor your family’s name online?

Image from Microsoft Images

March Madness On Demand Mobile App Helps 47% Increase in Visits

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Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA announced that NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD) has delivered a 47% increase in total visits across the broadband and mobile products for the first three rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

In total, there were 26.7 million visits for the five days spanning the first three rounds of the tournament. Here are some interesting stats for the mobile app:

  • There are over 702,000 average daily users on MMOD.
  • MMOD was the #1 free app for both iPhone and iPad on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18 in the App store.
  • 36% of all streams for MMOD on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 were from the iPad and iPhone apps.
  • An average of 20.4 minutes per daily unique visitor was spent streaming MMOD on mobile apps Thursday, March 17 – Sunday, March 20.

Have you been following the tournament online? Learn more about how Mobile and Social are Changing the Game.

How to Compete with TMZ

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Entertainment bloggers have some special challenges they have to face. I blogged about reality television for a few years, and about video games up until December, so I’m no stranger to these problems.

As a small or new entertainment blogger, it doesn’t really matter how specialized your blog is – someone will do it better. It’s frustrating, but few of us have the time and resources to compete with TMZ or any or the other big celebrity sites. A good 99% of the time, any story you report will be reported other places first and you’ll likely not have enough time to post every relevant news story of the day like a large blog with multiple staff members.

Here are my suggestions to combat this problem:

  • Post the most important stories and post them well. You might not have time for 15 stories a day, but you can post the major stories in a thoughtful, intelligent way.
  • Add your opinion and personal flair. If readers can find the same stories elsewhere, why will they come to you? Think about that as you write.
  • Focus on original features. Instead of rehashing news stories, think about evergreen content that will be unique to your site.
  • Dig deeper. If there’s an interesting news story, take the time to do some background research, contact people for quotes, or schedule a full-scale interview with the celebrity in question if possible. If you can do those things, bigger sites while actually link to you!
  • Post a daily round-up. Write what you have time to write and then post a list of links at the end of the day (or week) to stuff you may have missed. Readers will still view your site as comprehensive that way.
  • Get on press release lists. If you blog about a specific show, channel, celebrity, or genre, find out which PR companies release information and email them to get on their press release lists.
  • Go to as many live events as possible. Even if others are posting the same stories, people who can’t attend events (like E3 in the video game world or movie premier red carpet if you’re a film blogger) will read multiple stories about the same thing to get a better feel for what happened. You don’t have to be first as long as you’re at least as timely as possible.
  • Kill for exclusives. Okay, maybe “kill” is a strong word, but do as much as you can to get exclusive coverage of something, even something small, like an exclusive interview with a guest star on the television show you blog about. If you want exclusives, start getting to know the PR people in your niche well.
  • Consider audio/video content. There are literally thousands of celebrity blogs out there, but a very small percentage are doing podcasts or vlogs. If you do audio/video content well, you’ll stand out.
  • Blog with friends. You might not have the money to pay a staff, but you and others who are passionate about the same topic could come together to create a blog. If you have two or three bloggers working on a single site, you’ll be able to cover more news every day.

Are you an entertainment blogger? If so, how do you compete with large sites like TMZ that have huge staffs?

An Amateur’s Guide to Blogging

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… by Zoe Davis

Blogging is the art of sharing your thoughts, your talents, your recipes, your opinions, your dreams and hopes with other people on the Web who want to know about you, or would if only they knew you existed. Blogging can also be a more serious enterprise that focuses on news analysis and commentary, photographs, music, art, videos or any other kind of information. For almost any topical interest, there’s an opportunity to blog about it. A blog, sometimes called a web log, is just an easy-to-use publishing platform for regular updates that march in good order to the first page of your site.

Your Own Blog
You can have a blog just for yourself. You can have a blog for friends and family, or perhaps for your local stamp collector club. You can have a blog meant to pay for your car, your rent or even your basic food supplies. No matter what kind of blog you want, finding cheap web hosting plans for your blog isn’t hard. Many high-quality hosting providers exist which offer good plans at little cost. Some even offer free domain names upon sign-up.

Different Types of Blog
Regardless of size, complexity or intent to profit, a number of common blog types inhabit the Web.

  • Personal diaries, logs or journals. These are the most widespread, and are almost always written by a single individual.
    Pros: Need only simple themes. Easy to write or neglect at will. Little pressure, can be a lot of fun.
    Cons: Possible boredom or even burnout if too active without occasional breaks. Risk of loud-mouthed commentary getting back to bosses or friends.

  • Personal photograph galleries (photoblogs). These likely will require blog software to be augmented with plug-ins meant especially for photograph management.
    Pros: Admiration from friends and family for great photographs. Unexpected purchases of photographs, possible gigs from monied visitors looking for photographers.
    Cons: Decent equipment can be quite expensive. Learning to take good photographs is time-consuming, as is hunting down outstanding photographic opportunities.

  • Art blogs. Literature may also be covered. This type of blog will do best with writers who have extensive knowledge of specific areas of art or literature, and have plug-in requirements similar to those of photoblogs.
    Pros: Aids professional development. May attract job offers germane to art or literature specialty.
    Cons: Ensuring accuracy of claimed facts may be exhausting. May require complex visual layouts.

  • Music blogs. These frequently use third-party file servers for the actual MP3 downloads, and are thematically similar to photoblogs.
    Pros: It’s music, and a lot of it. Might get a good deal of traffic with profitable advertising revenue.
    Cons: Must be cautious about ensuring that the legal owners of the copyrights for encoded music have explicitly allowed such downloads. Risk of lawsuits from the R.I.A.A.

  • Video blogs (vlogs). These often are multi-author.
    Pros: Video is fun. Might get significant monetized traffic.
    Cons: May require more complicated setup with third-party video servers such as YouTube or Amazon S3. Can be costly to operate. Risk of lawsuits from the M.P.A.A. if copyright is infringed.

  • Political or general news commentary blogs. These strongly resemble personal journals, and may be multi-writer.
    Pros: Participants get to opionate, comment, critize and scold to their hearts’ content. May attract decent traffic and advertising revenue.
    Cons: Requires dedication to staying current with events, with few breaks if audience is to be kept.

  • Podcasting blogs. These are similar in style to commentary blogs, with the same technical requirements as for music blogs or vlogs.
    Pros: Can attract a large audience with good advertising revenue. Little risk of lawsuits from R.I.A.A. or M.P.A.A.
    Cons: Requires broad range of knowledge about topics, production values, audio and video editing.

The Extra-Quick Blog
An interesting variation on blogging is “micro-blogging,” as exemplified by Twitter. Several famous names in business and entertainment have adopted this “blogging lite” to more rapidly keep fans and potential business partners updated on events. Many other micro-blogging enthusiasts simply enjoy the quick feedback.

Which Kind of Blog

Only you can decide which sort of blog works best for you. If you’re not certain, then start a little blog for whatever pops into your head. If a certain topic or format such as vlogging especially interests you, then concentrate on that. WordPress is a very popular and powerful blogging platform, and starting with it won’t hurt. It is also easy to find cheap web hosting plans for WordPress. It could be all the blogging platform you’ll ever need.

It’s perfectly possible and common to have both a regular blog and a micro-blogging account. Micro-blogging can complement more formal and detailed blogging. Whichever options you choose, enjoy yourself! Blogging can enrich your life, please your friends and put cash in your pockets.

Zoe Davis works as a copywriter for Hosting Observer -an online guide to find the best website host for your hosting needs. She is passionate about writing about the latest emerging technologies. While she is not writing, she enjoys traveling around the world and taking pictures.

March Madness: How Mobile and Social are Changing the Game

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It’s that time of the year again. The opening rounds of the NCAA Men’s D1 Basketball Tournament are responsible for interoffice gambling, gut-wrenching defeats and a massive drop-off in work productivity. But March Madness also offers valuable insight into how major sports events are consumed by fans, particularly in regards to the effects of mobile and social on the game viewing experience.

The proliferation of mobile devices and social media usage has dramatically affected the way fans interact with and watch their favorite teams and athletes perform. This year’s NCAA tournament will find fans group-messaging by phone and reviewing their brackets on their laptop, all while watching the game at a sports bar. They will “check in” to the Final Four on Foursquare to unlock a badge, “Like” their favorite team’s Facebook page to show pride and even “trash tweet” some of the tournament’s players on Twitter. As social feeds and text messages continuously interrupt fans, networks and sponsors must fight and offer incremental value to keep the attention of their fickle viewers.

This can be a troublesome and confusing time for those looking to protect multi-year / multi-billion dollar broadcasting deals, who may be fearful to extend live streaming beyond broadcast television. However, CBS Sports and the NCAA have proven that making live broadcasts of major sporting events widely available via mobile devices and social media channels will not cannibalize your audience. In fact, it will likely drive more views, more engagement, and ultimately more revenue.

Access for Everyone
CBS is committed to making the NCAA Tournament available to anyone, anywhere for free. Rather than restrict live games to only appear on broadcast TV, March Madness on Demand (MMOD) allows fans to view every game on the web, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. As a result, no other live sporting event comes close in terms of audience reach or time spent viewing online.

This open approach has led to tremendous success with both viewers and advertisers. In 2009, MMOD garnered 8.6 million total hours of live streaming video and audio, while pocketing an additional $30 million in online ad revenue. Last year saw a 36% growth in total viewing hours with 11.7 million and generated $37 million in online ad sales. All the while, broadcast figures have continued to grow steadily.

Credit CBS with realizing its online audience does not detract from its broadcast audience. Online and mobile viewers have proven additive as they tune in primarily during work hours and times when they are not able to get to a TV. During primetime hours, broadcast numbers dominate.

By making games available via web and mobile, it has only increased viewership. The constant access allows fans to stay connected and engaged with the action, which in turn motivates the socially-inclined to share emotional experiences related to March Madness with friends via text messages, status updates, tweets, or good old-fashioned word of mouth. So when your co-worker catches the latest buzzer beater live, he’s going to let you know about it at the office water cooler, or the digital equivalent (Facebook or Twitter).

Sports Fans are Social
It’s no surprise that social media will play a prominent role in March Madness, as was the case last year and is with any major sporting event these days. Research shows nearly one in four (23%) online Americans will use social media to follow the NCAA Tournament this year, according to a survey from IMRE Sports.

Brands are not so much interested in the fact that fans will use social media this March, but more so in which platforms and exactly how they plan to use it. These are the insights that will help shape marketing and advertising budgets over the next few years.

Of the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following:

  • 50% will use social networking sites
  • 31% will specifically utilize YouTube
  • 27% will utilize a mobile application

Among those planning to use social media to follow the tournament, 62% will use it specifically to check the scores and 44% will use it to watch the games.

The survey also revealed that Facebook is the most popular social media channel for men’s college basketball fans to follow and interact with their favorite teams and players during the regular season. The Kansas Basketball Facebook page currently has over 80,000 “Likes” or fans, more than eight NBA teams. Additionally, the NCAA March Madness Facebook page has accumulated over 125,000 “Likes” and continues to grow rapidly.

These numbers indicate Facebook is becoming the “de facto” online destination for fan activity and conversation related to the NCAA Tournament and it should come as no surprise that brands have taken notice. K-Swiss partnered with Yahoo! Sports for its March Madness “Tournageddon” Brackett Challenge this year. The social media promotion spans across several platforms and is hosted by the larger-than-life HBO character, Kenny Powers, who has amassed over 200k Twitter followers and almost 1 million Facebook “Likes”.
This is just one example. Look for dozens of other corporate brands to “fish where the fish are” and try to catch a few new customers by tapping into the passion that March Madness evokes from its viewers.

What Does All This Mean?
When it comes to watching sports nothing replaces the live “in-stadium” experience, and fans will choose a 50-inch HD Plasma with surround sound any day of the week over an iPhone or laptop. Content owners understand that sports fans look to supplement their viewing experience, and not replace it, with mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Advances in technology and social media have allowed networks and sponsors to engage fans far beyond the game itself. For example, MMOD offers fans countless hours of highlights, pre-game analysis, special camera replays and other unique content that simply cannot be broadcast on mainstream channels. This in turn feeds the digital fan’s desire for content and access that he/she can share via email, social media, text messaging and other activities inherent to these devices they use to compliment the viewing experience.

But all aside, it’s important not to forget the most important part of a major sporting event like March Madness, the Olympics or the World Cup is the live action itself. The cool behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive Twitter updates pale in comparison. So when and where fans cannot access the action on TV, they should be able to access it on the devices they carry with them 90% of the day. And more importantly, content and rights owners should understand this will only increase total viewership.

The NCAA Tournament and MMOD have proven that free content, available to anyone will not detract from the broadcast, but rather add value and views. Look to see more availability of major sports events as leagues, networks and advertisers grow more confident that this won’t eat into the primetime broadcast that pays the bills.

Steve Cobb and the social marketing agency he co-founded, Activ8Social, are at the forefront of sports marketing and social media. Steve led the planning and execution of several groundbreaking sponsor activations, featuring athletes such as Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics and Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints, that leveraged social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Stickybits to create real world fan experiences. His work has been featured on ESPN.com, Mashable, and InsideFacebook. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Cobb

Parent Blogging, How Much is Too Much Information?

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Parent Blogging, How Much is Too Much Information? Parent bloggers have years of endless topics to blog, but where do you draw the line? How much is too much information? Which topics are ok and which topics are off limits? Ultimately, each of us needs to make that decision for ourselves, but there are a few guidelines I use.

Would I tell my neighbors this story? Our kids (and spouses) do a lot of things that would make awesome blog posts, but do you really want everyone to know everything that happens in your house? Would you tell your neighbors the story? If I answer no, then I don’t blog about it.

Would you want your child’s friends to hear this story? When our kids are young and do a lot of really cute things and have friends who can’t read, I had no problem sharing stories about their potty training, bathing, etc. But now I have a 14 and 12 year old and I’m sure they would not be happy if I discussed some of their personal (yet maybe humorous) habits. If I’m unsure, I will ask my kids if they are ok with me posting the story or picture.

Would you want your boss or your spouse’s boss to hear this story? The same goes for your husband/wife. I have a lot of great stories about my husband, but does he want his boss or peers at work to hear these stories? Probably not. So those topics are off limits.

Will someone get hurt if I write about this topic? The intent of my blog is never to hurt someone. I realize that sometimes I will write about a topic that may touch a chord with some people and others may not agree. But if telling this story means a friend will be hurt, then I will think twice about telling it.

Do you want this story out there for eternity? Once you hit publish, it is on the internet indefinitely. You can pull the story, but someone somewhere has already cached it. This is also a good question to ask yourself when posting pictures when you are in college. Would you want your future (or potential) employer to read this story or see these pictures?

Everyone’s limit will be different. Some people will have no problem blogging about every aspect of their life and that is ok too. I have one ultimate test that I use,

When in doubt, leave it out.

Where do you draw the line for how much information is too much when blogging?

How Do Parent Bloggers Find the Time to Blog? 10 Tips For Finding Time

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The number one question I’m asked when I tell people I blog is, “How do you find the time to blog when you have 4 kids?” The second question is, “How do you do it all?” I use the time effectively or I would never get anything done.

Finding time to Blog There are days where it all flows easily and I feel like I’m on top of the world. But there are also days where I am lucky to get a shower in, I forget to pick someone up from school and all three meals are McDonald’s. Not something I care to admit, but the truth.

Here are my tricks for finding time to blog, keep a house up and raise kids.

  1. Let go of perfection. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standards and you shouldn’t try to do a good job. It just means that not everything you do has to be done to perfection. That is an impossible goal, so don’t even try.
  2. Don’t do it all yourself. I have someone come and clean my house every 2 weeks. I know that if nothing else, my showers and floors will get cleaned every 2 weeks. It also forces me to pick up every 2 weeks. I hate cleaning with a passion and so I let someone else do it. Ask for help when you need it.
  3. Carry something with you to take notes. Whether it’s a pad of paper or audio notes on your iPhone, when an idea strikes, take note of it. I use my iPhone because I can talk faster than I can write. When I have an idea for a post, I talk it out. I find that often I talk enough to get an entire post written. If you use a program like Dragon Dictation on your iPhone, you will save some of the writing time too.
  4. Work when you wait. According to Answers.com, the average person spends 2 – 3 years in their lifetime waiting. When I’m waiting at the doctors, in line at the grocery store, in line to pick-up kids, I get small things done that I can do on my iPad or iPhone. I check e-mails, read blogs, research for articles I’m writing or edit articles. It doesn’t seem like much, but it helps me get some of the small tasks done. There are days where during that time, I listen to music or catch up on a TV show. Either way, I’m accomplishing something I want to get done.
  5. Have a weekly plan. Each week, I look at my deadlines and plan out how I will accomplish everything. Things do come up and I have to adjust, but I find having a plan helps me.
  6. Schedule in time for last minute stuff. I have deadlines each week, but I try to make my deadlines several days before the article is really due. That way when I have to take a kid to the doctor or I am sick, I have some leeway on my time.
  7. Learn to say No! I’m still working on this one. You have to know what you have time to do. Saying no isn’t not an insult. It just means you do not have the time. There are so many things we would like to do, but we have to prioritize our time. Leo Babauto of Zen Habits wrote an excellent article, 7 Simple Ways to Say “No.”
  8. Take a break. This may seem like an odd tip for this topic, but if you do not take time for yourself, you will burn out. It will begin to take you longer to do tasks because you will not be able to focus. Take a break and you will feel refreshed.
  9. Enlist the help of your family. When I have to review products, I get my family to help me. If it’s something we can all do, I get everyone to try it and I record their responses on video. This morning my kids and I did a workout video together for a review I’m working on. We had a blast and it was a great way for me to work and spend times with me kids.
  10. Have fun! When you stop having fun blogging, then it may be time to quit. When your work is something you love doing, it doesn’t feel like work.

Not all of these tips will work for everyone. Use what works and leave the rest.

What ideas do you have for finding time to blog?

Image from Microsoft.

You’re Branding Yourself As An Expert – Get Used To It

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… by Britt Reints

I’m not certain whether or not there is any such thing as a “social media expert”, but I do know that branding yourself as an expert is an important step towards success within your niche. People listen to experts, subscribe to their blogs, join in their conversations, share their material, purchase their products and invite them to speak at industry events. Unfortunately, many niche bloggers fail to position themselves properly because they struggle with seeing themselves as an expert on anything.

Perhaps you think it’s rude or arrogant to act like an expert. Maybe you don’t feel you are qualified for the title because you don’t know everything. Or maybe you’re afraid of how others will react to you if you dare to put yourself out there as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Whatever your reason for resisting the expert label, it’s time to get over it.

Step One – Realize You Are An Expert

You’re blogging in your niche because you feel like you have something worth saying, something that hasn’t already been said that you think needs to be heard. Chances are, that’s because you’re an expert. An expert doesn’t have to know everything, you only have to have a special skill or knowledge in some particular field. Isn’t that why you chose your niche in the first place?

Positioning yourself as an authority means acknowledging that you pay more attention to a specific topic than the average person. As a result of that interest and the time you’ve invested, you know more about that specific topic than the average reader.

People with a casual interest in a subject read niche blogs. People with a special skill or knowledge in a subject decide to write niche blogs.

If you really can’t convince yourself that you have some level of expertise about your subject matter, it may be time to choose a new subject matter – or start doing your homework.

Step 2 – Accept That Some People Will Be Annoyed, But Most Won’t

The sad truth is that there are some people in this world who absolutely love to see others fail. The more spectacular the failure, the more enjoyment these people get from it. It’s sad and it’s pathetic, but it has nothing to do with you. Those people will always be rooting for someone to fail at something, no matter how you branded yourself. The only way to avoid these people completely is to make yourself invisible in the world, and that is no way to live.

The good news is, these people are rare.

Most people have their hands full making the most of their own lives. Most people aren’t that much different than you. They to listen to people who can add value to their busy lives, people who can help them in some way. They are attracted to people who exude confidence and seem to know what they’re talking about. They don’t expect anyone to know everything or be perfect all the time. They appreciate humanity, honesty, and good intentions.

Step 3 – Show, Don’t Tell

Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you are an expert and no one is going to hate you for it, the final step is to act like an expert. Doing this with humility will attract rather than repel an audience.

The key is to act like an expert in your niche rather than talk about what an expert you are.

  • Give specific examples of your work instead of listing labels and titles on your about page and in your bios.
  • Associate with people outside of your niche, answering questions about your subject when they come up organically.
  • Participate in discussions within your niche, making an effort to learn from and share what others have to say.
  • Practice what you teach – be a living example of your message.
  • Show your weaknesses when necessary – imperfection can add depth and credibility.

As with most endeavors, the key to niche blogging success is to learn to get out of our own way. That means getting over your fear of branding yourself as an expert so that your audience can begin to take you seriously.

Britt Reints is a professional blogger specializing in SEO content that doesn’t suck to read and travel blogging. On her personal blog, she writes about happiness and personal development. She is also the expert of world domination known as @missbritt on Twitter.

How Technology Can Help Us Improve Our Health & Fitness

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… by Nathalie Lussier

Often we hear about the bad sides of technology: how it causes us to get addicted to social media, how we spend our sedentary lives in front of screens, and how we eat processed food.

But I’d like to remind us of all the ways that technology can actually help us improve our overall well-being. After all, wasn’t the promise of robots and technology to reduce the amount of work we would do so we could enjoy life more? Yes, yes it was.

Blogging for Accountability

Have you ever used accountability to stick to a goal or intention? You know like telling everyone that you were quitting smoking and that if they saw you with a pack of smokes to take it away from you? Or perhaps you’ve teamed up with a friend so that every morning you meet at the gym or on the sidewalk in front of your home to go running.

Accountability has a way of getting us to do the things that we want to do, but that we might not do if we lose motivation. You see we all want to “give face” and appear smarter, cooler, and more motivated to our friends, so we stick to our intentions.

That’s where blogging for accountability comes in: if your goal is to work out 3 times per week, eat a salad every day for lunch, or stop buying junk food… you can announce it to your blog readers, your Facebook friends, or your Twitter buddies. I promise that having to admit to the Internet that you caved and ate a tub of ice cream will keep you on the straight and narrow.

And it will make you healthier.

Planning Your Meals Online

Most of the time we eat badly because we haven’t planned ahead. When hunger hits, you’re a lot more likely to grab the first thing you see than wait it out and cook or prepare something healthy. This in turn sends you on a sugar rollercoaster, with ups and downs, and lots of regretful food choices.

On the other hand if you have a stocked fridge, planned meals, and some prepared snacks you can sail through the week eating stuff you know is good for you. And yes, that will make you healthier, and it will be lighter on your wallet to boot.

Another thing that the Internet allows you to do is research healthy meal options and recipes. There are even programs to help you plan your meals, automatically creating shopping lists for you, doing almost everything except eating the food for you.

Using Apps to Track Progress

If public accountability isn’t quite your thing, you can still track your progress using apps that run on your mobile devices. There are apps to track the number of miles you run, the calories you eat, and lots more.

I think there’s something to be said about being able to look back at your progress as your fitness improves. If you started out huffing and puffing after a 5 minute jog, and now you can run a few miles… you can bet you’ll want to celebrate this achievement!

Human beings are always looking forward to the next thing, so it’ important to have something to remind us of how far we‚Äôve come. And how much healthier we are too.

So there it is, three ways to use technology to better your health. Pick one and start today, and you’ll be reaping the rewards before you know it!

Nathalie Lussier writes about the intersection of technology, business, and wellness at her blog. She’s passionate about eating fresh whole fruits and vegetables and helps people through her Magick Menu program, and can even keep you accountable on Twitter if you need it.

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