Showing posts with label Tonia's Roots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tonia's Roots. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 12 ~ Editorial Calendars

I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 

The following is an (altered) excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook ~

Last week our challenge was to come up with a list of at least 10 post ideas for our blog. The idea was to
spend time, before you needed posts, coming up with ideas. Doing this can release you later on to just write instead of having to brainstorm ideas every day.

How to Develop a Weekly Editorial Calendar [or at least how I do it]
This weeks task is to take the list you created last week and to plan your posting schedule (or editorial calendar) for next week.
1. Calculate how many posts you want to post in the coming week on your blog.
2. Set up a spreadsheet or table in a word document that has a slot for each post and the date and time that the post needs to go live on the blog.
3. Take the list of ideas that you’ve previously brainstormed and begin to slot them into the empty slots in the table. As I do this I often get other ideas that I’d not previously thought of for posts that might make good followup posts to those I’m planning. I slot these into the schedule too.
4. For each post that you slot in write a sentence or two about what the post is about (so you’re able to remember later in the week). I often also take a moment or two at this point to brainstorm some main points for the post. If any examples, illustrations, pictures or related posts that I’ve previously written come to mind I make note of these too.
Let me say at this point that what I come up with after going through this process is not always the way that I roll out posts in reality. My blogging style is a little more fluid than this and I tend to add new posts into the mix, reorder posts and extend single posts into series.
However – going through this exercise is fantastic because it means I’ve got a week’s worth of post ideas at my finger tips. It also means that for each post I’ve got ideas that I can use when writing the post – this gives me a real head start and means that I can usually get right down to business and start writing on the days I need to do the writing of posts.

Another Editorial Calendar idea to Consider

Another way that some bloggers approach editorial calendars is to come up with a weekly rhythm for their blog. They assign a different type of post for each day of the week and stick to that rhythm over the long term.
For example Mondays might be ‘list post’ day, Tuesdays might be ‘link post’ day, Wednesdays might be ‘opinion/rant’ day, Thursdays might be ‘review’ day etc. In this way they know the style of post for each day and then just have to slot in topics that fit each style.
my Heritage Happens Editorial Calendar ~

I really like this idea of scheduling blog posts a head of time on a calendar. I love being prepared and I've actually been having a difficult time getting organized with blog posts for a couple of months. Like all of us, sometimes I feel pulled in many different directions and trying to do a post at any given time, without preparing, takes a lot of time. Usually, just trying to think of a topic to write about takes a lot of time. Then, writing and preparing the post, adding photos etc. takes a vast amount of time also. If I don't have as much time as I would like to prepare a post, I may actually feel stressed. If I haven't written a post for a few days I can start to feel stressed also. Being prepared and organized, with thoughts and ideas would actually be a major stress relief for me during those difficult times.  I am actually tied up for a few weeks and can not really participate with this idea yet, but I plan to implement it just as soon as possible! In fact, I am very anxious to do so!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 11 ~ Come Up with 10 Post Ideas

I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 

Here is this weeks challenge adapted from Darren Rowse's daily challenges which Tonia is doing as weekly challenges:

Ever run out of things to write about on your blog?

If your answer is yes – you’re not alone.

This weeks's task is to do an exercise that will identify a range of post ideas that you can use when stuck for an idea in future.

The key with this process is not to put yourself under pressure to come up with completely new and out of the blue ideas for every post you write. Instead – this process taps into what you’ve recently written on your blog and helps you to identify ways to extend those ideas. Here’s the mind mapping method that I’ve used (note: I’ve talked about this previously so it could be familiar to some).

1. The Set Up

Get a whiteboard, piece of paper, note book, tablet pc or something else to write on (there are also various mind mapping tools and software options out there – but I find a pen and paper can work just fine) and draw five circles across the middle of the page. In each circle write the titles of the last five posts on your blog.

2. Extend Your Previous Posts

Now take each post in turn and spend a few minutes brainstorming on ways that the post could be ‘extended’. Most posts that you write will be able to be ‘extended’ in any number of ways including:
  • picking up a question or idea that a reader asked in the comments on that post
  • exploring the opposite point of view from the post
  • taking a ‘news’ post and writing an ‘opinion’ piece about it
  • taking a ‘theoretical’ type posts and writing something that helps people to ‘DO’ it
  • expanding upon ideas glossed over in passing in the previous post
For each idea draw a line out from the circle, draw a square (or use a different color) and write the idea inside of it. The key at this point is to let yourself be as creative and outside the box as you want. Any idea is allowed at this point.
These ideas are logical next steps for readers wanting to explore this topic – some of them based upon actual questions by readers. Do this with the other four posts you’ve written and you’ll have plenty of ideas for new posts to cover in the coming week or two.

3. Extend Further
You might want to stop this exercise at this point if you feel you’ve got enough topics to keep you going – however while you’re in a brainstorming frame of mind – why not take it a step further and think about how you might extend the topics you’ve come up with. The beauty of thinking forward even further is that you could quickly come up with a further 10 or so posts and be able to map out the next few weeks of blogging. Some posts are easier to extend than others. This is OK as not every post is in need of a follow up one – while others will have multiple next steps (some will even have a longer series of posts that you could run).

You can take this exercise as far as you’d like into the future (you get the idea I’m sure so I won’t keep going).The key when you do it is to let your creativity run wild (because it can take you in some wonderful directions) but then to be ruthless in culling ideas that don’t actually add anything to your blog. Remember – everything that you post on your blog either adds to or takes away from your blog’s perceived value – so not everything that you come up with should make it through to the front page of your blog.

Your Task Today

Your Task Today is to come up with a list of at least 10 future topics to write about. At this point your list should be not much more than the topic or title of your post.

PS: Another Approach to this Exercise for New Blogs  ~ I know that some bloggers doing the 31 Day challenge have very new blogs and perhaps don’t have too many posts in their archives to base mind mapping upon. If this is you – you can take the same principle but instead of making your five starting circles previous posts – make them ‘categories’ that your blog might cover.

For example if your blog is about personal finance you could make your starting circles sub topics of that overarching topic. They might be ‘budgeting’, ‘saving’, ‘investing’, ‘credit’ and ‘Career’. Once you’ve got your categories or sub topics – you can then pick up the exercise at step #2 with extending those sub topics into post ideas or topics within the sub topic.

my Heritage Happens Task

I have to tell you, I LOVE this weeks task! It didn't take me long to come up with 18 different thoughts, just from one post! Of course, that one post had lots of ideas already there, listed for me. (You will catch on if you look at a few of my recent posts.) I imagine you are just dying to know what the ideas were that I came up with, but I am going to stay silent on that, for now anyway. I can see this idea REALLY working for me! Have you been following along with these challenges? Have you tried this particular challenge? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments section, or leave a link to your personal post!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 9, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 10 ~ Set Up Monitoring Alerts


I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 
Tonia's blog states~

"Welcome back to another week of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog!  Our topic for week 10 is setting up alerts to monitor what is happening in our areas of genealogy.  Alerts are useful for both blogging and for genealogy research, so they are a great addition to any geneablogger’s toolbox.

Reasons to Use Alerts

Alerts let you stay on top of what is being said in blogs and in the news about certain topics.  There are quite a few reasons that geneabloggers would want to do this:
  1. Ideas for posts – keeping abreast of what others are writing about can give you lots of ideas for topics.
  2. Tracking research interests – do you have time to read every blog post written to see if it mentions your surnames or locales?  Probably not.  Alerts will scour the internet for mentions of your keyword interests and deliver the results to you.
  3. Managing your reputation and connecting with others – knowing when others are writing about you or your blog can be valuable information.  You can build relationships with those who are saying positive things and also manage any negativity that may emerge."                                                                                                                           
Action Items

  1. Get started monitoring!  Make a list of search topics relevant to your blog and/or research.  Test them out in Google to make sure you get the results you want.  Remember, exact phrases can go in quotes to give you more targeted results.
  2. Set up some alerts.  Let us know what service(s) you used and some of the keywords you chose in the comments.
If you are just joining us, then “welcome.” You can read the kick-off post about 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog here.  Feel free to start with this week’s reading and action items – you are not behind!"

my Heritage Happens Action ~

- I have been using Google Alerts for a few years. I have several alerts set up which include areas where my ancestors were from or settled in. For instance, Sweden and Norway are a couple areas my family immigrated from so I use specific names along with the area in each country where they were from. An example is: "Dulin+Bergen" or "Dulin+Norway."

- I also have had an alert set using my blog name. "Heritage Happens." I realize now though, I need to go in and update that alert to include "my" for "my Heritage Happens."

-Family surnames with a "+ genealogy" is another alert term that I use.

-I have alerts set up for news, blog and cemeteries.

I use Twitter and Tweet Deck where I have columns of information I am interested in, by using Twitter Hashtags. Of course #genealogy and #family history are ones I follow. As conferences come around I try to follow the hashtag for that specific conference.  

I am sure I could, and or should, add more alerts. This prompt has actually given me some food for thought, and I already realize I need to add at least one new alert in particular. So, I am off to do that now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 29, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 9 ~ Participate In An Online Genealogy Group

I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog prompts written by Darren Rowse. 
Tonia's blog states~
Welcome to Week 9 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog!
Our topic this week is participating in online genealogy groups.  These could be forums, mailing lists, message boards, facebook groups, etc.

Why Should We Participate in Online Genealogy Groups?

There are three main reasons to participate in online communities:
  1. Profile Building – if you put consistent time into an online group, you can build a significant profile in the genealogy community.  Keep in mind the “What’s In It For Me” perspective of the other group members.  If you are able to provide value in the form of information, advice, or support, you are more likely to develop fans among the other members.
  2. Driving Traffic — when you provide value and become a resource to others in the forum, they will want to know more about you and will be more likely to click over to your blog.
  3. Understanding the genealogy niche – Not only will you learn about the genealogy niche that the forum pertains to, but also you’ll get a lot of ideas for topics to write about on your blog.  Keep your eyes open for questions being asked repeatedly and then write posts to answer them.

Finding Online Groups

There are plenty of groups around that you could participate in.  Some categories include:
  • Groups related to being or becoming a professional genealogist
  • Surname or locality groups
  • Genealogy software groups
Take a look at Ancestry’s message boards, Genforum’s forums, RootsWeb mailing lists, and GenealogyWise groups.  Also search Facebook for “genealogy groups.”  And don’t forget about Google – a search for “Genealogy Forums” will turn up other possibilities.

Action Items

  1. Join an online genealogy group that is geared toward one of your interests.  If you are already a member of one or more groups, then:
  2. Spend 10-15 minutes participating.  Notice the bold font.  Don’t just lurk.  Get in there and join the conversation.
  3. Tell us about your experience in the comments section:  a) what group(s) did you join (or what groups are you already a member of)? b) did you come out of lurkdom in any groups this week?

I understand this concept, I really do. Hang with people who are like-minded... learn, share, listen, participate. I have belonged to groups such as this before. 

I recently "introduced myself" under the introduction section over at Genealogy Wise as part of the National Institute For Genealogical Studies Social Media Class. That reminded me that I hadn't been very active over there for some time. I have participated in the Sweden group several times, and appreciate the hep I received there. So, as I went over to participate on Genealogy Wise, I actually saw a group entitled "Doolin Surname" which includes many spellings of the name. My great grandmother's surname being "Dulin," I felt a strong desire to ask for permission to join this group. I have belonged to an online genealogy based group for several years. It was a fun and great group, we took genealogy courses together and stayed together I think it has been 5 years now. It isn't as active as it once was but several of us have gone on to "blog-land." I am looking forward to participating more on Genealogy Wise, and with those attending classes at the National Institute For Genealogical Studies.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 7 ~ Write A Link Post

Welcome to Week 7 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog!  Week 7’s topic is about linking to other blogs or websites. To see more detail why you would want to link to others post's or blogs I offer you this link from Tonia's Roots and thank her, again, for giving us the #31 week challenge!

I also would like to share with you Michelle Goodrum's post over at The Turning of Generations. Michelle was very clever in posting both action items from week 6 and week 7 into one great post! I have to say, it really was a great post for me as she just  happened to include me and my Heritage Happens in that post! Thank you so much Michelle!

If you would like to read more posts and see who others linked to, you can do so by clicking here at Tonia's Roots and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Here, you will catch more posts for this weeks challenge in the comments section. I am off  to do this myself now, care to join me?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

 Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 25, 2011

#31WBGB ~ Week 3 ~ Promote a Blog Post

Welcome to Week 3 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog!  If you are just joining us, you can read the kick-off post here at Tonia's Root's .

Nevertheless, Darren Rowse of Problogger offers us:

11 Ways to Promote a Blog Post

1.                   Pitch to other bloggers:  ask another blogger to consider linking to your post.  This gives me the heebie-jeebies.  Tonia says," I really don’t like asking people to do things for me." Neither can I Tonia!
2.                  Social Messaging: use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks to promote your post.  Darren says “the key is not to incessantly spam your followers and your friends with your link.”
3.                  Social Bookmarking:  promote selective links on sites like Digg or StumbleUpon.
4.                  Internal Links:  what posts within your own site can you link to a given post?  Have you written on a topic before?  Are you writing a series?  Link them up.  Another way to do this is to use automatic apps, like a related-post plug-in if you are on WordPress, or a widget like LinkWithin, which I believe works on both WordPress and Blogger.  You can also add a section in your sidebar with “Latest posts,” “Popular posts,” “Featured posts,” etc.  WordPress makes this very easy to do; I’m not sure about Blogger.
5.                  Newsletters: shoot an email out to your newsletter list, if you have one.  (Tonia-Does anyone do a newsletter?  I’d like to hear more about how often you do that, what kind of content you include, etc.)
6.                  Other Blog’s Comments Sections and Forums: leaving good-quality comments can help drive traffic to your site and leaving a link can be appropriate if it is germane to the discussion.  (Tonia-Just a note here, I use a plug-in called CommentLuv that automatically inserts a link to each commenter’s last post, if they’ve signed up for the service. And since, I’m signed up, my links are left on other bloggers’ sites, if they use CommentLuv.)
7.                  Email signatures: Darren suggests including links to recent posts, instead of just your blog’s front page URL.
8.                  Follow-up posts:  write a new post that picks up where another left off, like a series, or adds new information to a previous post, then inter-link them.
9.                  Advertise Your post:  You might consider a small ad campaign for a post you are particularly proud of, using AdWords, StumbleUpon, or similar services.  This probably isn’t something most geneabloggers would consider, but it might be worthwhile for those who are professional genealogists.
10.              Pitch Mainstream Media:  You might want to do this for a really interesting post.  Again, I think this would be more suitable for the pros.

Article Marketing:  Rewrite some key articles and submit them to article marketing sites.

Action Items

1. Pick something from the above list that you’ve never done before and use it to promote one of your posts.
2. Share your thoughts on some of these items.  What social networking sites do you use for blog promotion?  Have you ever used Digg or StumbleUpon?  Have you used any of the other ideas?  How have they worked for you?  Leave an answer in the comments or, if you write a post about it, come back and leave us a link.
3. Lastly, don’t forget to come back and let us know which idea you tried for the first time and how it worked for you.

1. I plan to try adding links in my email for a specific blog post.
2. I use Facebook and Twitter generally to advertize my posts. I have never used Digg or StumbleUpon, I suppose they are things I should look into. I have been happy using Facebook and Twitter or I wouldn't have continued using them. I have had at one point some links in the side bar to my most popular posts, but I am not sure they were very successful in bringing people to those posts.
3. I will try to remember to so this! Thank you Tonya!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved