May 6, 2014

Time-saving tips to write more blog posts (with video)

Time-Saving-hacks-blog-posts

Make the most out of your time and blog more often

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, managers, journalists, general public.

John HaydonOne thing I’ve learned from years of blogging is that a blogging process saves time and headaches. My approach uses creative momentum at the beginning to blow through tasks that require linear thinking.

Above you’ll find a 6-minute video demonstration of exactly what I do, step-by-step, for each blog post:

Make an Outline – Assuming you’ve selected useful topic to write about, all you need at the beginning is a basic framework to support the copy. I use MindMiester to map out an outline. Continue reading

November 25, 2013

9 time-saving tips to write more blog posts

Target audience: Bloggers, nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists.

John HaydonOne thing I’ve learned from years of blogging is that a blogging process saves time and headaches. My approach uses creative momentum at the beginning to blow through tasks that require linear thinking.

Above you’ll find a 6-minute video demonstration of exactly what I do, step by step, for each blog post: Continue reading

July 26, 2011

Tips for making your Web content personal

 

Create blog posts that speak to an individual, not an audience

John HaydonRegardless of how many people visit your website, there’s one person you need to be paying attention to:

The person reading your blog post or Facebook update right now.

I know what you’re thinking. “We get thousands of visits per day on our website – surely more than one person is reading our content at any given moment.”

This is true, but people don’t gather around a laptop to view your website.

Back when television was our main media source, it was not uncommon for people to participate in consuming its content in groups: Families, roommates, parties.

But consuming Web content is a personal activity we participate in as individuals. And this is why social media conversations should be considered as essentially being one to one.

Making content personal

Content is more effective when it’s perceived as “written for me.” Try these tips:

  • Try writing your posts or updates in the second person (“you” instead of “I” or “we”).
  • Think of someone you already know and write to them – as if you’re writing a personal email to them.
  • Write to that person and that person only – don’t worry about alienating people.
  • Write with a human, conversational tone – the way you would talk if they were sitting right in front of you.
  • Try using Dragon speech-to-text tools to achieve this conversational tone.
  • Continue reading

July 19, 2010

10 tips for writing an impactful blog post

How cause advocates & citizen journalists can be more effective

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, educators, journalists, foundations, businesses, individuals. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

Guest post by Spencer Critchley
O’Reilly Network

Starting a blog for your nonprofit or organization and don’t know where to start? Write what you know — and what you care deeply about. Over time, you’ll develop your own style. As you do, follow some of the best practices that journalists and writers have long employed.

Here are 10 tips on how to write an effective, authoritative and persuasive blog post:

Respect the value of people’s time

1Anyone who publishes is making a deal with their audience: This will be more rewarding than real life would have been. Know your point, get to it quickly, and make your content dense with value. We live in a narcissistic age, and free access to world-wide distribution is not helping. We all need to remember: It’s not fascinating just because I said it.

Have a strong focus, and relate everything to it

2A good focus is a simple idea that people care about — in a newspaper story, it’s the lede. It’s a hard discipline to learn, but you can really only get one good idea across in any one article or program — everything else either supports and develops that idea, or it conflicts with and confuses it. Think of Beethoven’s Fifth as a model: The whole first movement is based on four notes.

Look for the heat in your subject

3Appeal is emotional, not intellectual. Even theoretical physicists get excited more by primal motives like pursuit, struggle and triumph than they do by abstract concepts. Look for what people will really care about in your content and use that as a guide. Continue reading

August 26, 2009

How to make your website more accessible

Enhancing website accessibility from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaA few weeks back, at SOBCon busniess school for bloggers in Chicago, I met Glenda Watson Hyatt, a remarkable trainer and conference speaker who gave a presentation on how to make websites and blogs more accessible to the disabled. Glenda, who has cerebral palsy, deals with computer accessibility issues on a daily basis. I wrote about her advice on Socialbrite: 7 tips for communicating with people with disabilities.

After Glenda’s talk and one by Lorelle VanFossen, author of “Blogging Tips” — Lorelle has occasional memory lapses because of traumatic brain injury — I captured some of their advice regarding how to make sure your website or blog accessible to disabled people.

Lorelle says that fully 60 percent of all sites on the Web are not accessible to the disabled — so pay attention, yours may be one. They discuss specific steps website operators and bloggers can take to make their sites and blogs accessible, including adding simple things like alt tags, captions and underlined links.

Tips to make your site more accessible to disabled users

• Include “alt” tags (alternative descriptions) and title tags in all images and videos.

• Make your links look like links. Use colors that distinguish them from regular text and use an underline to set them apart.

• Make your body text legible. The 0.8em default on some blog platforms is just too small for millions of readers out there. Usability should be your paramount concern — not all your readers are under 30!

• Also, make sure your stylesheet permits variable font sizes. If you’re using a fixed font, older browsers don’t let users adjust text size. (In Firefox and IE, you can hit command + or – to increase or decrease the size of the text on screen.)

• Give your photos captions, so the vision-impaired can know what they’re looking at. Continue reading