I took a little time out and knocked out 3 blog posts for another of my blogs. I did it while waiting for a client to arrive at a showing. I used my tablet (a smart phone would also work).
Video. Last week I popped up a video up on this blog that I shot in just a few minutes. I think it took about 15 minutes to shoot it… twice.
The point is that I hear from a lot of agents that say they don’t have time to blog. There is almost always time. Of course the quality would be a bit better if it was done in a studio… but they would have a different feel. A lot of viewers actually like the video to me more “raw and real”.
One of the nice things is that you can actually have an idea and shoot it right then… which can be even better than making notes about what to write about later.
The link to SpringPad is SpringPadIt.com. Don’t forget about Google Docs and Google Calendar. I am only scratching the surface of these assets… they have SO much to offer. Play with them and see what they do for you.
Yes… I am a little buried with the upcoming rebarcamp Atlanta event on 10/28/2011. And while doing a little research, I ran across this really cool infographic. As a Real Estate Agent, I’m only marginally interested in how teens are using their phones… they aren’t buying houses. I only llook at their usage to see if I can get in front of trends. But adults… THEY buy houses. They have my interest.
Back in the mid 1990s, people started to say that you HAD to have a website. So, you hired someone to code up a few pages and it was good… You were done.
Ten years later, those same people were telling you that you HAD to have a blog. The cool thing was that you didn’t necessarily have to hire anyone, you could just toss one up. So you did it… and then it kind of languished after the first couple of months because you didn’t get any direct business from it. You were done.
A couple of years later, you finally started hearing from some of your peers that that blogging thing actually worked… so you dusted it off and started posting. You were done.
Seemingly, 30 minutes later, the consensus was that you needed a Twitter account. But before you could call it done, you needed a FaceBook Fan Page… then you needed a YouTube Channel… and a Yelp presence…
Now, if you aren’t on Google+, you are just wasting time with the rest of your internet program… or so say “the people”.
When does it end?
Does it end?
Nope. It doesn’t. Technology and “what’s cool” keep marching on. There is always a new site and there is always a new way to engage consumers. There are always new channels and there always will be.
What’s worse… or better… is that they are unfolding faster than EVER before. Newspaper dominated for centuries. Radio dominated for generations. TV dominated for decades. Websites dominated for years. Now we are down to weeks… Maybe days.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to try to ride EVERY wave that breaks on the shore. In fact, it means that you shouldn’t. A hundred years ago, you couldn’t go big if you weren’t in the newspaper. It would take a while before the next wave came in. Now we have waves breaking constantly.
Pick your battles. Figure out what you are going to be able to do… alone or with your team. Learn ways to automate without destroying engagement. Aggregation and Syndication can be your friends. Link and leverage your networks. Pick your battles.
I go through it almost every day… Writer’s block, inability to find a subject to write about… maybe just a lack of passion for a particular subject on a certain day. We’re all human, we all have up and down cycles. We all have days when it just isn’t working. Ofc ourse, those are usually the days that we really need to make it work.
There are a couple of ways to deal with it, and one may be more suited to a certain situation. When you can’t come up with ideas for a subject, having a bank of titles and ideas is usually the best answer. When you are REALLY stopped up, the passion seems to be gone, having some blogs in queue is a great solution.
I try to do both…
Let’s talk tools…
WordPress Editorial Calendar – This has to be one of my favorite Plugins for WordPress. I rave about it constantly. Here is what it does… It adds a menu option to view a calendar showing when blog posts are scheduled. The part that I REALLY love, though, is that posts can be moved from day to day by dragging and dropping. The time of day remains the same, but it couldn’t be easier to rearrange dates for posts. When something comes up and a post needs to be dropped in, adjusting the schedule just takes a few moments rather than the time to log into multiple posts and manually reset the dates.
Another thing that I do with the Editorial Calendar is to lay out Post Ideas. If I have an idea (or better yet, a title) for a future post, I try to figure out when it should run and drop a placeholder in for it. This helps to spur creativity, too… I tend to write in streaks. I might kick out half a dozen posts for a specific blog in an afternoon. That means that for that blog, I might not have the pressure to kick out a post for a week or even two.
Old Fashioned Pad and Pen – Yep… Low tech. Write down ideas as they occur. I used to carry a little pad in my pocket and would jot down a title or even an outline of an idea. I used it for ToDo List items, too. Although now, it is largely supplanted by my phone. Using Android Apps like SpringPad (SpringPadIt.com), I can keep my phone, tablet and laptop all on the same page with ideas and other items.
And some ideas…
Check your email – Some of my best posts come from my clients and other consumers. They ask me questions, and rather than writing the answer 20 times for different folks, I post up a blog post. I can then point future inquiries about the same thing to the post.
Grab your camera – Depending on the subject of your blog, a nice photo essay might be a great option. Local interests might be better served by a photo essay than by a long winded text post.
Make a video – I probably just freaked out half of my readers… But honestly, it isn’t that tough, especially if you have a smart phone or a tablet, or even a laptop with a built in camera. Here is a little of the heresy I’m known for… Don’t bother with a lot of editing. Most of the folks that will view it are NOT expecting a slick production. They are looking for the information. And they want it quick, so
Get to the point
Keep the time under a minute if possible… at least under two minutes
Don’t get creative with camera movements
Don’t flip out if it doesn’t look like the footage from the news
Have an idea of what you want to say… maybe even practice it a couple of times beforehand. This will give you a better chance of knocking it out in one clean take
Do a ‘Best Of’ – Grab several of your previous posts on a subject and collate them into a ‘Best Of’ post. This also gives you GREAT SEO from the backlinks to the original posts.
Find a good InfoGraphic – One of my favorite sources is Visual.ly. There are a LOT of different subjects and styles. BTW, if you have a creative eye, Creating an InfoGraphic might be an option. They can be licensed to link back to your site, which can REALLY help push up your Page Rank and give you better visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Finally, remember that the person that knows the most about you probably lives in your house. If you can’t sit and write a bunch of posts in a row, don’t try to do that. If you have streaks of creativity, carve out some time for that to happen. Figure out what works for you, and just do it.
I have a thing about ‘To Do Lists’… I don’t know why. But, I do. At least on my computer.
I use WP Editorial Calendar to schedule posts, and ToodleDo to keep track of what posts should be upcoming, along with other tasks. Without these tools I would be completely lost. Even with as bad as I am at updating this blog on time, I still produce around 20 blog posts a week. It needs to be closer to 25.
At any given time, I have 15 or 20 tabs open in my FireFox browser. The tabs have a variety of things, ranging from website where I am tracking things on a daily basis to articles or posts that I want to blog about. I also have source articles for things I am researching for blog posts.
And I have a new one that I am really liking… SpringPad.
I picked up a Tablet computer a few weeks ago (Toshiba Thrive). This is in addition to my laptop and my smartphone (T-Mobile G2). I work on all of them. And one of the things I was missing was a way to keep information (not just files) synchronized between all of my devices. There are tools like DropBox, which I love, but it required that I have a way to edit the same filetype on all of my devices… or the devices of others I might share an item with.
SpringPad is a bit different. There is a website (SpringPadIt.com) as well as device apps for my Tablet and SmartPhone (both are Android). They also have a suite of apps available through the iTunes Store for Apple devices.
One of the nice things with SpringPad is that it has a built in editor to write notes, build out To Do Lists and even surf. There is a plug-in for FireFox so that I can clip items while surfing and send them to notes in SpringPad. I can email items (forwards, especially) to a notebook. I can also add resources to a note like links, videos or photos.
Like DropBox, users can share their content with other users… unlike DropBox, notebooks can be sent via email to others that are NOT users of SpringPad. And while DropBox is better for some file types, especially those that involve a lot of editing (manuscripts, images, etc.), I find that SpringPad is a little better geared towards sharing information. In fact, I can even share things on FaceBook, Twitter and through RSS via SpringPad. Content can be organized and tagged, as well. Sync’d content is also available when you are not online (except for the website… but if you don’t have a data connection on your phone or tablet, you can still access and edit notebooks for syncing later).
At this moment I am working on a Winter Pack Trip for our Cub Scout Pack. In order to do this, I have to keep the input of all of the Pack Leaders in mind… and keep them abreast of what is happening. I also need to keep track of which resources belong with which venue. I’m tracking costs, things to do, amenities and timelines. And I can share as much or as little as I want with as many or as few people as needed. And there is a Social component to the SpringPad network. You can share items with your SpringPad friends and use it for collaboration.