Social Media Outreach: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

social media iconsIn case you’ve been wondering what the best timing is when it comes to reaching your audience on social media, SurePayroll posted an infographic to help with that.

It tells you when and when not to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+. For example, Twitter goes to bed on the weekends whereas that’s when Pinterest is just getting started.

Check it out!

 

Courtesy of: SurePayroll

How to Write for Money – Tips on Blogging as a Service

dollar sign free image

Today, guest blogger (and fellow Sacramento Blogger) Micah Abraham of the Great Leap Studio blog, is generously offering tips based on his experience as a professional content marketing dude. For those of you who are blogging for business (whether for your own or others), here are some honest and thoughtful tips to consider:

Hello Sacramento Bloggers. My name is Micah. I am new to the Sacramento area – originally from Seattle – and I wanted an opportunity to introduce myself to you through the magic of blogging.

Like you, I write blog posts. Unlike many of you, my blog posts do not showcase my personality and are not particularly fun to read for the average internet user. That is because the blog posts I write are not personal, funny, or cool. The blog posts I write are for businesses – businesses that pay me to write blog posts for them.

Content Writing as a Business

I am a content writer, and I have been a content writer for over 6 years. I own a company called Great Leap Studios, and we (mostly me) offer content writing services to businesses that are hoping to market their websites. I write static web pages, eBooks, guest posts, and several other forms of content, but in general the heart of my business is blogging. Businesses pay me to write their blog posts.

If you know anything about the corporate world, then you also know that the corporate world is boring. So, so boring. Very few businesses are brave enough to write blog posts with personality or humor. Most want dry, generic posts that cannot offend anyone and contain absolutely zero Phineas and Ferb references. It’s tragic.

But if you’re willing to write for someone else and their vision, then blog content writing is still a great way to make a living. Businesses need active blogs in order to rank well in search engines, and that means that businesses need active bloggers to help them with blog writing.

Blog Posts As A Living

If this is a career that interests you, and I hope that it doesn’t because that means you’re my competition, then the following are tips you can use to offer a quality blog writing service.

  • Manage Writing, Not a Blog – First tip: Don’t manage blogs, manage writing. You know from experience how hard it is to make sure you do a post every day. It is even harder and more time consuming to do that for multiple blogs for multiple businesses. Logging in, creating a post, logging out – it’s madness. If you offer blog writing services, try to focus on the writing. Let the company post itself.
  • Write in Bulk – Remember that most companies want dry content. Dry content doesn’t require the same mental gymnastics as humor content. Dry content thrives from “flow” – your ability to get into a zone and break out 5,000 words in a day. So if you have a blog writing client, request/require that the writing be completed in bulk. You’ll find that you write with far more speed AND quality when you write 10 posts a day instead of 1 per week, because you’re able to keep your mind focused on the topic and the words used in that industry.
  • Be An Expert – When you offer blog writing services, you need to remember to be doubt free. When you write, you write as though you’re an expert. “Do this” instead of “You might want to do this.” You ARE an expert, at least as far as the internet is concerned, and so you need to make sure your writing is confident and knowledgeable.
  • Remember the Format – Personal blogging is image rich and filled with block text. Professional blogging is very different. You’ll need short paragraphs, bullet points, subheadings, and sometimes even bold/header tag formatting. Formatting is arguably as important if not more important than quality writing, because many of the company’s visitors will not bother reading it – they’ll simply scan it quickly and use it to determine whether they trust a company.
  • Pseudoscience Blogging – You’ll also have requests from clients that make little sense if you know about SEO and marketing. You’ll be asked to bold keywords, or provide meta keywords, or place keywords a specific number of words apart. According to Google, none of these matter, but you’ll probably be asked to do them anyway, and unless you have reason not to you should do it. Most businesses are not looking for SEO consultants. They’ve hired a scammy company to do that for them already. It’s easier to write the content they need than to explain all of the reasons that their requests won’t matter.
  • Learn But Don’t Quote – Finally, you’ll often be asked to write about topics you know very little about. There is a tendency to look at another, identical article and rewrite it completely. That works, but that’s not the best way to do it. Instead, read more than one article on the topic, “learn” the topic and become what I like to call a “temporary expert.” For example, if I have to write about something about pest control, I’ll read several articles about that topic, become an “expert,” and write using my own memory as though I had years of experience. I may still use those articles as references to guide some of the facts I put in the writing, but I’m not writing directly from them. When you know the topic yourself, it can be seen in your writing quality.

To be honest, I could write an entire book on how to blog for businesses, but the above list will start scratching the surface. Blog writing services are a great way to earn some extra money, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that it is nothing like personal blogging. It’s a grind – a fun, interesting, flexible grind, but a grind nonetheless.

 

About the Author: Micah is owner and lead writer at Great Leap Studios, a content marketing company. He is currently writing about himself in the third person and looks forward to meeting you all at one of the future Sac Blogger events.

 

Got some helpful tips for your fellow bloggers on a particular topic that you would be willing to guest post about? Let us know!

(Image Source: dream designs/freedigitalphotos.net)

Sacramento Bloggers Gets a Taste of CPK’s Next Chapter

Some of our bloggers attended a “Taste the Next Chapter” event at California Pizza Kitchen’s recently renovated location at Arden Fair Mall Wednesday night to get a taste of their newest menu additions. Okay, “taste” is putting it lightly. It was a 12+ course meal!

cpk a blubry ginger smash 2

Blueberry Ginger Smash

We met and mingled with CPK’s SVP of Culinary Innovation, Brian Sullivan. And our bloggers had a great opportunity to hang out and get to know each other better.

cpk a amber crystal mgr

Bloggers Amber and Crystal toast with CPK Manager Scott

cpk a kristy andy

cpk a crystal dawn jessica

cpk a steve diana

cpk a stacy simona

Chef Sullivan shared their new delicious hand-crafted cocktails, flatbreads (hello, lobster!), entries such the juicy Fire-Roasted Rib eye and the Hearth Roasted Halibut, and my-oh-my, the desserts!

Lobster Roll Flatbread

Lobster Roll Flatbread

Fire Grilled Rib eye

Fire Grilled Rib eye

S'mores!

S’mores!

And let us not forget…the Sunny Side Up Bacon + Potato Pizza…

cpk a egg bacon potato pizza

Kitchen Manager, Adrian, took us “behind the counter” where they taught us how to toss pizza dough – how fun is THAT!

cpk a stacy pizza dough 2

cpk a amber pizza dough

Many thanks to California Pizza Kitchen and the super friendly and accommodating staff (managed by the awesome Scott and Lauren).

cpk a gang 800w

Check out what our other Sacramento Bloggers had to say about the event, along with all their fantastic photos) in the links below.
 

Removing Blog Comments. And Other News.

Should You Remove Comments from Your Blog?

With more and more conversation moving to Facebook and away from the comments section of your blog, and more and more spam comments moving in, is it really worth it to have a comment section on your blog?

You can find out why Copyblogger has recently removed their comments in a recent post.

No word yet on whether the Sacramento Bloggers blog will be removing the comments section.

Your First Tweet

Remember your first tweet? A large percentage of first tweets often say something like “Well, here’s my first tweet.”

Which is almost as exciting as what you’re having for lunch. Want to see your first ever utterance to the Twitterverse? Go to first-tweets.com.

Here’s SacBloggers Co-founder’s first tweets:

first tweet margaret

first tweet nichole

and, of course…@SacBloggers

first tweet sacbloggers

 

Pinterest and Blogger: How to Use the Pin It Hover Button

Yay! A tip for those using Blogger instead of talking about WordPress all the time,  right? Anyway, we found a tutorial by Code it Pretty that explains how to add the official hovering Pin It buttons to your Blogger blog. The buttons will show up in the upper left corner of your post images when your readers hover over the images.

Local WordPress Meetup in Sacramento

This is a little short notice, but there is a WordPress Meetup this Tuesday (April 1) at Hacker Lab in Sacramento. This meetup will discuss the Genesis Framework. The talk will be focused on beginning to intermediate designers & developers, and anyone else interested in learning about theme development. (If you can’t make this one,  you can join the monthly meetup group so you can stay up to date about the next one.) The group is for bloggers, designers and developers of WordPress blogs.

Mom Bloggers and Coffee Talk

This is slightly less short notice, but there is a Mom Bloggers Coffee Meetup in Elk Grove. You can see more info on the Meetup Page.

Lotsa Blogging Tips

Here are 39 Blogging Tips on the Social Media Examiner Blog where they asked 39 blogging pros to share the best blogging tips and tactics worth doing today. Such as #18: Write Content That’s Not Just About Your Products and Services

Passwords Are So Yesterday, or They Should Be

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we never had to enter another password to login to our blogs, or our social media accounts, or anything? Ever?

No more keeping hundreds of userid/password combinations in a document somewhere because you just can’t keep up anymore. Unless you use the same password for everything (and 80% of you do). Or, like many employees of the IRS, your password to everything is….”password”.

Why Accounts Keep Getting Hacked

Weak passwords, such as “password”, “qwerty”, or “123456”, can be easily hacked. Last year, hackers reportedly broke into the national Emergency Broadcast System and caused television stations in Michigan, Montana and North Dakota to broadcast zombie attack warnings. Zombies! Ack! Here is what they broadcasted to three states in this country:

“Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

Replacing Password Technology

According to a recent ZDNet article, Google’s quest to kill the password comes with their acquisition of Slicklogin, an Iraeli security startup whose answer to password overload is something called soundwaves, where “users just have to place their phone next to their tablet or laptop and will be able to log in.”

This goes beyond 1Password and other “password managers” that  “remember” your login credentials so you don’t have to.

No word on whether this new technology, which has not yet been released, will work with iPhones or other non-Google ally devices, but this kind of authentication security can’t come fast enough for those of us who are drowning in the current verification process.

So what do we do in the meantime?

Online Security Tips (and 25 Worst Online Passwords)

An article in The Wall Street Journal offers 5 Simple Online Security Tips, such as “Don’t use real answers to security questions.”

Don’t use the #1 worst password of 2013: 123456 (which surpassed it’s previous winner: “password”, according to a Splashdata press release, which also recommends against using part of the program you’re using as the password, such as “Adobe123”)

And now, the 25 worst online passwords of 2013 (via Splashdata):

1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. 123456789
7. 111111
8. 1234567
9. iloveyou
10. adobe123
11. 123123
12. admin
13. 1234567890
14. letmein
15. photoshop
16. 1234
17. monkey
18. shadow
19. sunshine
20. 12345
21. password1
22. princess
23. azerty
24. trustno1
25. 000000

Listen to your Mother, Sacramento 2014 is calling

If you have a story about motherhood, whether you’re a mother or have a mother, whether you’re male or female, young or more experienced, Margaret Andrews and Nichole Beaudry are producing the “Listen to Your Mother” show for the second year in a row and they are now welcoming submissions for the 2014 show. There’s no denying that blogging and storytelling go hand in hand, so if you have a story about motherhood or know someone who does, please send us your words!

Here’s a peek at the LTYM submission flyer…

CALLING ALL WRITERS, ASPIRING WRITERS, OR PEOPLE WITH A STORY OF MOTHERHOOD

The Listen to Your Mother show is a live stage production that “gives motherhood a microphone”, where the cast members read their own words about motherhood.

We want to hear your unique story about being a mom, having a mom, not having a mom–any iteration on the theme of motherhood. Tell us the story only you can tell and make sure that motherhood is the star of your piece.

People of all ages, genders, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to submit their work.

Please send your story that does not exceed 5 minutes when read aloud to ltymsac@gmail.com with “LTYM Submission” in the subject line. Include a title for your story.

If your story is selected for audition, you will be contacted to arrange an audition time for the weekend of March 1 and 2.

The Listen to Your Mother Show will be held at The Guild Theatre on Saturday, May 10. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go to benefit WEAVE.

Previously published work accepted as long as author retains full rights or has express permission to read the work for the event.

To learn more about Listen to Your Mother, and to see videos of past shows, visit listentoyourmothershow.com/sacramento.

For more details about the show and submission guidelines, visit the Listen to Your Mother , Sacramento website, or go directly to the Submissions Guidelines page if you’re already familiar with the show!

The deadline for submissions is February 23.

Margaret and Nichole truly can’t wait to read your stories of motherhood!

The frosting on the cake

If there are three things that we love here at Sacramento Bloggers, it’s our members, local companies and sweet treats.

Those three things are coming together today, as we partner with The Frosting Queens and several of our members on a fun contest we’re calling the Frosting Queens Invitational.

What does that entail? Well, each blogger chose two of the Frosting Queens’ fantastic frostings and was set free to put them to good use in a special creation.

The winner will be awarded a $100 gift card to Whole Foods Market, one of the local stores that carries The Frosting Queens’ products.

The Frosting Queens

You’ll find the participating bloggers below. Simply check out their creations and then head over to the The Frosting Queens’ Pinterest board for the contest and repin your favorite recipe!And now we need your help to choose the best of the best.

Easy peasy. (We just wish there was some kind of taste testing to this contest!)

Thanks for playing along and happy holidays!

 

Halloween Roundup: Crafts, Food, Decor and More

You guys.

It just hit me that Halloween is this week.

Does that ever happen to you? There’s a vague idea that a big holiday is approaching, but then the necessities of life overtake all the thought space in your head, and then SMACK! There you are.

If you’re anything like me you need all the help you can get. Guess what? We’re in luck, you and me. We have brilliant bloggers in the Sacramento region that will tell us all where it’s at.

Fancy Shanty's Halloween Wreath

Fancy Shanty’s Halloween Wreath

Let’s start simple. Have you decorated your door? No? I will tell you I actually did decorate my door this year. In fact, I have to say my particular talent lies in my skill at crafting like a five-year-old. I know, impressive. If you’re looking for a more grown up style, I love this simple door

sign by My Frugal Adventures. If you dig a bit of mod podge, you’ll love Fancy Shanty’s Spooky Halloween Wreath. Instead of carving up those pumpkins this year try one of Fancy Shanty’s 10 creative, no carve pumpkin ideas.

Looking for fun Halloween printables? Swish Printables has you covered with a perfect one to “Boo” friends in your neighborhood. To go all out, you can get busy with Day of the Dead printables, and ideas from Fancy Shanty.

Now that your creative juices are in overdrive, you must take a look at Cutesy Crafts and just admire the lovely crafts she photographs so beautifully. Want a superhero mask? You got it. You’ll also find Pony Bead Pumpkins, a Spider Web Halloween Countdown, Candy Corn Halloween Shirt, and Lace Halloween Shirt. We also like this darling Halloween mummy pumpkin by Stuff-n-Such by Lisa, and her dollar store Halloween luminaries made with her granddaughter. Just Paint It has a series of projects you can do, just go paint it. How about some

green slime from My Frugal Adventures?

Pumpkin Apple Cider Doughnuts from Heather's French Press

Pumpkin Apple Cider Doughnuts from Heather’s French Press

By now, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. I hope it’s a sweet appetitive. Once you see these Pumpkin Apple Cider Doughnuts from Heather’s French Press, you’ll put a “do not disturb” sign just to keep the doughnuts all to yourself. Then hop on over to Glorious Treats and admire her Black and White Halloween Dessert Table, check out her clever 3D Pumpkin Cookies with a surprise, and the adorable Candy Corn Krispie Treats. There’s also Foodidy’s Halloween table scape to admire, and if you’re in a cupcake mood maybe 52 Kitchen Adventures might give you some ideas of your own.

Glorious Treats Black and White Halloween Dessert Table

Glorious Treats Black and White Halloween Dessert Table

We all know, we go a little overboard with the treats as the year winds down. My Frugal Adventures and Healthy Journey Cafe have some great ideas on how to reign in the sugar avalanche. I’m also digging Fancy

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Shanty’s guide

to keeping trick-or-treating safe for the kids with food allergies. We can all be more conscientious.

Looking for costume ideas, or opinions? Limit Reached has some definite thoughts on costumes. Sacramento bloggers are full of them. You’ll find Artsy Apparel’s Tim Burton Halloween fashion, tips from Sac Style by Gina, and Mrs. Looking Good, Awkward Family Photos: Halloween Edition from Slide Show and Ice Cream, and ideas from Nanny Goats for humans and goats.

Cutesy Crafts Superhero Masks

Cutesy Crafts Superhero Masks

Of course, in the Sacramento region if you’re looking for season-appropriate activities, you are sure to find plenty to do. Fancy Shanty loves visiting Bishop’s Pumpkin farm with her family. My family adores Apple Hill. Momservations shares a list of fun fall activities to do with the kids. If you love Disney as much

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as I Am A Disney Nerd, you’ll like discovering Halloween at the park, items to shop for, and how much she adores Halloween at Disneyland. Perhaps this year you’ll want to discover the spooky side of Old Sacramento with Erin’s Adventures in Northern California. Or maybe you’ll stay home and watch Linus and the Peanuts Gang in their Halloween special. It happens to be a favorite of Sacramento Vegetable Gardening. Then again, you could reminisce over past Halloweens with Samantha Cycles, or reflect on all things Halloween with Thrift Shop Commando.

We hope you enjoyed our Halloween Roundup. What favorite Halloween activities have you been busily occupied with?

 

Cheers!

Stephanie

Sacramento Bloggers Partner with Tillamook for an Ice Cream Social Media Night

sacbloggers tillamook sign

And you thought Tillamook just made cheese. Did you know Tillamook makes ice cream, too?

tillamook yum bus

Yep. And 27 flavors at last count. And earlier this week, Sacramento Bloggers joined Tillamook at Thinkhouse Collective for an evening of social media tips and ice cream.

tillamook loaf buttons

The evening kicked off with a greeting from the awesome Tillamook brand ambassadors (and the Yum Bus!) who are coincidentally in Sacramento right now for their Loaf Love Tour.

cheesydee montereymatt

To see where the Yum Bus is right now, you can follow Tillamook on Twitter.

Tillamook’s Marketing Manager, Gillian Kennedy, gave a fantastic presentation on Visual Voice, providing insight into how some of the larger corporations, including Tillamook, use social media successfully.

_MG_3801

Gillian, who has previously spoken at venues like SXSW, had also reviewed the blogs of those attending, incorporated them into her presentation, and demonstrated how some of our bloggers were using visual voice in an effective way. She gave us a virtual training session on marketing with social media. (Follow Gillian Kennedy on Twitter).

_MG_3806

Then Katie (Tillamook’s Marketing Coordinator) and Kelly (from Soda Pop PR) ran the Ice Cream Social and Sandwich Making Contest portion of the evening where bloggers tasted and voted on their favorite flavor, as well as creating ice cream sandwiches, taking photos of their creations and posting them on Instagram to enter the contest.

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The winning entry? Food, Love and Tradition:

foodlovetradition instagram icecreamsandwich

The favorite flavor of the evening? Fireside S’mores. Which, by the way, is not currently available in Sacramento and was therefore shipped from Tillamook especially for the event. As were Gillian, Katie and Kelly.

Many thanks to Gillian Kennedy, Kelly Phelan, and Katie Weltner for traveling to Sacramento and putting on what was virtually a mini blog conference.

We’d also like to thank all the Tillamook brand ambassadors who parked it on the sidewalk and represented with enthusiasm and pride. (Follow @MontereyMatt and @CheesyDeeLLT on Twitter as they travel the country on the #loveloaf tour.)

We’d also like to thank Thinkhouse Collective for providing the space and time for such an awesome event. (Follow @SacThinkHouse on Twitter)

All the above photographs were taken by Marita of Food Love & Tradition. Thank you, Marita! Also? No wonder she won the Instagram contest! This is Marita’s co-blogger for Food Love & Tradition, Bridget:

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Check out what other bloggers had to say about this event by clicking on the links below. If you blogged about the event, be sure to submit your link (URL to specific post).

If you’d like to participate in these types of events, make sure you have marked “YES” to “PR and Media Opportunities” in your Sacramento Bloggers newsletter subscription preferences. (There’s a link to update your preferences near the bottom of each newsletter).

Sacramento Bloggers Descend on New See’s Candies Store in Folsom

sees candies, sacramento bloggersSee’s Candies celebrates the grand opening of its Folsom location today and the Sacramento Bloggers got a sneak peek last night during a promotional event that included chocolate tastings, See’s company history and a chocolate box packing contest, I Love Lucy-style.

Here are some of the interesting factoids we learned while trying not to inhale too much chocolate:

 

Did you know that See’s Candies gives away over a million pounds of chocolate in free samples every year?

sees candies

Last year they sold over 26 million pounds of candy.

see candies

Ken (District Sales Manager) and Gordon (Regional Sales Manager) give us a history of See’s including some great trivia nuggets!

And did you also know that Mary See would be 159 years old this September 15th?

 

sees candies

Our awesome See’s Hostess team: Deanna, Teresa, Melanie and Edna.

And did you also know that the famous chocolate conveyor belt episode of I Love Lucy was filmed with See’s candy at their La Cienega kitchen location?

 

sees candies, sacramento bloggers

The great See’s Packing Contest (a la I Love Lucy).

See’s hand-packs its candy and there are no added preservatives, so you know you’re getting a fresh box every time!

Hayley (Domestic Rebel) and her friend, Marilyn

Hayley (Domestic Rebel) and her friend, Marilyn

 

Janelle (Renegade Motherhood) and her son, Rocket.

Janelle (Renegade Motherhood) and her son, Rocket.

 

sees candies, sacramento bloggers

Sacramento Bloggers gather for a group photo at the brand new See’s Candies in Folsom.

 

If you visit their Folsom location today, you’ll get to see their Model A Roadster, so what are you waiting for??

sees candies

Visit the See’s Candies website.

Follow See’s Candies on Facebook.

Read more posts about the See’s Candies event from our other Sacramento Bloggers below: