November 23, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Need More Time to Blog? Here’s Your Answer!

Do you ever feel like no matter how well you plan your day, you never seem to finish all of your scheduled tasks, including all the blogging you wanted to do? I know I do! There is an answer! …it’s “GTD” (Getting Things Done), a time management, or more appropriately, life management methodology developed by best-selling author David Allen. This methodology is outlined in great detail in one of my favorite books, Getting Things Done.

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down for a fascinating discussion with David Allen; that discussion is available for download as an MP3, or just hit the Play button below:

I’m a big fan of David’s, having attended one of his workshops in Chicago last year. I’ve written before about how GTD works, but this interview goes into some of the areas I struggle with the most. David gave me some excellent answers on how to…

  • eliminate time-stealing distractions,
  • how avoidance affects success,
  • how crisis negatively impacts your ability to think intelligently,
  • how sometimes waiting until the last minute is the best way to get things done,
  • the importance of emptying your email inbox,
  • the usefulness of virtual assistants,
  • and how the biggest barrier to self-expression and self-actualization is our own selves.
  • “You can’t manage time,” David said. “You actually only manage what you do during time. So the management issue is not so much about time, it’s more about how you manage your focus, how you manage your actions and your activities in terms of what you do. That’s one of the problems with that whole field of time management — they mislabel the problem. Because they label the problem as time, everyone thinks that the calendar is going to be your solution, and it isn’t.”

    In a deadline-driven, time-sensitive, stress-filled world, having the right strategies to deal with your blogging and all your other responsibilities is essential to avoiding burnout and remaining permanently productive. With some elements of your professional life, David’s advice is simple to apply, such as merely paying attention to what has your attention. With other things, you may find yourself facing off against tightly-held, self-destructive habits and behaviors that will prove difficult to disown.

Blogging Article for Innkeepers

To promote the fact I’ll be speaking at the next Maine Innkeeper’s Conference, the group asked me to write an article on blogging for their newsletter. (PDF, 1.3MB)

There’s also an article in there on podcasting as well.

For Joe Cipriano, to be a blogger is to be a mentor

Watching the excellent online seminar series by Apple, “The Podcast Recipe“, really inspired me to get serious about podcasting and make produce something really professional. If you want to start podcasting, or if you want to do it better, then this online seminar is essential viewing!

From that seminar, I also got inspired to reach out to one of the presenters, Joe Cipriano, for an interview. Joe is one of the most recognizable voices on TV and film. He does voiceovers for NBC, Fox, CBS, Food Network, and several motion picture studios. As you can imagine, this keeps him very busy. Yet he also manages to blog (his blog can be found here) and to even create video podcasts that give an inside view of his craft. I found his video from the voice over booth at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards (he was the announcer) particularly fascinating.

For someone who is so highly sought after by the television and motion picture industries, Joe probably doesn’t need to do any marketing. So why does Joe blog? What does he get out of it? I was curious to hear his motivations for blogging and podcasting and any lessons learned along the way. Here’s what Joe had to say…

In what ways has the blog has been helpful to your business?

It’s given me a chance to meet and interact with some of my peers all over the world and and also young talent who are just beginning their voice over careers.

Any lessons learned by doing the blog?

When you start a blog…you’re going to get a LOT of spam :-) I spend the most amount of time deleting spam messages that come in to the blog.

Why did you start blogging?

My web designer suggested it about a year ago and I thought it would be a great way to interact with clients and others with an interest in voice overs.

What’s been the time commitment required to blog? Do you plan on increasing it?

I should spend more time with it, but I do like to come up with different ideas to present on the blog. Most of my blogging deals with entries from voice over hopefuls who have questions about studio equipment, moving their career along and tips on getting started in the business. I started a new entry recently that had nothing to do with the business of voice over with the title, “What’s Your Perfect Weekend.” It has nothing to do with voice overs and I encourage readers to submit their “perfect weekend.”

Where does podcasting fit in for you? And where will it in the future?

I have a couple of video podcasts up on the blog. I’ve gotten the most response to these. People are fascinated to actually see what a voice over session is like. To produce the video podcast, I use my MacBookPro and built in iSight in the bezel of the screen, recording directly into iMovie for these little video tidbits. I take the audio from the studio itself rather than the microphone in the MacBookPro. It gives the effect of the “real” full fidelity sound of the session.

What’s the pay-off been for you of doing podcasts versus regular blog posts?

I guess it’s the difference between reading a magazine and watching a video. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

So there you have it. Joe’s blogging is a way for him to give something back, to help voice over hopefuls break into the industry and hone their skills. Very cool! Good on ya, Joe!

In these troubled times of flogs (faux blogs) and disingenuity orchestrated by PR firms on behalf of their fat cat clients, bloggers like Joe are a breath of fresh air! They are the reason why I am still so enthusiastic about blogging.

VideoBlogging: A Great Option for Corporate Bloggers

Posted by: of andrewbourland on 09/18/06

There was quite a bit of controversy over at TechMeme this past weekend over the question of whether bloggers should videoblog or just stick to text.

I’d like to weigh in on this issue, given my credentials as a brand spankin new videoblogger that just launched a new business oriented videoblog (we interview entrepreneurs from early stage companies).

For the most part, sticking to text is best. It’s easier, cheaper and far less work and maintenance than having to put up a videocast of whatever you would normally blog about. People can scan text quicker and it’s easier to reprint a particularly informative blog entry to pass around the office.

But there are times where video could come in real handy…

An interview with a key player at your company or within your industry.

A quick demo of a new product or service you are launching.

Some quick interviews with partners and clients you run into at a conference or trade show.

A Channel 9 type “mini-documentary” of projects you have underway and the people in charge.

Video helps you capture that human essence that words cannot always do… An expression on a person’s face, the tone of their voice, a hesitation in saying something… Impossible to capture in text. Easy on video.

You don’t necessarily need a production grade videocamera, special lighting or even a studio to add video to your blog. The resources you need are surprisingly affordable and easy to use.

Bottom line, it’s not an either/or question… really more of a “which is more appropriate for what I’m trying to communicate here?” type of a question.

Video is growing in leaps and bounds on the net, and it behooves you to learn how best you can benefit from it.

UnConferences: Not a Bad Thing to Attend After All

Posted by: of andrewbourland on 09/11/06

I have to eat my words and offer a public apology to Josh Hallet, whose BlogOrlando UnConfererence I questioned the validity of in this forum.

In that piece, I charged that UnConferences were essentially anti-capitalistic over-reactions to the sins of the current approach to conferences. I questioned their value, recalling an UnConference I attended at the ripe young age of 16 which degenerated in to chaos.

I got some feedback from people telling me that I shouldn’t be so harsh in my judgement of UnConferences, that I should attend one before I make such rash statements in the future.

Such an opportunity arose this weekend when I attended PodCamp Boston, a gathering of podcasters and videocasters designed to teach each other what they’ve learned about the art, craft and business of podcasting.

An agenda that looked informative and useful emerged as the days for the conference approached. An impressive list of experts and well known figures within podcasting steadily grew as well, making the conference that much more valuable for me to attend.

It was a free conference, but it was looking early on like something of great value to me, so I signed on as a $250 sponsor — which I would have been glad to pay anyway just to rub elbows with the quality of people who would be attending.

The sessions moved along quickly and were quite lively with enthusiastic participation from the attendees — much more so than other conferences I’ve attended where people tend to fall into catatonic states unless the speaker was particularly charismatic.

Anti-capitalistic? Hardly. The organizers did all they could to facilitate good networking and introducing those who would benefit greatly from meeting each other.

I learned a great deal in the time I was there, and hope I was useful to others as well. Not only that, despite being a dyed in the wool introvert, I ended up joining three local organizations which will help continue the learning path I’m on. It will also help me in my networking about, learning more of the right people that I should be talking to.

So Josh, you were right, I was wrong. The UnConference can in fact be a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the topics you are interested in.

I would recommend corporate bloggers seek out these venues as well to increase their knowledge on their blogging skills. They only cost you the time, energy and knowledge you put into them — which will serve to increase their value substantially.

NYC Event: SS Roundtable Dinner (May 16th)

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 05/10/06

RSS ad specialist Pheedo together with SilverPop, iUpload and PRWeb, are hosting a dinner roundtable on the topic of RSS advertising. Details here. This follows on a similar event they hosted earlier this month in San Francisco.

How Prentice-Hall uses blogs and podcasts to improve sales

This is one of those great “some companies really ‘get it’” stories, the kind of thing I love to hear about as someone riding the very tip of the technology rocketship (think Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove and you’ll have my mental image exactly). Prentice-Hall Business Publishers have the same challenges that any company today faces, including motivating the sales force, identifying the key message or messages for marketing and making sure that the team stays on message rather than wandering off into pointless information that isn’t going to close any sort of deal.

But unlike most companies, PH decided to tackle the problem with blogs, podcasts and simulation games. It’s darn interesting:

  Blogs, Podcasts and Simulations Improve Sales at Prentice-Hall

What have you done to help your sales team succeed today?

Lexus Uses Blog Ads to Promote Podcast Campaign

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 01/5/06

Toyota has launched a podcast campaign to promote its Lexus IS, in partnership with Vibe Magazine and independent hiphop/jazz fusion recerd label Hidden Beach Recordings. The campaign is supported by blog advertising. The site features downloadable MP3s, and the ability to subscribe to them, of half-hour samples of Unwrapped CD series.

According to a ClickZ article, the campaign is targeted at an African-American audience, and blogs play a “pretty heavy part” of the campaign, according to a Toyota spokesperson quoted in the article. I have to say, that seems a bit curious to me. I wonder if they did much demographic research about podcast users and blog readers to determine whether it was a good fit with an African-American target audience. The few black bloggers I know all seem to take perverse pleasure in their being among the few black bloggers out there. I suppose like anything that is changing and blogs will continue to gain traction across all demographic segments, but it strikes me as a pretty rarified audience segment they’re targeting.

Anyway, I do think that the idea of using custom podcast content is a good strategy for making use of podvertising. And the grooves are definitely funky. Good exposure, in any event, for Hidden Beach, which I’m adding to my music watch-list. (Ironically, I don’t see that HiddenBeach.com links to the co-branded podcast site. Details, details…)

 

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