Helping two new bloggers launch their dreams at the media lab

Amy's Next Chapter

Over the last two weeks, I’ve helped two people launch their blogs on two different blogging platforms. Beckie Crispino started a blog for her business, Cashbackclics, an affiliate of Shop.com, on Blogger and Amy Alandt has started a blog on divorce and the next chapter in her life on WordPress.

Beckie Crispino

I first met Beckie when she came to the media lab through Meetup.com for a workshop on blogging. She learned a lot from Heritage Media Managing Editor Rick Kessler’s two-part series, and wanted to put into action much of what she had learned. We took Rick’s recommendation for a blogging platform and set her up on Blogger. We also set up a Twitter account

and Facebook page associated with the blog, and I am pretty sure she has either set up a Tout account, as well, or plans to soon.

Beckie’s blog has not been launched yet. First she wants to have a logo made and get all of her ducks in a row. In the meantime, she has been adapting to Twitter very well, tweeting and retweeting multiple times a day since we first set up the account Nov. 6.

Amy’s blog was freshly pressed today on WordPress. She also found the media lab through Meetup.com an had attended Rick’s blogging workshop, and my presentation on RebelMouse and NewHive. She works in sales and marketing, and wanted to become more familiar with the WordPress platform since the company she works for uses it and she’s now an administrator of the blog.

To gain practice before actually using her new-found knowledge on her employer’s blog, she set up a personal blog, called “Amy’s Next Chapter.” Today we set up her “about.me” and she wrote her first post, “Welcome to my blog about divorce.” Initially, her first post was titled “Welcome!” but we changed it after I explained about search engine optimization and writing headlines for the web.

Amy is also interested in Tout and during our time together we created a Tout, so I could show her how easy it is to do. The short video was shared on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Amy doesn’t have a Twitter account yet and she prefers to share links to her blog posts on Facebook, rather than link the two. She is considering starting a Twitter account and Facebook page just for her blog.

I applaud both women for taking the steps to realize their dreams, and I look forward to working with both more in the future.

If you are a blogger or thinking about starting a blog, 21st Century Media‘s Michigan Group is recruiting blogging partners. Reach out to me by commenting on this blog and I can send you information.

A new crew of blogging partners

April Davis shows off a flier she created to promote her business while setting up her new blog.

April Davis shows off a flier she created to promote her business while setting up her new blog.

One of our more measurable successes in the Southeast Michigan Media Lab has been our efforts to recruit blogging partners. Since mid-February, we’ve added eight blogs, shared five existing blogs across all of our Michigan websites and we have seven other bloggers we’re working with and should have their blogs linked soon. That could translate into 20 blogs in the last month or so.

Not only is it exciting to link to these new writers and share their insights on everything from travel, international cuisine and world travel to gardening, spirituality and farm life, but it’s fun working with them and offering them advice on how to improve their blogs. I’ve provided critiques on four blogs, and met with several bloggers in person to either get them started, talk about Google AdSense or share digital media tools that can make their blogs more visually interesting and interactive. We’ve also discussed how to grow their audience by using social media.

I’ve also joined two blogger groups on Facebook connected with The Oakland Press and Macomb Daily, and I share tips with them, information on workshops at the Southeast Michigan Media Lab and engage in conversations about their work.

Some of our newest blogs are A Spiritual Voice by Chris Watkins, Talking Taylor Schools by Karl Ziomek, Speck of Sanity by Elizabeth Cusulas, Science for Everyone by Nate Jessee, Transform Yoga and Massage by Carrie Hura, The International Food Diaries by Laura Clark and Travelers Dream Blog by Laura Clark.

Blogs originally only linked to The Morning Sun but now shared on all of our Michigan websites include Lilac Wold and Stuff, Our Transplant Journey and Live Fitness Inspired. I thought all these would be of interest to readers across Michigan. I will be looking at all of our websites and determining which other existing blogs could be shared across our footprint here. I also shared this blog on all of our websites, and added our digital transformation editor’s blog, The Buttry Diary.

In the works are Garden Guy by Paul Rodman, Simply Delightful Sweets by April Davis and The Nourishing Farm by Heather McDougall. They have created their blogs, but have a few more bells and whistles to add.

Blogs in the conceptual stage include a teen mom blog, a crafts blog, a blog from the Parent-Teacher Organization in Milan schools and a blog by Daniel Lloyd with a yet-to-be-determined focus.

If you haven’t checked out these blogs yet, I encourage you to do so and post comments. Bloggers are thirsty for feedback and want to communicate with their audience. They want to know someone is actually reading their posts and that they’re making a difference in other people’s lives, whether it’s providing helpful information or just putting a smile on someone’s face.

Homeschool Kids in the Media Lab

Today I had a blast in the Community Media Lab working with Rita Fischer and her two sons, D.J. and Rigglee, who are homeschooled. The family volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol Michigan Wing and wanted to set up a blog about their adventures. We set up an account for them on WordPress, where they filled out profile information, uploaded aerial photos of the Dexter tornado aftermath and added contributors to the blog. The blog will be a great outlet for them to share their experiences with people who may not be familiar with the Civil Air Patrol and its mission. We may add the blog to our blog roll at Heritage.com after they finetune it. I also suggested they set up a Twitter account to help publicize it. They plan to return soon to the Community Media Lab, and I look forward to working with them. It’s exciting to see kids energized about technology and ways to communicate with the world, while also creating a space where they can express their ideas and share their passions and skills. Check out their blog and amazing photos of Dexter, Mich.

On April 13, I helped the Fischer family set up a blog.