Starting a Student Blog

Blogging is becoming quite popular in society, and many people are trying their hand at it. Some students are giving it a go and chronicling their lives at high school or college, and professors and teachers are also using them to stay in contact with their classes. What are some of the benefits associated with such processes?

Starting Conversations
In the classroom, some students are a bit shy when it comes to raising their hands; however, they have absolutely brilliant ideas inside of their minds. When you, the instructor, start a blog, you’re allowing these students to have a voice. Generally, people are less afraid to voice their opinions over the Internet. In the beginning, you may even allow them to use anonymous names on the blog, but you should know who is who.

Documenting Homework
Are you tired of hearing students tell you that they couldn’t complete an assignment because they didn’t know about it? Put an end to that pandemonium now by documenting all of your assignments on the blog. Of course, a paper copy is always a wise idea too, but students tend to lose these. When the information is posted on the blog, they have no excuse as to why they couldn’t find the requirements for the task. Make checking the blog a part of their daily homework routine.

Documenting Your Story
Now, let’s take a look at blogs that are actually written by students. Consider the ways in which a student blog might help other people. If you are attending university, you could write about your days there, how the classes are, what the food really tastes like and how many different types of clubs are active on the campus. Aren’t these the inside details that you would’ve liked to have known when you were searching for colleges? By giving students an inside perspective, you will be helping them out. If the blog puts a positive spin on the college, then maybe the school will want to use it for promotional purposes.

Creating a Career
One of the main goals of college is to educate yourself and find a career that you love, and blogging can certainly be a part of that. This activity is particularly helpful for individuals majoring in English or journalism; however, it can serve as a major resume booster in several different fields. Choosing to blog now could help you land an internship or a job later on down the road. The blog will not only showcase your interests and hobbies, but it will also let your potential bosses know that you have top notch writing skills. It’s always so important to be able to effectively communicate with other individuals, regardless of what field you are in.

Whether you are a student or an instructor, starting a blog with education as its main focus has some serious benefits. You might wind up making a job for yourself in the future, or you may end up getting less late homework assignments than ever before.

Author Jason Harter enjoys blogging and is a contributing writer for best online colleges for business degrees


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Lady Gaga’s Egg

Lady Gaga made a grand entrance in a plastic egg at last night’s Grammy Awards. Even though it must have been hot and stuffy in that egg, this unusual stunt is a sure bet to make headlines in the newspapers and get on Twitter. Lady Gaga likes to get publicity.

But you have to ask yourself: Is this the kind of publicity you want to get? It may work for Lady Gaga because her acts are all about sensationalism. She evidently wants to be portrayed as a way-out there edgy performer wearing bizarre costumes that are more art than clothes.

I give her a lot of credit for putting herself in that hot little egg. It was amazing that she could emerge from the egg (be born) and start dancing up a storm. Most people’s muscles would be cramped up and stiff all over.

I write this blog today about the famous lady and the egg because we all have to consider how we are going to get publicity. If you were a CEO or lawyer, you obviously would not show up at a board meeting to announce something important wearing an egg on your head. If you were Steve Jobs presenting a new life-changing mobile device, you would not come dressed in astronaut clothes. And if you were Mark Zuckerberg, you would not be in a blue suit. You would be wearing sneakers and a hoodie.

We all want to portray ourselves in accordance with our profession and our product. Stay with your brand. I don’t see the egg in keeping with Lady Gaga’s image — even though her PR person kept saying she was gestating or something like that.

In the end, the egg didn’t help her to win the Best Album Grammy.  It’s not always about what you wear or what stunt you arrange; winning awards is about ability, class and genius. Albert Einstein knew that it comes down to that. I guess that’s why he never combed his hair. Oh, well.

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Hiring a Freelance Writer

Welcome to our Guest Blogger, Taqiyyah Shakirah Dawud.

8 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Freelance Writer

If you need content written for your business, searching out a professional can be a daunting task. How do you find a good writer without wasting more time and money than the end product is worth?

You can cut down on risk if you ask a few questions as you research professional writers. Some of these are easily answered by information on the writer’s website or other professional profile, and others you’ll need to discuss directly by e-mail or phone. Prioritize your needs in order to make decisions based on the answers you get.

What are your specialties? Some copywriters primarily craft articles for magazines and other news outlets or blogs. Others primarily create marketing content like that found on websites and brochures, landing pages, and online catalogs. Some write primarily for web outlets while others write primarily for print outlets. You’ll find many industry specialty combinations as well. If you don’t find it posted anywhere online, be sure to ask in order to be sure the writer is capable of fulfilling your needs.

What other industries do you write for? You may run into a writer whose style you like who has no samples in your field. Find out what other industries he or she writes for to find out whether they’re familiar with yours. This can be another way to discover the writer’s other interests, as well, since writers tend to like being paid to write about issues they enjoy.

Do you have any writing samples? You’d be surprised at the slim portfolios of some writers. Some don’t have permission to share much of the content they create due to non-disclosure agreements, or a lack of print-or web-quality samples from former clients. If a writer does not have a sample readily available, he or she should be happy to produce one for you within the requirements you set. Some writers may request a small fee for the sample.

Do you have any references I can talk to? If you see no client list or recommendation, and are still waiting for a writing sample, asking for client references is an alternate way to get a feel for a writer’s work. Ask former clients about the type of work done, and whether the quality met the client’s expectations. Don’t be shy to directly ask whether a former client would use the writer again for similar needs.

Who will be doing the writing? This is a question few people looking for a writer expect to have to ask, but it’s a valid one. Some writers receive so much work, they outsource or subcontract projects to other writers. Find out whether the writer you’ve contacted is the one who will be crafting your content. If it’s someone else, investigate the background and quality of that writer’s work.

Can you meet my deadline? Often a writer will ask for your deadline if you don’t ask first. Writers need deadlines to be able to schedule other projects around yours. If you’re not sure of a deadline, or there is no deadline (such as in the case of hiring a blogger), make that clear from the outset so you can work together to come up with a schedule or timeline of the process for the contract.

How do you charge and how much? This may be your primary concern, but if rates are not posted on the website, you’ll probably find it difficult to get a price range out of a writer before you’ve hashed out what it is you need, and how that need will be fulfilled. Try nailing down project specifics before coming to the money question in order to be sure of the best estimate.

Are you available for a long-term business relationship? If you like a writer, asking him or her to stay with you for regular assignments in the future can get you benefits like shorter turnaround times, bulk discounts, and a professional who will do the best he or she can to keep you satisfied (within the limits of the contract of course!). It reduces the amount of time the writer needs to spend finding future assignments, so many writers will be happy to accept your offer if they’re able.

Taqiyyah Shakirah Dawud is the sole copywriter and editor behind Deliberate Ink. She’s been blissfully crafting marketing communications for businesses and editing works for academics and authors since 2002. Upon the launch of her blog in 2010, she discovered she also enjoys writing useful posts on marketing techniques, the writing and editing process, and social media. You can find her on Twitter @shakirah_dawud.

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Political PR

Public Officials Need PR

Getting elected to public office requires PR or media relations. The candidate’s name needs to appear in local newspapers so voters become familiar with it. Voters may not know about the politics of the individual but if they get acquainted with the name, they are likely to end up voting for him or her on Election day.

I was once asked to volunteer PR services to help get a Family Court Judge elected. I had no experience working in politics, but agreed to help. The leader of the PR team assigned me to write press releases announcing endorsements by various organizations, such as the local labor union, Chamber of Commerce, and political groups.

Here is a summary of the tasks involved:

  • Identifying groups and organizations that endorsed the candidate.
  • Preparing a concise press release announcing the endorsement.
  • Distributing the press release to the appropriate media outlets that covered politics.
  • Following up to answer any questions from reporters.

This process seemed to work. It was pretty exciting when our candidate got elected. Of course, nowadays, it takes much more than press releases to get a candidate elected to national office. President Barack Obama used social media to get elected and it worked. I believe this was a major turning point in political PR.

Please contribute any suggestions you may have about political PR.


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Websites for Doctors

Should Doctors Have Websites?

Prior to the digital age, doctors and lawyers thought it was unprofessional to advertise or promote their services. Most of the time, they received new patients and clients through referrals. One person would tell another about a good doctor or a reputable lawyer.

Of course, all that has changed. Lawyers advertise on TV and in magazines, and so do doctors. Everyone in the universe is promoting themselves through the Internet and through public relations and advertising. So the big question now is: Should a doctor have a website? Does a doctor or medical practitioner need a website?

Here are 7 reasons why doctors need a website and blog:

  • People are looking for specific types of doctors to treat their medical conditions.
  • Doctors specialize in specific areas of medicine. People with medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or gastrointestinal ailments will search for these terms to find doctors.
  • People are looking for information about their symptoms. Doctors can provide educational information on their websites.
  • People want to see what the doctor looks like. It makes them feel more comfortable before starting with a new doctor.
  • The website is a good place to direct people to the doctor’s office. It should offer directions.
  • Doctors can offer resources on their website, meaning links to other websites where prospective patients can find information that will help them.
  • A website for a doctor should contain clearly written content that puts the reader at ease and gives them confidence about the doctor. It should include the doctor’s credentials, Board certifications, the college and medical school he attended. List post-graduate work and certifications.

There are many dignified ways for a doctor to promote his practice. Here are just a few:

  1. Articles in local magazines and newspapers.
  2. Speaking engagements at local meetings and professional groups.
  3. Being available to reporters as a source for inclusion in articles and on TV.
  4. Link from a professional association to your website and vice versa.

For more information about websites for doctors, call Arlene Hauben: 305-206-4488

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Creating Facebook Fan Pages

The ABC’s of Facebook Fan Pages

Although Facebook was not originally intended as a professional tool, it certainly has become effective as a business tool to promote your business. Most companies and organization have a Facebook Fan Page to build and promote their brand and to provide a link that takes people directly to your corporate website. Of course, there are many other benefits to creating fan pages.

There are more than 500 million active users on Facebook and 50% log on in any given day. The average user has 130 friends. Facebook fan pages have become a business marketing and sales tool.  Fan pages allow you to interact informally with potential customers that are invited to visit your pages. Not only can you build professional relationships, but fan pages helps to increase visibility and stimulate transactions.

Professionals like fan pages to connect with potential customers.

Example 1:  Financial advisors keep the conversation going on Facebook by letting friends and fans know about local events and jobs in the area. Rather than hype their business, they educate and inform. They become a respected source of local news. By providing a service, you can build a fan base.

Example 2:  Real estate brokers provide recent local sales and market reports. Fan pages act as a newsletter with information about neighborhoods, what is selling, and median prices for different types of housing.

To get started, go to Create a page. Select “Business” or “Brand” or “Product.”

After you set up your page, you can manage it by going to the upper right corner of Facebook. You will see “Account” link. When you open that drop-down, select “Manage Pages” and all of the pages you own are listed. You can go to the page and/or edit it.

Now, you will want to know how to drive traffic to your new fan pages. Kimberly Castleberry, social media guru, gives excellent advice on managing social media. Here is what she advised on how to build traffic.

“Social media happens when you integrate what you are doing on Facebook with what you are doing on Twitter, your blog, and your email list. You move the traffic between the three platforms,” says Kimberly.

  1. Invite your email list to join you on Facebook.
  2. Write a blog post about Facebook and invite your readers to join you. Ask them to share their fan pages and connect with them.
  3. Get your Twitter followers to join you on Facebook and vice versa.

Well, that’s it for now. I am working on doing a custom landing tab in place on my FB page, a useful way to bring traffic to my page’s new landing tab and get likes/fans.

Please let me know how your fan pages are working out. I will add them to my Facebook pages.

Thanks to Kimberly Castleberry,

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Bloggers help promote products

Blogs can become communities where people go to learn from each other about what’s good to buy. Think of bloggers as reviewers and product endorsers.

Companies like General Mills are finding that bloggers are a great way to reach customers and generate buzz about a product.

General Mills has recruited bloggers, mostly moms, to review and give away products. The bloggers are not compensated in any way other than free product.

As a matter of fact, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that bloggers who endorse a product must disclose connections with the seller of the product or service. That includes free products for review.

Companies hope that bloggers’ reviews are positive. In the meantime, they are building warmer relationships with consumers by placing the product with the blogger. If the blogger seems to like the product, the consumers become more interested and is more likely to buy it.

BlogHer is a heavily trafficked blog that connects advertisers with women bloggers and their readers. The blog attracts millions of visitors and the attention of major companies like Ford, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft and Sprint, which buys ads. You can find exclusive offers here from HomeGoods, Laughing Cow Cheese, Jimmy Dean, and other companies that run sweepstakes and contests. You can also win prizes and gift cards and get coupons.

Retailers use blog sites to make special offers that engage customers. When CVS drug store promoted its “$25 gift card for a friend, get a $5 for yourself,” sales increased. When The Container Store and Uno tried the “buy one, get one” deal, they saw a 10 fold increase in sales.

What it really boils down to is this: Retail chains, restaurants, and consumer product companies are using blog sites as media outlets, the same as newspapers and magazines. Bloggers help create brand awareness and give products a warm and fuzzy feel, without the high cost of advertising.

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