Personal Blog: http://mothershaffer.wordpress.com/
Bio: Karen Shaffer was born and raised in Massachusetts. She is an active blogger and new media junky with over 15 years of content development and customer relations management expertise. She's currently working as a writer for an interactive media agency in the Boston area.
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When I find myself with a few minutes to spare, I open Google Reader and skim headlines to see what catches my eye. Sadly, an average of three or four articles are intriguing enough for me to want to read more.
If you don’t grab me in three seconds, you’ll never have me.
In the blogging world, it’s important to write posts that are original and interesting, but it’s more important to grab the reader’s attention with a great headline and then get to the point–quickly. No one has time to read a blog that goes on and on.
If you blog, I beg you, take a look at your latest post and cut it down–shorten your paragraphs and delete unnecessary fluff.
And just when you think your post is the perfect length. Cut it down again and highlight key messages for easy skimming.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
I was reading someone’s blog the other day who was writing for “Invisible Illness Week”. I had never heard of Invisible Illness Week and as someone with a chronic illness, I wanted to learn more. In a few clicks, I was surfing the Blogger’s Unite web site, creating a profile and joining the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness group on Bloggers Unite myself.
Bloggers Unite is a community of bloggers who write for causes they care about. Members are encouraged to write posts on a particular day (or multiple days) in an effort to harness the power of hundreds, if not thousands of bloggers, blogging about the same topic all around the world.
To find a cause that is of interest to you, you can use the search feature to find and join groups. You can read posts related to your cause and write your own post about a particular cause as well.
For those of you who want to promote your own cause or event, all you need to do is follow the four simple steps below:
1. Create an event you are passionate about
2. Add a “badge” to your blog to help spread the word
3. On the date of the event, write a blog post on the subject
4. Share your post with the Blogger’s Unite community
Nice way to bring awareness to important causes as well as to connect with people with similar interests.
Know other worthwhile blogging communities? Please share them in your comments!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m in the midst of creating a new blog that will highlight my professional rather than my personal side. I started with purchasing my domain name (karenshaffer.com) and setting up hosting (godaddy with WordPress integration).
Now, just need to pick a theme and tweak it a little to create the perfect marriage between form and function–and then start blogging.
Easier said than done.
After compiling a list of “must have” attributes, reviewing many “best free WordPress themes” lists, previewing hundreds, downloading several, I have finally arrived at my top choice (Simple Balance 2.2 by Blogsessive)…for now.
Why is your theme choice such an important decision?
Because it is a statement about who you are.
Sure content, user-friendliness and all the back end tracking and analyzing tools are important, but your “theme” says a lot about you and how you will be perceived by your readers. It’s all about first impressions.
So what do you want your theme to say about you? Are you bold and confident? A colorful character? Or are you more subdued? Do you prefer complicated over simple? Are you reserved or outgoing? Are you conversation starter or a contributor?
Augh..with so many choices, I’m not sure I’ll ever find my perfect theme, but I think I’m close–I have chosen a crisp, clean theme with strong, but calming colors and I have created a title and tag line that effectively illustrates my focus, but with a slightly humorous edge. Yep, I think that sums me up real good.
So what does your theme say about you?
I started blogging in January 2009. It all started after a heated discussion at work–how to incorporate social media into our marketing mix. After writing a sample article and receiving many kudos from my manager and co-workers, my blog was born.
To date, my blog has been all about discovery: what if I write about this subject; what if I link to this person’s blog; what if I open a Twitter account and link to my blog; what if I join Blogher; what if I use these tags; what if I ask a question on LinkedIn; the list goes on.
It has been a lot of fun catching up to and jumping on the blogging train and delving head first into the world of social media. In fact, I”ve had so much fun that I want a new job doing this stuff! I want to blog and manage an on-line community.
But wait. There’s a problem here. Unfortunately, my personal blog could become a liability when it comes to a serious job search.
Sure, I’ve been careful not to be too specific about who I’m writing about, but there is a definite “tone” that could be miscontrued as bitter.
I like sarcasm, but someone looking to hire me, may not. I also like talking about controversial things like religion and healthcare reform. And I on occassion discuss my chronic health condition. Not really the professional voice some may be looking for, right?
So, I’ve been thinking about starting a new personal/professional blog (now that I’m an old pro). I purchased my domain name/hosting (www.karenshaffer.com), started a new Twitter account, and am chewing on where to focus my content. I’m a writer, yeah, but I’m so much more than that. I’m a consumer advocate, a project manager, a data freak, an excellent maker of coffee….
I’m glad I took the time to experiment with a personal blog first before taking on a super-focused professional endeavor, but I’m thinking it’s time to move on and get serious.
Have advice for me? I’d love to hear from you.