Insomnia: A Social Media Manager’s Battle

Insomnia: A Social Media Manager's Battle

Insomnia: A Social Media Manager’s Battle

Social media managers often get insomnia. I read about it one time on Mashable. I was sleepy, but I think that’s where it was. We worry about getting online traffic, clicks, and a whole host of other ridiculous things, such as the following.

The Ridonculous Headline

We worry about silly things like headlines. You’ve all heard that the headline is the most important part of writing an article or blog post. It needs to be catchy, but not linkbait. You want people to click on that link and then dive into the blog post. You might want to read about why headline writing is such a pain in the asterisk.


With social media, there’s always more to do. One more tweet to write, one more person to talk to, one more half-baked task to implement. So while you’re trying to sleep, there’s always a little voice saying “what did you forget to do?”

The Stupid Call to Action

As if writing a decent Facebook post isn’t hard enough, there’s always that stupid call to action. Sometimes it’s implied, but usually not. It can be a question, such as “tell me what you would do,” “do you agree?” “Tell us! Yes or No.” Sometimes it’s a button to subscribe or sign up for a newsletter. Hubspot has some terrific call to action examples, by the way.

The Ludicrous Return on Investment

If you track everything carefully and use your analytics, you can figure out where you’re getting the most return on investment (ROI). But with social media, it’s more like your audience gets warmed up before making a sale. Could you track where every single customer comes from?

The Image

The Image

The Compelling Image

Is the image captivating enough? Does it tell a story? Is it boring? Again, without sliding over into linkbait, the image has to ride that fine edge between captivating and linkbait. Will your audience lean in to see what’s happening in the image? Line, color, and texture all need to work together.


Timing is another preposterous thing to consider. If you post too early, no one will be awake (except the other insomniacs who haven’t been to bed yet. Post too late and only the zombies and creatures of the night will see it. Then again, you don’t want to do what everyone else does! That late night post just might get picked up and go viral! It could happen!

What if No One Shows up to the Twitter Chat?

What if No One Shows up to the Twitter Chat?

What If There’s a Chat and No One Shows Up?

Akin to “if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there…”. You tweet out carefully crafted questions and nobody answers. Tick-tock, Tick-tock, Tick-tock. Crickets. Getting those first few people to join your chat can take forever. Meantime, you have to keep plugging away, and whistling a happy tune.

Scheduling Versus Being Online Live

Scheduling Versus Being Online Live

Scheduling Versus Being Online Live

Do you wait around for someone to respond to your tweet? Or do you post, go away, and come back three days later? That’s the dilemma right there. Of course, the more you’re online, the better your chances are of making a good contact. And as my buddy, Bridget Willard says, “Relationships are long-term investments.”

What Dopey Things Keep You Up At Night?

What Dopey Things Keep You Up At Night?

What Dopey Things Keep You Up At Night?

Leave me a ridiculous comment!




Blogging Tips for Startups

Blogging Tips for Startups

Blogging Tips for Startups

Do you have a startup? Are you blogging yet?  Why not? How about now?  Are you tired of being harangued with the idea that every startup needs to blog? How do you get started? What do you write about? How long should posts be? Today I’m pulling back the curtain and sharing some of my personal tips.

Blog Every Day

Yes, it sounds overwhelming. Yes, you can write in small increments. Yes, it will help your startup. Back when I started to exercise, I gave myself an out whenever I went to the gym. If I didn’t feel better after 15 minutes, I allowed myself to leave. During many years of exercising, I’ve only left twice. So set that timer for 15 minutes and get going! You can do it! Now I post twice weekly–Tuesdays and Thursdays. Maybe you can’t do that much, but how about once a month?

Start 5 Topics

Simply put in the headlines (and you can even change those later). For instance, “5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Break Room,” “Behind the Scenes at [your company name here],” “Our 6 Favorite Business Tools.” You get the idea. Throw them in there and don’t worry too much. Having 5 topics going at once gives you no excuse to stop writing. When you’re done writing on one post, jump to another. This idea came from Syed Balkhi, by the way. I wrote about him in a post on WordCamp Orange County, too.

Don’t Be Afraid

Don't be afraid that you'll run out of ideas

Don’t be afraid that you’ll run out of ideas

I’ve run across this fear from talking to people in startups who don’t blog. They’re afraid they’ll run out of topics. But the reverse is true: the more you blog, the more topics you’ll think of. You’ll meet other bloggers, and they’ll give you ideas. (For instance, the idea for this post came from my bud Bridget Willard.) You’ll influence them, too! That was one of the most wonderful things that happened to me–meeting other bloggers and sharing ideas. And don’t forget to go to WordCamp if you can. You may be able to attend virtually if you can’t travel.

Toss Topics That Don’t Go Anywhere

There is a limitless number of topics, so toss the ones that just sit and sit. This helps your blog feng shui. Yes, I just made that up. Hahaha! If your startup is a team effort, you could have team members help each other with writing and editing or take turns so there’s less pressure on any one person.

Brain Dump!

Use the old-fashioned "keyhole" approach to writing

Use the “keyhole” approach to writing

Now without thinking too hard, start throwing a bunch of words in your post. Usually I use the “keyhole” concept. Think of an old-fashioned keyhole. Start general, narrow it a bit, put in a topic sentence (if you want), then 3 or 4 paragraphs about that topic, then the wrap up and generalization at the end. That’s it. 350 words gets you a post. Could you do that? Sure you could!

Be Funny

Sometimes I crack myself up. I really do! I’m not saying that to brag. But if a funny idea pops into your head, why not share it? It’s what makes you unique. I’m not a subscriber to the belief that everything has to be so professional that there’s no personality in there. Usually, when I write, the funny bits get added later. One funny bit often leads to another, and so on.

Read it Out Loud

I like my blog to be casual, so I read it out loud. You can also read it aloud to someone else. A tip that really helped me was someone telling me “if you can speak, you can write.” And it’s true. I truly believe that anyone can write. If, when you read your writing, it sounds more like you’re reading someone else’s words, rewrite the words so it sounds like you’re speaking. You’re an expert at something. Come on. You know you are!

Add Links

I like to put in four links–two to my own posts and two outgoing, to someone else’s article or blog. Try to make them a natural part of your post, though. Don’t force a topic by adding your own links until you’ve got a little content.

Add Images

Read Your Post Out Loud

Read Your Post Out Loud

Creative Commons is my favorite place to get images. Don’t forget to use the advanced search and find images that can be shared and used commercially. Recently I’ve started using my own pictures, too. I drag all images into a photo editor and add my name or the photographer’s name from Creative Commons at the bottom. I take my picture using my iPhone and sometimes a tiny lens (the 4-in-1 from OlloClip is fantastic!). Label the images within WordPress. I use a minimum of two images. Three or four for longer posts.

Let Stew

Some people are great writers and they can write perfect, full sentences. I’m not one of those. So I usually start my posts on the weekend and get the majority of the words in there. Tuesday’s post is usually, but not always, done by Sunday night. Thursday’s post is half-baked and gets finished during the week. I don’t have 10 sitting around waiting to be scheduled, but maybe in the future. Maybe.

I’m Still a Beginner

Some of my friends have written upwards of 300 posts, and some day I’ll get there. I know I have a long way to go. I’m always learning. I learn from my friends, and reading others’ blogs. CopyBlogger is a great one for bloggers.

Call to Action

Here’s the part where I ask you a question. Something like “Did I miss anything?” or “What do YOU think?” but you could put in your own call to action. Please visit us on Pinterest! Send us cupcakes! Donate to our Indiegogo! You get the idea! So my real call to action is: please leave a comment!




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