WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

There are so many wordcamps around the world–there are many in the United States, Europe and Asia. So why should you attend the one in Orange County (WCOC)? If you’re anywhere nearby, I highly recommend this Wordcamp. And if you’d like to read recaps from Orange County WordCamp 2013 or 2014, please do.

Everything WordPress

If you’ve been writing your own blog for awhile, or if you’re thinking about starting a blog, you can get plenty of friendly advice here. From hosting to plugins, to how to use a content calendar, you can find it here, or you can find someone to ask.

Everything WordPress

Everything WordPress

Friendly Volunteers

At WCOC, there’s a non-competitive vibe that prevails, with people willing to offer you their time and opinion on just about everything. The entire camp is run by volunteers, too, so if you’d like to give back to the community, there are many ways to do so. From helping people park to signing in the participants, there’s a job for everyone.

A Huge Bargain

At $40, WCOC is the best bargain you’ll get for any conference, hands down. That $40 includes two lunches, all the sessions, a t-shirt, mug, and tons of bling.

The Wordcamp Bandana doubles as a blanket

The Wordcamp Bandana doubles as a blanket

The Bling

Yes, we’re not supposed to be all about the bling. But WCOC has such good designers that all the stickers and t-shirts and mugs every year are fab. It’s like a branded event at a million-dollar conference.

Wordcamp Swag

Wordcamp Swag

The Sessions

This year, the sessions were the best I’ve ever heard. From Sunday’s business conference to William Bay’s session on SEO, they were each packed with so much information, that there was no way to remember it all. Luckily, there are videos and slideshares!

The Friends

Tweeting to my bestie Bridget Willard, I told her that Wordcamp is 1000 times better with friends. In classic introvert fashion, here are our shoes (above). And meeting lots of new friends (see below).

Crazy Inspiration

At every turn, WCOC is filled with inspiration. You might be in the hall waiting for the next session when you overhear someone talking about something you’ve had an issue with. Or out having fish tacos with your bestie when you realize what you have to do next on your blog. Picture below by By Mendel (@ifyouwillit).

WordCamp Inspiration

WordCamp Inspiration

Controversy

Perhaps the most controversial session I attended was the one in which Jarrett Gucci outlined how to create a blogging calendar for 20 posts in 30 days. And no, it’s not like one of those feats where you work up to it and then slack off. It’s a lifestyle change. Yup.

SteveZehngut shared Shia LaBeouf’s video at the opening of the Business Workshop.

Call to Action

My call to action for you is to put Wordcamp Orange County on your calendar for next year. Just do it!

Secrets to Great Content You Forgot You Knew

 

Secrets to Great Content You Forgot You Knew

Secrets to Great Content You Forgot You Knew

Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog. You’re getting ready to get started thinking about it. That is, right after you finish that new business plan for next year. And waxing the car. And don’t you also need to balance your checkbook again?

The secret to great content is to begin creating it. Maybe your writing isn’t perfect. Whose is? If you never start writing, you’ll never know. And great, original content on your blog helps your SEO with Google. Here are a few ideas that helped me get started with blogging.

Don’t procrastinate.

“Procrastination, quite frankly, is an epidemic,” declares Jeffery Combs, the author of “The Procrastination Cure,” says in an article “How to Stop Time,” via the New York Times. Don’t add to that epidemic.

An unfinished blog post

An unfinished blog post

Glue the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.

Sit and start writing the first thing that pops into your head, and do that for 15 minutes. Can you do that? Sure you can! Now, you’ll probably go back and delete 90% of it, but there will be the glimmer of a good idea in there.

Write every day

Write every day

Write every day.

Write whether you feel like writing or not. Often you will not. That monkey brain of yours will want to do other things. Pinning banana recipes on Pinterest comes to mind. You will procrastinate on this important job. So get it over with. Once you get past that first 15 minutes, the rest will get easier. Jeff Goins, in his article “Why You Need To Write Every Day,” says: “If you want to get this writing thing down, you need to start writing every day.”

Talk, then write.

Speak your ideas, then write them down. Or have them written down by someone else. Or use Dragon Naturally. Whatever. Just get the words down. You can change them later. Because everyone can talk.

Don’t expect perfection.

Perfection will never happen. Just make sure to get something in writing. You can come back and insert some long, impressive-sounding words later.

Let it simmer

Let it simmer

Let it simmer.

Here’s the fun part. Go away. Get in your car and drive around. Go for a walk. Come back and everything will look different. When you return from your sojourn you can wear a different hat and edit your words.

Create five topics in your blog.

Today’s topic was one that I began months ago. It languished in my blog, along with some other unfinished work. But one day, you may not know what to write about. You’ll go to your website, and that half-written piece will start to take shape. By the way, here’s a post with some tips for blogging for startups.

Don't wait to get going

Don’t wait to get going

Don’t wait to get going.

It’s going to be work, but once you ‘re done, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Your competition is already done. Don’t get left in the dust. And when you’re done, make sure to promote that blog, too.

Content Creation: Like Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

Content Creation: Like Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

Content Creation: Like Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

One of my friends on Twitter, Tracy Blevins (@TracyBlevins), put content creation this way: “It’s like hosting out-of-town guests–it never ends.” Is that how you feel about content creation? On many days, I feel that way, too. What will I talk about? Will people be interested? Also, what will you cook that they’ll like and haven’t had before? I don’t want to keep serving up grilled cheese every day, after all! Here, then, are some ideas for content creation.

Curated Versus Original Content

Probably the toughest part of my job is discovering content that not everyone in the world hasn’t already seen one billion times before. Word spreads fast on the internet. How can I possibly post something new? Putting my own spin on curated content is possible, but the best thing is to create my own content and images. For instance, recently all my friends were griping about Facebook’s new algorhythm changes, so I decided to write about that.

Search Differently

Try looking for your search terms on both Google and Bing–the results will be different. You can also search for the most recent articles. Another trick is to search for your search term from within. By that I mean that if you want to know about Twitter, search from within Twitter. For Pinterest, search from within Pinterest. You’ll be surprised at what you might find. Pinterest has beefed up its search lately, too. Facebook’s search? Eh, not so much.

Non-Human Guests

Your guests aren't always human.

Your guests aren’t always human.

Another part of creating content is that your guests aren’t always human. Sometimes your guests are the little bots that roam around Google, looking for new content. So if you’re publishing twice a week, the bots will come back like little puppies waiting to be fed on those two days.

Writing for SEO and Ranking Well

Another one of your “guests” is the person who will be searching for your keywords. For instance, if someone did a Google search on quitting Facebook, my post asking if it’s time to quit Facebook might come up. Here’s a terrific article about writing for SEO, by the way.

Ideas through Random Discovery

Sometimes you can discover a good writing topic by looking online or listening to people around you at the grocery store or hearing what your friends are griping about. Is everyone ranting about Google Plus? Well, what else is new? Is there something they’re talking about that you disagree with? Sometimes I’ve started backwards with an image and written a post that way. Here’s one that I wrote after I saw the image. I loved the image so much that I had to write a post around the image.

Creating Content on a Team

If you work on a team, having a process, even if it’s simple, is very important. Who will edit? Will you have a style guide? How many cycles of editing will you go through? Where will you find images? What will your publishing schedule be like? Whenever I’ve tried to work on a team the schedule has been the trickiest part. People at startups are busy and they have other jobs. You’ll have the most success when you’re only responsible for your own schedule.

Do You Need Help with Content Creation?

Have you tried to create your own content? What obstacles have you faced? Please leave me a comment below!

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell a Story

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell A Story

Pinterest Place Boards: Tell A Story

People love stories. Stories are a way of making time stand still. All the world falls away when you’re listening to or reading a story. Did you know that you can create a story using a place board on Pinterest? Think back on those Day in the Life coffee table books. A Pinterest board can be used the same way. Here’s how.

Brain Dump

For this example, I’ll use my own Santa Cruz Daycation board. Write down everything you’d like to do in a single day. Put all the parts of the day in chronological order–I used a numbered list in a Word document to do this. Search for each item online and make sure that whatever you’re going to do is available and open for business. For instance, is the restaurant open? Can you zipline at that time of the day? Can you do yoga early in the morning?

Write Captions

Say something about each step of the day. If you love shoes, and you get to the shoe store 10 minutes before they close, that’s a “SQUEEE!!!” for sure. Rinse and repeat for each event. Add these to your Word doc. And when you’re writing those captions, consider how people search on Pinterest. Here are 18 Tips for Optimizing Your Images to Improve SEO, from Pam Dyer.

Repin or Use Your Own Image

Find Images or Use Your Own

Search within Pinterest, find already-existing photos, or use your own images. And remember, Pinterest is about beautiful images, so make it pretty!  Here’s a blog post I wrote about creating beautiful Pinterest covers.

Start Pinning!

Pin in reverse order from the end of the day to the beginning because the first pin will be at the bottom.

Location, Location, Location

For each pin, first click “Add to Map,” then choose the city. A map appears and will zoom into the city you just selected. Once you’ve found the city, click in the “What’s This Place Called” spot to find the location, and press enter to map it. Some locations will appear instantly while others may require more searching.

Review Your Captions

You can edit the text for each pin later if you like. For instance, I wanted more of a timeline for my place board, so I made sure to add that I was having breakfast, lunch, or dinner, without being too regimented with the times.

Have You Created a Place Board Yet?

What story would you like to tell? Leave me a comment below! And thank you.

 

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