Monthly Archives: May 2014

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CAUSE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

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How To Get Started Blogging

how to get started blogging

 

I recently received a comment from a reader asking about how they could get started blogging. As a professional blogger and librarian, the first thing I recommend to get started blogging is to read successful blogs and to read about blogging. I recommend the following resources:

 

 

Technorati is a website that lists the top 100 blogs.  Since it is updated daily, the list stays current.  By reading the top blogs, you can get a feel for different blogging styles and techniques as well as what is popularly read. You will have your own style of writing, but this is a great place to start. This website also offers a directory of blogs.

When you do read other blogs, ask yourself:

  • What do I like about this blog?  What do I dislike?
  • What sort of content does it provide?
  • Does the blogger put a unique spin on the topic and/or share their opinions?
  • Do the readers give comments?  Does the blogger respond to the comments?

Another cool website is ProBlogger.  On the home page, you can sign up for free blogging tips to be sent to your e-mail.  This website is run by Darren Rowse, co-author of the very informative book Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

Some other blogging books I recommend:

Bloggers Boot Camp: learning how to build, write, and run a successful blog by Charlies White and John Biggs

Blogging for Creatives: how designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success by Robin Houghton

Born To Blog: building your blog for personal and business success one post at a time by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith

Creative Blogging: your first steps to a successful blog by Heather Wright-Porto

A couple more websites about blogging I recommend:

Daily Blog Tips, Daniel Scocco

CopyBlogger, Brian Clark

In upcoming blog posts, I plan to write about how to blog and why some blogs become very successful.  I appreciate your comments and questions below.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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Union Gables Inn and Suites

I want to share with you my interview with the Head of Marketing, Carla Smith, about bed and breakfast Union Gables Inn and Suites of Saratoga Springs, New York.  So why do people love staying at Union Gables Inn and Suites?

We offer all the luxury amenities like an outdoor pool, free wifi, plush bathrobes in the room, as well as the personal touches and comforts that only a locally owned bed and breakfast can provide like freshly made cookies and complimentary wine each evening. What we receive the most praise from guests about after they have stayed with us is how much they enjoyed getting to know and interacting with the staff. Jane, the Innkeeper, has a personality that brightens everyone’s day and she makes each guest feel at home at Union Gables. Creating that personal connection is the greatest benefit, although the outdoor pool, private parking lot and pet-friendly rooms are also greatly appreciated by guests.

Since you have seven pet-friendly rooms, how many guests bring pets?  What pets have stayed at your inn?
As we are one of the only pet-friendly bed and breakfasts in the area, guests often come to us because it is luxury lodging that they can enjoy with their beloved canines. Guests looking for pet friendly rooms compromises approximately 30% of our bookings. Once we had a guest bring a bird for a weekend stay, but mainly the staff gets to gush over guests’ dogs and spoil them with bones!

What is your most popular room and why do you think that is the case?

Guests always ask us which room is our favorite, and it is honestly almost impossible to choose one because each room has a unique charm and various antiques. The two that are requested most by guests are the Bill Room and the Pond Cottage. The Bill Room is in the main mansion of the Inn on the second floor and is one of the largest rooms we have. Its unique feature is a private outdoor porch overlooking Union Avenue that is perfect for morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. The Pond Cottage allows people more privacy because it is a one bedroom cottage in the Japanese garden area of the grounds and has a private outdoor patio so guests can have an area to themselves surrounded by the beautiful gardens.

Are the rooms with names named after people you know?

The rooms were originally named after the individuals who resided here when the property was state-owned in the 1900’s. A few names have been changed over the years after members of the owner’s family.
 
 

Do you have regular guests that visit at least once every year?

We actually have regular guests that visit as often as once a week or once a month and that have become very close friends. We offer a discount to Skidmore [College] parents as they visit their children or attend sporting events regularly, so they comprise a significant portion of our regular guests. We also have many guests that come back each year for the Saratoga Race Track or for annual events in Saratoga like the Flurry Festival or the Food and Wine Festival.
 
From what locations have your guests visited from?
We have had guests from as far away as Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
 
Your website shows your award-winning gardens you have, do you have a landscaper or gardener to help you or are you a master gardener?
The owner is the master gardener, credits for the beautiful gardens go to his vision and hard work of him and his maintenance staff.
 
The heated pool is a nice touch!  Since it is heated, what months does it get used?
Thank you! The pool opens in May and closes in September or October depending on how quickly the winter weather strikes in the Northeast. 
 
I am impressed at how well you blend antiques with modern day technology such as flat screen televisions in all the bedrooms.
Since you mentioned blending the old with new, our mission has been to tastefully merge the historic, Victorian culture of the Inn with modern technology and luxuries. We would like to preserve the history of the Inn and the antique decor while advancing into the modern century.  For example, we have purchased a GE Wattstation 240V electric vehicle charging station in order to provide an electric vehicle parking spot in our private parking lot. Guests can charge their vehicle in 4-6 hours while they enjoy a luxurious and comfortable night in Saratoga Springs.  We are now the only bed and breakfast in the state of New York with a 240V electric vehicle charging station.  Saratoga Springs is halfway between the major cities of Ottawa, Montreal, New York City and Boston so Union Gables is now part of the network supporting sustainable travel between those cities.
 

Since you are a bed and breakfast, I have to ask, what is your most popular breakfast dish?

We judge the most popular dish ordered for breakfast by how often it is ordered and how clean the plate is after the guests have finished. The chef’s Cinnamon Baguette French Toast guarantees a spotless plate returned every time. Everything we serve is cook to order and the freshness makes a difference. Bruce, the chef, drenches the baguette in the cinnamon egg mixture and browns it on the griddle, then it is baked in the oven until the center becomes a delicious custard. It is served topped with powdered sugar and the guest’s choice of blueberries, strawberries, or bananas and paired with pure Vermont maple syrup.

How many innkeepers and members of the staff are there?

There are the owners, Tom and Barbara Fox; the Innkeeper and Manager, Jane; the Chef, Bruce; and Me, the Assistant Innkeeper and Head of Marketing. We also have various cleaning and maintenance staff. Tom and Barbara have a close connection to the Union Gables Inn, as this was where they met and married. Because Saratoga Springs was the place for horse lovers to show art and Barbara is an equine artist, it brought her to the area and this is where she met Tom. The Inn has a few paintings in the main foyer that she has painted. Tom and Barbara both take pride in maintaining the beauty of Union Gables as a historic icon to Saratoga Springs, and hope that it will bring enjoyment to those that stay here.

Carla, what do you enjoy most about what you do at Union Gables?

When after a stay at Union Gables, a guest tells me that their experience at the Inn and of Saratoga could not have been more perfect. I get the most joy out of personalizing someone’s stay to make sure their individual needs and goals for their trip are met. I was born and raised in Saratoga, so the greatest pleasure is welcoming visitors to the city I am proud to call home and providing local tips and recommendations that allows them to enjoy Saratoga just as much as the locals do. 

There is so much that Union Gables Inn and Suites offers their guests.  They are located in the heart of Saratoga’s Historic district known as the ‘Magic Rectangle’, one and a half blocks from the Saratoga Race Course on Union Avenue and two blocks to the Historic Congress Park.   Check out their photo gallery and make a reservation to be the guests at another bed and breakfast!

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