A few more suggestions to add to this list would be to keep a folder of cool iClipArt.com clips ready for Holidays and random posts. I like the idea of using google docs or gmail that is mentioned in the comments below the post. I want to check this out on my iPad since you do lose posts here and there before they get saved. One more tip? Blog daily. It just gets easier when you have the routine established.
ActiveRain Newbie? My 3 Favorite Tips to Make Blogging Easier
Although I’m still really an ActiveRain Newbie myself, having only joined last spring, there have been a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way that have made the blogging experience even more enjoyable. I was chatting with a friend who’s considering starting a blog for her veterinary business, and our discussion made me think of my favourite tips for ActiveRain blogging:
1. Surround yourself with interesting folks that SHARE. Sure, this isn’t a “techy” tip – but it really helps set you up for success. If you read and comment on posts by knowledgeable folks that openly share their experiences, recommendations, advice and industry information, you’ll be ahead of the game! You'll never want for a topic because you’ll have so many questions to ask you could easily write more than 10 posts a week! And even better, these experienced folks will read and comment on YOUR posts and provide the support and encouragement needed to get started – and keep going! Sending out big “Thanks” to those ActiveRain mentors that inspired me (then and now). I’m so grateful I “subscribed” to your posts!
2. Write the textual content in Word (or mail program, like AOL) and then just drag/drop into ActiveRain. Sounds easy? This was one of the more frustrating elements – at least for me – in starting out blogging. I couldn’t seem to get the right formatting and there always seemed to be a difference in what was entered into the ‘create’ post versus what the ‘draft’ post looked like. I found that I had the greatest success when using Internet Explorer (even tho Firefox is my fave browser) so I’ve stuck with IE for writing and editing posts, although Firefox works fine for commenting and reblogging. With my posts originally crafted in Word, I never worry if I inadvertently ‘delete’ the AR draft (yeah, it happens) and whenever I have a few minutes or the creative urge strikes, I write the post and then have it ready for entering in AR – usually at the end of my day. Word is also good for adding color and changing font size. We all have our own style, but I love to read blogs where the writer has taken the time to use a creative font or color to support the content – I most enjoy posts from my favourite bloggers that are visually interesting, as well as informative.
3. Keep a catalogue of pictures at the ready. Whether free clipart, videos, photographs you’ve taken or have permission to use – having visual materials handy that you can upload to augment a post really saves time. Keep your camera handy to take pictures during your day, as community pictures lend themselves very well to localism posts, and other photo’s (such as a nicely-staged room or a poorly presented yard) can also help in providing ideas for your posts. I sort them by general topic, such as seasonal, holidays, animals, market images (etc) for easy reference.
You’re trying to make a connection with people through your writing and having a picture to support your thoughts (ie the whole package), in my opinion, can differentiate you from others. That might be a factor I’d consider if I was potentially considering you to list my property – or as a candidate for my referrals. Again, it’s a personal thing, but I might be thinking this post is reflective of your business approach – do you just do the minimum required, or do you extend a bit more effort?
It’s up to you to determine the extent to which you apply your creativity, insights, expertise, and time to your blogging efforts – and just making the decision to join ActiveRain is a great first step! I hope these simple tips can help you feel more comfortable at getting your voice in the ‘Rain!
I'd also love to learn your favorite tip for AR blogging!