Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts tagged High Desert bloggers

Evolution: What Is Blogging?

 

Early Man's Need for Blogging

Early Man’s Need for Blogging

Early writers on the Internet wanted to share their views and be seen. Many were already writing in their journals or conversing with others on the first bulletin boards. But something was missing.

As the computer industry began to upgrade its software and develop its early social connections, those who loved journaling indicated that there might be a better networking option. Remember, too, that back then no one was allowed to sell or promote on a social web site. They were allowed only to log their experiences or share ideas.

web + log =blog

Logging and web creations morphed into what we all know today as blogging. The word itself was considered low class due to the insignificance of compressed words, like web + log =blog. It was the early 90s before anyone would truly admit to being a blogger. Blogging was still relatively new. So even the terminology was developing.

Then as the marketing clout of large corporate web sites began to blur with smaller independent marketers who were learning how to establish a presence, advertising restrictions for bloggers began to lift.

tricky business

Now that another 15 years have raced by, bloggers are on equal terms with content marketers, authors, International businesses, major catalog stores, and non-selling journals. Email marketing took a large hit a few years ago when consumers began drowning in advertising blasts. Marketing for consumers was a tricky business.

Even new or established businesses that didn’t have a web site could see the writing on the wall.

 BLOG-letters-in-lead

Blogging for business rose in popularity only because it was easy, quick, direct from the company owner, and unregulated as far as the frequency of posting a blog entry. Consumers could decide to subscribe to particular blogs that they had a strong interest in. Much less invasive. That made consumers feel like they were in control again.

Next up, “Why Blog? Blogging as a Business.” Please leave your comments here, and if you are living in the High Desert, join us today and Monday at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville from 2-10 pm at the large RelyLocal Business Expo near the Main gates.

Rusty LaGrange

The Turf Wars Between Bloggers and Journalists…Who’s Winning?

Computer and Keyboard by mantasmagorical at morgueFileYesterday, my mom tried to convince me to hop a plane to Oklahoma in order to blog on the recent tornado’s devastating aftermath there. According to her, traditional news outlets weren’t doing justice to the coverage and a real writer (her words, not mine) was needed to get the job done right. After assuring her that there were plenty of bloggers, vloggers and other citizen journalists already on the ground– not to mention a slew of local news organizations doing a great job in Oklahoma, she accepted that I had enough work to do here without flying out to find more. Still, her sentiments made me think twice about the bazillion conversations I’ve heard over the years about turf wars brewing between bloggers and journalists.

“We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Ideas About Media to Bring You a Fresh Idea Known as Blogging!”

Ever since blogging began to gain momentum toward the end of the 20th century, people have had opinions about whether or not bloggers should share the same level of respect as journalists. Both report news and events; both have their works electronically published and both can earn a living by properly applying their skills. While most journalists have studied hard and paid good money for college degrees that underscore their talents and discipline, there’s no age, experience or educational prerequisite for blogging. Though many bloggers do have college degrees (some even have journalism degrees), it’s understandable that trained journalists would not want to share media recognition with someone who hasn’t paid their proverbial dues to the media industries in terms of education and job experience.

Weekend Newspaper by gracey at morgueFileBlogging the News

Increasingly, bloggers are being recognized for their efforts, however. Often they are granted the same type of special media access typically reserved for trained journalists and blogs are often the go-to source for live breaking news, such as what was seen during the Arab Spring. In many minds, the attention paid to bloggers on the ground, especially in places where traditional journalists are stifled, serves in further blurring the lines between what is authentic journalism and what is not.

Blogging From the Bottom Of the Barrel

As a blogger and a fan of reality television, I was intrigued by the unfolding of a similar conversation about blogging vs. journalism in recent episodes of VH1’s Gossip Game series. While the show highlights the challenges of seven women working in various facets of urban media– namely magazine publishing, radio broadcasting, journalism and blogging– a lot of infighting took place between the women over who is and who isn’t a journalist. Debate also ensued regarding the perceptions of many that bloggers are not only NOT on the same level as journalists and other media professionals, but are at the bottom of the barrel in any conversation involving public media.

Two Journalists, Two Perspectives, One Medium

It was quite enlightening to watch the arguments between Jas Fly and Sharon Carpenter, two formally trained journalists on the show. Having been in the industry for a number of years and having worked for several mainstream news brands such as CBS and the BBC, Sharon Carpenter quite early made it a point to distinguish herself as a true journalist. Jas Fly, a freelance journalist with fewer years on the circuit than Sharon didn’t seem to have a problem with this until she felt Sharon made an attempt to downplay her status as a journalist since Jas’ work has largely appeared online. In one discussion, in particular, Jas commented that while Sharon may have more years and hardcore news credentials under her designer belt (all of the girls are fashionably fabulous on the show), the fact is that, today, both women currently work in online media. Sharon Carpenter is employed by the urban entertainment website Global Grind which Jas Fly was quick to point out as existing on a very leveled playing field with many of the websites that she freelances for.

Shade Tree Journalists?

The two bloggers on the show, Vivian and Ms. Drama, also received a bit of shade from a couple of the other cast members. An argument was even made (and dismantled) that the demarcation between the two careers is that journalists perform considerable fact-checking before reporting a story where it was falsely assumed that bloggers do not. Repeatedly, on the show and in real life, however, it has been proven that journalists are not always the most thorough fact-checkers and that some bloggers actually are.

Continued Debate

Following the on-air sparring matches between women intent on garnering respect for their career choices, others in the media industry chimed in with their opinions on Twitter and throughout the blogosphere. A number of interesting thoughts were shared with many pointing out that radio, television and print journalists often rely on bloggers to get information that mainstream professionals simply don’t have access to (such as what is often seen in civil uprisings around the world), as well as juicy tidbits from those who have behind-the-scene-off-the-record access to celebrity gossip and other inside information.

Certainly, every blogger cannot automatically be considered a journalist. I mean, blogging runs the gamut from sites that exist for work at home moms to those that help authors sell books to those that highlight special writing and editing services. I imagine that there are as many hardcore news blogs on the web as there are those dedicated to cute cats. Of those that are fact-based, hard-hitting information blogs, however, I am left to wonder…

Is Citizen Journalism Real Journalism, After All?

So what do you think, dear readers? Is there a clear line between journalism and blogging? Should there be? Should journalists and bloggers be afforded the same respect? Tell us your thoughts in the space provided below.

Current Events

 

Oh and One Last Thing!

Don’t forget to check the High Desert Bloggers out this weekend at the San Bernardino County Fair where we’ll be live-blogging and answering all of your questions about starting a blog for business promotion or personal joy. RelyLocal has invited us to be at their table right at the Fair’s main entrance so you can’t miss us. Come on out and say hello and also find out about the incredible shop local movement underway here in the High Desert.

5 Reasons Every Business Blog Needs a Professional Blogger

Hiring a Blogger MConnors at morgueFile

Now that you’ve read the 10 Reasons to Maintain a Business Blog, it’s time to discuss whether or not you need to hire a professional blogger. Certainly, you can write your own blogs or even assign the task to someone else in your organization. Before you decide to do either, however, consider these 5 very important benefits of hiring a pro blogger.

1. A Professional Blogger Has the Writing Talent You Desire

In general, if you can speak you can write. With that said, not everyone has a flair for blogging. In some cases, this goes beyond simply lacking the mechanics of good writing, but also encompasses writer’s block or a genuine fear of writing. A professional blogger has a way with words and knows how to effectively overcome common writing challenges in order to produce the top-quality content your business blog needs.

2. A Professional Blogger Can Dedicate Adequate Time to Your Business Blog

One of the greatest concerns a lot of business owners have about starting a business blog is having the time it takes to regularly maintain such a space. In cases like these, outsourcing makes perfect sense. You simply tell a professional blogger how many posts you’d like to publish per week and that person schedules the time to get it done while you are free to apply your time toward other important business matters.

3. A Professional Blogger Gives Your Content the Right Amount of Focus

Often, entrepreneurs will start a business blog with the intention of its maintenance being a top priority. What often happens, however, is that other tasks vie for an owners time and the blogging priority begins to lose steam. Before long, a blog is abandoned and the content that remains becomes outdated and stale. By hiring a professional blogger business owners can avoid a diminishing focus on their blog as a pro blogger keeps the task of posting fresh content at the top of her editorial schedule.

4. A Professional Blogger Has Experience That Can Benefit Your Business

Beyond stringing words together, there’s a method to professional business blogging. This involves staying abreast of the latest SEO strategies, understanding what attracts audiences and knowing how to market a business blog in the right venues. A professional blogger has experience in these realms, which can save considerable time and be of immense benefit to a business.

5. A Professional Blogger Knows How to Share

Speaking of marketing, a great deal of it involves online sharing. Of course, most people think of major social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but there are literally hundreds of other networking venues where bloggers regularly engage. Remember, bloggers are online an awful lot and we love to share our work with others. Your business benefits by being introduced to audiences that you don’t typically have contact with and which may be of even greater benefit to your bottom line.

We’re Here For You…Especially This Weekend!

If you’d like to learn more about hiring a professional blogger, be sure to stop by the RelyLocal table located right at the Fair’s main entrance this weekend. Several High Desert Bloggers will be in attendance as we help raise awareness about the shop local movement and about blogging in the High Desert. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have about blogging when you stop by to say hello.

Your Comments Are Appreciated

Do you currently have a business blog? Do you maintain it yourself or have you already begun to outsource that task? Tell us all about your business and your blog in the comments section below.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10 Reasons To Maintain a Business Blog

Rainbow ricreis morgueFileIn today’s business landscape, having a website is almost as important as having a telephone. People of all ages are online looking for information, ideas to share and businesses to patronize. So while every business clearly needs a website, is it really necessary for every business to have a  blog? Yes! And here’s why:

The Top 10 Reasons To Maintain a Business Blog

1. A Business Blog Provides Another Avenue to Connect With Customers

Beyond your website, radio and offline advertisements– or even your email address and direct phone contact, a blog is another medium through which your customers may explore your company. It is an indirect way for your customers to connect with you and you with them. Can any business ever have too many customer connections?

2. A Business Blog Helps Build an Audience

A blog offers a voice and the right voice attracts listeners. Done correctly, a blog can help a business attract new audience members and strengthen the bonds with an audience already in place.

3. A Business Blog Helps Draw Internet Traffic To a Website

Whether you sell your goods online or simply use your website to advertise, one of your primary goals is to draw as many eyes to a site as possible. A blog helps business owners accomplish this and then some. While websites can be somewhat static, a business blog offers visitors a far more dynamic experience. Regular updates and fresh, unique content give visitors a reason to return again and again and again!

4. A Business Blog Helps Provide Individual Businesses With a Stronger Web Presence

The Internet offers everyone a pretty leveled playing field and a blog helps increase your presence on that field. With that said, it also provides a deeply competitive landscape where only the strongest, most persistent and most reliable content rises to the top. A mere website just won’t do when competitors are regularly churning out new content, which leads us to #5…

5. A Business Blog Can Help a Business Compete With Others Within a Niche

A business blog helps to enhance a business’ web presence and, thus, provides a vehicle through which an organization may compete more effectively. New products can be spotlighted, industry accomplishments can be immediately publicized, special sales can be announced and the list goes on.

6. A Business Blog Can Help Owners and Employees Provide Better Customer Service

By providing a space for customers to share comments and suggestions in real time, information gathered from a business blog can help an organization provide a better quality of customer service. Many companies even appoint one or more staff members to respond to blog comments, which helps to create a closer bond with customers and provide them with optimal service.

7. A Business Blog Can Help Improve Search Engine Rankings

New, original and trustworthy content is crucial if a business is aiming for top-billing among search engines. Providing all of this on a regular basis is even better. Instead of merely providing information one time on a website, business blogging can help tremendously with SEO since search engine algorithms are more inclined to reward higher rankings to those that provide quality content on a regular basis.

8. A Business Blog Allows Owners To Immediately Disseminate Urgent Information

Experiencing a shipping snafu or an organizational upset? Need to squash a harmful rumor? A business blog provides immediate media coverage which YOU control. Information shared on a business blog is often cited by trade publications and traditional news outlets, so while press releases are still valuable, there’s no need to wait to publish whatever it is that you want the public to know about your business right away.

9. A Business Blog Helps In Adding a Personal Touch To a Website Or a Business

Your website is probably ultra-professional and very structured…as it should be. While a business blog should also maintain an air of professionalism, it is perfectly acceptable for a blog to be more conversational in tone. Further, it allows personal interaction with a readership and helps in humanizing an organization.

10. A Business Blog Helps a Business Establish Trust With Consumers

Above all else, customers value companies that they can trust. Business blogging helps supply consumers with expert information on a regular basis and helps a company engage with customers around important concerns or issues. Done well, a business blog can be used as part of a trust-building foundation leading to long-term consumer relationships.

Want to Learn More About Business Blogging?

If you’re operating a business and you don’t have a blog…or if you have a business blog, but you want to learn how to kick it into overdrive come meet the High Desert Bloggers this weekend at the San Bernardino County Fair. And if you don’t fancy yourself much of a writer, but realize the importance of maintaining a blog, don’t be shy about asking one of our bloggers to blog for your business. We’ll be at the RelyLocal table, so while you’re there you can also learn about the powerful shop local movement taking place here in the High Desert.

Tell Us All About It

Have a question or comment and can’t wait to visit us at the fair? Well, sound off below and get a feel for how fast and effective this business blogging concept really is!

 

Business Blog by MConnors at morgueFile

A Small Act of Kindness Shows in the High Desert

I was traveling on Hwy 18 on my way to a High Desert Blogging meetup Saturday morning when I came up on a Jeep Wrangler. It was parked on the side of the road with its flashers on. As I got closer, I noticed that a large breed dog had become road kill.

Source: istyles.com via iStyles on Pinterest

 

I felt sad at seeing the situation but I also became warm-hearted for the driver who took time to defend a nearly indefensible space. The Jeep driver was protecting the animal from being hit any further. Traffic was racing by. Some drivers noticed the dead dog, slowing and moving away. Others just flew by.

In the short time that I viewed, analyzed, and drove by, I thought that perhaps the driver had hit the dog and felt badly enough to find if it was licensed and tagged. If it was, perhaps he had called the owner. Cell phone service is not known for being reliable in this stretch of the road. I thought: what a nice person to stop, and even nicer to call.

My curiosity kept me watching my rearview mirror. And ahead of me was a large 4×4 truck coming at a fast pace. I watched. As he passed me and headed for the accident, his brakes came on and he pulled over. My heart sunk again.

Now I felt so troubled for the possible owner to find his beloved chocolate lab just a mound alongside the road. Maybe he had left the gate open, maybe a friend stopped by and the door was left ajar. My mind raced through scenarios of how the escaped dog had made it down to the highway. That, I will never know.

No matter the truth, if my pet was found on the side of the road, I would hope that a passerby would be thoughtful enough to call me. I would rather know that it was a tragedy with closure than to wonder why my pet never came home. And I would hope that the first driver who came across the pet, or saw the accident, was able to become mentally relieved that he had done something that is often considered rare. A true act of kindness can make your day.

Even under extreme conditions.

I have a warm spot glowing in my heart today.

 

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you’re reading here, contact me for more blogging ideas, marketing your small business, and beginning blogging at www.highdesertblogging.com

High Traffic Linking Exposes Your Web Site to More Visitors — Strategy #7

One of the ways to generate new links to your web site, your blog, or your service, is to think about sites that would benefit from linking to you but don’t. Why not? Because they may not know you exist.

This might seem like you’re doing the other person’s work here, and you are, but it will benefit you in the long run.

For example, if your site is about traveling in the High Desert, and you come across other sites that offer, let’s say, camping ideas, one-day excursions, how to save money while adventuring in the High Desert, and let’s add, desert survival tactics. In each of these diverse possible web sites lay the potential to develop a venture partnership.

 

STRATEGY #7 — Go after higher traffic sites that will enhance both your’s and their’s

Venture partnerships don’t need to include money or investment, just the mutual assistance of each other’s storefronts. You won’t be shackled to them forever, just enhancing the mutual sharing of interests. First off, send them a polite and business-toned, simple email and see what they say about it. If they aren’t sure, ask them if you could make a guest post on their site to “test the waters.” Linking is enhanced networking that stays on the page, giving longevity to the link.

While some web creators overload their pages with links. You know one when you see one. A good link strategy is less overwhelming and specific to your theme or business. Less is more. Quality over quantity.

After this first contact, go visit their site and make helpful comments to their readers to show that you do care and read the other site. This basic and friendly gesture is usually met with a friendly gesture in turn. After awhile, test to see if your mutual linking is benefitting both of you. If not, kindly say that the linking is not broadening your viewership. Ask for any new links that they may share and be sure to reciprocate the offer.

Even after that, linking partnerships may dissolve, be friendly and move on to other potential ventures.

It’s wise to keep a folder of the contacts you’ve made, the business person who gave you the links, how well it did, and the email response they first gave you. The next time you look for a good link, you’ll already have half the work complete — a great intro email letter.

 Rusty LaGrange

 

If you like what you see here, please visit my other sites
at: www.aflairfortheoldwest.blogspot.com
and www.myrustybucketranch.blogspot.com
and www.aflairforbooks.blogspot.com
and my newest site www.oldweststagecoach.com

Blog Marketing Meetup in the High Desert

A High Desert Bloggers Meetup

Bloggers in the High Desert, how are you marketing your blog?

Join the High Desert Bloggers meetup group at Starbucks on Main near the 15 this coming Saturday, September 22nd, from 9:30 a.m. ’til 12:30 p.m. Network with like-minded bloggers who will be discussing blog marketing. Share marketing ideas that have worked for you, and learn what has worked for others. The Saturday meetup discussion will include marketing topics such as:

 

 

  • domain names
  • tracking statistics
  • press releases & media
  • blog comments
  • social networking
  • subscribers
  • advertising
  • e-books

Think about that list of topics for a minute. You’re a blogger. Or at least you’re thinking about blogging if you’re reading this. Pick a topic or two, and jot down what you know about those topics and how they have helped the marketing of your own personal blog. You’ll be given the opportunity to share about that at the meetup on Saturday.

High Desert Bloggers is a fun group that will inspire you and motivate you to kick your blog into action. Your “bloggers block” should disappear with all the ideas bouncing around the group discussion. Bring your laptop, too. You might get inspired to blog while you’re there.

Beginner or experienced bloggers, you’ll fit right in with our blogging meetup group. Attending the meetups is a great way to learn how to blog and take your blog to the next level. For example, one of our bloggers, Joan, has recently published a book on poetry. Maybe you’re not a poet but consider yourself a writer. Write a book by blogging about it first. Blog about your hobby, and turn it into a book. Our published bloggers can show you what worked best for them. They can even guide you in the writing process.

I hope you’ll join us for the meetup Saturday. At that meetup I’ll be telling you about an upcoming meetup with a guest speaker who will be discussing social media marketing. You can check the meetup updates at www.meetup.com.

Gearing Up For BlogStorm 2012

BLOGSTORM 2012

Just six more days until our Blogging Workshop…

Will you be there to learn how to optimize your current blog? Have you started a blog but not really sure how to keep it going strong? Does your blog seem to bog down?

Get some great techniques, network with others, and become a more confident blogger with a plan. At the BlogStorm 2012 workshop you’ll be among four blogging entrepreneurs who can help you:

*  design your blog

*  organize your next ideas

*  get resources to propel your blog to the next level

*  drive more traffic to your blog

Just scroll down or click over to BlogStorm 2012 page and sign up. Pay now and guarantee your place. Seats are limited.

So, if you’ve thought long and hard but just don’t know how to start your blog, you’ll get hands-on help to get you blogging up a storm of informative posts, and networking with High Desert’s best.

Join us.

 

Blogstorm Workshop, Hesperia

Date: Saturday, March 31, 2012 Time: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Place: Holiday Inn Express, Hesperia  Cost: $70.00
Opportunity to network your blog/business/product/service at workshop. Exciting blog critique sessions planned. You will learn how to:

  • find your niche
  • start a blog for personal or business,
  • drive traffic to your blog,
  • network,
  • make money blogging.

BlogStorm Workshop 1 Person

Workshop 2 Family Members

Contact Angie at hdblogging@gmail.com for more information.

Rusty LaGrange

Meetup Blogging Groups Grow in the High Desert


Have you heard of High Desert Bloggers, a Meetup group?

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia

This group meets in various coffee shops, bakeries, and public facilities convenient for bloggers READ MORE »

High Desert Everyday Survival Kit that Will Help Your Blogging

Here is a High Desert everyday survival kit: a toothpick, rubber band, Band-aid, pencil, eraser, chewing gum, candy kiss, tea bag. Here’s why:

TOOTHPICK: to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others. This includes your kids. And remember if you’ve got a supervisor, boss, or owner of the company who never say a word about your work and you know you are doing the very best you can, say out loud to yourself a big thank you.

RUBBER BAND: to remind you to be flexible, things may not always go the way you would like, but it will all work out. Just wait and see. If you’re brittle you will break, and all the little things you fret about is not worth having a heart attack over. Fifty years from now nobody will even know.

BAND AID: to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else’s. Humans are emotional creatures. Learn to control your emotions.

PENCIL: to remind you to list your blessings. Hey, you could be dead, but you’re above ground so thank your God. You’ve got friends, family, food, house, a vehicle-if not a car catch a bus.

ERASER: to remind you that everybody makes mistakes. When my daughter was little and she would spill her milk I would tell her, it’s okay, baby, even big people spill their milk too. I never condemned her for making everyday mistakes. So if you’re a High Desert nitpicker, go get an eraser now.

CHEWING GUM: to remind you to stick with it. You can accomplish anything. I went to a private party to raise money for the disabled kids. One of the “disabled” kids who just won a gold medal in the handicap Olympics said in his speech, “We may be disabled, but if you remove the “dis” then we’re “able”. I stood there thinking, OMG, I’ve got two good legs and arms and I never won a gold medal.

CANDY KISS: to remind you that everyone needs a hug and kiss. Get ‘er done.

TEA BAG: to remind you to relax and take a break . Smell the flowers while you drink your favorite tea.

After reading this, it should make you blog like a house on fire. Get ‘er done.

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