Working with Your Shadow with Megan Weinberg at Meet the Author Affiliate Meeting on 7-8:30 PM on Thursday, February 13, 2021. If you are a BRONZE or BENG member use your discount code in your membership for 50% off.  RSVP & pay at https://www.meettheauthorpc.com/events.html  You are encouraged to purchase the book for use in our discussion: https://www.amazon.com/Working-Your-Shadow-Megan-Weinberg/dp/B08KHG11PK/ This free event is NOT sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) but may be of…

Blogging to Tell Your Story

Blogging to tell your story could be cathartic. Everyone has a story to tell, and it can be good, bad, or ugly. There may be happy or sad endings. LinkedIn is one of many places to share your story.

On LinkedIn, you can share your story by creating a post, an article, a document, or a video. If you share a video blog, it is known as a vlog, and you are a vlogger who creates video content.

In contrast, a blog, which is created by a blogger, is written content. 

Blogs can entertain, empower, educate, engage, or enlighten – the five Es of content marketing.

While most of my writing is to educate, I have a personal story to share about fire. Fifteen years ago, I lost everything in my life to fire, including my pets. I shared this sad but true story on LinkedIn

Fortunately, there was no human life lost, but after I recovered from the experience, I decided to volunteer as a business member for the Berwyn Fire Company and still help with fundraising events. One of my main contributions is supporting the annual Turkey Raffle and silent auction, and I utilize my technology skills. 

At this time of year when we give thanks, please support your local fire company and EMTs financially. Their budgets have been hit with all the COVID-19 PPE costs and more. Have no fear, they are there for you 24/7/365, ready for you on the front line. 

In a previous article on How to and Why LinkedIn Publishing, you will find useful information for writing your blog on LinkedIn. Some of the information is also applicable to other platforms. 

If you have not yet written an article on LinkedIn, it’s a great time to start. When you write this article, you can consider it a blog, and you can publish it on your website (if you have one) or other platforms.  If you don’t have a website, you can create a blog site on several different platforms.

When interviewing two local bloggers, they had a couple of tips to share about blogging:

Brandyn Campbell shared one of her favorite anonymous quotes: “One of my favorite pieces of advice for bloggers is, ‘If you’re your authentic self, you have no competition.’ Don’t worry about whether a topic has been written about before. Adding your spin and experience to post makes it yours, which makes it unique.

Brandyn does anti-racist communications consulting and is passionate about helping her clients, committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, articulate their values into the language of their business. Her experience as a blogger enables her to help organizations shape the next steps in their story. 

If you want to follow her, here are her handles: 

Facebook Twitter Instagram 

Another local blogger, Christine Tarlecki Trimble, is the author of Engchik Eats, a local food, and lifestyle blog. She notes, “I write what I know. Starting a blog is daunting and scary. When I was laid off, I began to think about what I liked and what I wanted to write about – so food was the obvious answer. I seek out local chefs and local restaurants. Especially in this climate, I seek to create relationships with my local community.

This year hasn’t been easy, and like many of you, I was laid off (again!). But I have a strong writing and digital marketing background, so I can use my blog and my skills to earn a freelance paycheck.” 

Christine notes she has been lucky with people reading her blog, and she has promoted it on social media. Readers have voted her blog the best local blog because of the relationships she has built with them. 

She also just started a podcast because she loves interviewing people as much as she loves writing about them! Christine has found subject matter experts to interview for features, and as a skilled blogger, she can tell their stories and create my blog, one story at a time.

If you want to follow her, here are her handles: 

Website Facebook Twitter Instagram Podcast

>>> What’s your first blog going to be about, and when will you start? What emotions will you add-in?

Three Unconventional Ways to Supercharge Your Professional Networking

Are you looking for additional ways to network with people, but are hampered due to the pandemic? Instead of merely sending cold “connect with me” requests through LinkedIn in, why not try out one of these other approaches?

Start a Podcast

If you have a computer, are curious by nature, and are willing to step out of your comfort zone, consider creating a podcast. It not only can help you connect with other professionals, but you create a product that becomes your business card that has a life of its own.

Pick an interest that you are passionate about and then reach out to people in your network and ask if they would be willing to be interviewed on your podcast. Over time, as you build up episodes, you can then take risks and invite people onto your podcast with whom you always wanted to speak. 

Not only are you able to have thoughtful conversations with people, but by recording the session, you’re able to share what you learn with others. Your ability to network will skyrocket as you’re not only reaching out to new people to speak with, but over time, you’ll be building an online repository of content that will make your website a destination place for other like-minded professionals. 

So how do you get started using a podcast? It’s not as complicated as you might think. The most challenging aspect is the planning, organizing, and doing the work. From a technical standpoint, there are many free tools available. The basics of what you need are:

● Recording equipment. To record, you’ll need a laptop and a microphone. (Yes, you can use your phone in a pinch, but for best sound quality, you might wish to pick up a USB microphone with a shock mount and pop filter.)

● You’ll need software such as Pamela (for Windows) or ecamm (for Mac) to record your interviews.

●     Free software such as Audacity is available for editing your raw audio file. And if you need to learn how to use the software, free YouTube videos are available to help. 

● And finally, you’ll need a place to host your final podcast files. Anchor offers a free service (but be sure to read their terms of service to make certain you’re comfortable with it, as they might run ads within your podcast or create a derivative of your work). Services like Buzzsprout and Podbean also offer limited free services and paid options for more functionality and server space. 

Want to learn more about how to start a podcast? Be sure to read Joanna Penn’s How to Podcast article for more tips and recommendations on services and equipment. 

Write a Book

Like creating a podcast, writing a book is another unconventional way to broaden your professional network while also allowing you to become a thought leader or influencer in your area of expertise. 

First, take an idea and then come up with five people you’d like to interview in your book. Reach out to those individuals, share your vision with them, and ask if they would be willing to be included in your book.

Need an example to help you get started?

Monika Kanokova wrote her book My Creative (Side) Business: The insightful guide to turning your side projects into a full-time creative business by reaching out and interviewing 12 female entrepreneurs and asking each of them a set of questions. Her interviews allowed her to connect with like-minded women from around the world, amplify their stories, and then offer the book to up-and-coming freelancers who looked for a place to start.

The options available to you are endless. You could choose to make a short ebook or a print version, offer the book in digital formats that will work on a variety of ebook readers, or even distribute the book for sale on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble. 

If you need help in creating an ebook, be sure to read my step-by-step How to Publish an eBook in 8 (Somewhat) Easy Steps. The technical aspect of creating a book is not the primary challenge. With today’s technology, anyone can easily create a book from their own computer, free software, and then distribute online.

The more significant challenge is coming up with an exciting topic, defining your project’s scope, and then executing. Remember, a book doesn’t need to be written in a day or a week. You can set your schedule as you see fit.

An excellent place to start is to brainstorm, select your idea, and then run with it. Writing 1,000 words a day for four days a week will net you 48,000 words in three months. That’s plenty to work with for a first non-fiction book.

After the draft is finished, you can use tools like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to edit the book (or share with friends to get their feedback), and if you’re not up for the challenge to format the text yourself, there are many freelancers out there to do the work for you at a minimal cost.

Once you have the book, share it with your professional networking groups. The point isn’t to become rich from the book, but to use your work as your business card. You can connect with other professionals during the research phase of your project and then share the books with those individuals to pass the book along to their networks (be sure to list your contact information in your book so that readers can reach out to you). 

Over time, with one ebook, you can distribute the file for free to tens of thousands of people. The possibilities indeed are endless if you are willing to step outside the parameters of traditional networking.

Volunteer and Teach 

What skills do you have? Choose one and then offer to reach out to a professional group and offer your services to the group. The Great Careers Group & BENG is one such organization that offers a plethora of events throughout each month.

Instead of looking for people to come to help you network or find a job, flip the dynamic, and ask yourself: “What do I have to offer others? How can I help?”

Professional networking is a two-way street in that we’re looking to make connections with people and give.

Think about how you can help people, write your idea down, and then reach out and volunteer to help. Do you have tech skills? Professional networking tips? Unconventional job searching techniques? If you stop to think about your skills, see what you’re passionate about, and then give back. The more you give back, the more your network will grow as you will become the person that people want to gravitate toward instead of showing up to people with your hand out.

If you want to take teaching to another level, why not record yourself on a platform such as Teachable, and then offer the recording to people? If signing up for a paid service is not an option, use your laptop to record your screen, and then upload the video to YouTube.

Take the YouTube link and share the video out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and any professional networks where you are a member.

Summing It Up

Yes, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s more challenging than ever to meet up with people to network professionally. Stop sending the cold invites to people on LinkedIn. Successful networking takes effort, and the ideas suggested here are creative ones to challenge you in ways you might feel uncomfortable. That’s the point. Each of us has an opportunity to step up and use the skills/tools at our disposal to create something great and share that with others. Have fun, and if you have a question about one of the ideas in this article, reach out and contact me. 

Author Bio

Ron Vitale is an accomplished director of digital project management and has successfully overseen the launch of more than a dozen websites seeking employment opportunities.

His colleagues have come to know him as a diplomatic problem-solver with a proven ability to envision people’s web needs and then launch viable new web-based systems on time and under budget.

LinkedIn Publishing - The How and Why

Just start writing articles on LinkedIn! Just start publishing! Just start posting and commenting and sharing and liking!

You don’t make the NFL or get the first violin chair without practice.

So, the Jeopardy answer is … be like Nike as Just Do It! The Jeopardy question is, What if I am scared to write an article on LinkedIn?

In the past week, a couple of attendees in my network asked me to write an article on how to publish an article on LinkedIn, so here are some FAQs.

  • Why publish on LinkedIn? You can share your professional expertise as a job seeker, employed person, or self-employed business owner and flex your wordsmithing muscles. No pain, no gain!
  • Why write articles as a business owner? Share information and create a call to action.
  • Where can I get ideas? LinkedIn and Feedly
  • Could I create a poll to get ideas? Yes
  • Could I compile articles from others? Yes
  • Could I get quotes from industry experts or influencers to add to my article? Yes
  • Can I see how the title of my article would score compared to other titles? Try Coschedule Headline Analyzer.
  • Need to create an image for your article? Try Canva or Over or make a Word Cloud. Need live training for that? Save the dates of 8/1 and 8/25.
  • What is the image size for the article? 744 x 400 pixels or 2000 x 600 (LinkedIn needs an update!)
  • What details should I know about publishing? LinkedIn Instructions for drafts, multimedia, images, third party content, hashtags, video, and error messages.
  • What do I need to know about hashtags? Once you publish your article, you cannot edit, delete, or add other hashtags
  • How do I check my grammar and punctuation? Grammarly
  • Can I re-purpose the blogs I already write? Absolutely! Great idea! 
  • How long should my articles be?  Articles that are 900-1400 words might fare better than those that are 300-400 words.
  • Are there standard features like bold, italics, underline, alignment, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and block quotes? Yes
  • Can I add an image, video, slides, links, snippets? Yes
  • Can I make hyperlinks in my article? Yes, highlight the text you want to hyperlink and find the link symbol and click and add the URL.
  • Can I tag people in articles? You can tag people in posts.
  • Can I publish my article in groups? Yes, but make each post unique in a group.
  • Can I share my LinkedIn article on Twitter? Yes and on other social media platforms too
  • Can I get analytics for my article? Yes, and read more.
  • Can I edit an article after I publish it? Yes
  • Can I delete an article after I publish it? Yes
  • Where do I begin? Go to your home page and click on write an article. 
  • What should I do after I publish it? Engage with your audience on the comments.
  • What if I’m scared to try? Be like Nike and just do it or plan on attending LinkedIn part 2 of 3 workshop on August 1st for step by step live instruction. Register with the library on August 1st. To make a LinkedIn headline or graphic for your article, sign up for the August 25th LinkedIn Lunch & Learn. 

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.