Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Erica Reitman's 11 blogging tools

Useful stuff from a thoroughly entertaining webinar with Erica Reitman during a recent MediaBistro Social Media Marketing Bootcamp. (Good course. You should take it.)

Uber blogger Erica Reitman says the key to successful blogging is having the right tools. She is the founder and owner of the highly successful blog, Her blog gets over 500,000 page views per day. She employs 14 writers, and one managing editor.

The tools Reitman uses, ranked in order of importance:

1) Skitch
Skitch is a screengrab and lightweight photo editing software. Skitch is a Mac and Android tool. Use Skitch to make your photos fun and interesting. Reitman is obsessive about using an image in every blog post. (TL Note: TechSmith's' Jing is a roughly equivalent tool for the pc.)

2) Evernote
She says she uses Evernote to organize her life. It is like an "online notebook on crack." You can tag stuff as you capture it online. In addition to capturing online notes as you surf the web, you can use Evernote to:
- store scanned copies of driver license and passport.
- store passwords
- collect story ideas, information for blog posts
- brainstorm future projects
- links for useful tools.
With a $5 account you can share notebooks with other Evernote users.

(TL Note: I think the Evernote Essentials book is required reading. You can install and use Evernote instantly, but to get the most out of it, I suggest you plan on setting aside a day or two learn how to use Evernote. Later, you might decide to start using some of the cool programs and tools that work with Evernote.)

3) Pinterest
An addictive visual notebook. Reitman says it is a cross between a photo album and notebook. Space to save ideas. Also a social network. Good for lifestyle blogging. Save images for blog posts, image search tool. Social network for lifestyle focused folks. Images inspire post ideas.
(She says she is "a super fascist about including a picture with EVERY SINGLE POST".)
Reitman likes Pinterest as a place to search because the photos are curated. It's also a good way to discover neat blogs and people.

4) Outbrain
Outbrain is a tool for publishers and marketers that ensures none of your site's content is dead RIP. When you publish a lot of content, valuable content can disappear into the "old" category and never be seen again. Outbrain reposts "old" content on the front page of your blog. Site visitors have access to content even after it has cycled off page. All posts link back to other related posts on blog. You can make $$$ off Outbrain by selling ad space.

5) Zinio
Zinio is a Mobile reading app for magazines (ipad, iphone and online.) Reitman likes to keep all her magazines on her ipad. You can transfer your existing magazine subscriptions to zinio and have your magazines with you at all times.

6) Morguefile
Free photos by creatives for creatives.

You can use these images on your blog without permission or attribution. Morguefile is a public image archive by creatives for creatives. When you use Morgue file you can stop worrying about photo credits.

7) Flickr pool is a way to let your readers, friends or family take photos for you. Then you sit back and relax. You can start a group (pool) around any topic you want.

8) Disqus (prounounced discuss)
Social media commenting system. Add photos, etc. across social media. Disqus helps you build a community on your site. Strangers don’t see all your comments. (Do I need a Disqus account to use or view the disqus home page? See the Wikipedia page for disqus details.)

9) ISocketLinkSelf-service tool for selling ads on your site. Easy way for bloggers to sell ads. With Isocket you can manage your own ad sales. You can set up a self service area for people to set up their own ads and check stats, etc. The system is super easy from a blog publisher's standpoint. A good way to get exposed to people who want to buy ad space on your site.

10) Kapost
“A way to manage content when you have more than one writers on your blog.” When you have several people working on columns and stories on your blog, managing all this quickly becomes a second job. Kapost is an "online newsroom for web publishing that handles everything from pitches to payment."

11) Editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar can be a simple as an excel spreadsheet. On the calendar, mark the days and times when you intend to publish. Reitman says you must have an editorial calendar for your blog. The goal is to make sure that you post at regular times . The calendar gets more important the bigger you get.

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