Adult Coloring Page: Gods Grace

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christian adult coloring page Did you enjoy coloring as a kid? I loved it. And I'm happy to say that as an adult in my 40's (early 40's by the way lol) I've started, over the past couple years, to take the time to do more of it.

Yes, I've jumped on the adult coloring craze train! And it's a craze that's for sure. Have you seen all the Adult Coloring items that come up in Amazon? It's page after page after page of results - coloring books, pens, pencils, etc.!

As I'm writing this, I realized it's been several weeks since I've done any coloring. Guess I better change that ;-) And thanks to Kelly McCausey I have a new page to color. She sent me a new design she created just for Faithful Bloggers (see the image above) called God's Grace. I can't wait to get started, wanna color it too? Just click the image below to get the coloring page:

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And in case that isn't enough to feed your inner child coloring enthusiast, check these out too.

Other Adult Coloring Page Freebies

Did you download the other free Christian adult coloring pages I've shared in the past? If not, you'll find them here:

Enjoy!

Tishia

How to Create a Good Blog Post Call to Action

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How many times have you come across a really great blog post and then get to the end and feel frustrated there wasn't more? Not even necessarily more of the content of that post, but just more in general - like you were left wondering "now what, what next?" It happens all the time - bloggers leave their readers hanging, wanting more but not giving them a call to action inviting them to do more! Heck, I'm guilty of this...way more than I should be considering I've been blogging and running an online business for 10 years (at the time of writing this) ;-)

Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. Why not give them something more. What if they wouldn’t mind learning more from you or connecting with you via email or social media or even take you up on a product recommendation?That’s what a call to action at the end of your blog posts is all about.

Encourage Them To Comment 

One of the easiest, and oldest, call to actions is simply asking your readers to leave a comment. Ask them to share their opinions about the content of the post.

Example: What are your favorite ways to end your blog posts? Do you use a particular call to action? Leave me a comment below and let’s talk.

Invite Them To Connect Via Social Media

Do you want to grow your social media reach? Then add some calls to action where you ask your readers to like the post on Facebook, share on Twitter, etc. Or share one of your social media profiles in the call to action and invite them to join you there.

Example: Got questions about creating a call to action? Let’s talk about it on our Facebook page. (Link to your Facebook page). (This would also work for a Facebook Group.)

Make A Recommendation

Sometimes it makes sense to make a sale and monetize your blog post in your call to action. This is also called pre-selling. You talk about a topic and then at the end make a recommendation for a product that helps your readers learn more or take the next step.

Example: There’s a lot more to be said about crafting a strong call to action. Take a look at this guide to learn more.

Invite Them To Join Your List

One of the most important calls to action you can use is the invitation inviting readers to join your list.Once you have them on your email list, you can invite them to come back and read other posts, comment on them, join you on your favorite social media platforms and of course make offers to your readers.

Example: I have a lot more to share on the topic of blogging and would love to email you with more tips and strategies on a regular basis. Just enter your name and email below and we’ll get started right away. As a thank you, I’ll even send you my guide to writing strong blog post titles that will grab your readers’ attention.

This is part 8 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

What's the Goal of Your Blog Post?

I have a request. One that needs to be completed before you write your next blog post. So, what is my request, what is it that I want you to do? STOP!

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I want you to stop and think before you write your next blog post. I want you to think aboutwhat your goal isfor that blog post. How will that post help you move forward/accomplish something in your biz/blogging journey?

Here are a handful of questions to think about/ask yourself:

  • Am I writing this post to have people share across social media sites to increase my reach?
  • Am I writing this post with a clear call to action inviting them to sign up for my mailing list so I can build relationship with them and stay in touch?
  • Am I writing this post to get the attention of a brand I'd like to work with?
  • Am I writing this post to engage my readers and get them interacting with me/each other?
  • Am I writing this post to sell a product or service?
  • Am I writing this post to share content (curated content) of a fellow blogger I would like to build a relationship with?

Each one of these questions pertain to some very valid goals for writing a blog post and I'm sure you can think of even more. The point I'm trying to make is that your next post (and every single post) should be written with a goal in mind. Know beforehand exactly what you want that post to accomplish.

After you've taken the time to stop and think about this, it's time to move forward. And now I'm going to go against the 'norm' and ask you to start with the end in mind. For example, let's say your goal for the post is to get the attention of a brand you're interested in working with. Think about how you can share your experience with a product (product review posts are great) of theirs.

Let's look at another example. Now, let's say you've decided that your goal for the post is to build your list and get readers to opt-in to it. Think about what your opt-in offer is and write about a topic complimentary to it. After you've written the content, be sure to invite them to sign up to get immediate access to the free report (or whatever it may be).

When you know beforehand what you want a post to accomplish, it's easier to craft goal driven text. This is pretty powerful, especially if you use blogging as a way to earn money. Knowing the post's goal ahead of time helps you create a strategic blogging plan. Write a post that helps you grow your reach. Then work on one that starts the conversation with new readers. Next work on getting them on your list and finally make them an offer. Intersperse this with posts that help you get the attention of potential JV partners and Brands and you’re all set to not only grow your blog and your audience, but make money blogging as well.

This is part 7 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

Engage Your Readers And Encourage Interaction

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When you started blogging did you have a vision of all these people flocking to your site that would leave comment after comment after comment? If I'm completely honest - I did! But that's not exactly what happened ;-) Sometimes I feel like I'm having a one-sided conversation. I pour my heart into a post, publish it and wait for the comments. And wait. And wait. And....yep, you guessed it, I keep on waiting. That's pretty normal in the blogosphere. Now a days it seems even harder to get people engaged and interacting on a post which sort of defeats the purpose of what a blog was designed for - to facilitate engagement (communication/comments).

Don't lose hope. Getting your people engaged on your posts can still happen - with a little encouragement ;-)  Combine that with a little social media interaction and there’s no reason you can’t turn this into a fully engaged conversation that will help you grow a loyal base of fans.

How do we encourage our audience to interact with us?

People want to be heard, to voice their opinions, so ask them to give it. Ask them some questions, ask them to leave feedback and encourage them to share their opinions! This can be done right within the comments section of your blog posts. At the end of the post, give them a call to action - ask them to answer a question, share their experience with whatever topic the post is about, let them know you want to hear their experiences/opinions and to leave a comment below.

Keep in mind that it's important to respond to those comments anyone leaves! Keep your readers engaged and interacting with not just you but each other too. This can help you not only have a great conversation with a reader(s) and build a relationship(s), it will show your readers that you value their input, them and really do care and want to hear from them.

This can also be applied to any social media interaction you're getting too. Now-a-days a lot of bloggers are finding that they actually get higher engagement on Facebook (for instance) than they do on the actual blog post. You still need to do the same as you would in the post and give people a call to action. What do you want them to do? Ask them to do it - share it, comment, like, etc.

This is part 6 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

How To Get Your Blog Posts Shared Socially

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We live in a social world where much of our news comes from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it can be a great thing when it comes to expanding our reach and getting our message in front of other people (that we may normally not be able to reach). It's just a matter of getting your current readers to start sharing your content on their favorite social sites.

Here are 4 tips to help you get your blog posts shared socially. 

Quality Content

Of course it all starts with quality content that your readers want to read and share. No one is going to spread a crummy post on social media. Start by writing the best blog posts you can and do some research into what your audience wants and needs.

In other words, serve your market well and they will in turn share what you’re writing with their friends and acquaintances.

Make It Visually Appealing

Make your post easy on the eyes! Remember - people tend to skim content so you want things that will grab their attention. Break up your content into small bite-sized chunks so it’s easy to read. Add some subheadings and formatting to make it easy to scan through. And don’t forget to add an image that captures the essence of your post.

Step away from your desk and then come back and look at it with fresh eyes. Is the blog post visually appealing? Does it grab your attention? If not, go back to the drawing board and see what you can do to improve it.

Make It Easy To Share

When your goal is to get people to share your blog post on social media, you want to make it as easy as possible to share. I have a social share plug-in that I use - if you look at the bottom of this post (and any other posts on the site), you will see that there are options for you to share a post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Tell Them What To Do

While making it easy for someone to share by having something like a WordPress plugin that gives people the otpion to click a button to share a post on their favorite social media site, that isn't always going to be as easy as it sounds. People need to be told what to do. In other words, if you want the social share - tell your people that. End the post with a call to action telling them that if they liked the post to please share on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate it when they share the love.

This is part 5 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

Why you should include Images in Blog Posts

People are visual by nature. An image draws an eye in and captures someone's attention quicker than text. Capturing your readers attention quickly is essential to keeping them on the page and having them want to read your content.  Good pictures are an easy way to accomplish this.

A Picture Can Draw Readers In

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Think about Facebook for a second. I don't know about you, but the first thing I'm always drawn to when I log into Facebook are the images that show up in my news feed, not the text. Images catch my eye and capture my attention - drawing me in, wanting to know more/read the text that goes with the images.

So, again, it's important to make sure you're using images in your blog posts. Try to find an image that tells the story of your post. The image should tell at a glance (with the help of the post title) what the blog post is all about. Of course you’re not limited to just one image. If it fits the topic, grab a few to illustrate what you’re talking about or show step-by-step progress.

You Need Pictures For Social Media Shares

We talked about Facebook already and how important images are there to grab your reader’s attention. But it doesn’t stop there. Think about other social sites your audience participates in. It doesn't matter if it’s Pinterest, Instagram or even Twitter. A good image will stand out and draw people in. Without it, your chances to get the click and more importantly the read and interaction on your blog are slim.

But it doesn't stop there. As you get traffic to your post, those readers will be more likely to share your post on social media if it has a good image or two. Of course making it easy to share with social media buttons doesn’t hurt either.

But Where Do You Get Images?

I'm hoping that by now I have convinced you of the importance of using images in your posts. So now you're probably wondering, where do I find images?

Image Monthly- I shared a sneak peek into what this is all about in this post. This is one of the first places I look for a stock image to use or a quote bubble I can use to make a graphic or a background texture to make an image/quote graphic from.

Yourself - I'm a wanna be photographer ;-) but very rarely do I take my own images...to use in a blog post, at least. This is also mainly because the things I write about don't include sunsets, flowers, the beach, my nephews, son or other family ;-) So, in other words - pics I take don't really fit into writing about blogging. But if I was a food blogger I would certainly take pictures myself to use for blog posts. If you're a crafty person and blog about that, you could most certainly take your own pictures to use.

This is obviously the cheapest option. But if you're going to be 'really serious' about taking photos, you could find it a little time consuming to set up equipment, pose the subject for the pic, take equipment down, download images to your computer, and then edit the image to use in your blog post.

Stock Photos - I've found many stock photo sites but I haven't used any of them because they all seemed a little on the pricey side for the few images I had the need for. But there are sites like IstockPhoto.com and Depositphoto.com. These sites give you the rights to use an image once you pay for them (be sure to read their rules for how you can/can't use the image though). These are pretty big sites that connect you to thousands of photographers so you can find images on just about any subject.

There is also a free site called Pixabay.com that offers stock images. I've used this site in the past. Because it's free I've noticed that there are some things I can't find an image for. But there are still a lot of options to choose from. Again, remember to read their terms of use and how you can/can't use one of their images.

This is part 4 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

Why Breaking Up Your Content Into Skimmable Sections Is Important

A new study by a researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, says that by 2015, the sum of media asked for and delivered to consumers on mobile devices and to their homes would take more than 15 hours a day to see or hear. That volume is equal to 6.9 million-million gigabytes of information, or a daily consumption of nine DVDs worth of data per person per day. (Source: UC San Diego News Center) man-791049_640

That study is an old one - posted back in 2013 - so I'm betting that the amount of media consumed daily, now, is more than mentioned here. And while this is referring to media (what I'm assuming they mean as video, audio), I'm wondering how much textual information we consume on a daily basis.

I don't know about you, but between mailing lists I'm signed up for, local retail stores that I've signed up for their mailing list sending me coupons & other things, the content on social media, blog posts, etc. I'm bombarded with a whole lot of information. Every day!

There is no possible way I have the time to consume, word for word, all that information thrown my way. I've become very good at skimming content. Skimming content ensures that I don't miss something that is good information and gives me the opportunity to then choose what I want to read and what I want to skip past.

What does this have to do with blogging? A lot. I promise ;-)

Because so many people are like me and skim content it's essential that you break up your content and make it easy for your readers to scan through it. But, how do you this?

Headlines and Sub-Headings 

Take a look at this post. Do you see how I’m breaking the different elements of making a post easy to scan down into subheadings? You can do the same with your blog post. Think of the outline of your post. Each point in your outline could be a subheading. Start with those and then fill in the content.

Or if you prefer, start with the content and then go back and add the sub headings. Create the content and work in the subheadings in whichever way works best for you. The only important thing is that they are in there before you hit publish.

Short Paragraphs

If you pay attention to the next book you're reading (or magainze, newspaper, etc.) you may notice that they have pretty long paragraphs. That's okay, they can get away with it. But reading online is a lot different than the offline publications on paper. Online reading can be difficult if there are long paragraphs - especially on mobile devices! The most effective thing to do is keep your paragraphs short - try to keep them around three or four lines.

Lists And Bold Important Key Terms

Next you want to go through your content and see if there’s anything you can present in the form of a list.

  • Use a list instead of several related sentences.
  • Use a list to share examples.
  • A list is a great way to break things up and grab your reader's attention.
  • Lists can be as long or short as you need them to be.

And let’s not forget about other formatting options. Bold important key terms, italicize them, or underline them for emphasis. All of these formatting options make it much quicker and easier to scan a piece of text and figure out what it’s about without having to read every single word.

Graphics

And of course, we can't forget graphics! A picture is one of the best ways to convey within seconds what your blog post is about and generate interest. Just scroll through your Facebook feed - what grabs your attention? It's probably images that catch your eye quicker than anything else. Or, think about Pinterest and Instagram - those are two sites millions of people use and they're all about images. Images hook you and grab you in. They are also a great way to break up longer sections of text. Make sure you use them to their fullest advantage.

This is part 3 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

 

Ready To Reach More People?

I have a question for you today... 

Below are the 9 challenges you can choose from. They were created to help you focus on creating and spreading your message.  In the workbook each of these challenges has been broken down into easy to follow steps!

  • Challenge #1 - Tell Everyone You're Stretching
  • Challenge #2 - Share Your Expertise & Promote It Like Crazy
  • Challenge #3 - Refresh Older Content
  • Challenge #4 - Engage in a Cross Blog Conversation
  • Challenge #5 - Hold a WEbinar or Teleseminar To Grow Your List
  • Challenge #6 - Host a Hangout on Air Series
  • Challenge #7 - Offer & Host A Group Coaching Intensive
  • Challenge #8 - Create a Small & Mighty Gift Report
  • Challenge #9 - Make an Intentional Connection

If none of those challenges resonate with you, you can always make up your own challenge(s) to focus on! Not only does Kelly give you access to the workbook, you'll also get these bonus items: 

  • Pre-Challenge Checklist (PDF)
  • Article Examples & Templates (PDF)
  • Blog Post Promotion Checklist (PDF)
  • Daily Social Boost Checklist (PDF)
  • Topic Brainstorming Sheets (PDF)
  • Did You Bring The Sexy Double Check Sheets (PDF)
  • Access to her private coaching forum where you can join her & other challenge participants (including me!) for support &

Will you join me for the June Stretch Yourself Challenge? 

Sign up here: http://faithfulbloggers.com/stretch Be sure to use coupon code KELLYSGIFT to get in for FREE instead of paying $97! 

I've taken Kelly's challenge the last couple times she's offered it. Last time I paid the $97 and while it was well worth that price, I encourage you to grab it now while she's gone crazy ;-) and is offering it for free!

 

See you soon!

How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

When I first started blogging, I was so focused on the word count and making sure my posts were long enough that it caused more of a headache than anything. In fact, it almost always "paralyzed" me which ended up causing me to not post as frequently as I wanted. Back when I started - I don't see too much of this anymore - there were gurus saying posts should be this length, or another one saying no it should be shorter and broken up into even more bite size chunks. It made me nuts! I never knew who to listen to.

So...how long should your blog posts really be?

It would be great if there was a magic number that guaranteed best results, wouldn’t it? But that’s like asking someone to tell you how long your conversations with other people should be. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a few words or sentences; sometimes you have a nice long talk. It all depends on how much you have to say to each other, doesn’t it?

This exact same approach should be followed when it comes to writing blog posts. If you're a food blogger sharing recipes all you really need is a short post (probably about 200 to 300 words) and an image and bam, you're good to go.  Same with writing devotions - you want, short, bite-sized easy to digest posts.

Of course, there are times that warrant longer posts. Sometimes going into more depth is needed. In those cases make it as long as you need to make it. Long posts aren't bad. In fact, they can help you build your expertise by showing your authority on a topic.

In my opinion, a combination of short and longer posts is a good mix. If you're going to write longer posts, keep in mind that people often scan content so be sure to use headers, bold, and italics to make important points stick out (but don't over do these either). If you find that a longer post is extremely long (let's say for example a thousand or more words), think about whether it would be best broken up into a couple different posts and do a series on your blog making sure to link to all the parts so people don't miss them.

My biggest piece of advice - don't force yourself to follow some guru who says you have to make a blog post so many words. Instead, focus on enjoying the writing process and think about your readers as your write - give enough information about the topic to get your point across and that they won't be left confused.

This is 2 two of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

How To Write Attention Grabbing Blog Post Titles

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attention grabbing blog post titles One of the very things I struggle with is one of the most important pieces of your blog - the blog post title. You have a very small window of opportunity (we're talking seconds here) to grab the reader's attention. This means you have to create titles that catch the reader's attention and make them want to know more so they'll read the content. Let me be blunt - if you have a sucky title it doesn't matter how awesome the text in your post is, most people won't take the time to read it...well unless your mom or best friend reads your blog, they probably don't care how crummy the title is ;-)

Not only is a good title important so you capture the interest of a reader, if you want search engine traffic a good title is also important. Using the right keywords in your title will help ensure your content gets ranked in the search engines. More about this a little later.

Alright, now let's get into the meat of this:

How do you write attention grabbing blog post titles? 

One of the first recommendations I have, which doesn't always work for me - sometimes I do this last, is to start with a title and then create the text of your post. Remember, this is just a working title so you have an idea of what the content is going to be about. You'll finalize the title once you follow these tips suggested below.

Make it Interesting but Don't Exaggerate 

The worst thing you can do when it comes to writing an attention grabbing title is to exaggerate or hype things up too much. Don't over exaggerate or hype things up too much just to make the title catchy. Sure, that might ensure you get some extra click-throughs but you'll end up losing credibility which is what we don't want. You may have seen some titles like this before on social media where a title piques your interest so you click through only to be disappointed because the content had nothing to do with the title.

Instead, make it interesting without the exaggeration or hype. One of the best ways, I know, to do this is to think about it from your readers point of view.

Keep It Short and Engaging

It isn't always easy to keep a title short but shorter is better. Short and sweet as I like to say. Try to be as to the point as possible with as few words as possible. Again, this isn't always easy but best if you can make it happen. Ask a question, use numbers (example: 7 best tips for...) or make a thought provoking statement.

Something I've been doing for awhile and recommend to my clients is to create a swipe file. Anytime you see a title that grabs your attention, copy it down into this swipe file. See if there's a way you could tweak them and use them for your own needs.

Work In Your Keywords

And last but certainly not least, let's talk keywords in your title. I always do this last and honestly, sometimes I don't even worry about it. Instead, it's more important to me that I provide quality, helpful content for my readers. But when I do use keywords in my title it's the very last thing I even think about. Ranking well for something your readers don’t want to read or don’t want to click on doesn’t do you much good. Focus on your audience and then optimize for search as an afterthought and you’ll do well.

Now that you have these tips to help write attention grabbing blog post titles, start paying attention to what's working and what isn't. Each market, blog, and readership is different - what works for one, won't work for another. Use these tips as guidelines to help you find your own style that resonates well with your audience and gets you the results you want.

This is part 1 of a 10 part series on how to write a good blog post that engages people.

25 Ways To Put PLR To Good Use

PLR content also now frequently being called 'done for you' content, can be a huge time saver when it comes to content creation...that is, if you actually put it to use and don't let it sit around collecting virtual dust. Not that I would know anything about buying something, letting it sit on my hard drive and well - oh, never putting it to use ;-)

What is PLR?

If you're not familiar with PLR, it's content that has already been created and you purchase the rights to it. Meaning you can then tweak it, brand it, etc. to fit your needs. Different sites have different rules of how it can and can't be used so it's always important to read their guidelines first.

I've bought PLR but now what? 

Excellent question and one I think all of us have wondered at some point or another. Heck, even after being a Virtual Assistant all these years and being hired to rewrite PLR content and then post it as blog posts, social media blurbs, etc. I sometimes wonder what to do with the stuff I have bought!

There really is a lot you can do with it. My friends Tracy & Susanne over at Piggy Makes Bank have an excellent resource of 25 things you can do to put your PLR to good use. Their article is referring to one basic PLR package that comes with 10 PLR articles. Also, when reading the article keep in mind that while they're referring to one specific PLR bundle about bone broth, the list can be used with any topic.

Here's a couple of the tips they share:

7. Turn all the articles into a small paid eBook. 16. Use small excerpts of the articles as Facebook posts and tweets.

Head on over to Different Ways To Use A PLR Bundle now for the rest of their 25 ideas. 

 

 

Help Someone Face Today With God's Word

Devotions are bite sized chunks of the Word paired with thoughts that apply to real life in a special way. I can't tell you how many times I've turned to a book of devotions for a dose of light during a dark time or encouragement on a rough day.  There's nothing like finding 'just what I needed' on the page.  Those brief moments connected me to my Father's heart and gave me courage to face the world.

I'm so glad the authors were so faithful to write them - so brave about putting their work out there for publication.

What if they had not?  

What about you?

Have you thought about creating devotions yourself?

In my many years working at church, heading up our women's ministry and writing for print and the web, I've personally written hundreds of devotions aimed at ministering to the hearts of women and another small collection just for entrepreneurs.

I believe devotional writing is one of the most important types of content we can lend our words and creativity to.  The world is so busy, people are so rushed and pressed for time.  Some only have a few spare moments - and a devotion is perfect.

I feel so strongly about this, I've decided to deliver a training - to share my simple formula for creating devotions in five steps.  Click here to learn more.

powerful-devotions

3 Social Media Management Tools

Hootsuite, Buffer, Edgar, eClincher, Sprout Social...oh my! Goodness, it seems like new social media management tools pop up every day. Okay, not that often but there's a lot of them out there - old and new ones!

I'm in the process of trying two new ones right now. (If you're a part of the Facebook Group, you may have noticed some of the daily posts coming from Edgar or eClincher). Here's a quick review of the one I used to use and the two I'm currently testing out. This isn't a very in depth review of them - I'll post more in depth reviews about each one later!

Hootsuite

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This appealed to me because it was free and for what I needed to do, the free option was perfect.

My problem with Hootsuite?

It was such a pain to have to go in every month and keep loading up my posts because after they're posted once they're gone.

Off the top of my head, I know Hootsuite currently works with these social media platforms:

  • Facebook profiles
  • Facebook pages
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

I haven't looked in awhile but I know they offer integration with quite a few social media platforms. Something I should probably look at again ;-)

Meet Edgar 

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I've been drawn to this social media management tool for several months now, ever since I first learned about it from one of my Virtual Assistant clients who had me do some work in her account. Unfortunately, I wasn't willing to invest (at $49 a month for the option I needed, I wasn't sure it would be worth it) in them...until now.

The more I started tracking time I was spending on having to upload things into Hootsuite, I started to realize that the $49 a month was worth it. So I signed up on March 12th and spent 3 hours loading all the content into the library, setting up categories, setting up the schedule, etc.

3 hours may seem like a long time but the awesome thing? That content never has to be loaded into Edgar again! They reuse all the content in my libraries.

SWEET!

In other words, it's pretty much a load it up and 'forget about it' sort of thing.

I love how user friendly the interface in Edgar is. It's easy to set up categories (to keep content organized), scheduling is easy, connecting social media accounts is easy.

Currently Edgar works with:

  • Facebook profiles
  • Facebook pages
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn company pages

They offer a 30 day guarantee so even though you have to pay the $49 to sign up, if at any time during those first 30 days you decide the software isn't for you, they'll refund your money.

One thing I wish I had thought about before spending all the time I did setting things up, to only load a few things because I am not 100% positive I'm going to keep using them. So if in this 30 day "trial" I decide to leave them, I'll have lost all that time I spent setting everything up.

eClincher

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I don't know how long this one has been around but I just heard about it on Sunday so to me, it's brand new. This one also comes with a hefty monthly price tag but comes in a little cheaper than Edgar - $40 a month.

They offer a free 14 day trial so I signed up for that yesterday (March 14th). They also offer the same thing that draws so many people to Edgar - the ability to load content and have it reused over and over.

One thing about eClincher that far outweighs Edgar is they offer more social platform posting abilities.

Currently eClincher works with:

  • Facebook profiles
  • Facebook pages
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google Analytics
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Blogger
  • Feedly

Clearly, eClincher offers way more social media platforms than Edgar which is why so many people have been drawn to them.

So far, at quick glance and first attempt to set things up - eClincher interface is not very user friendly at all. Edgar definitely beats them in this department!

In the end, I'm sure I'm going to end up with eClincher or Edgar but I'm still not 100% sure. Hootsuite still appeals to me just because it's free but man, the time it takes to post all the content I need to post every single month - it really is a pain.

In closing, the one thing I want you to remember is that just because something works for one person doesn't mean it's going to work for you. You have to decide what fits your needs best and go with that. Be sure to choose something that you're going to actually use!

Now it's your turn - I want to hear from you: are you using a social media management tool right now? If so, what one? What are the pros/cons to it?

 

Your Life…In Jelly Beans?

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Have you ever seen the jelly beans video? It's a quick (almost 3 minutes) video and you can watch it here:

When I first saw it a few years ago I wasn't sure what I thought of it. Then I recently watched it again and it really struck a nerve with me. Maybe it impacted me more this time, versus a few years ago, because before my grandma passed away this February we had a conversation about how I've let fear hold me back from doing so many things I want (traveling alone, speaking - just to name a few).

One of my favorite conversations I had with her was a month or two prior to her passing and it's something I've been thinking a lot about. She said:

"Tishia, only God really knows how many days you have here but life is short so stop worrying about what everyone else things and please quit living in fear. Get out there and enjoy life!"

We went on to talk about how proud she was when I took a leap and started my Virtual Assistant Business back in 2006. We talked about how God has provided so many great opportunities for me since coming online. We talked about how there were so many things she was proud of doing (her missions trip in Guatemala just to name one) in her lifetime but the thing she regrets the most...all the things she didn't do!

And once again, after her passing, I sat thinking about how three or four years ago I told her:

"Grandma, I feel life is passing me by and I'm sitting on the sidelines watching everything happen but I'm not participating."

And while I've changed a few things since sharing that with her, I'm still watching from the sidelines. The main reason...I'm scared. I want to head out and explore (I'm not even talking heading to the other side of the world on some big travel adventure - I'm talking local travel right here in Michigan...there are sooo many places I haven't experienced, and some other travel adventures like hopping on a train and just going somewhere, etc.) I know single women travel alone all the time, but there's a few people around me that don't think it's a good idea. And Lord knows I spend way too much time worrying about what everyone else thinks Tishia should or shouldn't be doing!

Once again I let fear stop me in my tracks

A perfect example of fear stopping me would be this past weekend. It was beautiful out here in Northern Michigan so I decided to head on up to one of my favorite places - Mackinaw City. I've never actually seen the bridge when Lake Michigan is frozen and has snow on it so it was a new experience and it was beautiful:

Mackinac Bridge March 2016

I wanted so badly to cross the five mile Mighty Mac but the thought of driving over it sends me into full on panic mode. There are sooooo many things in the U.P. (upper peninsula) I want to explore but I can never actually get over the bridge to get there. Yes, I've been on the bridge before...as a passenger and that's bad enough. So once again, I left and headed back home.

As I drove home and even after I got home, I was so disappointed in myself. I just knew that my grandma would have cheered me on and told me I could do it had she been alive and I called her while in Mackinaw City wanting to get to the other side. She would have encouraged me but most of all she would have prayed for me and told me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (which ironically is the exact same thing a Facebook friend posted when I shared about it on there!)...

I'm sooooo tired of living on the sidelines. I so desperately want to get out there and enjoy the "game" and I know God doesn't want me living in fear. So, I'm bound and determined to start taking baby steps and within the next few months I WILL cross that bridge with God guiding me safely!

Anyway, now that I've rambled on I'll leave you with my final thought about the video (because that's what the post really was about LOL) and a question for you:

I never thought I'd be learning life lessons from jelly beans! But what a creative way to get the point across!

What do you plan on doing with the rest of the time you have?

Content Curation Series - Link to All Posts

The other day I shared the first blog post in a series all about content creation. But then I realized that I was trying to re-create the wheel. In other words, I already have a whole content curation series over on my virtual assistant blog. So, if you’re interested in reading the series just click on the links below.

  1. 7 Content Curation Tips to Follow
  2. 3 Tips on Finding Content to Share
  3. 3 Tools to Use for Filtering and Finding Great Content to Curate
  4. Four Unique Content Curation Tools
  5. Content Curation Challenge Results(this post shows my results of 21 days of posting curated content on my site for a challenge I was participating in)

I hope you enjoy the series. And if you’re interested in learning even more, be sure to pick up a copy of Kelly McCausey’s Smart Curation Skills!

What Is Content Curation?

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content curationAfter posting Build Traffic, Be More Visible & Build Relationships With This One Strategy I received some questions from people. They were still confused as to what content curation really means/what it means to be a content curator. So this post is the first in a series all about... you guessed it content curation ;-)

What Is Content Curation?

Content curation means pulling together content from various sources and presenting it to the reader in your own way. It may be easier to understand content curation by defining what it is not. Content curation doesn't mean presenting a list of stories or a weekly roundup of links. It's definitely not going and copying, word for word, someone else's content!

The idea is to take the information available and make sense of it for your readers. This means you'll have to take time to sift through all the content that's out there and choose what you think is the best and most valuable for your readers.  Once you've done that, you create bite size nuggets of info about that piece of content and point your readers to the full piece of content.

Why Curate Content?

One of the questions people asked was what's the point in curating content? The content is already out there, my people will eventually find it on their own.

True. The content is already out there. But the key point to curating content is that it's not just a pile of information. Every minute of the day all of us are inundated by large amounts of information thanks to the internet. And while the internet is a great thing, it also leads to overwhelm. Everyone has to sift through all that's out there to find what they're truly interested in reading. A good content curator does this for you!

How Content Curation Helps You

One misconception, and a big one, when it comes to curating content is that people choose to do it because it's a way for them to not have to come up with their own content - since you're pulling together content from different sources, this offers a shortcut to writing it all yourself. However, this isn't true. The content you curate can help you establish authority and create a connection with your readers.

Think of it from the reader's point of view. Your blog or website is a source of the exact information they want on a regular basis. It saves them from having to do their own sifting online. Over time, they come to see you as a go-to source for their information. They see you as a knowledgeable expert in your field. An automated program that uses keyword algorithms to suck up content from other sites won't do that.

If your content is relevant and helpful to your readers, they'll keep coming back for more. It doesn't matter to them whether you're the actual content creator or have taken the time to weed through all the info out there to find and share the best and most useful to them.

Curating content should be taken just as seriously as creating your own content from scratch, but one of the advantages of this approach is that it is easier and more cost effective than writing your own content or hiring a writer. It's just a matter of understanding your readers well and choosing the right content.

Ready to learn even more about content curation? 

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Build Traffic, Be More Visible & Build Relationships With This One Strategy

smart-curation-skillsBlogging is hard work. It takes persistence, time, a will to not give up when the going gets tough. And of course as faith based bloggers - it also requires lots of prayer! Starting your blog is the easy part. Building a successful blog is the hard part. A successful blog requires: 

  1. Traffic
  2. Visibility
  3. Community/Relationships

While that list could be bigger, I believe these are three of the most important elements. But if you're not creating content on a regular basis all three of those areas are going to suffer.

I don't know about you, but my biggest struggle when it comes to blogging is...well blogging. At least blogging on a consistent basis ;-) And that's an issue. Without consistent, fresh content we'll lose traffic, visibility & our community may stop coming back if they regularly look for new content only to find none.

To prove my point, look at this snapshot of Faithful Bloggers statistics from January and February. I posted nothing in February and my stats took a nosedive.

January 2016 Traffic 

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February 2016 Traffic 

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Without consistent activity on your blog there's nothing for you to share. And as the two images above show, when you're not creating content and sharing it, your traffic suffers. Search engines love fresh content!

But what do you do when you've hit the dreaded writer's block and can't come up with anything to write about or you just don't have the time to write your own blog post? 

Curate content!

I fell in love with the idea of curating content when I heard about it a couple years ago from Kelly (McCausey).

Content curation is a great content supplement to help ensure you're posting on a consistent basis. It's an easy way to quickly add a piece of content to your site. But don't make the mistake of just throwing up a curated post for the sake of having new content added.  Instead, it's important to curate content that will benefit your audience.

What exactly is Content Curation? 

Content curation is organizing and sharing content with your audience.

Yes, it's that simple! If you're interested in seeing an example of how I curated a piece of content, check out this post here.

Looking for tips on how to curate content to maximize your blogging time? Try Smart Curation Skills and you can save hours each week.   (I even got Kelly to throw in a sweet discount! If you use coupon code LETSCURATE at checkout, you'll save $12!) 

Sneak Peek Into Image Monthly

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Image Monthly Membership-Graphics that are appealing to the eye are important when it comes to blogging. Not only do they need to be appealing to the eye, but they should be social shareable friendly - you want people sharing your content! I don't always have time to look for graphics to use in a blog post. It can be time consuming looking through public domain images or using a site like Pixabay.com to find an image.

That's why I LOVE Kelly's Image Monthly subscription.

She launched back in 2014 (if I remember correctly, it was 2014) and I've been a subscriber ever since. It saves me time and that is priceless! It was a little challenging to try to put into words everything you get as a member.

Instead, I created a video to show you - I even showed you how quickly and easily you can add your domain name, text, etc. to the images they provide each month.

For me, it really is priceless to have a membership to Image Monthly. There are so many resources it comes with that I can't believe it's so inexpensive. Thankfully I'm grandfathered into the lower price because Kelly is raising the rate to $12.97 (per month) at the end of this month.

If you think this resource could be beneficial, I encourage you to sign up now! order-now-red

A quick recap because I didn't really mention this in the video, but I did show you all the images, etc. Each month you'll get a new issue of Image Monthly PLUS:

  • 25 Royalty Free Stock Photos You Can Use Commercially
  • 10 Engaging Quotes Designed In Beautiful Typography
  • 5 Backgrounds & 5 Quote Bubble Templates

Again, I encourage you to SIGN UP NOW if you're even the littlest bit interested!

Side note: Word of caution - whatever you do, do NOT grab images from Google and use those - that's a big NO NO. You can end up getting sued, actually! Here are some posts that explain more:

 

No Resolutions. Words Instead.

I don't know about you but setting New Year's resolutions has never worked for me. I'd get all excited towards of the end of a year and gung ho about going full force on New Year's Day with whatever resolution I had picked (90% of the time it was always about dieting and losing weight) and by the end of January (sometimes I didn't even make it a couple weeks!) I was right back to old habits. So, I gave up on setting resolutions several years ago. Then I switched to setting goals instead. And, well you can probably guess how that turned out. You're correct if you guessed a few weeks into a new year and I had given up on the goals too.

Then, a few years ago, I was introduced to picking a word for the year - a theme so to speak. And this has worked for me. Of course, I'm a rebel and I usually end up with three words each year instead of just one ;-) Although, this year only two words 'picked me'.

If you're interested in learning more about picking a word(s) for the year, You can see this year's post here.  (NOTE - the resource mentioned in the post is a little on the "airy fairy" side as it talks a lot about manifestation and things like that).

I used the resource mainly for page 11 - idea generator list. This is where my two words came from. And what I mean by they 'picked me' is that those two words jumped off the page, they tugged at my heart strings, and felt right.

My 2016 Word(s) of the Year

I'm a little less excited about these two words than I have been in previous years about my words. But I know it's a good thing these are my words this year. There are definitely some things I know God wants me to work on and the theme for 2016 is all about:

2016-words

Focus & Clarity - I think those two words fit perfect for this year and things I have in mind :-)

Just for the fun of it, here are my words from a few previous years:

2015 words

  • Adventure
  • Choice
  • Freedom

2014 words

  • self love
  • confidence
  • change

Now, it's your turn!

Are you a resolution setter? Goal setter? Word picker? I want to know! Leave me a comment below...

Fun for adult coloring enthusiasts!

color-monthly-gift-passBack in July I needed a way to 'escape' reality. It had been three months since my, then four year old - now five, nephew Braylan had been diagnosed with leukemia. Around that time I started hearing about the adult coloring craze. Coloring was something I loved as a kid. Back then, I could get lost for hours with a coloring book and box of crayons. That's how I 'escaped' when I needed to as a kid...with a sometimes not so pleasant life.

So it didn't surprise me when I bought my first adult coloring book, how easily I was able to tune out everything around me and get lost in a stress-free, fun "kids" activity!

The Adult Coloring Craze 

Shortly after purchasing that first (and so far only one!) adult coloring book, along came Color Monthly - a really easy way to feed my coloring obsession! What I loved about this (and still love) is the fact that it's digital downloads, delivered monthly. So I get to pick and choose what ones I want to print out and color!

Then along came Color Monthly's premium packages - more coloring pages every month and a few other fun items to go with it. It didn't take me long to sign up for the subscription. I still pay every month to be a member...I love it that much.

If you're a coloring fanatic like me, then be sure to check out the Color Monthly 2016 All Access Gift Pass. For a one-time payment of just $37 you'll get access to ALL the color monthly premiere packs and extra packs too! (That's a value of up to $200!). The regular price will be $57 for this offer but if you act fast and purchase now you'll get the special price of just $37!

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This would also make a perfect last minute gift for a coloring enthusiast friend or family member!

Let's recap real quick: 

Purchasing the 2016 All Access Pass gives you immediate access to all Color Monthly Premier Packages AND all Color Monthly Extra Packages we release from now until the end of 2016! That's a whole lot of stress-releasing, reality "escaping" fun to be had! ;-)