Rotary

Blogging

20 Ways To Get Serious About Blogging


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1. Think long & hard about your blog categories

Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.

2. Design your site as simple as possible

Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.

3. Operate it like a real magazine

Decide on your target audience just like Cosmo or House and Garden does. This means deciding:

+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)

+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)

+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)

Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.

4. Share each post into infinity

You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.

5. Make sure you know what  your audience wants and needs

Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.

6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend

Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.

7. Invest in your blog

The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.

8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans

This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.

9. Create a content calendar

….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.

10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks

Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.

11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think

Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.

12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else

Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.

13. Get high quality photos of yourself

It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!

14. Audit your blog regularly

That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.

15. Check your grammar

Make sure to double-check your articles.

16. Be available + interactive

No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!

17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask

There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.

18. Guest post like a champ

Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.

19. Accept guest posts like a champ

If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.

20. Stay focused

We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.

Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

❤ My Work, Social Media Marketing + PR

Rotary Club of Algoa Bay Social Media PR + Marketing


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Rotary Blogger South Africa

Skybok enjoyed creating this fresh new blog for The Rotary Club of Algoa Bay. Good causes always need good websites. Join them on Facebook here. The Rotary Family Health Days 2015 will be held in the heart of Zwide Township at Ubuntu. It was incredible to hear Bill Clinton travelled there last year. It’s the home of the Ubuntu Education Fund. The RFHD are 3 days of free health care for the community. Skybok shot and produced the Algoa Bay Rotary Club’s video profile recently, as well as their soup kitchen for Madiba Day at Provincial Hospital.

Rotary at Ubuntu Education Centre South Africa

Outreach, Rotary, Skybok

Giving Back This “Madiba Day”!


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This year for Madiba Day the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay gave back for 67 minutes – 1 minute for every year Nelson Mandela worked to make the world a better place – at The Provincial Hospital. The hospital is in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. In honour of his birthday, the call is out for people everywhere to give 67 minutes of their time to help their community in some way. Everyone has the power to change the world. The United Nations declared 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in 2009.

❤ My Work, Outreach, Rotary

Rotary Heroes of Nelson Mandela Bay


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Rotary Wheel

I am proud to be associated with Rotary International through my involvement with projects of The Rotary Club of Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Recently Rotary initiated 3 days of free healthcare to communities across the country in their fantastic “Rotary Health Days” initiative. I covered all the social media PR & marketing for the Eastern Province, focusing on the sites in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium and in Uitenhage at the Volkswagen sponsored Love Life Youth Centre in Kwanobuhle.

Please see our awesome album of the Rotary Family Health Days here. I was so honoured to receive active support and involvement from the Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, via their official instagram feed here and their Facebook page here. Rotary clubs are all over the world. They bring together leaders to exchange ideas and take action to help empower youth, enhance health, promote peace, and eradicate polio.

For more than 100 years, Rotarians have joined together from all continents, cultures, and occupations to take action in our communities and worldwide. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.

Rotarians are volunteers with diverse perspectives and they’re committed to making lasting changes in communities globally. The goal of Rotary is to advance goodwill through improvement of health, education and alleviation of poverty. Thanks to my family’s involvement with them – my mother is the Assistant Governor of District 9370 – I’m never short of a community project to get involved with. See my photo gallery on giving back to various charities right here in Nelson Mandela Bay as well as in Cape Town. One such initiative was raising money to buy a bakkie (car) for the Ubomi Obutsha Community Centre in Kwazakhele township and handing out sweets and other goodies to their children. Ubomi is a community development project of Combined Christian Ministries to the Poor. Projects like these help me in my small way to make a difference. I believe in basic human rights and equality for all. I believe in empowering people through education and healthcare. I believe in nation-building and spreading love. Rotary helps me do this. Please support the Rotary Community on their official Facebook page or Instagram feed and see how you, too, can get involved in your city.

They are currently running a photo competition with using the hashtag “#rotaryhero” next to photos you upload online. I have entered a couple of the ones we took at our Health Days – one in particular spoke to my heart. It was a photo of a man named Samuel from New Brighton township here in Nelson Mandela Bay. He was in his shack listening to the radio when he heard an interview with ambassadors for the Health Days. They were leaders from the Rotary Club of San Rafael Harbour in San Francisco who had flown in especially to be part of the Health Days here. They were handing out prosthetic hands. Samuel happened to need one. He gathered up some coins, got in a taxi and made his way to the stadium where he received immediate attention and was fitted with a new hand. For the first time since 1982, he held a cup of coffee in his dominant hand. He was beaming from ear to ear and it brought tears to our eyes and to his. He was full of a hope and joy he hadn’t experienced in over 30 years, losing his hand during Apartheid.

Because of the collaborative effort of all Rotarians at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium when he arrived (near closing time!) to work speedily and effectively to give him his hand, I nominate us for the #rotaryhero prize 🙂 Rotary is about teamwork, human rights, making a difference and – most importantly- giving people back their dignity and self-respect. Nelson Mandela believed in this too. Rotarians in Nelson Mandela Bay did just that every day during the 3 day initiative, culminating in this case on the last day. Because of it, we are all Rotary “heroes” in my eyes.

This photo encompasses it all. Please “like” our photo on Facebook here!

❤ My Work, Outreach, Rotary

Successful Rotary Family Health Days for District 9370!


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Tamika Doubell
Running from April 2 – 4 2014, Rotary International together with the Department of Health in South Africa initiated 3 days of free community health checks + testing. Many add-on services partnered in order to provide a complete array of health testing. The aim? To promote a person’s basic human right to healthcare. It took place across 140 sites in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Lesotho, Gauteng + Northern Province). Simultaneous testing was also occurring in Nigeria, Kenya + Uganda. Below are some photographs from District 9370 as they rolled out their health days!
Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, was the official launch site of South Africa. Between this site + the site in Nelson Mandela Bay at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, we tested close to 3000 people between the 2 sites over the 3 days. Offering services such as testing for blood pressure, HIV, TB, audiology, optometry, dental, cervical, kidneys + cholesterol, there was also de-worming, family planning, measles vaccinations, vitamin A injections, diabetes, blood glucose testing + prosthetic hands for the disabled. Everyone was afforded the same opportunity to become empowered with their state of health. Where there was a need, patients were referred for the correct treatment + help. The beauty of the health days is that all the health services have been combined so that families can be seen as a unit – mothers + children can get tested together. This curtails travelling expenses + loss of valuable work days. I worked as Social Media Manager for the Eastern Province of South Africa, providing updates on the developments of the Family Health Days at the sites. View all the photos at this awesome link. Support the official facebook page of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay here. Join the Rotary movement globally here. Join me on Twitter here. Let’s connect on Instagram here
❤ My Work, Outreach, Rotary

Rotary Clubs of South Africa Bring Free Health Services To You!


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Rotary Family Health Days

Civil society, big business and the government will team up from 2nd to 4th April 2014 to promote family healthy living and disease prevention by implementing a massive, annual campaign that provides comprehensive, free health care services to tens of thousands of people in underprivileged communities.

Services over the three days will include HIV counselling and testing, screening for TB, diabetes and blood pressure, measles vaccinations, deworming, the dispensing of Vitamin A and more!

This programme is Rotary-led by the global Rotarian Action Group, Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA). This action group is the mobilizing partner of Rotary International in the area of disease prevention programs. RFHA has received an unprecedented commitment from the South African Department of Health (NDoH), The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, the US Government Agencies – CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) and USAID, and the SABC and Caxton as primary media partners.

The Rotary Family Health Days are a comprehensive, holistic offering of free healthcare for parents, children, grandparents, friends and all family members in over 145 sites across the country. Approximately 4,000 Rotarians from 225 Rotary Clubs will be volunteering between 9:00 – 16:00 daily and working the sites to assist the medical staff and deliver the services to South Africans.

It is the vision of RFHA, Rotary leaders and other partners to expand the health event each year to other African countries. In 2014, the RFHD Programme will run in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho through the month of April.

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio- free world.

Rotary brings together the kinds of people who step forward to take on important issues in local communities worldwide. Rotary members hail from a range of professional backgrounds and through this community-based network, the organisation connects these unique perspectives and helps leverage its members’ expertise for them to live by the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”.

Rotary brings free health services to you!

The Rotary Family Health Days is the signature program of Rotarians For Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA). The program promotes healthy living and disease prevention by implementing a massive, annual campaign that provides comprehensive, free health-care services to tens of thousands of people in underprivileged communities. The services include lifelong immunizations to children, such as polio and measles vaccines and comprehensive life-saving annual screens such as HIV, TB, diabetes, hypertension, malaria and more. The program is Rotary-led, and is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, the South Africa Department of Health, the CDC, USAID, and the SABC and Caxton as primary media partners as well as YFM, Media 24 news and Independent Newspapers in the Western Cape.

To find out more about the RFHDs and the sites in your area visit: www.rfha.org.za or dial
*120*7343# and follow the prompts.

You can also follow the Family Health Days on Twitter or join the movement on Facebook.

I was very involved last year and will be this year again – see my blog articles on it from 2013:

 

My Life in Africa, South Africa

Mandela’s Legacy For Me


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Tamika Doubell South Africa

 

Anyone who knows me knows I’m proudly South African. Mandela’s passing had a huge effect on me as this country said goodbye to its most cherished soul. I was living in Cape Town at the time & all around me there were Madiba posters & South African flags waving in the streets. One day there was a huge concert to pay tribute to him at the Cape Town Stadium. Madiba has taught me so many lessons. When I think about it, he was the first one who taught me to get involved in my community where I could & work with others to strive for the better.

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