2016 Social Media Planning I

dreamstime_s_29448883 - Social Media
© Nito100 | Dreamstime.com – Social Media Photo

It’s January 2016. The start of a new year. Time to reflect back and plan forward. I decided to do some of my planning out in the open because, frankly, I’m looking for feedback. I set my 2016 blogging goals. Now it’s time to tackle social media. Believe it or not, this is a much bigger mountain to climb. My early research suggests the best way to do this is to create a Social Media Marketing Plan. I’m modifying the process a little. I will use the following steps:

  1. Conduct a Social Media Audit – Assess current social media channels, usage (if any) and results.
  2. Define Social Media Priorities – I once gave presentations to small business people on how to use social media. And, I’m still very much a social media enthusiast. However, I know social media can consume all your time if you let it. It’s a lot of work! There are hundreds of social media sites and more are added weekly it seems. I have to decide which sites stay. Which sites go. Which sites get added.
  3. Create, delete or improve social media channels based on priorities
  4.  Create a Content Plan
  5. Outsource some duties

Well, this is the plan starting out. I’ll keep you posted. If you have any written social media goals or plans for your blog, please share! We can start a club and have t-shirts made.

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

2016 Blogging Goals Updated

dreamstime_xs_34050628 - Blue Enter ButtonI was nervous when I posted my 2016 Blogging Goals 3 days ago. Very, very nervous! Like hold my finger over the enter key for a few seconds before striking down nervous. This is a new blog and stating my goals for the world to see is … well, risky.

I decided to dig the hole deeper by sharing the post to friends by email and to fellow bloggers via the Maryland Bloggers Facebook group. “This’ll work better than counting sheep to put people to sleep”, I thought to myself. Then, I clicked the button and waited for the sound of crickets … or laughter.

Man was I wrong! I started getting feedback within minutes. People liked it, wished me good luck or congratulated me for blogging. All good to see and read. It’s confirmation that I was not crazy for clicking the button. Best of all, I got feedback! Real feedback. Enough feedback that I’m adding a few goals to my original list and re-thinking my approach for next year. [See original post for changes.]. Final 2016 blogging goals … set!

I want to thank Emilie Burke of BurkeDoes.com for sharing her Blogging Goals for 2016 with me. She has a great website and a fantastic set of well thought goals!

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

2016 Blogging Goals

Maryland Travel Stories - 2016 GoalsI started this blog in May 2015. I’ve had a few ups and downs and a HUGE learning curve. Funny, considering this isn’t my 1st blog! I’ve been blogging on and off for years. Both for myself and for others. Like any profession; technology changes, blogging tools change, and then there’s social media! While the barrier to blogging keeps getting lower, the number things you need to juggle grows faster. I’m getting the hang of this by constantly looking for new posting ideas and constantly taking classes to sharpen my saw.

Here are my blogging goals for 2016. [first commit, then achieve]:

  1. Post at least once a week – I just had a two month hiatus from blogging while I moved. My training teaches me this is a big DO NOT DO in blogging! You can’t have long breaks in posting if you want to be treated as a professional blog. [Plus it’s a good way to lose your following!]
  2. Network with other bloggers – I need to meet and befriend other bloggers. There’s power in numbers. Plus, networking is just a good thing to do in any hobby or profession. I found groups of Virginia bloggers [where I live], Maryland bloggers [the place I’m blogging about] as well as travel bloggers. Now I have to get active. You can never have too many friends.
  3. Continue learning – Take classes – listen to WordPress & travel podcasts – attend blogging/travel conventions & meetups.
  4. Find a good mastermind group
  5. Complete my last project – The Maryland Ice Cream Trail – I have one last place to visit.
  6. Complete my next project – Maryland Waterfalls
  7. Continue exploring Garrett County – I’m finishing up Accident, Md. Next is Deer Park, Md, Friendsville, Md and Grantsville, Md.
  8. Create a Blog Business Plan [new]
  9. Build blog to 100 readers [new]
  10. Merge Pinterest accounts and add widget to website [new]

There they are … my 2016 blogging goals! I’ve committed. Now I have to achieve.

Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

Wheel Life Thinking – The Repost

ID 46000662 © Kiosea39 | Dreamstime.comMy last blog was called “Wheel Life Thinking“. (It’s a long story.) I still have the domain but I have not posted to that blog in some time. This last year has been transformational for me. I decided to go in a different direction so I started “Maryland Travel Stories“.

I’m having fun with this blog. It’s helping me develop my writing skills. It’s giving me a path to explore the state I grew up in. I’m discovering the profession and mechanics of travel blogging. Lastly, it’s forcing me to travel more. (I could write a book on the benefits I’m getting from traveling along.) Frankly, I wish I knew about all this ten years ago.

I have a few posts on Wheel Life Thinking I really like. I plan to refer to them in future posts for this blog. This created a question for me. Should I link to a non-active blog? My thought is no, it’s not a good idea to link to a blog that’s no longer active. As a result, I’m going to re-post my favorite content onto this blog. This way, when I link to them, I’m linking to an active blog. I maybe wrong. People may think I’m crazy. But, here I am, stepping out on a ledge! My next few posts will be from my old blog.

Is this a good or bad idea?

Thank you for reading the Maryland Travel Stories Blog!

Travel Blogger Professionalism Discussion

This Week in TravelOne of the podcasts I listen to is This Week in Travel (TWiT). May I say, it’s a wonderful podcast! I’ve learned a great deal about travel blogging and the travel industry from this podcast. If you want to keep up-to-date on travel news and the travel industry, go subscribe to this podcast … like right now!

Episode 174 of TWiT was a recording of the closing keynote at the 2014 TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference in Cancun Mexico. The hosts of TWiT held a panel discussion on professionalism in travel blogging. The host of TWiT are Gary Arndt, Chris Christensen and Jen Leo. They were joined on the panel by guests Ryan Levitt – PR Director at  Housetrip and Don George – Editor at Large/Book Columnist at National Geographic Travel.

The subject most meaningful to me was the challenges Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) have in finding travel bloggers to work with on projects. (I just started this blog so this is a whole new world for me!) It’s wonderful to learn the jargon, issues and best practices for travel blogging. Go listen to this episode and tell me what you think.

Thanks for reading the Maryland Travel Stories Blog!

Social Media Update – Facebook Page Up (and Other Things)

© Nito100 | Dreamstime.com - Social Media Photo
© Nito100 | Dreamstime.com – Social Media Photo

This has been networking and social media week for the blog:

  1. I found two blogger networking groups; Virginia Bloggers and Maryland Bloggers. (I blog about Maryland but I live in Virginia so I can benefit from both.) I’m looking forward to learning and networking with other bloggers. I’ve been actively searching for a way to network. I’m very happy to have this off my to do list.
  2. I’m consolidating my two Pinterest profiles. I will keep the Maryland Travel Stories profile to protect the name. However, all future boards and pins will be on my personal Pinterest profile. It’s just easier this way!
  3. I cleaned up my Foursquare profile so the brands and lists match what I’m doing for this blog. (A lot of work for this one!)
  4. Lastly, my Facebook page is up! YAY! Now I can get back to posting!

As I said in my last social media post, social media is a lot of work!

Thanks for reading the Maryland Travel Stories Blog!

Thank You Google Plus!

© Bantuquka | Dreamstime.com - Social Media Icon Google Plus On Smart Phone Screen Photo
© Bantuquka | Dreamstime.com – Social Media Icon Google Plus On Smart Phone Screen Photo

Thank you Google+ !!!

I wrote a post discussing how much work it is to manage social media for my blog. Any help I can get managing social media is welcome. I’m active on Pinterest and Twitter for this blog. Google+ was next on my list. I setup a Google+ page a few weeks ago. At the time I was thinking I’d create page, then come back later to start posting stuff.

Yesterday, I opened my Google+ page to start posting. I was surprised to find most of my blog posts were already posted to the page! The blog posts were going over automatically to Google+! VERY COOL! Google+ is covered with very little work.

I know this is small potatoes to most of you. Some might even look at me and say … “well dah”. I was a social media instructor but I still get pleasantly surprised by small things. It’s one less thing I have to worry about in managing my blog’s social media. It’s a BIG DEAL for me!

Thanks again Google+ !!!

And thank you for reading the Maryland Travel Stories Blog!

Brent Jackson

Social Media is a Lot of Work!

© Nito100 | Dreamstime.com - Social Media Photo
© Nito100 | Dreamstime.com – Social Media Photo

Let me say that I LOVE social media! I’m active on several sites and I check for updates throughout the day. I was a Social Media Instructor for a nonprofit until a few months ago. I know the benefits of social media for a blog are many. I enjoy applying the things I learned and taught to my own blog.

However, as a blogger, its a lot of work! I spent most of my time last week working on my blog’s Twitter and Pinterest profiles. I also started a new list on my Foursquare profile to track the places I plan to visit.

This is not to complain. I’m only a part-time blogger. I have to find a way to balance the work needed to post to my blog with the work of managing its social media. Any part-time bloggers out there with ideas, please share!

Thanks for reading the Maryland Travel Stories Blog!

Brent Jackson