How to plan an implement a live blog
How to plan an implement a live blog

Could live blogging be a good fit when covering events for your business? How do you plan a live blog? This week I spoke to Daniel Logue, Digital Co-Ordinator for the Electric Picnic festival about how they plan and manage their live blog.

Listen below for Live Blogging planning and implementation advice

The Electric Picnic is like a mini Glastonbury festival in Ireland. For the last two years they’ve been doing something interesting. On top of their news blog and social media they launched a live blog showcasing music acts and events from the 3 day festival in almost real time.

Two bloggers were tasked with keeping the content flowing. One was Rachel Corina Masterson, a member of the Spiderworking Small Business Bloggers group on Facebook.

Thanks to Rachel I got to talk to Digital co-ordinator Daniel Logue about the planning, execution and the benefits of live blogging. He’s got some great insights into the planning of live blogging and the process that works for them. He’s also got some tips on the other digital marketing for the event.

electric picnic live blog
The Electric Picnic live blog can be viewed by day or year.


How do you find bloggers?

  • Look for people with a specific style that matches your own.
  • For the electric picnic they chose bloggers who had a good style and published positive reviews. They needed positive bloggers as  they’d be blogging about our event.

Play to the strengths of the bloggers.  

The Electric picnic is more than music they needed someone who had an interest beyond music. Rachel was a more eclectic blogger covering the arts whilst Alan was predominantly music. This effected which events and gigs they covered.


  • When you build the blog to make sure it works when content goes into it.
  • Test the process for blogging
  • Look at debrief from last year to see if we can improve it.
  • Look at other festivals to see if you can improve how content appears on the blog.

Choosing acts to cover

  • Look at website and apps to see which acts readers have favourited the most. This gives you an idea of what acts to cover.
  • Give bloggers the schedule and then give them break periods so they could write up what they had seen and experienced.

On the day

  • Bloggers send their articles to Daniel and the team so they could proof read it, mostly for tone.
  • The Friday is less hectic than the rest of the weekend so it gives the bloggers time to get into the swing of things.
  • They gave the bloggers extra time to review headliners that finished at 2am in the morning. This meant longer posts that they could integrate into the news section of the website too.
  • live blog longer form content linked back to the main news site
    Longer stories about headline acts linked back to the main news site.

Who takes the photos?

They used intern student photographers to accompany the bloggers. This meant they were a team of two, it gave the interns the experience and the blogger a team member to work with.

Why choose live blogging?

  • Social media platforms like tumblr and Pinterst are essentially blogs.
  • Live blogging lets you give people live info as it happens.
  • If you couldn’t make it you can see live updates.
  • It gives those who aren’t attending a fuller picture of the festival.
  • When you look at a live day on the blog it gives people a more personalised experience.

What’s the benefit?

It’s a way to show people the festival. They can read it when they get home, they can see what they missed out on and what they might go see next year.

How does the blog fit into the digital strategy as a whole?

  • It starts when the festival is happening but it’s there for post event content. It’s content that’s great for sharing after the festival on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Electric Picnic is a 365 day campaign, the post event content sustains it throughout the year. A lot of festivals take a six month break but it’s important to keep your audience interested all year round.
  • It brings back memories with their audience and they’ll start building the buzz for next year.

Do people read whist they are at the festival?

  • Activity drops off during the festival. They use the app but there is less live content on social from people at the festival.
  • Social media feeds were built into the app so they were reading but less likely to interact.

Do you get user generated content?

They encourage people to share their content with a hashtag afterwards. They ReTweet images people they share.

The News Section

This is the section of the blog that is updated all year round. It’s useful info closer to the event and then Q&A’s with bands particularly Irish bands throughout the year.  They also have features on each area of the site, what’s new and curated content from people selecting their top picks.

Social Media

The electric picnic hands over their Instagram account to acts. For example, Cathy Davy did a takeover for the launch of her album this year.


Follow the leafy canopies until you arrive here and step inside The Hazel Wood. #EP2016

A photo posted by Official Electric Picnic (@epfestival) on


Snapchat works well at the festival but it’s harder to sustain all year round.

What should an event organiser do when planning live blogging?

  • Make sure you have great writers
  • Plan what is going to happen, don’t wing it
  • Get a very good photographer
  • Have content from different categories if there is more than one thing going on

I found it really interesting talking to Daniel, he’s very focussed on planning and he has to be considering the huge amount of digital work that is involved in a festival that size.

If you run events of any type live blogging could be a good fit, it will help you paint a picture of what is happening, generate buzz amongst those who couldn’t attend and create great post-event content that will re-engage the people who were there.

Before You Go

Do you believe in Karma? If so I recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast. You never know what wonderful things might happen in return.

Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:


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How to plan and implement a live blog
How to plan and implement a live blog




What is a community and why do we need them?
What is a community and why do we need them?

Why should we build communities for our businesses? What is a community and what value do they have? 

I’m part of a long standing online community. Although I’ve been a part of it for 10 years or more I still feel like a newbie. The community was built around a common interest in a British comedian.

It started as a mailing list in tandem with an online forum. The forum died, the mailing list still exists althugh is less active now as we have brought our friendships onto Facebook.

Members of this community meet in real life and have built friendships and relationships. I’ve been on holiday with members of the group, some have stayed in my home, I’ve stayed in their homes. Whenever I travel in the UK I look up any fellow community members and meet them for a coffee, a pint, a chat.

We rarely talk about the comedian who brought us together but you will find us at every gig or event he runs. We bring our friends with us and talk about the gigs online.

Being in a community makes you feel like you are part of something bigger. It makes you feel like you have a special connection to the people and the common interest that the community is built around.

Imagine having a community like this centred on your business.

Are We Getting It All Wrong With Community Building? – Watch Below

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Community?

The word ‘community’ has been misrepresented.

Many regard their community as their social media followers but it needs to be more than this. I see followers as communites in waiting it’s our job to activate them.

I’ve looked up the definition of the word ‘community’ on several online dictionaries. Some describe it as:

  • A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  • A particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants.

In some ways I can see how this term has been extended to refer to a group of followers, but is it really accurate? What commonality do your followers have other than being connected to you?

The community I described is based around a central character, a celebrity but it’s active because members communicate with each other, not the central character.

To have a community people have to feel like they are members. That they are valued. They will want to get to know other community members to feel reassured that they are part of a group of like-minded people.

Communities In Waiting

Page Likers on Facebook have a simple relationship with you. You broadcast messages to them, they respond, you respond to their responses. It is rare that conversation breaks out from that format, it’s rare for your page likers to strike up conversations with each other.

The same is true on Twitter, the odd multi-player conversation may erupt but in most cases your relationship with your followers is one to one.

If you can activate your communities in waiting you can push the activity around your business beyond the walls of your social media.

Your followers will begin to feel like they belong to something, a club, a community. They will become more comfortable sharing with others in the group. Some will even break out and start forming friendships and sub-communities outside of your social channels. When this happens two things occur:

1. You begin to lose control of the message

You have little control beyond your own base. Your community members get to write the script when they talk to people outside of your community. You just have to ensure you have given them the right facts and the right content to share.

2. They become advocates for your business

The good news is that although the message gets diluted your community members  will start to talk about you outside your social media channels. They will talk about you to their friends online and in and the offline world. They will become your best sales people, your own army of word of mouth marketers.

How To Activate Your Community

Use a space that fosters conversation

It’s difficult to build community on a Facebook page or in the comments section of your blog post. You need to find a space that nurtures conversation.

One of the reasons the community I talked about works so well is that it’s all been conversation based. We conversed in the email threads, on the forum and in real life. If you want your community to be active you nee to look beyond your Facebook page and Twitter handle.

Facebook groups are the ideal space for this. I love Amanda Brown’s Celebration Project group. Even though I’m a passive member most of the time, I feel like I am celebrating her successes along with the group.

She asks for input for new projects meaning I’m more likely to buy them when they are launched.

Twitter chats

Twitter chats are still a clunky way of having mass conversations but those that persist will feel the community spirit. Although chats are usually hosted by a specific Twitter account threaded conversations go on way after the scheduled conversations have ended.

I’m not a regular contributor to chats but I have been known to join #BufferChat #BizChats from Mashable amonst others. I always meet new people when I join in.

Inspire conversations

Once you’ve found a home, or homes for your communities your job is to encourage conversation. Assist your members as they get to know each other.

Being a Facebook group or Twitter chat admin is a bit like being the host at a dinner party. Plan conversations that will ignite conversations. Think of topics that will get responses. Run polls, ask questions and encourage others to do the same.

Solicit feedback

Your community is a great forum for feedback. Ask them for advice, for suggestions for input. When you implement their suggestions they’ll feel valued and they’ll happily share your content and updated products, blog posts or content with their audiences.

Offline Meetups

If you have an active community online look at ways to take this offline. Can you host a meetup? When people meet in real life it helps cement their online relationships.

A real community takes time and work but the value is huge. Having a group of active community members who feel part of your business can help build business that will last for years.

Your Turn

Are you part of any online communities? What value do you get from them? Who does community well? I’d love to hear about your Facebook groups, Twitter chats and offline communities, tell me about them below.


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What is a community and why do we need them?
What is a community and why do we need them?
How To Use Visual Content To Enhance Your Blog Posts
How To Use Visual Content To Enhance Your Blog Posts

What if I told you that the secret to a successful blog post isn’t always the words you write but the visual content that you use to illustrate it? 

Listen below to find out more about using visual content in your blog posts

We’ve talked about images before. In episode 13 I talked about images for social sharing, in episode 9 we discussed creating a visual style guide.

Today I’m going to talk about the different types of visual content you can include in your blog posts. Images that will make your posts look more comprehensive and detailed and keep readers on site longer. I’m also going to share my tool recommendations that make creating those images easier.

Why Use Visual Content?

In my early blogging years I used to write for a site called Bloggertone (now the fabulous Tweak Your Biz). I remember getting a comment back from the editor on a post I’d submitted about Facebook landing pages. They suggested that I include visuals to illustrate my examples. I went back and got screen grabs and yes, the blog post was a success. Looking back at it now it seems bizarre that I would have written a post like that without images.

Lets compare our blogs to a magazine.

When is the last time you picked up a magazine that had not images in it? Without a cover? It’s often the cover that will grab our attention and encourage us to buy. Yes there are words on the cover but it’s the glossy colourful image that attracts our attention.

A blog is in many ways like a magazine, when I land on a blog article and there is no image it looks naked, I’m never quite sure if I’ve arrived in the right place.

Go back to that magazine, the cover made you pick it up but if you opened it and discovered lots of long articles with any visuals to illustrate them you’d probably put it down again.

It’s time to think about the other images we can use to enhance our blog posts. Here are some suggestions and some tools you can use to create visual content.


When you read an article in a magazine you’ll notice that they have picked out specific, interesting quotes and enlarged them. When you look at the article from afar these quotes stand out.

These quotes serve two purposes for the reader. They showcase some of the most interesting content encouraging you to read and they also keep you reading knowing that you’ll be getting to ‘the good bit’ soon.

You can replicate this style on your blog. Look for the words of wisdom in your post. If there aren’t any, go back and add some. Now take these short quotes and create an image with them. There are lots of tools that make this process quick and easy.


I’m a big fan of Canva, if you haven’t tried it yet you should. Canva is a really easy to use graphics tool that you can use both on the web and mobile. It gives you templates to choose from and there are lots of elements and illustrations that you can use to create attractive images.

Here’s one I made earlier:

Use Canva to highlight quotes
Use Canva to highlight quotes


Wordswag is a mobile app and an old favourite of mine. It adds funky text overlays to photographs. You can choose one of their backgrounds or upload your own photo, type in your text and choose from the style templates they offer.

You will be overwhelmed with style choices so I recommend choosing two or three styles that you will use consistently.

Wordswag is available for iOS and Android and costs €4.99, it’s well worth it.

Here’s one I made earlier:

wordswag quote
Use Wordswag to create visual content on the go from your phone

Adobe Spark

Spark is similar to Wordswag but you have more control. You can choose from a number of styles and it will automatically pull in a colour scheme based on the photo you are editing. This is the tool I use the most when I’m on the go. I also use it for my weekly Facebook Live promo images.

Adobe Spark is currently only available for iOS but they are planning to launch on Android in the future. It’s free to use.

Here’s one I made earlier:

Adobe spark uses the colours in your image to create a palette for your text overlays
Adobe spark uses the colours in your image to create a palette for your text overlays


For something completely different take a look at Fontspiration. Add your quote and it gives you some really nice animation options. You can make the background flicker so it looks like the titles from an old silent movie. You can make it appear one letter at a time as if it’s being typed on a typewriter and coolest of all, you can make it look like the Star Wars titles.

Fontspiration is iOS only and it’s free.

Here’s one I made earlier:

Graphs and charts

It’s much easier to understand data if it’s presented as a graph or chart. If you are quoting research or statistics try adding charts to your post to illustrate them.

If you are a Microsoft office whizz you can create graphs and charts using excel of powerpoint.

I prefer to use an online tool for mine.

Online Chart Tool

Online Chart Tool is so easy to use. Save your data from excel as a .csv, upload it to Online Chart Tool, customise your fonts, colours and labels and you’ll get a good, branded chart in minutes.


Visage adds a bit more finesse to your content. It can be used for any sort of graphical content but I particularly like the charts. You can choose from a variety of different chart types and add multiple charts to one image. It lets you store visual assets including your brand colours, fonts and logo for easy access. It’s really easy to use and it’s free for up to 5 images a month.

It is a bit harder to create using Visage than Online Chart Tool and as far as I can see you have to add your data manually but it offers a lot more customisation.

Screen Captures

My blog posts are full of examples and tutorials. I describe them in words but I also rely on Screen captures to illustrate these examples. Sometimes it’s much easier to show people what to do than describe it.

When you choose a tool for screen capture you’ll want one that will let you annotate your images as well as capturing them.

Skitch from Evernote

Skitch from Evernote is my go-to tool for screen capture on both my computer and phone. It allows you to take full or selective screen shots and annotate them with arrows, highlights and more. If you’ve seen a tutorial on my blog or powerpoint from me it was probably created using Skitch. It’s free to use.

You can download Skitch for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android

Here’s one I made earlier:

Use Skitch to create annotated screen grabs
Use Skitch to create annotated screen grabs


Snagit does everything that Skitch does and more. You can capture full web pages rather than just what you can see on screen and capture video as well as stills. Snagit costs $49.95 for a single licence.

Step by Step

If your tutorials are real life rather than online you can take photographs of each step along the way so readers can easily follow along.

You can share your how to images one by one and break them up with text or you can bring them together in an instructographic.

Instructogrphics are popular on Pinterest and can drive traffic back to your site from there. Do a search on Pinterest for instructogrphics and you’ll find great inspirataion.

Pic Monkey is a great tool for making Instructographics. Here’s a tutorial on creating them.


Infographics, as opposed to Instructographics are highly shareable. An instructographic takes you step by step through a process. An Infographic illustrates statistics and numbers in a visual way.

If you have conducted research for your post this is a great way to illustrate it but you don’t have to do original research. You can bring together stats from across the web into an infographic, just make sure you credit your sources.

Different readers will consume content in different ways, some will prefer the written word others will find Infographics easier to consume. Including them in some of your posts could mean you are reaching and retaining a larger number of readers.

I’m back to my old favourite Canva again for creating infographics. They have graphs and charts that you can add to their templates to quite easily create something. The problem with Canva is that the more people that use it the more familiar readers will become with their style. If you want your graphic to look at bit different it’s worth looking at the alternatives.


Piktochart is a tool specifically for creating infographics. You can start from scratch or use one of their templates. They have a drop and drag interface which makes creating and editing simple. You can use this tool for free or upgrade for more features.


Similar to Piktochart Venngage offers a drag and drop interface, templates and icons. It’s free to get started but you’ll need to upgrade if you want to download your Infographic. Prices start at $16 per month.

Stock photos

If you don’t have a good bank of quality photographs of your own you’ll need to acquire stock images for your content. If you do use them try and steer away from the ‘people smiling and pointing’ type. Look for something that is an analogy of what you are talking about or something visually striking. Once you have chosen your image bring it into your photo editing software and apply your style to it.

I use Adobe Stock for my images. This gives me 10 images a month for $29.99. If you have no budget there are several sites that you can source free images from.

My favourites are:
Unsplash – large format beautiful images
Pixabay – 1000s of searchable stock images

Blogging challenge

Now it’s your turn. Go look at your blog, does it look visually pleasing? Could you make your posts better by illustrating and highlighting some of it?

Try at least one of the tools listed above and use it to illustrate your post. And if you do create something cool leave me a link in the comments, I’d love to take a look

A proposition for you

Before you go I’ve a proposition for you. The one-year anniversary of Blogcentric is speeding towards us and I’d love to feature some of you. If you have made changes to your blog as a result of listening I want to hear your stories and record a short slot for the anniversary edition. So get in touch, email me with your stories and we’ll set something up.


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How To Use Visual Content To Enhance Your Blog Posts
How To Use Visual Content To Enhance Your Blog Posts


Good News, You Can Write Better Content Faster - Book Review
Good News, You Can Write Better Content Faster – Book Review

‘Find your writing voice’ is a phrase that’s repeated to writers over and over again. But what is this magical voice and where can we find it? Chris Brogan’s book can help.

Occasionally, I like many others struggle to write. Sometimes the words flow but at others, my writing becomes stilted and formulaic. I know that most of the time I’ve got a writing voice but there are times when I can’t remember where I put it.

It was the title of Chris Brogan’s book ‘Find Your Writing Voice’ that attracted it to me. I’m a long time reader of Chris’s blog and I’ve read some of his other books in the past. If there was one person that could help me tackle bloggers block when it hits it was him.

Why Read ‘Find Your Writing Voice’?

Find Your Writing Voice is a short book. At 88 pages you could get through it in a couple of hours. I bought the Kindle version which meant I carried it around with me. I could be found reading, and scribbling notes on trams and trains.

There are writing tasks to complete and a Facebook group you can join and share your writing with.

As soon as you pick it up you feel comfortable. It’s a book about finding your voice so it’s reassuring that Chris’s personality comes across from the first pages. His opening lines talk about us having coffee together and that’s very much how the style of the book feels. I feel like I’m sitting with Chris and we’re chatting about writing.

But then it gets challenging. This isn’t a book you can read passively, it’s peppered with tasks and exercises. They are short, easy writing challenges that help you write in a more laid back personable style. Because they are short and specific you don’t feel inclined to put them on the long finger. Even as I sat on the tram to Dublin I picked up my phone and started writing. I’ve yet to publish anything to the connected Facebook group but it’s been interesting reading how others tackled the tasks.

Does It Help?

As many readers know, I’ve been writing a book, very slowly, for about a year now. In the last month I’ve picked up speed and I now have a completion date. However reading this book made me stop for a day or two and rewrite my plan. It may have knocked me off target wordcount wise for a few days but it was worth the time investment. With a new structure in place I’m writing faster and better.

The chapter on writing frames, which has inspired a chapter in my own book was a revelation. A writing frame is a template or outline that you follow for each blog post, or in my case chapter that you write. It helps you keep your style consistent and ensures that you are focussed on the purpose of your post.

So yes, it does help and has helped.

The Verdict

Because this is a workbook, something you can’t read passively, part of me wishes I’d purchased a hard copy. Kindle books are great but when you are reading on public transport it’s hard to interact with the content. I may have completed one task whilst on the tram but this was inconvenient.

If you are gong to read this book make time when you are at home, in a comfortable writing space to read and complete the tasks. If I’d read it this way I know I’d have completed all of the challenges and may even have been brave enough to post them in the group.

Find Your Writing Voice is a short read but it’s a book you’ll want to read more than once. I’m on my second reading now and I’m determined to complete all the homework this time.

Even if you neglect the tasks this book will inspire you to write. Chris’s casual style will rub off on you and if you follow the content frame and other tips you’ll write better and faster.

Your Turn

Have you read the book? What did you find most helpful? Have you found your writing voice?

*Affiliate link – I get a small cut of sales if you buy after clicking this link

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Good News, You Can Write Better Content Faster - Book Review: How To Find Your Writing Voice
Good News, You Can Write Better Content Faster – Book Review: How To Find Your Writing Voice



Should you make the switch to a business account on Instagram?
Should you make the switch to a business account on Instagram?

Should you set up an Instagram business account?

Instagram has begun to tempt business owners with a new kind of an account. A business profile makes it easier for you to do business from Instagram.

It adds a ‘Contact’ button to your profile making it easy for followers to phone or email you direct from the app. Gives you statistics on how many people view your posts and more, I’ve been waiting to find out how many views my pictures since day one. And it allows you to easily boost posts and attract clicks to your website from within the app, no need to jump into your Facebook ads manager each time you want to run an ad.

With all these cool features why is it so many of us are unsure if we should make the switch?

Watch below for the pros and cons of making the switch to an Instagram business profile


Small business owners may have learned their lesson. We invested time and effort in Facebook for years, and for years they added features and cool stuff like statistics and ads. But it was with this roll-out of features that we started to see a drop in reach.

Years on, we are pulling our hair out and swearing at the tiny percentage of people Facebook decides to show our posts to. Will the same happen with Instagram?

The answer is yes, and it’s bound to happen faster this time. If we identify ourselves as businesses now we are sure to see a pull back in our reach eventually. I empathise with those who don’t want to lose this wonderful marketing tool but I think Facebook will force the change on us eventually. Maybe it’s smart to get ahead of the game?

Should you switch to an Instagram business account?

Don’t panic, at the moment if you switch to a business account you still have the option to switch back.

Here are a few questions to consider before choosing to make the swap:

Are you an individual or a business? What do you use Instagram for?

A question about making the swap came up in the Irish Bloggers Facebook group. Many bloggers set up Facebook pages for their blogs so that they don’t annoy their friends with updates but Instagram is different.

You can set up and manage multiple Instagram accounts from the app. You don’t need to connect your accounts under one profile like you do on Facebook so having an Instagram account for your blog is manageable without making the swap.

Bloggers tend to share a mixture of inspiration and day to day life. As there is no linking out from Instagram, except in the bio and ads there is no chance of overwhelming followers with commercial posts like on Facebook.

If you make money out of your Instagram, either as a marketing channel for your business or your blog you should consider making the switch.

The analytical element of your business account will help you understand the types of content that work, the best times of day to post and the detail on who is seeing your posts.

The easy advertising paired with the analytics could help you drive more traffic to your website and more sales.

Finally, from a branding perspective, it will make you look authentic and professional. At the moment I doubt many people notice which kind of account you have but in the future people will associate a business profile with legitimate companies.

Pros & Cons


Statistics and analytics – You’ll want to know which images work best, get the most views and engagment. This will help you improve your marketing.

Contact button – Making it simple for customers and clients to contact you directly from the app.

Easy access to advertising – Save time on creating ads, you no longer need to go through the Facebook ads manager.

Branding – A business Facebook page makes you look like a legitimate, trustworthy business.


Future decline in reach – Facebook is likely to pull back the reach on business profiles in the future. But will they force everyone to use business accounts before this happens?

How to set up an Instagram Business Account

Instagram is rolling Business Accounts out to all users who want them. Here’s how to make the switch:

Your Turn

Have you made the switch to a business profile? What are your thoughts?


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Should you make the switch to a business account on Instagram?
Should you make the switch to a business account on Instagram?
Too Busy To Blog? Try The 20 Minute Blogging System
Too Busy To Blog? Try The 20 Minute Blogging System

You want to blog, you’ve been told you should blog, I’ve convinced you it’s the thing to do but how do you find time to blog?

Finding time to blog – listen below

You can do it

This isn’t the first time I’ve covered this topic but the problem isn’t going away. I’ve shared my tips for keeping distractions at bay and staying motivated. But small business owners have so much on their schedules that even when motivated, squeezing blogging in seems impossible.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not impossible, you can do it. I’m going to share a system that you can use to make sure you start blogging consistently.

In episode 45 we looked at goal setting. I talked about breaking your blogging goals down into smaller tasks. Today I thought we’d look at applying that method to the specific task or writing blog posts.

So grab a pencil and paper and we’ll begin.

The problem

There are two problems with blogging.

The first you might not even see as a problem:

I’ve seen it happen so often. A new blogger bursts onto the scene. They love what they are doing so they write a lot. That sudden burst of enthusiasm can last up to two weeks but then it tails off.

Blogging takes time, if you set yourself too hectic a schedule two things will happen:

1. You’ll wonder if the time invested is worth it
2. The quality of your posts will drop as you try to keep up with your schedule

The second problem is more common. We worry that blogging too much will eat time and this fear often stops us blogging at all.

The solution

Start by deciding how often, realistically you can commit to blogging

There really isn’t an easy answer to how often to post but consistency is important.

Consistency means you will be building a pool of content. Remember each post is a new page on your website that can be optimised and has a chance of ranking on search engines. The more quality posts you write the more opportunities you have.

Consistency is also important for you. If you get into the habit of writing and blogging you’ll become better at it, you’ll start thinking like a business blogger and start enjoying the process of creating and promoting your blog.

You’ll also start building relationships with your readers. They’ll start getting used to seeing your content and expect it. Repeat visitors are gold, they are people invested in your blog and your business. Posting frequently and consistently will help build these repeat visitors.

If you do have that new blogger burst of inspiration grab it but don’t publish it all at once. Store those posts up so you can schedule them once a week or once a month.

If you worry about the time it will take to blog don’t let that hold you back.

Finding time to blog

When I decided to write a book on blogging I failed to plan my time. That meant that it went on the long finger, it didn’t even make it on to my todo list. It was only when I prioritised it as a task in my daily schedule that it started to happen.

So that’s what I’m going to ask you to do. I want you to commit now to writing at least one post every month. I’d be even happier if you agreed to one every two weeks or weekly but set a timescale that you are happy with.

Now I want you to think about what needs to go into your blog writing. If you are writing one a month I’m going to ask that you plan a 1000 word post. You can write shorter posts if you are more frequent but aim for at least 500 words for these.

Let’s break that one big goal into the assets you need:

1. A Topic
2. A Title
3. A key image
4. An introduction paragraph
5. A list of the points you want to cover
6. A conclusion
7. Additional images
8. A call to action

I want you to spend no more than 20 minutes now breaking that down into tasks. Depending on your topic you might need to do some research, create specific images etc. Make a list of exactly what you need to do to complete the post. Once you’ve come up with your key points for task 5 you’ll need to break that down into 20 minute slots too.

Next, I want you to add time right at the beginning of the day for writing the post. Day 1 you can write the headline, Day 2 Find the key image and so on.

Does the task of writing seem easier now?

I’m not finished. There’s at least one more 20 minute time slot you need to add to your schedule. A planning 20 minutes. Find time for this once a week. Brainstorm your ideas and map them into a schedule. Now you’ll find yourself thinking ahead, you’ll start storing up ideas to use in your next post.

Writing it down

Now you have a plan in your head but that’s not good enough. You have to write it down or it won’t happen.

How do you plan your week at the moment? Do you have a todo list? Do you plan more than a day ahead? Planning at least a week at a time is going to be great for your business as a whole and for your blogging.

And when I say planning don’t make the mistake I did for years. don’t pile a bunch of things onto the list for the week. Plan them and allocate time slots. This way you will have a realistic schedule and it will stop you from overworking and burning out.

At the end of each day, review your plan for the next day. That 20 minutes of blogging time needs to sit right at the top of the day, a priority, a task you may not look forward to at first (although blogging does become enjoyable) but will make you feel great once it’s done.

Are you ready? Lets go

Blogging challenge

  • Make a pledge to yourself and your business to prioritise blogging in your schedule.
  • Do 20 minutes creating a plan for your blogging activity for the week right now.
  • Break down your next blog post into elements
  • Assign at least 20 minutes at the beginning of the day every week day

Let me know how you get on

If you find this method successful I’d love to hear from you so leave me a comment or Tweet me @spiderworking.

A proposition for you

Before you go I’ve a proposition for you. The one-year anniversary of Blogcentric is speeding towards us and I’d love to feature some of you. If you have made changes to your blog as a result of listening I want to hear your stories and record a short slot for the anniversary edition. So get in touch, email me with your stories and we’ll set something up.


Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.




Too Busy To Blog? Try The 20 Minute Blogging System
Too Busy To Blog? Try The 20 Minute Blogging System
A Small Business Bloggers Guide To Competitive Research
A Small Business Bloggers Guide To Competitive Research

How well do you know your competitors? Do you know who they are? Are they blogging? What are they doing on social media and in real life?

In this podcast we look at competitive research for bloggers.

Knowing your competitors is almost as important as knowing your customers. You’ll find out what they do well, where they excel and you’ll also find out what they are not so good at. These are opportunities you can exploit with your content.

It’s not just about trying to beat your competitors, getting to know them both online and in real life can open up opportunities. I am friendly with many of my competitors and we often pass work to one another, I’ve even built partnerships with some of them.

There are lots of opportunities for business owners who do competitive research but as bloggers there are even more. If we know not just our real life but online competitors we can start to create content that will beat them in search engine results and help us define the niches. That will bring more traffic to our sites and ultimately new customers.

I talked about competitive SEO back in episode 30. Today we’re going to look at how to find your competitors and how to analyse them.

Listen below to find out about competitive research for bloggers

What to do

You probably had a look at your real life competitors when you started your business. You know who else in your local area does what you do. You know what sites offer the same sorts of products and services as you do. This is an important list to compile. If you haven’t written it down on paper do it now. I use a spreadsheet so I can add data later.

Now you need to find your online competitors. These are the people who may not sell what you sell but who dominate search results for your industry or local area.

Finding your competitors

Start with a Google search for terms related to your business. Don’t be too specific, look for broader search term, think beyond your core product to the sort of things your customers might search for. For example I might search for ‘Small business blogging’ or ‘blogging tips’. If you are a local business start searching for sites related to your town as well. Make a list of search terms to research.

Use an Incognito (on Chrome) or a Private Browsing (for Firefox) window when you search. This blocks the Google customised search results you get in a standard search.

Compile a list of the websites that rank on page 1 & 2 of Google for the search term. Repeat this process for each search term on your list.

Add all the sites you find to your spreadsheet.

Now look at Twitter, I find the Twitter dashboard particularly useful for this. I ask Twitter to show me results based on blogging and identify strong competitors from the links in the results.

What to analyse

Start with the basics

  • Do they have a website
  • Do they have a blog on their website
  • Is it regularly updated
  • What social networks do they use
  • How many followers do they have on each

In Facebook Insights you can add pages to watch and benchmark yourself against. This shows you how often a page posts and how many engagements they have had in the past week. Pick your top 5 competitors on Facebook and add them to this section.

Facebook Insights let you benchmark yourself against your competitors
Facebook Insights let you benchmark yourself against your competitors

AgoraPulse has a free Twitter analytics tool that allows you to benchmark yourself against your competitors too.

Agora Pulse free Twitter analytics tool
Agora Pulse free Twitter analytics tool

Domain authority

Domain authority (DA) is a ranking that all sites are given by software company MOZ and is updated on a monthly basis. The idea is that a site with a high DA is more likely to rank on search engines than one with a lower DA. It’s a great benchmark for your site.

Keep an eye on your own DA and that of your competitors.


BuzzSumo is a tool that will identify the most shared content on a specific topic or from a specific site. Use it to research each of your competitors and make a list of the most shared content on their site and the sites that their content is most popular on. This will give you content ideas but also help you choose the social networks that are most relevant to the type of content you create.


When I was first shown a SWOT analysis I thought they were just something I needed to slot into my business plan. I didn’t understand how powerful they could be. I now regularly do a SWOT on my own business and it’s also a great way to analyse your competitors.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about don’t worry, read on.

SWOT is an acronym

Do a SWOT analysis for your competitors
Do a SWOT analysis for your competitors

Now grab a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle from top to bottom. Now do the same from side to side. This gives you a grid of 4 squares.

Write an ‘S’ In the top left square, not too big, you’ll need room to write more information. A ‘W’ in the top right square. A ‘O’ in the bottom left. A ‘T’ in the bottom right.

SWOT analysis sheet
SWOT analysis sheet

You’ll need one of these for each of the businesses you want to analyse so you might want to photocopy this sheet.

Look at each of the sites you are competing with and analyse them for each section. For example


  • Ranks well on search engines
  • Attractive to look at
  • Easy to navigate


  • Low quality copywriting on site
  • Poor quality stock images
  • No blog


  • They rank well for some keywords but are not ranking for others
  • We can write better and stronger copy
  • We can create our own strong images
  • We can blog


  • They may respond when they see us up our game
  • They have a larger budget than us for promoting content online
  • They have a large audience that they aren’t utilising

Why do this?

When you research your competitors you are looking for opportunities, Areas where your competitors are weaker that you can exploit with your content. It’s much easier to excel in an area that your competitor doesn’t already own.

Rather than trying to beat your competitor at what they are great at focus on the weaknesses. This will not only lead to a more successful blog but it gives you the opportunity to partner with them.

Blogging Challenge

  • Make a list of your competitors
  • Analyse each competitor for their online presence
  • Do a SWOT analysis on each competitor and find opportunities you can exploit with your content

A proposition for you

Before you go I’ve a proposition for you. The one-year anniversary of Blogcentric is speeding towards us and I’d love to feature some of you. If you have made changes to your blog as a result of listening I want to hear your stories and record a short slot for the anniversary edition. So get in touch, email me with your stories and we’ll set something up.

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.



A Small Business Bloggers Guide To Competitive Research
A Small Business Bloggers Guide To Competitive Research
We Can All Learn From These Three Eccentric Londoners On Twitter
We Can All Learn From These Three Eccentric Londoners On Twitter

According to popular myth English people are eccentric. I’m English myself and may be prone to eccentricity from time to time.

But this eccentricity can add to a warm and entertaining social media presence.

I’m just back from a trip to London so I thought I’d share some of the eccentric Twitter accounts I found there and look at how they relate to small business marketing.

Watch below to hear about eccentric London on Twitter

The Oval Underground Station

My airbnb was near the Oval tube station. The Oval is known for its cricket ground, the heart of a very English sport.

But it wasn’t the cricket that caught my eye. As I stepped off the train and into the station I found a bookshelf full of random second-hand books. This wasn’t a bookshop but a place where I could pick up a book for reading or leave one for others to enjoy.

How quaint.

But that wasn’t it, next to the bookshelf was a notice board. Instead of displaying service announcements or rules there was a thought of the day.

If a tube station could have a personality this one did. I imagined the thought that went into this by the staff and wondered if they took pride in the quirkiness of their station.

There’s a Twitter account too. @Oval_station shares the daily thoughts and is hugely popular. They also share community news and information.

eccentric twitter accounts, Oval station
The Oval, Thought of the day.

They have around 12k followers but it’s not the followers that are remarkable it’s the interaction. Posts get up to 200 retweets and lots of comments.

What’s interesting is the station doesn’t get into conversations directly with people but people get into conversations with each other in the Twitter stream. It’s got real community spirit. This happens because the Oval retweet comments from others sparking the conversation


As small businesses we should be sharing content that will make our audience want to respond. We need to be entertaining and we need to embrace the local community.

We should, like the Oval, look for opportunities to spark conversations amongst our followers.

Big Ben Clock

I’m cheating a bit here. @Big_Ben_Clock is not a new discovery for me. I’ve been following them for years. This is definitely eccentric. On the hour every hour Big Ben Clock tweets the bongs. Yes, that’s right at 1pm it tweets ‘BONG’ at 2pm ‘BONG BONG’ and so on.

That’s all it does, all day, every day. That’s all it’s ever done. But people seem to like it. Each tweet gets between 20 & 40 retweets and some people even respond.

Why do I follow? It amuses me that someone, somewhere came up with this idea. It’s also a handy reminder that I’ve been looking at Twitter for too long.

eccentric twitter accounts, big ben clock
Big Ben Clock, humour? eccentricity?


I always say Twitter is about interaction and conversation but it doesn’t have to be. Humour goes a long way and people will remember you for it and be delighted to tell people about you.


I joked that Clapham Common tube station knew I, a cat lover, was coming. For two weeks the stations advertising had been taken over by posters of cats. I went there specifically to photograph the event. I wasn’t the only one at the station that day. I was delighted and so were others, you can view photos from visitors by following the #catsnotads tag on Twitter and Instagram.


The easiest way to get people to create content for or about your business is give them something worth sharing. You don’t need to go to the expense of buying ad space. Do you have a photogenic spot in your business? A quirky prop or something that will delight your visitors? Encourage people to share a photo and give them a hashtag to use when they do.

Over to you

Do you follow any eccentric or quirky Twitter accounts? Which ones make you smile? Let me know in the comments below.

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.


We Can All Learn From These Three Eccentric Londoners On Twitter
We Can All Learn From These Three Eccentric Londoners On Twitter
How To Achieve The Business And Blogging Goals You Set
How To Achieve The Business And Blogging Goals You Set

Do you have moments of doubt about your blogging? Do you wonder where it’s all going? Is it bringing your customers? Setting business blogging goals can keep you focused and motivated and help you plan for success.

When I sat down to write this podcast I wasn’t sure if you’d enjoy it. Do you need another person telling you about goal setting?

I’ve had the concept of goal setting drummed into me by lecturers, mentors, bloggers and marketers ever since I started my business.

“Have goals or you won’t succeed” they’d tell me. “If you set goals you’ll achieve them”, “If you don’t have goals you won’t’ know when you are successful.”

All of these things are true, in part but it’s not as simple as they made it sound.

It’s only in the last year I’ve started to nail goal setting and objectives but I wasn’t unsuccessful without decent goals. I managed to run my business quite comfortably with airy fairy or unobtainable goals.

So what’s the difference? Why am I now telling you why it’s a good idea?

Listen below to find out how I’m setting business blogging goals

Why set business blogging goals?

Sometimes being a business owner is like being on a rollercoaster. There are times when everything seems to be going just fine and others when you feel like you are wasting your time.

Goals help you get through the tough times and make the good times even better.

Del Boy Trotter in British sitcom ‘Only Fools And Horses’ was famous for his catchphrase

“This time next year we’ll be millionaires.”

Although it briefly came true it wasn’t by design. It was pure luck.

Del’s goal isn’t an unusual one for small business owners. I personally have never aspired to being a millionaire but I have had some pretty badly thought out aspirations in the past.

Del Boy was a wheeler-dealer, he didn’t have a plan, he had a dream. It’s a good starting point but it’s not going to happen without a decent plan.

I’ve always been good at aspirations. “I want to sell this many *whatever I’m selling today*'” Someone told me if I said it out loud it would happen… but it didn’t always.

But that doesn’t make aspirations a bad thing.

What are your aspirations

Take a moment, sit back and think about what you really want from your business? Why did you start it? What were your aspirations?

I started my own business because:

1. I didn’t enjoy working for other people
2. I wanted more time off
3. I wanted to be challenged

So my aspiration was to generate enough income to satisfy my basic needs plus have some left over for holidays all whilst keeping my wandering mind happy.

What’s important to you? How do you define the success or otherwise of your business? Where do you want to be in five years? What do you see yourself doing?

Another mistake we often make with our goal setting is to think primarily about money. Of course money is important, we need to make money in order to succeed but a better goal is thinking about what that money would mean to you? What would your life look like as a result of having that cash? Would it put you out of debt and give you freedom? Would it buy you that dream holiday? Will it let you go for a meal out or a night on the town?

Blogging objectives

Now you know your overall business objective it’s time to look at how you can apply that to your blog. How can your blog help you achieve that goal?

The objective of my blog is for it to establish me as a digital marketing professional. I want people to hire me because I have an entertaining, knowledgeable and creative personality which will motivate small businesses to learn and implement content marketing strategies. I want people to hire me so I can keep my business going.

That’s pretty aspirational I need to break it down into smaller goals and then measure my success along the way.


Those smaller goals need to be SMART. I’m sure you’ve heard about SMART goals before.

SMART is an acronym

Set SMART goals

Let’s look at one of my more specific goals, apply the SMART principle to it and then break it down into a plan.

One of my goals is to get more speaking engagements.

The SMART version of that goal is:

My goal is to get 12 paid speaking gigs one of which should be outside Ireland in the 12 months of 2017.

Now I have a SMART goal I need to create a plan that will help me achieve it.

  • I need to define the audiences that will learn from me. Which events should I be speaking at?
  • I need to re-design my website to include information about hiring me to speak
  • I need to create a ‘book me to speak’ page on my site that is optimised well for search engine results
  • I need to rewrite my LinkedIn profile with a focus on speaking
  • I need to get testimonials from people who have hired me to speak in the past
  • I need to connect with conference and event organisers in Ireland and around the world and build relationships with them
  • I need to create content that will appeal to this new audience and reassure them I am the right choice for their conference or event

Now I know what I need to do I need to put a timescale on those tasks and look at the types of content I need to create in order to achieve those goals.

Creating blog content to achieve goals

For example, at the moment I don’t use LinkedIn as a publishing tool but if I want to connect with conference and event organisers I need to use both LinkedIn and LinkedIn publishing, that’s at least 1 blog post a month (for LinkedIn) I need to write.

The topic for that LinkedIn blog post?

I need to build my brand so people know about me so what sort of content will fit that goal?

I need to build trust. What content will help me achieve that?

I need conference and event managers to know I’ll entertain their audiences. Who is their audience and what posts can I write that will appeal to them?

I need to take these content ideas and slot them into my content schedule.

It’s easy to lose sight of your objective once you start working. To make sure it’s always clear in your mind write it down and have it in a prominent place in your workspace.

Breaking it down further

But the big goal can be intimidating. You need to break it down further into weekly and daily chunks.

As you know I’m writing a book at the moment. I’d been struggling all year but I’m on track again now. The secret was breaking the mammoth task of writing 70 – 90 thousand words into chunks. It wasn’t knowing I needed to write 1000 words a day, it was adding a system to my week that allowed me to produce 6000 words and prioritising it in my schedule.

Each goal that leads to your business objective needs to be broken into chunks and scheduled, religiously into your week. Do that and you’re more likely to hit your targets.

Blogging challenge

This week’s challenge, if you are willing to accept it is to write down your business objective

Break it down into SMART goals and set a task list for each goal.

A proposition for you

Before you go I’ve a proposition for you. The one-year anniversary of Blogcentric is speeding towards us and I’d love to feature some of you. If you have made changes to your blog as a result of listening I want to hear your stories and record a short slot for the anniversary edition. So get in touch, email me with your stories and we’ll set something up.


Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.



How To Achieve The Business And Blogging Goals You Set
How To Achieve The Business And Blogging Goals You Set
twitter update
Why did Twitter give us more room to tweet?

The 19th of September 2016 was a big day for Twitter and Twitter users. They finally activated the Twitter update they’d promised us earlier in the year. From that date they released the 23 characters they had been stealing from us every-time we attached an image, a video, a GIF, a poll or quoted a Tweet.

Earlier this year there were rumours of Twitter extending their character limit to 10,000. You may remember I wasn’t a fan.  This latest update is one I can live with, I’m still limited, I still have to be creative but I no longer have to sacrifice words just because I want to share an image.

Find out what I think about the latest Twitter update below

What will you do with your extra characters?

23 is a very small number but it will allow us to finish sentences better. It will let us add full words and edit less. We could add more hashtags and emojis and be more expressive. What it might do is encourage us to use more images, videos and rich media in our Tweets and that could be good for both Twitter and us.

Why are Twitter making this update?

I have a theory. If you’ve used Twitter ads you’ll know that they strongly recommend using media with every tweet you promote. Tweets with media always do better in ads, the engagement rate is high in comparison with naked, text tweets.

We know Twitter has a problem with engagement. They introduced the heart button to tackle it and reported success, but was it enough? It’s easy to click the heart button but we’ll spend longer looking at an image or video right?

I don’t have the stats but my hunch that by giving us these extra 23 characters they are hoping we’ll attach more rich content to our Tweets, we’ll stop sending people offline to our links and start mixing it up.

If that’s what they want I’m willing to give it a shot are you?


Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.



Why did Twitter give us more room to tweet?
Why did Twitter give us more room to tweet?