Periscope with Confidence! What I learned from my first Periscope broadcast

Host Your First Periscope Broadcast with Confidence

If you asked me what Periscope was a month ago, I would’ve said, “The thingy that sticks out of a submarine?” Clearly, I had no idea just how much of an impact this social media tool would have on the world of blogging and small business.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and Ampersand Creative and I found ourselves sitting at The Point, filming a Periscope broadcast about the future of blogging. More viewers attended than I imagined would show up for my first broadcast (though, I’m sure our backdrop of Heinz field across the river and beautiful bridges didn’t hurt either.) Thirty minutes flew by in a flash, and before I knew it, I was addicted.

Periscope is a simple, candid way to share your content and engage with your readers.

We all love great content, but getting to interact with the person behind the computer screen elevates your brand to a whole new level. (tweet this)

Periscope is still in its infancy, and I’ve seen users experimenting with unique and creative ideas left and right. From The Thinking Closet‘s #MondayNightDanceParty to Chris Ducker’s personal and candid #Duckerscopes, there’s truly so much you can do with the app’s live broadcasts.

A live broadcast can be scary at first, especially if you’re not used to creating video content. But coming from someone who didn’t know the first thing about Periscope when I clicked ‘broadcast’ for the first time, the fun quickly takes over and your intuition as a content creator will steer you in the right direction.

But we’re all overachievers who (unlike Kristin, apparently) like to be knowledgeable about what we’re getting into beforehand. To spare you the fumbling of figuring it out from scratch, I’m passing on what I learned from my first Periscope broadcast!

Host your first #Periscope broadcast with confidence! I made the mistakes so you don’t have to! (tweet this)

1. Have a topic // Don’t go into a broadcast without a focus, or else you’ll be a ramble-y mess. You wouldn’t write a post about “Oh, I don’t know, just whatever comes to me…”, so don’t make a Periscope broadcast like that. Choose a topic to talk about and write down some notes if you need to. It doesn’t have to be planned to the max, but at least figure out some talking points. This also helps you to…

2. Optimize your title for Twitter // Because you can share your broadcast on Twitter both during and after, it helps to have a title that incorporates hashtags, which can make your content easily discoverable. Your title should say what your broadcast is about and include any keywords, just like a blog post title, as well as relevant hashtags.

Guess how hard it’s going to be to write a title, period, if you don’t have a general direction for your scope? (see step 1)

3. Invite your friends // Once you’ve written an enticing title, share away! Your Periscope followers will be alerted to your broadcast so long as they have notifications enabled, but invite your other followers by spreading the word on social media. Marissa and I did our Periscope broadcast completely impromptu, sending out just a few tweets minutes beforehand (which surprisingly got us a fair number of viewers), but you can plan and announce your upcoming broadcast as far in advance as you want!

4. Start out strong // Broadcasts start with a shot from your rear-facing camera (and there doesn’t appear to be a way to change this), but once you hit ‘start’, you’re live! Take a minute to introduce yourself and say hello to your viewers, but don’t sit around and wait for more people to show up. Start talking right away so that people see what you have to offer, and don’t get a video of you just twiddling your thumbs as your wait for a bigger audience.

Better yet, start your broadcast with a shot of a handwritten note or title card so viewers know what your broadcast is about (and so they aren’t staring at a blank wall.)

5. Ask questions // Whether it’s a simple “Where is everyone tuning in from?” at the beginning of your broadcast, or a reply to a question that’s come up, asking questions gets viewers involved in the conversation, which benefits both you and your audience, but don’t forget to…

6. Give people time to respond // It takes a minute to type a response to a question you’ve asked, plus you need a moment to read your viewers comments and reply. You’ll start seeing comments from viewers pop up at the bottom of your broadcast as you’re talking, which requires some multitasking. Pay attention to these, and give your viewers that time to digest and respond because…

7. People want to ENGAGE with you! // Yes, people want to hear what you have to say on your topic, but most viewers are excited to have some more one-on-one style interaction with you. While you certainly don’t want to go off on a tangent, don’t be afraid to take some time to engage* with your audience and show your personality! Be courteous (remember, you are the face of your brand) but be you!

*I ended my second broadcast on Proofreading Strategies by taking video game recommendations. Because why not?

8. Tell viewers how they can connect with you // While it’s not as formal as a call-to-action in a blog post, you don’t want your viewers to become blogging one-night stands. Remind them of your website’s URL (it helps to put this in your profile for easy reference), ask them to follow you for future broadcasts, or just to swipe right and share the broadcast itself.

9. Use a tripod; your arm will get tired // The thing that sucks about an impromptu broadcast is that you don’t realize how tiring holding your phone in front of your face can get. Do your arms a favor and find a place to prop up your phone, or better yet, use a tripod (I use a GorillaPod for recording all of my videos and I love it!) If you want the bicep workout, by all means, keep holding.

10. Save your broadcast // It’s important to remember that your broadcast is only available for 24 hours after it goes live, so if you want to save your content you have to save it to another source, such as your camera roll or the cloud.

I had a blast during my first Periscope, but there’s still lots to learn. Some of these tips I wish I knew before I hit “broadcast” for the very first time! There’s always next time for me (and you know there will be many more broadcasts to come!) but you can get started with these tips right away!

Don’t miss my next Periscope broadcast! Follow @mylifeasateacup for the latest writing & productivity scopes.

Happy ‘scoping!

P.S. If you’re looking for a comprehensive how-to guide for getting started with Periscope, MissTrenchcoat has a live demo to walk you through the steps!

Lessons Learned from 30 Days of Lists: How to Use Your Filofax for Journaling

#30Lists listing challenge blog hop

Ah, 30 Days of Lists. A time to get the creative juices flowing, answer stellar list prompts, and…use your Filofax?

You would think that with how many times I’ve participated in 30 Days of Lists, I’d be a listing pro. Do you want to know the truth? I still struggle to keep up some rounds.

It’s easy to fall behind and watch your motivation slip into a downward spiral of misery. I’ve been there. I’m not a traditional scrapbooker, and looking at all of the pretty designs, layouts, and albums are a double-edged sword: they’re incredibly creative and inspirational, yet can trigger the comparison syndrome real quick.

Scrapbooking isn’t my groove, so why force myself to list that way? It wasn’t until the upcoming September 2015 round that it dawned on me: use your Filofax! As a planner girl, I’m way more comfortable incorporating lists into my planner, especially with all of my familiar stickers, stamps, and pens on hand.

How will my Filofax Saffiano help me be a better lister this September? Here are the lessons I learned (ha! It’s like I’m doing the March 2011 list prompt all over again!) from this #30Lists journey!

filofax 30lists

1. List daily. Why make listing difficult, when the simple act of keeping lists in an easy-to-access place makes more sense? I’m guilty of procrastinating lists and having to play catch-up come the weekend, which is not only tedious, but also means I miss out on the full excitement of the #30Lists community! By keeping lists in my Filofax, I’m committing to having my lists on hand, all the time. No catch-up required.

2. Jazz it up with a printable. I’ve seen some pretty creative embellishments in the listing community, but if you’re like me and find that decorating isn’t your forte, use a printable to add some pizzaz and also save time.

I’ll be using my autumn-themed journaling printables for my lists (though, some lists may sneak their way into my weekly layout, too, if I’m being totally honest; sometimes you can’t beat the urge to doodle!) The autumn leaf watercolors on my Filofax printables add just enough color that I won’t beat myself up for having “ugly lists” (I’m the most indecisive decorator!) and can focus on content instead.

The nice thing about these are that, when all is said and done, I’ve got a collection of 30 punched journaling cards that I can bind together with a binder ring or pretty ribbon, allowing me to save my lists as a mini-book!

3. Keep it simple. The most important tenet of all! Getting behind on listing is never a fun feeling, and procrastinating is an unfortunate skill of mine. To prevent falling behind or feeling overwhelmed, I’m keeping it simple this round by focusing on my lists themselves, thankfully with help from said snazzy looking journaling card.

Will you be listing with us this September? There’s still time to sign up (and score an autumn Filofax printable of your own!)

#30Lists listing challenge

Stop by the other blogs in the #30Lists Blog Hop and get ready to list!

Want to join the blog hop? Share your link here!

Link Love

link-love

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Link Love post (though I have to say, not being on the Internet as much, while not conducive to these posts, has been nice!) I may drop this series to fewer times a month, so I’m not sucked into more hours spent online, but time will tell!

This week I’m back with a whole treasure trove of links for you all!

Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing, research from The Reading Agency finds
♥ New to the Teacup? Get to know me better thanks to 4 Things…
♥ Coming to the ‘burgh? Here’s where to find Pittsburgh’s best pierogies
22 Indisputable Reasons Pittsburgh is the Best City for Writers
Drinking tea — an act of revolutionary feminism
♥ I’m still not sure where I stand on trigger warnings in college, but I’m just going to leave these here: The Coddling of the American Mind, I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify MeI Was a Liberal Adjunct Professor, Saying Trigger Warnings ‘Coddle the Mind’ Completely Misses the Point — Where do you stand on the issue?
♥ Looking to publish your work? Wonderlust Literary Zine is accepting submissions through September 18th!
143 activities to add to your self-care plan
♥ Roman Holiday is a favorite of mine, so seeing this part of Audrey Hepburn’s screen test for Roman Holiday was a treat!
The Psychology of Inspirational Women: Batgirl
Punctuating Questions is Surprisingly Hard! Here’s how to make it way easier.
10 Reasons to Use Your Local Library
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy taught me about satire, Vogons, and even economics

In case you missed it…I just recently participated in my first Booktube-A-Thon, shared my favorite fictional vehicles spaceships, and discussed one of my favorite books of 2015 — The Rest of Us Just Live Here (book review)

What fun links have you found lately?

How to Organize Your Content with an Editorial Calendar

How to create an awesome editorial calendar for your blog with Trello | My Life as a Teacup #blogging

Editorial calendars are a necessary evil, but little did I know just how much organizing content plagues bloggers until it was the topic of Kayla Hollatz’s #createlounge just a few weeks ago!

Editorial calendars can range from a pen-and-paper planner to a color-coded Google calendar (and even a plain ol’ Excel spreadsheet, which I used back in the early days of My Life as a Teacup!) These methods all have their merits, but finding the system that helps you to plan, schedule, and organize all of your content outlets in one place can be a nightmare of a process.

Enter Trello.

Trello is a visual-based project management tool that lets you organize large projects in a number of ways. I initially dismissed it as an app geared toward collaboration (a feature of Trello I’ve grown to incorporate), but have since embraced it as my go-to editorial calendar.

My setup still isn’t perfect, but utilizing Trello has been the best thing for my blog! Here’s a peek at how I use it to manage my content across all of My Life as a Teacup’s channels.

An Overview of Your Media Channels

Setting up Trello “categories” will set the foundation for how you use your editorial calendar. There’s no right or wrong way to list these; it simply depends on what content you want to organize. My current categories are based on my main content outlets, and look a little something like this:

Create an Editorial Calendar That Works for You

Think about how you would divide up your content. What kinds of content do you create? A blogger might include a ‘blog post’ stack, as well as a ‘newsletter’ stack to plan how content will be divvied up between the two. If you create video tutorials or content, a ‘Youtube’ stack might be fitting. Youtube has been a big area for me; I pencil in what reviews I have in my queue, as well as that month’s 5 Fandom Friday topics (but obviously if you don’t use Youtube you can skip this stack altogether.)

If you record podcasts, you could start a stack for your planned episodes. Create a list for Instagram content you want to publish, if that’s a key component of your brand. The possibilities are endless.

Micromanaging Your Content

Each of the white squares you see in the stacks above are referred to as ‘cards’ in Trello. But organizing a card into a themed stack isn’t super helpful on its own. Trello lets you go further by integrating individualized management features into each card.

Manage blog posts and content with Trello

Due date — Exactly as it sounds.

Description — Add reminders and notes to yourself or even use the space to draft your post.

Subtasks — You all know this is my favorite part! Trello lets you create a checklist so that you can break down each card into smaller subtasks and check them off as you complete them.

Labels — My second favorite feature; you can set up a series of color-coded labels to mark each card. Currently, I use them to indicate what stage my content is in, from draft to scheduled. You have full customization over what your labels say and how you use them.

Activity — This is a great feature if you’re collaborating with another blogger or are part of a larger group. I don’t personally use this status update-like feature much, but it’s been helpful when Marissa of Ampersand Creative and I are working on a project together.

When you’ve done all you want to do with your post, or ‘card’, simply hit ‘archive’ and Trello will clear the completed task from your busy blog calendar.

With so many customization options, this is the part of Trello that really lets you configure your calendar in a way that suits your needs.

Social Media Scheduling

One common worry many #createlounge-goers expressed is the difficulty of incorporating social media planning into their content calendars. Some bloggers are adamantly against planning social media, usually because it can feel contrived or is too hard to organize, but I’m going to argue for creating an editorial calendar for your social media just like you would for your blog posts.

On one hand, some social media can’t be scheduled. Take reader interactions and Twitter, for instance. It’s impossible to know to whom and about what you’ll want to respond, so that form of social media isn’t conducive to being scheduled. You’ll just have to reply on the fly.

But there is plenty of social media that you can schedule to maximize your readers’ interactions and free up your time, all without feeling disingenuous.

Personally, I identify the types of social media I want to engage in each week, which typically includes at least one of each of the following: retweet, share someone’s link, promote a new post, recycle an old post, engage a follower, ask a question, etc.

From that list, I’ll simply add each task to Wunderlist so that I can check off each as I complete it. For the new content that I plan to promote, I’ll include a subtask in that post’s Trello card that outlines how and where I want to promote it, like so:

Use Trello as a social media calendar

It’s easier for me to associate the promotion of the new post with the post itself, while for other social media I prefer to set a recurring task reminder through something like Wunderlist. You could easily plan your social media endeavors differently, either through Trello (e.g. set up a separate column just for ‘Instagram’ plans) or another service, but I’m fond of my current method.

Month At a Glance

Trello's calendar view helps you schedule blog content

My favorite feature, by far, is Trello’s calendar view. Enabling just a few settings allows you to see your content in a true schedule-like format, which is great for visually seeing how your posts are organized over time. It’s easy to drag and drop cards to different dates on your calendar, making this a valuable feature for planning posts and making sure that you’re not leaving your readers in a content drought.

Whether you’re a pen-and-paper planner (byRegina’s Epic Blog planner is incredible!) or prefer organizing your content calendar digitally, there are virtually endless options out there for creating and maintaining an editorial calendar. And even within each type — take Trello, for instance — there are a variety of configurations you can use to set up your calendar in a way that’s best for you and your content. Test out some different systems and see what works for you!

Consider your own editorial calendar. If you don’t currently use one, why not? If you do, can you think of one thing you can do to improve your content organization or plan your social media?

Grammar “Rules” You Should Break (Right Now!)

Grammar Myths

The English language is full of rules that will make your head spin. Some are easy understandable necessary (e.g. ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’) while others are downright baffling. Why can’t you end a sentence in a preposition? Says who!? I’d love to know what sick, twisted person thought this rule up, and not-so-gently explain to him just how many times this awful rule has kept me up at night.

If you notice, however, I break these rules. Often. And you know what? It’s totally okay. Language is constantly changing to suit new ways of communication, and frankly, there’s a time and a place for even using the dreaded “academic ‘I'”. Writing and grammar rules are largely a matter of stylistic choice or personal preference. Depending on your audience, your purpose for writing, and even your method of communication, you may be better off ditching some of the most well-known writing conventions.

Generally speaking, the more formal your writing, the more of these rules you should probably adhere to, but I’m otherwise giving you the okay to stop fretting over the following grammar myths:

1. Writing in the passive voice is always wrong — The active voice is typically more engaging, however using the passive voice has its place too. Maybe this is my Japanese education showing through (the Japanese language loves vague subjects & passive structures), but using the passive voice can soften sentences, shift blame, and convey ideas in a more gentle manner. It can also shift the focus from one subject to another. Don’t know who’s responsible? Passive voice is your friend.

2. And you should never start a sentence with a conjunction — Another stylistic choice. Starting sentences with a conjunction adds variation to your cadence, can be used to create suspense and/or flow, and is often a marker of personal, more colloquial style. Forget what you learned in grade school; this is a grammar myth.

3. Don’t split infinitives — An infinitive consists of “to” + a verb. Take the classic Star Trek example, “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Grammarians would argue that it should be changed to, “to go boldly“, so as not to split the infinitive, but this is simply a pet peeve.

Choosing to split an infinitive is all about where you want your emphasis, and most times is a purely stylistic choice. Don’t let people’s personal pet peeves get to you.

4. A paragraph contains 3-5 sentences — I want to yell at every school teacher who has told their students this. Sure, it’s a technique to help students set a foundation for writing, but it’s a juvenile tactic that is often abused. Paragraphs are meant to organize ideas. You can have a long paragraph, or a short one. Breaks in paragraphs should occur when you switch topics or ideas; 3-5 sentences is an arbitrary number.

In today’s age of short, quippy Internet articles, paragraphs are used to visually break up information so as not to overload readers. You’ve probably seen loads of one sentence paragraphs, and guess what? That’s okay too! Break this rule now and vary your paragraph structure to not only better organize your writing, but create personality and flow.

5. Never end a sentence with a preposition — Trying to rearrange your sentence so that it doesn’t end in a preposition can leave you reeling. Ending a sentence in a preposition either a) leads to overly formal-sounding sentences (not meant for more conversational writing, creative writing, or informal pieces like blog posts) or b) makes your sentence just sound weird. Blame this myth on the 17th century Latin-obsessives and end your sentence in a preposition if the occasion calls for it!

What writing rules do you find unnecessary or annoying? Rant away!