New Blogging Schedule

Given existing demands on health , wealth and time- I am planning to blog every Friday at the minimum and also send a summary on the Linkedin Group.

Here are some ways to better connect to my writing-

1 Join the LinkedIn Group http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=54257

2 Follow on Twitter http://twitter.com/decisionstats

3 Interact on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Decisionstats

I will also be trying to find better ways to optimize my writing soon. Thanks for reading this!

Interview Alison Bolen SAS.com

My biggest editing soapbox right now is to encourage brevity. We’re so used to writing white papers, brochures and magazine articles that the concept of throwing down 200 words on a topic from your day is a very foreign exercise. –

 

Alison Bolen  Editor-in-Chief sascom

Here is an interview with Alison Bolen the editor-in-chief of SAScom , online magazaine of the SAS Institute. Alison talks of the challenges in maintaining several of the topmost expertise blogs on SAS ,Business Analytics and Business Intelligence.

Ajay- Describe your career in the technology writing and publishing area. What advice would you give to young Web publishers and content producers just entering the job market in this recession? Describe your journey within SAS.

Alison- I started at SAS in 1999 as a summer student working as a contributing editor for SAS Communications magazine. Before the end of the year, I came on full time and soon transitioned to writing and editing for the Web. At that time, we were just developing the strategy for the customer support site and e-newsletters. As the first editor for the SAS Tech Report, I led marketing efforts that brought in 15,000 opt-in subscribers within six months. A year later, I switched to writing and editing customer success stories, which I enjoyed doing until I took on the role of Editor-in-Chief for sascom® magazine in 2006. We started our blogging program in 2007, and I’ve been actively involved in coaching SAS bloggers for the past two years.

Outside of SAS, I’ve written for Southwest Hydrology Magazine, the Arizona Daily Star and other regional papers. My bachelor’s degree is in magazine journalism and my master’s degree is in technical and business communications.

If you’re just beginning your career as a writer, start a blog and stick with it. There’s no better way to get daily writing practice, learn the basics of search engine optimization and start to understand what works online.

Ajay www.SAS.com/Blogs has many, many blogs by experts, RSS feeds and even covers the annual SAS conference with video content. In terms of social media adaptation, what prompts you to stay ahead of the competition in ensuring marketing and technical communications for brand awareness?

What do you think are the basics of setting up a social media presence for a company, regardless of size?

Alison- Social media excites me because you can cut through the clutter and be real. Our new business forecasting blog by Michael Gilliland is a good example. Teaching people how to forecast better is his top priority, not selling software. Our overarching goal for the blogging program is similar: to share and develop expertise.

We’re big advocates of aligning your social media presence with existing marketing goals. We have a few grass-roots teams interested in social media, and we have a director-level Marketing 2.0 Council that our Social Media Manager Dave Thomas leads to determine broad guidelines and strategies. But the overarching concept is to look at the goals of your individual marketing campaigns first, and then determine which social media channels might help you reach those goals.

Most of all, take off your marketing hat when you enter the blog, network or forum. Social media consists of individuals, for the most part, and not companies, so be sure to offer value as a colleague and build relationships.

Ajay- I noticed that SAS.com/ Blogs are almost ad free – even of SAS products – apart from a simple banner of the company. Was this a deliberate decision, and if so, why?

Alison- Yes, most of the SAS blogs were intentionally created to help establish the individual blogger’s expertise – not to promote SAS products or services. One positive side effect is that SAS – by extension – builds credibility as well. But we really do see the blogs as a place to discuss concepts and ideas more than products and tools.

Ajay- What distinguishes good writers on blogs from bad writers on blogs? How about some tips for technical blog writing and especially editing (since many writers need editors more than they realize)?

Alison- The best blog writers know how to simplify and explain even the most mundane, everyday processes. This is true of personal and technical blog writing. If you can look at your life or your work and see what piece of it others would find interesting or want to know more about – and then know how to describe that sliver of yourself clearly – you have what it takes to be a good blogger. Chris Hemedinger does this well on The SAS Dummy blog.

My biggest editing soapbox right now is to encourage brevity. We’re so used to writing white papers, brochures and magazine articles at SAS that the concept of throwing down 200 words on a random topic from your day is a very foreign exercise. You have to learn how to edit your day – not just your writing – to find those topics and distill those thoughts into quick snippets that keep readers interested. And don’t forget it’s okay to have fun!

Ajay- I balance one blog, small consulting assignments and being a stay-at-home dad for an 18-month old. How easy is it for you to balance being editor of sascom, given the huge content your sites create, and three kids? Does working for SAS and its employee-friendly reputation help you do so?

Alison- I couldn’t balance work and kids without a whole lot of help from friends and family, that’s for sure. And the employee-friendly benefits help too. The biggest benefit is the cultural mindset, though, not any individual policy. My boss and my boss’ boss are both working mothers, and they’re balancing the same types of schedules. There’s an understanding about finding a healthy work-life balance that permeates SAS from top to bottom.

Ajay- As a social media consultant it is a weekly struggle for me to convince companies to discontinue registration for normal content (but keep it for special events), use a lot more video tutorials and share content freely across the Web. Above all, convincing busy senior managers to start writing a blog or an article is an exercise in diplomacy itself. How do you convince senior managers to devote time to content creation?

Alison- In a lot of areas, the content is already being created for analyst presentations, press interviews and consulting briefs. It’s really a matter of understanding how to take those existing materials and re-present them in a more personal voice. Not everyone can – or should – do it. You have to decide if you have the voice for it and whether or not it will bring you value beyond what you’re getting through your existing channels.

Ajay- Any plans to visit India and have a SAS India blogathon?

Alison- Alas, not this year.

Maybe I will visit Cary,NC then 🙂


Bio:
Alison Bolen is the Editor of sascom magazine and the sascom voices blog, where SAS experts publish their thoughts on popular and emerging business and technology trends worldwide. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs.

Alison holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

1) Describe your career in the technology writing and publishing area. What advice would you give to young Web publishers and content producers just entering the job market in this recession? Describe your journey within SAS.

I started at SAS in 1999 as a summer student working as a contributing editor for SAS Communications magazine. Before the end of the year, I came on full time and soon transitioned to writing and editing for the Web. At that time, we were just developing the strategy for the customer support site and e-newsletters. As the first editor for the SAS Tech Report, I led marketing efforts that brought in 15,000 opt-in subscribers within six months. A year later, I switched to writing and editing customer success stories, which I enjoyed doing until I took on the role of Editor-in-Chief for sascom® magazine in 2006. We started our blogging program in 2007, and I’ve been actively involved in coaching SAS bloggers for the past two years.

Outside of SAS, I’ve written for Southwest Hydrology Magazine, the Arizona Daily Star and other regional papers. My bachelor’s degree is in magazine journalism and my master’s degree is in technical and business communications.

If you’re just beginning your career as a writer, start a blog and stick with it. There’s no better way to get daily writing practice, learn the basics of search engine optimization and start to understand what works online.
2) SAS.com/Blogs has many, many blogs by experts, RSS feeds and even covers the annual SAS conference with video content. In terms of social media adaptation, what prompts you to stay ahead of the competition in ensuring marketing and technical communications for brand awareness?

What do you think are the basics of setting up a social media presence for a company, regardless of size?

Social media excites me because you can cut through the clutter and be real. Our new business forecasting blog by Michael Gilliland is a good example. Teaching people how to forecast better is his top priority, not selling software. Our overarching goal for the blogging program is similar: to share and develop expertise.

We’re big advocates of aligning your social media presence with existing marketing goals. We have a few grass-roots teams interested in social media, and we have a director-level Marketing 2.0 Council that our Social Media Manager Dave Thomas leads to determine broad guidelines and strategies. But the overarching concept is to look at the goals of your individual marketing campaigns first, and then determine which social media channels might help you reach those goals.

Most of all, take off your marketing hat when you enter the blog, network or forum. Social media consists of individuals, for the most part, and not companies, so be sure to offer value as a colleague and build relationships.


3) I noticed that SAS.com/ Blogs are almost ad free – even of SAS products – apart from a simple banner of the company. Was this a deliberate decision, and if so, why?

Yes, most of the SAS blogs were intentionally created to help establish the individual blogger’s expertise – not to promote SAS products or services. One positive side effect is that SAS – by extension – builds credibility as well. But we really do see the blogs as a place to discuss concepts and ideas more than products and tools.
4) What distinguishes good writers on blogs from bad writers on blogs? How about some tips for technical blog writing and especially editing (since many writers need editors more than they realize)?

The best blog writers know how to simplify and explain even the most mundane, everyday processes. This is true of personal and technical blog writing. If you can look at your life or your work and see what piece of it others would find interesting or want to know more about – and then know how to describe that sliver of yourself clearly – you have what it takes to be a good blogger. Chris Hemedinger does this well on The SAS Dummy blog.

My biggest editing soapbox right now is to encourage brevity. We’re so used to writing white papers, brochures and magazine articles at SAS that the concept of throwing down 200 words on a random topic from your day is a very foreign exercise. You have to learn how to edit your day – not just your writing – to find those topics and distill those thoughts into quick snippets that keep readers interested. And don’t forget it’s okay to have fun!
5) I balance one blog, small consulting assignments and being a stay-at-home dad for an 18-month old. How easy is it for you to balance being editor of sascom, given the huge content your sites create, and three kids? Does working for SAS and its employee-friendly reputation help you do so?

I couldn’t balance work and kids without a whole lot of help from friends and family, that’s for sure. And the employee-friendly benefits help too. The biggest benefit is the cultural mindset, though, not any individual policy. My boss and my boss’ boss are both working mothers, and they’re balancing the same types of schedules. There’s an understanding about finding a healthy work-life balance that permeates SAS from top to bottom.

6) As a social media consultant it is a weekly struggle for me to convince companies to discontinue registration for normal content (but keep it for special events), use a lot more video tutorials and share content freely across the Web. Above all, convincing busy senior managers to start writing a blog or an article is an exercise in diplomacy itself. How do you convince senior managers to devote time to content creation?

In a lot of areas, the content is already being created for analyst presentations, press interviews and consulting briefs. It’s really a matter of understanding how to take those existing materials and re-present them in a more personal voice. Not everyone can – or should – do it. You have to decide if you have the voice for it and whether or not it will bring you value beyond what you’re getting through your existing channels.

7) Any plans to visit India and have a SAS India blogathon?

Alas, not this year.

I Want My WebTV

So here it is.

Another Blog monetization method AND
adding great videos for free to your blog
AND not crashing your servers.
The content site is yourBusinessChannel.com.

They use distributed servers to counter the big Video Sites like You tube,this keeps server costs low, and content distribution high, nice idea for business video niche. The content is top class , with access to founders of lulu.com ,google’s strategy .It is more like a Internet Television Channel.

You are a blogger too eh, Sign up here pardner

 

Windows Live (Writer and Maps)

This post is being written using the offline blogging tool by Microsoft called Windows Live Writer. How good is it…? Its pretty near, no messy edges here.The ability to copy and past from the clipboard also makes it a welcome edition rather than waiting for the WP upload .And the formatting is really nicely done ,as by now we are more used to Win Word typing than anything else.

image Continue reading “Windows Live (Writer and Maps)”

Pretty Fly for A Website Guy

And so we decided one day , that our website is going astray.

We brushed off our HTML help, only to mess up website ourself

CSS,Java, Widgets, Themes,linkware,Copyright Policy

Ever felt so overwhelmed by trying to create a website that you

1) handed some hard earned money to smoother talking web designer

2) didnot make the website at all.

I am not talking about professional or organization websites who truly deserve the aesthetic value that comes from customized design , and functions. I am talking of people who need more serious platforms than blogs and wont ever , ever make money out of it..and didnot want to earn money from the website anyways.

Well basic steps to make a website are in the January 2008 Post— https://decisionstats.com/2008/20-steps-to-creating-a-website-business/

This new  post  now talks about revamping design of neglected websites without neglecting too much quality time for yourself and family. We are assuming you used wordpress because its the fastest SEO enabled content software for smaller websites.

Select and upload your wordpress theme from the official site itself- http://themes.wordpress.net/

A) modifying wordpress themes-

Its painful but should be done.

Try going the widget route.

If your new pretty wordpress theme is not widget enabled ,try these three steps

superbly mentioned here-

http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2007/11/how-to-widget-enable-wordpress-themes-in-3-easy-steps/

1) create functions.php by pasting these lines

<?php
if ( function_exists(‘register_sidebar’) )
register_sidebar();
?>”
AND

into a notepad file and

saving it as use qutation marks “functions.php”    “

And then upload to the wp-content/themes/”pretty theme in this case” folder .

upload using the filezilla software mentioned in https://decisionstats.com/2008/20-steps-to-creating-a-website-business/ .

2) Add Widgets to Dynamic Sidebar – go to design -theme- “pretty theme in question “-widgets using the new wordpress dashboard. Now use whatever widgets you want including pasting custom stuff like adsense,feedburner forms , in the text widgets.

3)Add Dynamic Sidebar to Template -go to design -theme- “pretty theme in question “-edit theme

Paste this in the sidebar.php

<?php if ( !function_exists(‘dynamic_sidebar’)
|| !dynamic_sidebar() ) : ?>
<?php endif; ?>

B) Using some HTML help for tweaking fonts within the theme

The following site is good for basic HTML copy and paste tweaking. http://www.w3schools.com/HTML/html_fonts.asp

3) Knowing when to stop designing the pretty website. If you need more help, call a professional but with more money. If you are taking more than 1 week with dedicated 1 hour daily or 7 work hours, call in a pro or change to a new wordpress theme.

And speaking of fun and simple websites please check out www.thadguy.com who have great cartoons and very nice linking policy as well.