So You Can Totally Blog From Your Phone

October 6, 2013 by Michelle

I walked away from Type A Conference with such a positive attitude and feeling so energized – did you see that I managed to get three (THREE!) posts written and up on Friday?  There were so many great sessions that had tips that I took home and have or plan to implement – and I couldn’t make it to every session, obviously.

One of my favorites was the mobile blogging session.  I blog from my computer.  When I was on Blogger, I tried to use my iPad to write posts, and it was ugly.  It just didn’t work, but that was centuries ago in tech speak.  Now, not only can we use our tablets to blog, but we can use our phones, too.  There are apps that let us do exactly what we need to do, and I am so excited about that because I have so many times when I’m sitting at TKD or at gymnastics or waiting for pickup when I am not as productive as I might wish I were.

And yes, during the session, I downloaded the WordPress app.  I haven’t used it yet, but I will – both to draft posts and more importantly to get better at responding to all my comments. I don’t delete an email until I have responded to the comment associated with it.  And right now, I’m behind because I’m so focused on some of the other activities in my life.  Doing it via my phone on an app?  That, my friends, is a win.

Oh, and don’t forget the recap I wrote on the session on how to effectively use Vine and Instagram Video plus “regular” Pinterest and Instagram, as well as How to Navigate Google+ and Semantic Markup and Webmaster Tools.

This session recap came from Terrance Gaines, otherwise known as @BrothaTech.  Again, it’s not a word for word transcription, but my version of the session.

Mobile blogging Type A Conference Recap

Why go mobile?

We have to get the content out there.  Whether we schedule them or have a calendar where we put stuff up, it has to be done.  Who has ideas when at the doctor’s office or while commuting or while in the shower?  When Terrance was working, he’d have the greatest ideas for blog posts, at the end of the work day he’d get home and get kids in bed and the idea was gone.  This gets the ideas out of your head and onto a piece of  paper – or a blog post!

Maybe it isn’t a perfect blog with the wording just right or the perfect picture. That’s ok.  It’s important to get the idea out there though.  If you can write an email on your smart phone, you can create a blog post on your smartphone or tablet.

If you’re doing mobile blog posts, you can squeeze more time out of your daily commute (assuming you’re on public transportation – do not do this while driving), waiting for an appointment, or elsewhere.  You can at least draft the blog post then so the ideas are there rather than leaving your head never to return.

Coming to a conference, you may not have to do a lot of heavy work.  You come to learn and network and socialize, but you may yet need to create a blog post.  This is the perfect place to use the tablet in place of traveling with your laptop.  There are mobile apps where you can draft a nice blog post that is SEO rich with nice photos that you can do on your phone.

The key apps are WordPress and Blogger, depending on what platform you use.  WordPress is available on all platforms (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows), while Blogger is available only on iOS and Android.  Download the app and enter your credentials.  On WordPress, it’ll have the same functionality as your computer.  You can also choose to do a draft or to go ahead and publish right there.  And yes, you can log into multiple blogs on the WordPress app.

Draft or full blog post?

If you get it out in a draft post, you will keep feeling the need to fix it, but that editing may or may not happen.  If you’re apprehensive about hitting publish away from your computer, at the very least you can draft or compose the blog post.  Once you have the images and content ready, you can determine how comfortable you are going to the next step and moving past creating a draft.

If you take a picture on a smartphone and put it in a mobile app, it will automatically resize it to look good on mobile, but you can go in and change the settings so that it automatically resizes to what you have as standard size for your blog.  It takes a little playing around to get your settings just right, but it can be done.

If you can create an email, you can create a blog post.  You can send an email to a particular email address associated with your hosted site from your email account.  You put in your credentials, and compose an email.  The subject line becomes the blog post title, and the body of the email is the content for your blog post.  Send the email, and it will automatically publish.  Keep that email secret though, otherwise anyone can send an email to that address and create a blog post.

With the email, you have the option to create a category in your blog called email drafts so that it won’t go live if you prefer.  You can include photos in the body of your email that will also publish in your post or attach them to the email.  This won’t have your categories and tags complete, but you can always go back and edit this.

What tools can you use to draft your posts?

Terrance composes all of his drafts in EverNote.  You don’t need any connectivity to do this, so it works out well when you are offline.  With a note taking app, you can create your post.  With EverNote, it automatically synchs with your tablet and computer, etc. as soon as you connect to a network.

With a note taking app, you don’t have to formulate it as a blog post.  It’s a slightly different philosophy, but instead you can use the note to gather information for your post – a link you need to research for your facts, photos, notes for your tags, etc.

There are several different options out there from OneNote for Microsoft, Google Keep for Google Drive, or EverNote, of course. The point is to get the information out of your brain and into something.  There are some add on apps where you can tag a note a particular way and it will send the note to WordPress either in a draft format or directly to be published.  Specifics were not provided.

Mobile vlogging tips and tricks

If you don’t want to take the time to write, edit, etc., you can create a vlog.  It’s nice because it’s personal and you telling a story rather than your readers reading words.  It gives your blog posts personality.  It cuts down writing time, and it’s shareable.  People are more looking for video than content these days, which can help your site stats.

YouTube Capture for iOS lets your put in the description for YouTube as you upload your video, then you can go in and capture the link and go into the WordPress app and embed the video via the mobile app. Or leave it on YouTube and share the link on YouTube, and leave a link to your blog in the YouTube description.  It’s still content.

Good lighting is key for mobile vlogging.  That doesn’t mean bright or great lighting, just enough so that you are clearly visible.  You want the light coming towards you rather than behind you, which will illuminate you like a silhouette.

Please don’t write you what you’re going to say.  You get lost and don’t sound authentic.  You want personality, so do some bullet points if you need to but don’t script it out completely.  Record in landscape, not portrait format.  If you don’t, you have all sorts of wasted space with black bars on the right and left of your screen.

Ideally when doing video, you want stability, so invest in a small tripod that is adjustable like a GorrillaPod.  You don’t want to make your audience sick watching a shaky video.  They won’t come back.

Another good app for mobile vlogging is SocialCam.  You can add filters to your video, as well as soundtracks and preselected music.  You can share the videos you create to multiple places at the same time.  You can add the title, descriptions, etc.  You can email the video – and then share to your blog as described earlier – as well as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more.  It’s faster because you aren’t shooting a video, uploading to YouTube, getting the link and sharing it with Twitter, etc.  This app is available Android and iOS.

Ideas for Quick Posts

  • Interviewing other people makes for great vlogs and blogs.  You can use SoundCloud so you can record and share the audio, the same with EverNote.  We’re all busy, and it gets hard to have energy for our blog.  This helps to save time.
  • Do a quick opinion post.  Something like: I’m sitting here and all I can focus on is the shirt someone is wearing, then talk about the attention drawing shirt.  That’s a quick blog post, and it draws in comments because it is an opinion.  That may force people to comment and interact, and it looks good.
  • Do a photo challenge.  Everyone does them on Instagram, but do it on your blog, too.  It means you don’t have to write a full blog post that you need your computer for.
  • Live blogging and live tweeting are another example of content that you don’t have to create a blog post.

Recommendations

  • Turn off your notifications now.  When you’re doing something, they pop up at the top of your screen.  If you’re blogging from a mobile tablet or smartphone, you see them constantly, and it interrupts the flow of your work.
  • Use just one featured image when you’re doing mobile blogging rather than the larger number you might do for a full post from your computer.  Do a click this link to see more photos from the gallery and link to Flickr or the like.
  • Break up paragraphs.  Do just two or three sentences per paragraph rather than longer.
  • Keep it short with 200-300 words, though remember that you want 300 words to keep from getting dinged by Google.  When you’re below 200 words, Google dings you.
  • Just do the draft on mobile and edit on your desktop if you’re more leery, and that gives you time to think more about it and improve your post.
  • Accessing your blog from a mobile device gives you a chance to check out your analytics, especially with Google Analytics or JetPack from your device.
  • You can do more than just create the blog post.  You can approve or moderate comments, too.
  • You can also check out comments from your mobile app, and that’s an easy way to ensure you reply to your comments.  You will drown in your emails otherwise.

Do not let your content die just because you’re not in front of your laptop.

Liked my recap?  I have more!  At Type A this year, I also wrote about:
Pinterest and Instagram: A Tutorial
Vine and Instagram Video
How to Navigate Google+
Semantic Markup and Webmaster Tools
You can find all my Type A recaps from this and previous conferences under my Type A recap link
And every conference I’ve attended that had good content has been written up under my conference recap category

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