Saturday, 28 May 2016

Blogging Editorial Calendar for June

Blogging Calendar - Holidays, Celebrations, Awareness Days, and Other Notable Occasions.

Throughout the year there are so many awareness days, commemorative days, special days, celebrations, holidays, observances, etc, etc. These can be great as blog post inspiration, or just for getting a bit of extra traffic to an existing post by promoting it as a tie-in.

Read on for a list of notable dates for June - if the day has its own website or wiki page, I've linked to it. A lot of the weirder ones are USA based unofficial 'national days'; I've included them in the list if they've crossed the pond, or had a fair number of media hits when I googled them.


1st

Children's Day. [Various]
 Gawai Dayak. [Malaysia + Indonesia]
 Global Parents' Day.
 Global Running Day.
☆ Go Barefoot Day.
Heimlich Maneuver Day.
Madaraka Day. [Kenya]
 Mothers' and Children Day. [Mongolia]
Neighbours' Day.
☆ Pen Pal Day.
☆ Say Something Nice Day.
 World Milk Day.


2nd

 Children's Day. [North Korea]
Decoration Day. [Canada]
Leave the Office Early Day. (or nearest weekday)
Republic Day. [Italy]
☆ Rotisserie Chicken Day.


3rd

Chimborazo Day.
☆ Chocolate Macaroon Day.
Mabo Day. [Australia]
☆ Repeat Day.



4th

Butterfly Education and Awareness Day.
Cognac Day.
☆ Hug Your Cat Day.
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.
☆ National Flag Day. [Estonia]
☆ Old Maids' Day.


5th

 Constitution Day. [Denmark]
☆ Constitution Day. [Faroe Islands]
Indian Arrival Day. [Suriname]
 National Fish and Chips Day. [UK]
World Environment Day.


6th

Applesauce Cake Day.
☆ Drive-In Movie Day.
☆ Gardening Exercise Day.
Memorial Day. [South Korea]
National Day of Sweden.
Queensland Day. [Australia]
 Russian Language Day.
Yo-Yo Day.


7th

☆ Chocolate Ice Cream Day.
Flag Day. [Peru]
☆ Ludi Piscatorii. [Ancient Rome]
Sette Giugno. [Malta]
Union Dissolution Day. [Norway]
VCR Day.


8th

☆ Best Friends Day.
Bounty Day. [Norfolk Island]
☆ Upsy Daisy Day.
World Oceans Day


9th

Coral Triangle Day.
Donald Duck Day.
Jerky Day.
TM -Transverse Myelitis - Awareness Day.


10th

Ballpoint Pen Day.
Iced Tea Day.
Portugal Day.


11th

Corn on the Cob Day.
Kamehameha Day. [Hawaii]
Miners' Memorial Day. [Canada]



12th

Helsinki Day. [Finland]
Independence Day. [Philippines]
Lovers' Day. [Brazil]
Loving Day. [USA]
☆ Peanut Butter Cookie Day.
☆ Red Rose Day.
Russia Day.
 World Day Against Child Labour.


13th

Hungarian Inventors' Day.
Sewing Machine Day.


14th

Baltic Freedom Day.
Bourbon Day.
 Flag Day. [USA]
World Blood Donor Day.


15th

☆ Abor Day. [Costa Rica]
Beer Day. [UK]
Bug Busting Day.
 Global Wind Day.
Magna Carta Day.
☆ Nature Photography Day.
☆ Smile Power Day.
☆ Valdemarsdag. [Denmark]
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.


16th

Bloomsday.
☆ Dump the Pump Day.
☆ Fresh Veggies Day.
Fudge Day.
International Day of the African Child.
Sussex Day.


17th

Apple Strudel Day.
☆ Eat Your Vegetables Day.
Flip Flop Day.
Icelandic National Day.
Occupation of the Latvian Republic Remembrance Day.
 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.


18th

Autistic Pride Day.
☆ Go Fishing Day.
☆ International Panic Day.
☆ International Picnic Day.
☆ International Sushi Day.
☆ Splurge Day.
Waterloo Day.
☆ World Juggling Day.


19th

Garfield the Cat Day.
Juneteenth. [USA]
 Labour Day. [Trinidad and Tobago]
☆ Martini Day.
☆ Turkey Lovers' Day.
World Sauntering Day.
World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.


20th

American Eagle Day.
 Flag Day. [Argentina]
Ice Cream Soda Day.
International Surfing Day.
☆ Vanilla Milkshake Day.
West Virginia Day. [USA]
☆ World Productivity Day.
World Refugee Day.


21st

☆ Cherry Tart Day.
Day of Private Reflection
Daylight Appreciation Day.
☆ Global MND - Motor Neuron Disease - Awareness Day.
Go Skateboarding Day.
 International Yoga Day.
 Make Music Day.
National Aboriginal Day. [Canada]
Willkakuti. [Bolivia]
World Humanist Day.
 World Hydrography Day.
 World Music Day.


22nd

Anti-Fascist Struggle Day. [Croatia]
Chocolate Eclair Day.
Onion Rings Day.


23rd

Grand Duke's Official Birthday. [Luxembourg]
International Widows' Day.
International Women in Engineering Day.
 Let It Go Day.
National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. [Canada]
Okinawa Memorial Day. [Japan]
☆ Pecan Sandies [cookie] Day.
Public Service Day.
 St. John's Eve.


24th

Army Day / Battle of Carabobo Day. [Venezuela]
☆ Fairy Day.
Inti Raymi. [Inca Empire]
Jani. [Latvia]
Jonsmessa. [Iceland]
 Kissing Day.
Midsummer.
Pralines Day.
Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. [Canada]
Saint Jonas' Festival. [Lithuania]
☆ Sânziană. [Romania]
St. John's Day. [Estonia]
☆ Swim a Lap Day.
Take Your Dog To Work Day.
World UFO Day.
 Wrong Trousers Day. [UK]


25th

Day of the Seafarer.
Global Beatles Day.
 Leon Day. [USA]
National Catfish Day. [USA]
Statehood Day. [Croatia]
Statehood Day. [Slovenia]
☆ Strawberry Parfait Day.
 World Vitiligo Day.


26th

☆ Beauticians' Day.
Chocolate Pudding Day.
 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
☆ Log Cabin Day.
Ratcatchers' Day.


27th

Helen Keller Day.
Independence Day. [Djibouti]
Mixed Race Day. [Brazil]
Orange Blossom Day.
 Please Take My Children To Work Day.
PTSD Awareness Day.
Seven Sleepers' Day.
☆ Sunglasses Day.


28th

Ceviche Day.
Constitution Day. [Ukraine]
Insurance Awareness Day.
☆ International Body Piercing Day.
Paul Bunyan Day.
 Tapioca Day.
Vidovdan. [Serbia]


29th

☆ Almond Buttercrunch Day.
☆ Camera Day.
St. Peter's Day.
Waffle Iron Day.


30th

☆ Meteor Day.
Navy Day. [Israel]
Philippine - Spanish Friendship Day.
Social Media Day.




Weeks and Months

African-American Music Appreciation Month. [USA]
ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Awareness Month. [Canada]
☆ LGBT Month. [USA]
National Dysphagia Awareness Month. [USA]
SANDS - Stillbirth and Neonatal Death - Awareness Month. [UK]


 National Reconciliation Week. [Australia] (First Week)
National Dairy Goat Awareness Week. [USA] (Second Saturday to Third Saturday)
☆ Aromatherapy Awareness Week. [UK] (Second Week)
☆ Child Safety Week. [UK] (Second Week)
Glaucoma Awareness Week. (Second Week)
 Heart Rhythm Week. [UK] (Second Week)
 International Men's Health Week. (Week inc. Father's Day)
Bike Week. [UK] (Third Week)
Breathe Easy Week. [UK] (Third Week)
Cervical Screening Awareness Week. (Third Week)
 Diabetes Week. [UK] (Third Week)
Drowning Prevention Week. [UK]
National Insect Week. [UK]
National Picnic Week. [UK] (Third Week)
 National Pollinator Week. [USA] (Third Week)
National School Sport Week. [UK]
☆ Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week. (Third Week)
Gifted Awareness Week. [New Zealand] (Week including June 17th)



Movable

Ambubachi Mela. [India]
 Queen's Official Birthday. [Commonwealth] Various.
 Solstice.
 Vat Purnima. [India]
Whit Monday.
 Yhyakh. [Sakha Republic]

 National Moonshine [alcohol] Day. [USA] (First Thursday)
 Labour Day. [Bahamas] (First Friday)
 National Doughnut Day. [USA] (First Friday)
Saio Matsuri. [Japan] (First Saturday)
Cancer Survivors Day. (First Sunday)
☆ Father's Day. [Lithuania, Switzerland] (First Sunday)
 National Cancer Survivors' Day. [USA] (First Sunday)
China's Cultural Heritage Day. (Second Saturday)
World Doll Day. (Second Saturday)
 World Gin Day. (Second Saturday)
☆ Canadian Rivers Day. (Second Sunday)
☆ Children's Day. [USA] (Second Sunday)
 Father's Day. [Austria, Belgium] (Second Sunday)
 Mother's Day. [Luxembourg] (Second Sunday)
The Big Lunch. [UK] (Second Sunday)
 Blue Monday. (Monday before Father's Day - beginning of International Men's Health Week)
 Father's Day. (Third Sunday)
 Bomb Pop Day. [USA] (Last Thursday)
 Handshake Day. (Last Thursday)
Seersucker Thursday. [USA]
☆ Armed Forces Day. [UK] (Last Saturday)
 Inventors' and Rationalizers' Day. [Russia] (Last Saturday)
Veterans' Day. [Netherlands] (Last Saturday)



Check out other months, HERE.




Linking up to -
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Friday, 27 May 2016

Friday Frivolity: Favourite Quotes

Friday Frivolity pinnable image

This week's host theme is favourite quotes. I include a quote each week as part of my weekly overview posts, so here are five of my favourites:

"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today."

Don't ruin a good today because of a bad yesterday.

It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.

Let your smile change the world, but don't let the world change your smile.

"Kind words can be brief, but their echo goes on forever."


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Ten Things Every Blogger Should Know About LinkedIn

Ten Things Every Blogger Should Know About LinkedIn

A few months ago I read posts from a number of people saying that LinkedIn was a massively underutilised tool for bloggers, in terms of traffic generation and finding brand opportunities. Since then I have been putting it to the test - on the free version of the site, of course! (Find my profile HERE.) These are my findings:


#10. What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn bills itself as 'a networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners.' Essentially, it's like Facebook if it was set up by the HR department.


#9. Crunch Me Some Numbers!

Founded in 2002, LinkedIn has steadily expanded and now operates in over 20 languages, with offices around the globe employing some 9,200 people. More pertinently, it has around 430 million user accounts, primarily based in the USA (c. 120 million) but with a fair amount in the UK (c. 19 million). 25% or so of users log in at least once a month, and 13% are said to check in daily.


#8. First Impressions Count

The top section of your profile is going to serve as your first impression. Here's a rundown of what it includes, and which parts you can edit.
LinkedIn Profile

IMAGE: Your headshot is advised to be all-white-background professional, but my council one is massively out of date and I still haven't got around to taking a suitable replacement. I decided to go with the photo I use across all social media in the interim, as that way people can be sure they've found the right person if they're searching for me.

NAME: You can easily edit this, say to include a nickname, and you can add a former name visible to your connections, your network, or everyone, which is handy if you've married and taken your partner's name, etc.

PROFESSIONAL HEADLINE: Again, this is easily editable to whatever you want, from 'Visionary Entrepreneur' (one of LinkedIn's suggestions) to your actual job title.

COUNTRY & INDUSTRY: You choose these from drop down boxes - blogging isn't an option, but you can pick things like 'online media' and 'writing and editing'.

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: This is added automatically from the 'experience' section of your profile.

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Ditto. It just pulls your last three roles.

EDUCATION: Again, it automatically adds your most recent listing from the 'education' section of your profile.

SEND A MESSAGE: This is a drop down which gives you the option to remove connection, block / report connection, save profile to PDF, share profile, recommend connection, view recent activity (i.e. status updates and timeline interaction), or send a message.

CONNECTIONS: Once you hit 500, your profile won't go into any more detail. You can still be nosy though by clicking 'view recent activity' on the send a message drop down which will reveal all.

PROFILE LINK: You can customise this to change the generic numbers to your name, as I've done.

CONTACT INFO: Should you fill them in, your connections will be able to see your phone number, email, postal address, and instant messenger names. Everyone will be able to see your Twitter link, WeChat account, and up to three web links.


#7. But You Get a Second Chance

The next section of your profile is the summary. This is often deemed to be one of the most important parts of the LinkedIn profile, and you're given space for 2,000 characters with which to sell yourself.

Like the other main sections of your profile (experience and education), the summary section allows you to upload media: a document, photo, link, video, or presentation. Other examples of media I've used in my profile include a lecture I gave during my time as a student lecturer, a speech I gave while working at a youth charity, and a link to my councillor profile for my current position at Torfaen County Borough Council.


#6. Optional Sections

LinkedIn also offers a range of optional sections you can add to your profile, to provide extra detail and showcase your achievements. Pick and choose as you see fit from the following:

Additional Info; Certifications; Courses; Following [LinkedIn Company / Organization Pages] ; [LinkedIn] Groups; Honors & Awards; Languages; Organizations; Patents; [LinkedIn] Posts; Projects; Publications; Skills & Endorsements; Test Scores; Volunteer [Experience]; Volunteering Opportunities.

You can't add media to most of these sections but you could, for example, add relevant volunteer stints into your work experience, or courses you've taken into education as a workaround. Once you're done, drag and drop sections into the order you want them. Getting rid of sections you no longer want can be a pain - the usual advice is to delete everything from it, then reloading your edit profile page.

LinkedIn background image

Another optional extra is to add a background image to your profile page - premium users can pick from a gallery, the rest of us need to find our own. Supported formats are .jpg, .png and .gif, maximum file size is 8mb, and recommended resolution is 1400 x 425 pixels. Above is my background image, put together with the help of Canva and a free stock image from Pexels. Your first profile section will cover about 40% of the image so it's the sides and top that matter most!


#5. All-Star Profile

'All-Star' is what LinkedIn calls a properly filled out profile - below it are four other potential ranks; beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. (Note: the little profile strength bar never hits 100%, because it reminds us all that there's always room for improvement. See what I mean about Facebook created by HR?) All-Star profiles rank higher in LinkedIn searches, and are supposedly 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through the site.

To get an All-Star rating you just need to fill out your basic profile sections in as much detail as you can - you'll need to have a headshot uploaded, an educational establishment listed (your secondary school will do), country and industry chosen, at least 3 skills listed, a current job/position listed, two previous ones, and a minimum of 50 connections.


#4. How Can I Make More LinkedIn Connections?

The average LinkedIn user has 190 connections and, as far as I know, there is no upper limit. But as a newbie it can be confusing - and a little intimidating - working out how to make new connections. LinkedIn has pop up 'advice' messages warning you not to just randomly invite strangers to your network, and wants to know where, when, and what you were wearing when you met. (I exaggerate, but it is a little full on!)

In reality, a lot of the people you want to add to your professional network are not going to be individuals you have a strong existing relationship with - chances are, you're already connected with friends, colleagues, classmates, etc, on more personable networks. Still, LinkedIn sadly lacks options for 'someone whose talk I attended but didn't interact with', 'stranger with a cool website', or 'interesting person I met very briefly at a conference'. What you can do is search by industry or job title and just click 'connect' on the names it lets you - individuals too far removed from your network will still require you to send a proper invite request, but this one click option is quick, easy, and will rapidly expand the number of connections you have.

First, I went looking for bloggers and clicked connect on all likely candidates in the first fifteen pages or so of the search results. This took me from c. 65 connections to over 500. Then I did the same for SEO / PR peeps, which bumped me up to around 900. My final outreach campaign focused on local government councillors and those working within the Labour Party; this has taken my network to 1433 and counting. Even though it goes against all the LinkedIn advice I have read, what I took away from this experiment is that many, possibly even the majority of, users are open to making completely new connections, it's just that LinkedIn's clunky interface doesn't encourage it. Even if they don't accept your invite, they may well check out your profile page which will please LinkedIn anyway.

So, your new connections have improved your reach, but what can you do to engage with them? Personalised messages, of course, or you can try liking their updates in your 'ways to keep in touch' box (upper right hand corner of the home page). Random endorsements are seen as big 'no-no' by LinkedIn gurus, but I gave it a go all the same to see what happened - I got quite a few endorsements in return, some thank you messages, and a couple of further interactions from people who had my name put on their radar via the endorsement. Not a long term strategy, for sure, but a quick, targeted campaign certainly brought good results.

Other strategies I tried were promoting my LinkedIn profile on my blog and asking people to connect (possibly had a small impact on single click invites, but if so it was hidden in the general influx of requests I was getting as a result of being a whirlwind of LinkedIn activity), and swapping connections / endorsements in Facebook blogging engagement groups. We're talking very small numbers here, but I would consider doing this again if I wanted endorsements for a specific skill or something.

Finally, LinkedIn won't tell you if people disconnect from you, but if you're masochistic you can find out via the Friend Check app.


#3. Updates and Interaction

To continue with the Facebook comparisons, LinkedIn has the same system of status updates and timelines. If you click 'Home' on the navbar you'll be taken to your network timeline (meaning you'll see the updates of yourself and your connections), or you can look at only your own updates (plus updates you've interacted with by liking, commenting, etc) by clicking 'Profile' -> 'Your Updates' on the navbar, or 'view recent activity' from the 'Send Message' drop down in the first section on your profile page.

You can 'share an update', 'upload a photo' or 'publish a post'. When I first read those articles about LinkedIn being fab, this is where I assumed I was missing out on the action because I already had an 'All-Star' profile. I tried sharing a variety of updates to see what response they got... it was basically the same as on any other social media network.

LinkedIn Home Page
View of my Home page - don't get excited when you see the number of views on your update, that just means it was on their timeline at some point when they were logged in. I based my analysis on how well updates did on the number of likes, comments and click throughs according to google analytics.

Best received were motivational quotes on visually appealing backgrounds. Next came updates which promised a benefit to the reader - win a prize, learn a skill, improve your social media statistics, etc. Then targeted posts - e.g if you blog, check out my new blog linky, etc. I had nothing particularly interesting to post but, looking at my timeline, personal posts about new jobs, health, new arrivals, etc, did very well, in spite of the truism that LinkedIn is only for professional updates. My view on this is you should work out what you want from the site and post accordingly.

If someone doesn't like your updates, they can mute you and prevent you from appearing in their timeline. This could be a loss if you're going to look for a job in an industry known for headhunting on LinkedIn (marketing, PR, tech, etc), but if your industry is home to the 75% of LinkedIn users who don't even log in once a month, I'd argue that the risk is minimal. If you are going for a new position and think they might check your LinkedIn profile, just log on and engage with a bunch of updates relevant to the industry so a recent activity view won't count against you.

The only feature I didn't try was publishing a 'long form' post. It allows you to use your LinkedIn account a bit like a blog, and post about relevant business type stuff which is visible to other users, the public, and on your profile page. There are around 30,000 of these posts published on LinkedIn every week, and most of the ones I read were fairly fluffy. The idea is to be short and snappy, I know, but as a reader all the content-lite listicles didn't do a lot for me. I might give it a go in the future, and if I do I'll make use of this in-depth guide from Hubspot.



#2. What is LinkedIn SSI?

I first heard about SSI - LinkedIn's Social Selling Index - from Tim over at Slouching Towards Thatcham who is a whiz at explaining online metrics. (Check out his Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn for Bloggers.) It ranks your LinkedIn influence and proficiency out of 100, and is as much about your ability to sell your personal brand as anything tangible. You can find your score HERE.

LinkedIn SSI Score

You can also check out how your score compares to those in your network, and in your industry more widely. This confirmed what I had already suspected about LinkedIn usage within my industry:

LinkedIn SSI Comparison

LinkedIn is also a factor in other ranking systems - a little interaction on LI can have a big impact on your Klout score, for instance.


#1. Is LinkedIn Worth It?

A LinkedIn account is definitely worth having, but in the same way your free graduate email address is worth having. It might be useful some day. Whether or not it's worth actively cultivating is a different question, and one which is going to be very dependent on your sector. I've seen no benefit to myself as a blogger through using LinkedIn regularly and, while I've made a few new local government and Labour Party connections, I could have gained many more had I put the same effort into engaging with politcos and their content on Twitter or even Membersnet.

The SEO and brand insight I thought I might gain through LinkedIn never materialised, and if you're looking for similar I'd recommend signing up to a network like Inbound instead. Because LinkedIn is what it says on the tin. It helps connect recruiters and job seekers - it might hook up the odd blogger with a paid opportunity, but not enough for it to merit all those glowing headlines which drew me in!

My LinkedIn account is something I'll return to and polish up next time I'm looking for a job but, generally speaking, I think 5-10 minutes a week is a more than generous allocation of time to check in, post an update, scroll my timeline, and invite a few new connections.



Linking up to -
You Baby Me Mummy

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Rinse and Repeat

Do you rinse your washing up?

I stumbled across this debate while randomly browsing the web the other day. The arguments on both sides were impassioned - almost frighteningly so! - so now I'm going to ask my own readers. Do you rinse your washing up? Or do you not?

Outside of the UK rinsing is very much the norm. To not rinse, at least according to the comment boards on popular tabloid websites, is a shocking idea. In the UK we have few such scruples; we just take the dishes from the soapy bowl and plonk them on the drainer.

Some argue much of the blame can be placed at the door of ad agencies. If the Fairy Liquid lady didn't rinse, why would Mrs Smith? Besides, if our washing up liquid was so mild, it couldn't be doing us much harm. Which is largely true unless you're rubbing it into your eyes or drinking it straight from the bottle. It won't taste nice, but soap residue won't do much beyond possibly result in an upset tummy.

Fairy Liquid accounts for about 60% of all washing up liquid (dish detergent) sold in the UK. It built its reputation on being mild on the hands and long-lasting value for money.

Saying that, I'm really finicky and have always tended to rinse under a running tap - much to my eco-conscious dad's horror! I also rinse stuff again before using. But I'm not so bad that I won't eat or drink from dishes someone else has washed up and not rinsed. I looked to Mother (the advice column of 1950s Girl magazine) and she concurred:

Mother tells you how to wash the dishes
Click for a larger view.

I'm worse with stuff which has been in a dishwasher to be honest. I've never had a home one, but I used to work in a hospital kitchen and memories of cleaning the gunk out of the filter (and re-cleaning all the items other people didn't wash up first, sigh) have put me off them.

How about you?







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