Tuesday, September 27, 2011

About Face[book]: You Only Get 420 Characters

When I say that you only get 420 characters, I’m not talking about how many people you can "friend" on your FB page. Nope. I’m referring to the total sum of letters, punctuation, etc. you are given to write each status update. Did you know that 5 trillion pieces of content are shared each week on Facebook? Was your status update one of those?

Maximize your 420 characters with these tips. Hopefully, it will help increase your fan/friend base and keep you connected to your supporters. For example, did you know sharing increases when you post in the morning? And another proven tip: Always post on Fridays. That day has more active viewing than any other day of the week.

More tips:

First, apply these researched tips (complete with graphs!) from Dan Zarrella of The Science of Social Media and improve the odds of getting your posts read, liked and shared.

1. Simple language gets shared more.

2. Use these words, get shared more: How, Why, Most,World, Facebook.

3. Positivity gets shared, negativity doesn’t. Look for the hope.

Second, use these grammar tips.

1. Use nouns and verbs. Avoid adjectives and adverbs.

2. Write direct and succinct: 1-4 lines max with 1-2 lines the best.

Third, be personable.

1. Post a profile photo; if you can’t for security purposes, use an avatar.

2. Complete the info section; show how interesting you are.

Fourth, include these elements.

1. Posts with video/photos get read more.

2. Add links.

3. Use humor. (remember: positivity gets shared; negativity doesn’t)

Next week we will cover content, including humor. Specifically, what you can write about to keep your 420 characters, I mean, your friends/fans engaged and coming back for more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

About Face[book]: Goals for Your FB Page

The stats are in about the subscribers to the WOTH onlineMagazine: 75% are on Facebook. The majority of you have personal pages keeping you connected to your stateside family, friends, and supporters. Some of you might even be running ministry, business or even public figure pages as well.

Facebook is not the latest cyber-fad. With 200 million active users logging in daily worldwide, it seems (in the U.S.) every business, non-profit organization and ministry is using some form of Facebook to get their message out. Slowly the American public is being trained to go to Facebook to see what these entities have to offer. Case in point, as I was shopping in Goodwill on Saturday, the message overhead was promoting the Goodwill Facebook page with this enticement—coupons. And yes, I went to check it out.

It works to ask people to visit your FB page, especially if you give them a reason to come. This is important for you to know. Even if you find yourself a bit skeptical and resistant to use it, rest assured, many of your stateside support-base are on FB daily.

Wanting to tap into that audience, many of you may be wondering how to get a healthy following on your Facebook page. From the words you choose to the content you post, I will cover in upcoming posts proven techniques in making your FB page a center of lively conversation and a beacon for what God is doing in your life and in your ministry.


Please consider this first before you start building this presence. Make sure you can commit to keeping it current. Can you post something at least weekly, once a day max? Ask yourself: What’s the goal of maintaining my FB page? If you are writing not only for a personal connection, but as a ministry one as well, consider these 3 choices to frame your goals around. Will you want people to:

  • Do Something: support you, join your ministry, pray for you, share your posts.
  • Think Something: be informed about your life/ministry and the people you serve in your corner of the world.
  • Feel Something: develop a deeper connection to you by conveying posts that will allow them to feel a range of emotions about what it’s like living overseas.

With those goals in mind, next week we will get down to how to meet those goals successfully. If one of your goals is to get people to hit the “share” link, here’s a teaser from next week: Research has shown that the posts that get shared the most are succinctly worded in 1-2 lines.

I encourage to go out to www.facebook.com/womenoftheharvest, see what we’re doing on FB and Like Us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogroll: Show Us What You've Got

It's time for you to quit reading about writing and let us see your work. I know you are writing. I just don't have your address to get to it.

So, I am taking this blog hostage for the next 4 weeks. I won't hold you against your will...you are certainly free to move on to a more passive post somewhere else. But since you are reading this sentence, I believe you are still captivated and intrigued by the thought of letting someone read what you are writing.

Secretly, you need me to push you. You want someone to look at your words and see if it is conveying what you intended. But I know you are a bit scared to show your work. How do I know that? Because I know you. And I know myself. To show your work leaves you feeling a bit vulnerable, right?

Well, if we promise to be gentle with one another, could we try something new?

Share our writing with one another...through our blogs.

I am starting a blogroll for this blog with the sole purpose of featuring you and the other women writers who frequent this site. I want us to read each others work. I want us to be challenged to write blog posts that take what we are learning and show that we are applying that knowledge creatively in our daily blog writings.

I want us to leave encouraging comments on each others blogs, expressing what we enjoyed reading--a phrase, a sentence, a well-crafted story.

Just as I discovered our latest WOTH Blog writer, Sarah @ The Yellow Dress Blog by reading her personal blog, I know that there are more of you out there waiting and needing to be encouraged to keep at it.

With the establishment of a WOTH Writer's Blogroll, I'd like to start featuring your good writing on this blog and even in the WOTH onlineMagazine. Sometimes a blog post is simply an article waiting to be published...the article, "No Rules Left to Break," by Deborah Berruti, in the current issue of the WOTH onlineMagazine, was originally a blog post on her blog.

Let's get this rolling!
Submit your Blog URL to

Also Coming up: How to Facebook: tips on writing well so you are well read; how to connect FB with your Blog/website; creating interest and support in your ministry through FB and beyond; and a fun and imaginative online writing project just for WOTH Writers!

~Cindy Blomquist, Editor

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writing with an Open Hand

In 1991, I completed writing the biography of Larry and Shirley Rascher, missionaries to Irian Jaya (Incessant Drumbeat: Tragedy and Triumph in Irian Jaya). I have never felt more strongly that the Lord wanted me to do something than to write that book.

I knew I was supposed to write the book, so I figured publication was up to the Lord. I would be faithful in submitting it to publishers and see what He had in mind. But frankly, I felt so strongly that it was His project and not mine that I wasn’t discouraged by the rejections. One after another, Christian publishers declined, replying “no one buys missionary biographies.”

One day Shirley Rascher suggested that I submit it to Christian Literature Crusade, a small Christian publisher with a book ministry around the world. I called their office to learn the name of the editor to whom I should address it, so that it wouldn’t languish in the wrong pile. The receptionist said that their senior editor had recently retired, and gave me the name of an interim one.

I sent it to him and he quickly replied, accepting the manuscript for publication, saying that he and his wife were missionaries in Indonesia when the Raschers were there, and “were touched by their story, as were people around the world.” So you see, for this slice of time a man was in the publisher’s receiving chair who had great respect for the Raschers and their story.

Not only was the Lord involved in securing a publisher, He also oversaw the timing of publication. When I received the book’s galleys to proof – a proof for which the book is formatted in pages, so it looks like a book – Larry Rascher was dying of cancer. When we began the process, he was hearty and well. I took the galleys to his home, where the Rascher children had gathered from around the world, and showed it to him. It was to be his legacy. Little did we know at the outset.

I cannot claim that every book I’ve written has had God’s handprints on it so certainly. But I have learned that God cares about the gift He’s given us to write, and He wants us to use the gift. The “good” that comes from any one project may simply be to hone our craft so that another project, a project of His particular blessing, will be the best that it can be.

So write. Journals, columns, manuals, essays, articles, books. Be available and obedient. Write, keeping your projects in your hands that are open, palms up. Long ago I listened to a tape on writing where the speaker said that unfortunately too often among Christians the writers aren’t livers, and the livers aren’t writers. Sometimes you will be in a season of life where you’re living so fully that writing isn’t possible. That’s good! Live. Write. Live. Write.

[Editor's note: I had the rare treat of stepping away from my computer and actually meeting Mary Beth for coffee last week. I love that! She is so kind and generous with her writing expertise, and like a true journalist and writer, very curious in nature and eager to know my story too. Mary Beth is currently in the midst of writing a novel and launching her personal historian business. In fact, she is headed to a Personal Historians Conference in Las Vegas in October...for all of you interested in that, here's the link to the Association of Personal Historians website and conference. Thank you, Mary Beth, for inspiring us to write. ~Cindy Blomquist, WOTH Editor]


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