On the seventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to me…seven blogs to read, six online courses, five effective storytelling rules, four productivity tools, three books on writing, two marketing trends, and a professional goal for 2019.
For those of you who are following along, I started my Christmas shopping last night!
That means only three-fourths of my friends and family will be receiving gifts from CVS this year.
Now that I have a fire lit under my butt—and, really, this series is helping because we have only five days left in it!—let’s see what I can get done by the weekend.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today.
Today, we are going to talk about the blogs that you should, at the very least, add to your reading list, if not subscribe.
Blogs to Read: MuckRack
A few years ago, Jessica Lawlor asked me if I wouldn’t mind meeting with the founder of this new company called MuckRack.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, Greg Galant was on the verge of creating one of the best alternatives to the old and staid media monitoring platforms in the industry.
It’s great for media list development, media monitoring, and reporting.
Even if you don’t use the service, their blog is fantastic, which is why it’s on our blogs to read list for the year.
Run by the aforementioned Jessica, they cover everything a communicator would need to know on all sides of the earned media coin.
It covers everything from building relationships and pitching journalists to industry trending topics and pet peeves from journalists themselves.
You may or may not even recognize a byline name from time-to-time.
(Looks innocently around.)
Definitely check them out!
Blogs to Read: PRSay
The blog of PR membership organization, PRSA, PRSay covers everything that is important to the industry.
It includes things such as:
It also covers a lot of earned media tips, including relationship building and pitching journalists.
And then it dives deep into topics such as influencer marketing, storytelling, and career development.
In the PR training side of things, you get tools, tips, and hands-on advice on how to do the work that we do.
And, just like on MuckRack, you will probably recognize an occasional byline. ?
Blogs to Read: Christopher S. Penn
Of course, Christopher S. Penn has made the blogs to read list!
He is so crazy smart, he makes you smarter, just by saying you subscribe to his blog (and newsletter).
He covers everything from data science and artificial intelligence to practical how-tos such as how to make sure your data is clean, and measurement.
Mostly done on video (versus the written word), Christopher answers questions you have in your day-to-day lives.
He provides examples and he shows you what and how to do it.
He even touches on trends and audio and video gear, which rounds out your entire marketing experience.
I am on the board of his company, TrustInsights, and my professional life has been more robust because of him and his business partner, Katie Robbert.
I was a fan before that, but now having direct access to his brain almost daily, I can tell you, you’re a fool if you don’t take what you can get from his blog and newsletter and books and videos and anything else he does.
Your life will be enriched because of it.
Blogs to Read: CoSchedule
It’s no surprise I love CoSchedule.
I mean, I did ask it to marry me this summer (and they said yes…complete with a ring pop engagement ring!).
And their blog is no different.
It covers everything an integrated communicator needs to know about content marketing, editorial planning, workflows, templates, tools, tips, and more.
Because they offer a marketing calendar (and it truly is the best), you would expect their marketing team to be good.
But I’ve never seen such a well-oiled machine when it comes to all of the parts knowing what the other is doing.
You definitely want to learn from them!
They also run the Actionable Marketing Podcast, so you can learn from them on your commute, while you walk the dog, or while you exercise.
Blogs to Read: Buffer
The Buffer blog provides “thoughts on social media and online marketing.”
Pretty much, anything you need to know about social media is covered on the Buffer blog.
Everything from Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories analyses to trends and the science behind what we do everyday.
Should you include IGTV in your communications plan for 2019? They have that!
Don’t want to blog, but need to build awareness and community? They have that!
Need to update your social media style guide? Yep, have that, too!
They also provide case studies on how companies are using Buffer inside their organization—and they’re done extraordinarily well.
If you want to mimic storytelling at its finest, I highly recommend you pay close attention to what they’re doing.
Blogs to Read: HubSpot
Last week, I spoke at Wine & Web, which is the monthly program that Orbit Media Studios does.
For the past several years, Andy Crestodina and I close it out in December with an informal Q&A (in front of a fake fireplace that makes me hot every, single time…weird).
This year, we talked about the importance of adding a tool to your content marketing arsenal in 2019.
You know, like the website grader tool that put HubSpot on the map years ago.
And, as the years have gone by, HubSpot has gotten more and more sophisticated in content marketing.
Today, they have content for every type of communicator—agency, corporate, non-profit, solopreneur, and more.
On their blog, you can expect TONS of tools and templates to make your job easier, along with tips, ideas, and case studies to keep your thinking fresh.
They even have a tutorial on when to use reply all or BCC.
(Reply all is the bane of my existence. Katie Robbert and I were joking the other day that it’s crazy our society can give us self-driving cars and smart homes, but we can’t figure out how to get rid of reply all.)
While it doesn’t focus solely on communications, you will find enough information relevant to your day-to-day job that it’s worth the subscribe.
Blogs to Read: Hootsuite
And last, but certainly not least, is the Hootsuite blog.
Another one built around social media and social media listening, it has grown to be a one-stop-shop for all of your digital needs.
You can find tips and tools on productivity, skills, strategy, and (of course) social media.
There are plenty of how-tos, research and stats you can use when selling in your new programs, and hacks.
They even discuss the less-covered social networks, such as Pinterest (I LOVE Pinterest!!), YouTube, and SnapChat.
And, of course, there is plenty on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Check them out for inspiration, new ideas, and thoughts on evolving your social media efforts in 2019.
Blogs to Read: Your Turn
And now it’s your turn, my friends.
Which blogs are on your must-read list?