This must-read document explores the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) and explains what all the buttons in the visual editor toolbar do, and lists ‘best practices’ to be followed by our community of approx seventy five bloggers, each a unique participant and regional Finalist in the 2012 Search for Miss Teen Canada – World.

Channing Smendziuk ice cream cone The Miss Teen Canada Blog Network is a bold innovation. We’ve changed the way beauty pageants work by adding an entire new category worth 10% of each girls’ total score to the competition. In addition to executing assignments for sponsors, the girls can use their blogs to share the emotion-filled details of their experiences, and then amplify the impact of these observations on Facebook and Twitter. We share pictures in Flickr.com. This is good social media that propels our participants’ digital careers.

This is Citizen Journalism

Your life has always been interesting, but now it’s more easily packaged. People are always curious about your perspective on things so write like you talk and explain how you feel. The very best bloggers write very informative posts, but also find space to be personal.

Remember to be informative; wherever possible get numbers, dates and specs, titles, authors, publish dates, profiles – link to wiki pages as references. Good bloggers write long copy posts (600- 1000 words each) and sometimes they get emotional and share with us how events, meeting celebrities, and in short how living their own major life moments made them feel. Those are usually their best posts.

Siera Bearchell in Toronto after winning the crownAs an example, Siera Bearchell was Miss Teenage Canada 2009. read Siera Bearchell blog post about her family house burning down on her OnSugar blog. That blog post helped her win the Crown in 2009. During the pageant everyone knew her story, because of that post. Its not perfect. I think it could have used more pictures and esp a wide shot and a picture of her inside the smoldering structure, But the text is excellent, and emotion-full. She made herself ‘unforgettable’. As a blogger you’re expected to write a post at least once a week, to keep your readers updated on the many facets of your life, charity, school projects, and career training. The best blogs are hero-driven and document the socioeconomic and cultural and even the political circumstances of your area.

DO NOT post pictures of your exterior home or give real address or ANY phone numbers obviously. Keep it clean and bright.

DO post blogs about people, places and things. Document events by detailing when, who, what, why, where and how. Use subtitles and make meaningful headlines. Stories about life in high school are encouraged, also local malls and tourist attractions and especially charity work and events. That’s Miss Teen Canada material.

Getting Started

After navigating into the ‘back-end’ of your blog by visiting http://www.missteen(placename).com/wp-login.php and entering your USERNAME and PASSWORD as provided in the opening email, you will see the ‘CMS Dashboard’.

Posts and pagesThe left hand sidebar has all manner of tools for users. Here are some explanations for the sections in the Dashboard of the Content Management System (CMS) of your new WordPress blog.
Posts
Here is where you go to add or edit new posts. Edit – lets you manage posts you have written and published, while Add New takes you to a new blank screen where you can enter fresh content
Media
This is where you can upload pictures, audio ‘pod casts’ and even videos of yourself and your friends. Read more about How To Upload Pictures to your WordPress blog on the next page.
Comments
This is where you can moderate (edit or delete) user comments on your blog. You are encouraged to get familiar with this process as soon as possible. Leave yourself a TEST comment and then go and moderate it.
Headshots
You can learn about how to upload and maintain your own Headshots in great detail on the post marked Miss Teen Blogger To-Do List which is required reading and doing.
Profile
This is NOT the About Me section, but rather a place to add a detailed profile about yourself for this network.
Tools
Here is where you’ll find the About Me section and this is also critical. Word to the wise, anywhere in life that you see a place to add information about yourself – take it.

WRITING YOUR FIRST POST

Your first post is special. The headline should be, Hello from Your Name, 2011 Miss Teenage Your Title. Please see Writing Proper Introductory Posts doc for all details relating to your first post.

Most important – you must post your real name in that introductory headline. In less than three months, this post will appear first at the top of page one of Google and all other search engines when people research your name. No kidding. This is also the first post in your life legacy, so write a lot and leave a snapshot of your life at this moment.

Your First Post Should Be All About You

Chronicle your life to date. Pictures of you are required here and the best first posts have pictures showing the teen participant actually doing something.

In your own words, please describe your life by answering these questions – these are just suggestions – you can write whatever you like, and the more text and pics you add, the better. Long copy posts are better than short copy posts, however it’s wise to keep it short and smart too when you have nothing smart to report.

Who am I? and what have I ever done thus far and that could be anything , science fair project. What am I really good at and passionate about? What’s fun for me? What’s not fun?  What do I wonder about sometimes?

What am I going to do as a finalist? What blog posts can we look forward to reading about in the future? What are my plans for the summer? and how does the pageant fit into my summer holidays?

Citizen Journalism is all about documenting things as they are and making rich document full of information in pictures, text and other media.

The First Post Can Be Edited by Admin

This is a competition and as such the administrators cannot interfere with your work or add or delete or even edit content on your behalf. The first post is the only exception. Please do your best and make the very best attempt that you can, and then watch and learn as the text is edited to perfection by administrators who try to maintain a clean and efficient network.

TIPS:
Write good information rich headlines. Good ‘blog post titles’ or Headlines have names, places and special occasions in the text. This makes them really findable in search engines. Dont be surprised if you visit an attraction and write about it and your blog post shows up on the first page of Google when you type the name of that attraction as a search query. Your blogs are powerful – Google knows that lots of people are really interested in you.

visual WP editor for blogThis is the visual editor.

VISUAL / HTML editor
Get to know what HTML code looks like and how to use it to format your blog. You can switch editing systems from Visual to HTML by clicking the tabs in the top right corner of the text editor box. It is advised that you do switch to HTML now and then and look at the code, and slowly, over time you will learn how to write the code yourself without the Visual Editor. This is the second stage in evolution of a freelance writer to a blogger and then to a web content producer and then finally, eventually, a super skilled social media marketer.

Headers
The very first button on the left-hand side of the second row of buttons defaults to ‘paragraph’ but has a dropdown menu showing many different options. These are text formatting codes and I use Header 3 quite a lot when blogging and making subtitles. You should too.

Adding Links
Good bloggers link to resources and sponsors. Highlight a bit of text and practice adding a hyperlink. In the visual editor, in the middle of the top row of buttons you will see a button that looks like a bit of chain. Beside this is a button that looks like a broken link in chain. These are the link and unlink buttons, respectively. Highlight text and hit the link button and you will see a pop-up asking for the URL to which you’d like to link the text. If you choose to remove the link, simply highlight it and use the broken chain button.

Add Pictures
Use the Upload / Insert Media button on the top left above the visual editor toolbar. You can see a picture of a camera over a musical note. Read more about How To Upload Pictures to your WordPress blog on the next page.

Classify your writing in categories and use tags to help readers find specific subjects of interest, for example, Royal York Hotel would a good tag for blog posts about rehearsals in Toronto in July.

How and Why to Use Categories To Help Sort Posts

Bloggers will notice that there are lots of category tags that they can use to classify their posts, already is existence. Categorizing your posts is strongly encouraged. But remember these categories that you see are the preexisting ones that were created by last year’s regional title holder. She created them for her blog, to classify her writing. You do NOT have to use the old categories, but it is recommended that you do use the ones that best apply to your writing, like the name of the town, region, or anything such as ‘Hobbies’ or ‘Pageant preparation’. But remember you can always add new categories as necessary.

When you ‘Add New Category’, please make the following considerations,

1. The top navigation bar on your blog will only show the last seven categories that you have used, so if you post new categories the old ones will no longer show up. And if you continually post new categories readers will not be able to find your older content in the navigation bar.

2. Try to make new category names short and easy to read.

3. Do not create sub-categories (as in a category that appears under another category within the site) as this will have some bad effects on your blog and make it hard for blog readers to find certain posts.

4. Try to limit the amount of categories you use and make them as generic as possible so you can use them on multiple posts.  DO NOT make a category for a specific one day event (such as ‘My Birthday party’) as this won’t be used for anything else other than a single birthday post, however if you had a category called ‘Special Events’ then you could file that post and all other such content in that category. If you limit the number of categories that you use to just a few, then you can be sure that they’ll appear in the top navigation and it will be easy for your readers to find all other posts.

Some examples of good categories others have used: My Hobbies, School, Weekend Fun, Media, Important Issues, Fashion, Special Events

You can see the current categories of your site – and create new ones! – by clicking on the POSTS tab in the left-hand side, and then selecting CATEGORIES

Basics-A Few Blogging Tips

Blogging is not easy, but starting a new blog is especially difficult and taking over someone else’s blog from last year has its own psychological challenges.  It’s a bit overwhelming.

Take it slow and try to learn something new everyday. Ask friends to help and make figuring it out a group project.

Some may get off to a good start only to be discouraged later because of the lack of comments or visits. You want to stand out from this crowd of millions of bloggers, you want to be one of the few hundred thousand blogs in North America that are actually visited.   Here are some simple tips to help you on your way to blogging mastery:

    1. Post regularly, but don’t post if you have nothing worth sharing.
    2. Put in at least two pictures per post – one wide, one close is good style
    3. make sure the pics are properly formatted either left or right
    4. be sure and add keyword TAGS and use proper CATEGORIES for your blog posts. If the category you need does not exist, then you may create it, and you can always add original tags.
    5. be sparing with LINKS but use them when necessary and for references to sponsors sites etc If you went to an event, link to its website.
    6. Enjoy this, blog for fun, comment on other peoples’ blogs (as they normally visit back).

Are you an over achiever? The best bloggers soon find themselves working as web content producers simply because they have mastered the evolution from WordPress visual editor to HTML editor. If you click the HTML editor button in the top right hand side of the text editing window you will see the code. Learn this new language and you will better understand the glitches and formatting anomalies that occur in the visual editor. This language is what separates the rookie from the initiated. Writing content in pure html is the province of veteran bloggers.

Written by: MTC Blog Team Tagged with:, ,
Posted On: Categories:How-To, Required Reading

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