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8 Software Products to Aid Your Blogging Skills

8 Software Products to Aid Your Blogging Skills

When you choose to become a professional blogger, you enter a world of competition. To navigate that world, you have to know basic rules on CSS, HTML, analytic data collection, outreach and use of websites like copyscape.com and articlechecker.com. You also have to stand out in an information-overload society, making people find you and choose your blog over others on the same topic.

You have to put a new spin on old information. You have to give people a reason why they want to read what you have to say. To stay competitive and current on issues in the world, professional bloggers post three to six articles every week.

These run 500 to 1,000 words each, but depending on your industry, this might be excessive and turn off readers who have short attention spans.

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To help you get to the next level in blogging, here are some software products that are good for creating content.

1. StackEdit

This product is meant for bloggers who regularly post to WordPress from Google Docs or Microsoft Word without formatting. Besides a spell-checking component, it allows users to sync files from Doodle Drive or Dropbox. Writers can post the material directly into Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress or Dropbox in HTML format.

2. Unplag

This will find content that is similar to yours so you can avoid plagiarising others. It was developed for students, but it has its place for professionals too. The software compares two or more text files for Internet sources.

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3. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Who hasn’t had a writer’s block? It can be especially painful when sitting on a deadline and no ideas are available. This software solves the problem of writer’s block. Portent’s Content Idea Generator will give you ideas. It helps you brainstorm headlines, topics or copy for the body of a blog.

4. Easel.ly

The software will make your blog even better because you will be able to include an infographic along with the blog. It comes with ready-made templates. You add, edit or remove the infographics until you have them the way you want them. The grid in the software allows you to make sure text or pictures are symmetrical. When you are done, you can convert into a PDF and submit to your blog.

5. Hemingway

Like the author that gave it its name, Hemingway allows writers to improve their blogs. It offers tips on readability, poor word choices, long-winded sentences or run-on sentences and grammar mistakes. If your blog is reading at a level of grade 11 or a level of grade 7, you will know and make adjustments depending on your audience. If you tend to write in a passive voice, Hemingway will tell you how to make the sentence more active. When you are done, you can convert it into HTML.

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6. Camtasia

Blogs that come with videos are ranked higher, are more searchable and are more interesting for readers. Therefore, professionals who use videos and share them are more successful. Camtasia is considered the best software to capture and record the parts of a video that will improve your blog and make your writing more interesting to writers. The software will split visual, auditory and speech into separate tracks, which allow you to edit them separately and make the video a professionally produced one.

7. CoSchedule

This software is for Twitter users. Because of Twitter’s size limitations, many people have trouble posting a link to their blog. This software will shorten the link so it can be shared on Twitter. It also will pick out a few keywords from your blog to tweet.

8. Feedly

Just like Google news alerts, Feedly will give you information relating to your industry or blogging topic of interest. You will be able to follow leaders of your industry through their Web sites, blogs and YouTube channels and not miss any hot issues. This will make you appear on top of what is on the readers’ minds, which will help you get more readers. You are also able to learn if people are discussing your blogs or ideas.

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Featured photo credit: deafconnected via deafconnected.com.au

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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