My four years at Champlain College is almost over…I can’t believe how fast time has gone by and now I am going to be thrown out into the real world! This last semester, I was asked to brand myself through blogging about something that I am passionate about. In the beginning I really had to think about what exactly I was passionate enough about to keep myself interested, updated, and provide informative content to the world, but then it came to me rather easily; social marketing and my strong feelings toward Africa. The first few blog posts were difficult being that I had never blogged before and the tagging, engaging, informing, and linking to other social media tools was unfamiliar to me. But after a while I got a grasp on it and felt that my passion for Africa and helping others around the world was demonstrated in both my tone and topic choices throughout.

When originally asked to actively blog and brand myself, I thought it was more of a task than that of a personal gain, but over time I have realized that this is probably one of the better projects I’ve had throughout my college career. Being able to select something I love and have a strong passion for can open up so many career opportunities if I do it right; make connections using social media tools, recognize (reach out to) organizations and people that are making a difference, and creating a personality that truly shows my intentions and passion for the subject.

Beginning my blog in February, and not being very effective in terms of linking my blog with Twitter and other social media tools, not very many visitors came to my blog initially. But after being told that Twitter is a great way to interact with the public and get people interested and curious about your blog, I began to utilize this tool and in return, I have had more people visit my blog based now on the fact that they can just click on a bit.ly link if they want to learn more. I also struggled with the context surrounding my bit.ly link when tweeting my new blog posts to the public. Simply ‘check out my new blog post’ wasn’t getting me hardly any more viewers than I was when I didn’t use Twitter. I learned that in order to get people to click on your link they have to have a reason to. Why should they click on my blog? Because I told them “Butaro Hospital is a miracle worker in Rwanda” and “The Chosen Children’s Village is providing Kenyan orphans an opportunity for a more stable future”. These are engaging and leave those interested in the topic curious to learn more so they click.

As you can see, I’ve only had 116 viewers since I created my blog on February 1st. Although this is pretty insignificant compared to other blogs that can generate this and more in one day, I feel good about the fact that I was able to attract this many viewers in the first three months after having no prior knowledge about WordPress and creating meaningful content. My biggest finding was that when I presented good context around my bit.ly link on Twitter about a new blog post, I received the most traffic. The amount of traffic fluctuates back and forth from week to week, but I know that if I continue to select topics that are interesting and worth informing others about and promote them meaningfully, I can drive more traffic.  

Something that really excited me and gave me insight for great potential was when I received a tweet from BeadforLife, a non-profit organization that’s mission is to create sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide, that thanked me for supporting them. I couldn’t believe that they knew I wrote about their efforts and then actually responded; it was a great feeling, one that I would like to continue. Being that BeadforLife responded to me through Twitter and not a comment on my blog meant that my tweet was visible to them through my hash tag #beadforlife. This is when I truly realized the value of utilizing Twitter when blogging.

After learning about making meaningful connections and providing informative and engaging content, I felt more confident about my blogging and have developed an interest in continuing it after I graduate. I feel that with more time on my hands, I can really get into it, brand myself correctly, and open doors that will lead to my dream career; taking part and promoting those making a difference in the world.

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