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Posts from August 2013

From Say Daily: What Makes a Brand Cool?


Miley stole the night, which is why the nation is still in recovery today.

If you're still wondering what exactly happened at Sunday night's MTV video music awards – let alone if it was cool – you're not alone. By traditional marketing measures, Miley Cyrus' VMA performance was a huge success: it was one of the most tweeted events of the year, generating up to 306,000 tweets per minute and 4.5 million social media mentions, which is more than the blackout or the Super Bowl. Miley’s just released new single jumped to the top of the Movers and Shakers list on Amazon on the news. And if you didn’t know what twerking was before, you probably do now. But is any of this cool? There are so many potential ingredients for cool, and so many ways to get it wrong. Let's break it down…

Sometimes using the word “cool” can be cool. Sometimes it doesn’t even mean cool. It’s like that scene from Donnie Brasco when Johnny Depp defines shades of “fuggetaboutit.” Cool can be fleeting, like this month’s Perseid Meteor Shower. It can be reaffirming, like the recent NY Times outage which further legitimized that all the news that’s fit to print might actually fit in the social stream. It can be generational, like a commercial using an 80’s track to tap into a feeling and pry at your personal sense of vintage.

Read more at Say Daily's Week in Venn.

Your Best Foot Forward: Crafting a Solid Tutorial Post


Welcome to our special series on how to write a great blog post! Every other Thursday, we'll debut a new article that will teach you how to write posts for your blog that will engage and inspire your readers, encourage conversation in comments, and keep them coming back for more.   Put your best foot forward and watch your audience grow! Late to the party? Check out the other posts in our series here.

Crafty folks tend to be drawn to blogs and for good reason - it's a great platform for teaching others how to do and make things from the comfort of their laptops. From knitting to woodworking, there's a whole world of DIY waiting.

Maybe you have a skill or craft that you want to share with the world but you're not sure where to start. Telling someone how to do something is very different from showing them in person. Luckily, there are ways to bridge the gap and create a solid tutorial post.

Why would someone want to learn your hobby?

Before you even get into the how-tos, you might consider covering the whys. Why would a new reader to your blog want to learn how to create their own greeting cards, or how to build a kite, or how to blow glass? Is it fun? Is it profitable? Is it a hobby that will allow them to meet new people? Tell people why and then they'll want to know how.

Start with the basics

When a student is learning anything new, they have start with the very basics. It's the same thing with any craft or skill - start at the very basic level in your first tutorial. For example, if you're an avid crocheter, it doesn't make sense to kick off your tutorials with a sweater - go for something that's quick and easy. People are motivated by success.

Don't get too fancy

A lot of hobbies involve buying pricey supplies - don't be tempted to recommend the most cutting edge products within your niche. Keep it simple and accessible. Most people have easy access to craft and hobby stores, so take a look around in your local craft shop to see what's available for newbies. No one wants to buy a ton of new supplies just to make one thing and get bored.  Hey, we've all done it.

Choose the shortest path to success

Sure, you could hand make your own... everything, but the fun of crafting is in the results. Pick a project that people can whip up quickly. Give them that taste of pride and they'll want to learn more.

Walk through your own steps before clicking Publish

Did you forget a step? Did you leave out an important detail that you've only learned through experience? Read through your post with a critical eye and don't be afraid to include a lot of detail. You might even have someone else read the post and walk through the steps to see if they could complete the project without your help.

Ok, let's write our tutorial post. Don't forget to share yours in the comments. We want to learn, too!

Continue reading "Your Best Foot Forward: Crafting a Solid Tutorial Post" »

Featured Blog: Just a Bit of Salt

NAME: Brigid Towler
BLOG: Just a Bit of Salt
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: Just a Bit of Salt brings you lots of food, and a little lifestyle, with gorgeous photos to accompany everything. Blogger Brigid Towler believes that life is better with a little salt; sweets get sweeter and flavors find new life. There's salt in something so funny you laugh until you cry, salt in the sweat on your face after an awesome run, and salt in the air of the most beautiful places.


FOLLOW: Typepad | Twitter

Typepad Release Notes: Pinterest Widget

Today we're releasing a Pinterest widget for your blog's sidebar! Want to know more? Then let's elaborate...

Other Accounts - Pinterest

As mentioned in a previous post, there's now a new Pinterest option at Account > Other Accounts. You can display a Pinterest icon on your Typepad profile, as well as your blog via the Other Accounts module. The icon and link serve as a way to share your profiles on other services with your readers, and now you have the option of linking to your curated content over at Pinterest.

To get started, follow the instructions in the Knowledge Base on adding an account to the Other Accounts list. Note: when you add your Pinterest account to your Other Accounts list, enter your Pinterest username only, not the full URL of your profile. If you want to display a list or grid of your other services in your sidebar, check out the Other Accounts module at Design > Content.

Make certain to have your Pinterest account added (username only), and that "Display on Profile" is checked, or you won't be able to add and configure the Pinterest widget we discuss below.

Pinterest Widget

The newest feature is a Pinterest widget, which will allow you to display up to 20 of your recently pinned items in your blog's sidebar. With a variety of options to choose from, the widget is ready to showcase your pins in a way that fits your blog's design without overwhelming other content.


Pinterest - SimpleSimple

With the simple option, the widget configuration is left to the defaults and will fit your sidebar nicely all on its own. The image thumbnails will display as cropped rectangles in a grid format.

All that's left for you to do is enter the heading you'd like to appear above the widget, then to click OK and preview the addition to your blog before you finish and click Save Changes.

Sound awesome?

But wait--there's more!


Pinterest - AdvancedAdvanced

With the advanced option, the widget configuration is left up to you.

Want four columns instead of two? Want to display 20 photos instead of 6? Prefer the staggered look over the uniformity of a grid?

You've so totally got this! And we've got your back.







Hey--we care about your interests, and we know that Pinterest has been one of them for a while now. What better way to show off and share what you're passionate about than with a service that so neatly ties together the content you've curated for yourself and others? Now, with the new Pinterest widget available to you, you can do just that; and we can't wait to see them pop up on your blogs.

Why not let us know what you think about this latest release? We feed off your feedback--it's what helps make this platform better with each release--so don't hesitate to hop over into the community forum to let us know what you're thinking.

From Say Daily: 4 Secrets of Effective Brand Storytelling Across Channels


There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen.

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

In elementary school, professional storytellers would sometimes come to our class. It was always the same two people, but they’d come dressed up as the characters they’d describe. Each visit brought new stories, new costumes and the anticipation of where the storytellers would take us. I can still remember their faces, their costumes and even where I sat in the classroom. Their stories transported all of us to a new time and place.

Similarly, the value of brand storytelling in today’s hyper-connected world isn’t in the technologies we’ve created (though they are amplified because of them). Storytelling has been around for thousands of years, effectively transferring knowledge and emotion from one person to another – and in that classroom there was one audience, one storyteller and one channel. None of us were tweeting 140-character quotes, nor was the story being live-streamed. That’s not to say that in the 21st century elementary school students are tweeting during class (they’re not, right??). But the notion of brands telling stories through a single medium is long over.

Today, audiences have much of the power, choosing where and when to engage with branded content (if at all). So brands must not only have a good grasp of how to unearth a brand story, but how to tell that story across a variety of channels. Both are tasks that don’t come naturally to many brands, so here are a few rules in multi-channel brand storytelling.

Rule #1: Don’t embrace a new channel without getting your story straight first. One of the most common mistakes brands make in the age of content marketing and social media is treating the launch of a new channel like a Black Friday sale at Best Buy. Everyone is running to be first, but nobody really knows what to say. There’s nothing wrong with early adoption, but only if you understand your story platform—the core narrative of every story that’s told about your brand, on every channel. Simply put, it’s the emotional heart of your brand. The platform is built around your brand’s ABCs (audience, brand and category or competition): Who and where is your audience? How do they perceive your brand? How do you perceive your brand? How do you want your brand to be perceived? Who is your competition? Where does your brand fit in? What’s your brand’s unique differentiator?

[Read more at Say Daily.]

Typepad 101: Utilizing the Feed widget to display your content

Welcome to Typepad 101! Whether you want to add some new features to your blog's design, or simply make your blog more functional, Typepad 101 has you covered. The tips here are suitable for bloggers at varying levels, from basic to intermediate. Need tips on how to make something work for you? Leave a comment! Your Support team and fellow Typepad bloggers are always here to lend a hand.

In a previous post on utilizing your blog's feed we mentioned using a combination of the RSS/Atom Feed module with a feed for a specific category, which will display a list of your 5-10 most recent posts published under that topic. What if, instead of categories, you have multiple blogs, each relevant to your main blog but which requires its own separate presence? What's the best way to display content among them? Believe it or not, it's the same module!

For fun, let's say you're a member of the Typepad support team. You have your own blog, but occasionally write posts for this blog, Everything Typepad. Since a lot of work goes into both, and you think the content is relevant and of interest to your blog's readers, you want to showcase recently published posts from that blog in the sidebar of your own.

First step to take? Copy the URL of the blog's Atom or RSS feed. Once that's copied, all that's left to do is to add it to your blog at Design > Content, adding the title you want to display to readers, as well as selecting whether to choose 5 or 10 titles. After your choices are made, just Preview and Save Changes.

Now the feed looks like this in your sidebar:

Feed Module - Plain
Not bad. What if you really want the content to be noticed? Slap some CSS on it:

Your Feeds - Styled
Not too shabby, and there's no way it would go unnoticed. Now your readers have additional content to peruse, which they know has been vetted by you, and it's extremely easy to find!

Tip: Remember, if you don't see a Custom CSS option on the Design tab for your blog, then you'll need to upgrade to the Unlimited plan in order to make stylistic changes like these.

Interested in the CSS used to make the above style changes? Here you go:

.module-feed {
    background: #02849C;
    padding: 10px !important;

.module-feed .module-header { color: #fff; }

.module-feed #feed-4d659630bbab3d188930465f65e0baa041885bbb {
    border-top: 1px dotted #fff;
    background: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.3);

.module-feed .module-content { margin-top: 10px; }

   .module-feed .module-content li { padding: 5px 10px; }

      .module-feed .module-content li:nth-child(even) { background: rgba(0,0,0,0.1); }

         .module-feed .module-content li a { color: #fff; }

Note that the third selector and ID (#feed-#...) uses an oddly formatted identifier name; this is the custom feed ID that is generated when you add a module of its kind to your blog. If you have more than one, each module will have its own unique identifier wrapped around the content (not the module, just the content). This allows you to target a specific feed and make changes to each so that they stand apart from each other.

For example, if I were to add the category feed for Everything Typepad's "Tips and Tricks" category, with the above styles in place, it would look like this by default:

That's because the styles for the dotted border above the links, as well as the background color (white, set to 30% opacity), are only applied for the original feed, not all feeds.

To find the unique ID for a feed, view the source of your blog after adding the module (you can view your blog's source by right clicking anywhere on the page, and choosing "view page source"), and look for the title you set to display. Once you've located it, copy the ID and paste it somewhere safe for later use.

That's really all there is to showcasing additional work authored by you in the sidebar. Have you worked out your own method for sharing or styling posts authored elsewhere? Make sure to tell us all about it in the comments or over in the community forum!

Featured Blog: Ottawa Beer Events

NAME: Sasha Dunfield & Katy Watts
BLOG: Ottawa Beer Events
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: Founded by Katy Watts and Sasha Dunfield in June of 2013, Ottawa Beer Events is a great resource for both Ottawa locals and tourists who are into beer-themed events and releases, brew pubs, and eateries who feature a great beer list. With a goal to be the #1 authority for beer in Ottawa, OBE is your definitive guide to all things beer!


FOLLOW: Facebook | Twitter

Retiring the Blogside Toolbar


Change is inevitable, and we all know that as blogging changes and grows, useful features are bound to come and go. Sometimes features that are no longer useful must be retired so that our resources can be used to fix issues and add useful features instead of maintaining a feature that doesn't really bring anything to your blogging experience.

To that end, we have decided to retire the Blogside Toolbar - the unassuming black toolbar that you may have seen atop your blog and other Typepad blogs. We have given this decision a lot of thought, and even discussed it with the Typepad Advisory Panel, a group of Typepad bloggers just like you.

We never want to take a useful feature away from our bloggers, however, the Blogside Toolbar hasn't seen a lot of action from our bloggers for a long time, and it has been causing conflicts with Advanced Template Sets, some slight delays on loading pages, and a minor security concern, which is what ultimately drove our decision to retire it. Together with the Typepad Advisory Panel, we determined that the Blogside Toolbar had outlived its usefulness, and the time had come to put it out to pasture, effective today.

We always want to hear from you, so we welcome your thoughts about the Blogside Toolbar in the comments!

Your Best Foot Forward: A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Best Foot Forward

Welcome to our special series on how to write a great blog post! Every other Thursday, we'll debut a new article that will teach you how to write posts for your blog that will engage and inspire your readers, encourage conversation in comments, and keep them coming back for more.   Put your best foot forward and watch your audience grow! Late to the party? Check out the other posts in our series here.

One option for a post is to summarize your weekend, vacation, party, etc. with a few photos with captions. Arranging your photos with short, descriptive captions can say more sometimes than a post with a thousand words.

Typepad gives you the tools to easily add captions and align images. I'm going to go over some tips for creating a post with images and captions and share my own version of the post, Weekend In Pictures, at the end.

Aligning Images Side By Side

You can organize the images in your post by aligning the images side by side. You'll need to know the width of your main content column to determine how best to size your photos to align side by side. If you are using the Theme Builder for your blog's design, go to Design > Theme Builder, check the main content column width and subtract 30px to account for the padding. For example, a 600px main content column width would allow for images which are 570px wide.

The design for Everything Typepad allows for images up to 550px wide, so to align two images side by side, the images need to be no more than 275px wide. To align 3 images side by side, each image will need to be less than 183px (rounding down) or the sum of the 3 widths should not exceed 550px.

For three vertical images, I'm going to place them side by side. After adding the first image to your post, double-click on the image to edit it. Select the option to float the first image to the left. Choose the Custom option for the width and enter the best width. In this case, I'm going to size the images at 181px wide. Due to the padding in the blog's design, an extra 2px needs to be subtracted. You may need to adjust your widths similarly to accommodate for padding or borders.

Side By Side First
For the second image, place your cursor at the top right of the first image and click Insert Image. The settings for the second image will be the same as the first.

The third image will be the same width, and the alignment will not be set to float.

Side By Side Last

See the finished result below! The same principle applies if you are adding a different number of images. All of the images but the last one will be set to float left and only the last image uses a general alignment.

Adding Captions

You can easily and quickly add a caption to any image. After inserting the image in your post, double-click on the image in Rich Text mode. The Edit Image pop-up box will open. Enter the text in the Caption field and click Update Image.


Add Caption


The Description field is also available, but the text in the Description field will not display on your blog, only when you hover your mouse over the image.

We hope you will use this tip to inspire you to create your own photo post. Please click Read on below to see my post and submit a link to your own post in the comments.

Continue reading "Your Best Foot Forward: A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words" »

New Theme: We're having a Block Party! Plus, add Pinterest in Other Accounts

We released a new theme today that we think you'll love! It's called Block Party and it has some really fun and useful features. There's a vertical navigation bar (just use the navigation bar in Design > Content) and nice design touches like color blocking, big fonts, sleek icons, and eight color variations.

That's just four of the eight color options - you'll need to take a look at the design for yourself to see the rest! Block Party was created to show off your blog's description, navigation bar, and a featured post so consider including those if you like the look.

In other news, Pinterest is now available as a service in Account > Other Accounts. Just add your Pinterest profile there and the icon linked to your Pinterest account will show in the Other Accounts module on your blog. Super easy!