What a relevant topic for my first reflection journal entry for my Master of Arts in Communications degree, as this is when my journey as a true writer began. In December 2010 I decided I wanted to start a blog. Wanting to enhance my career as a writer, and frustrated at the lack of creativity allowed in my corporate communications career, I decided to start my own personal blog.
But where to start?
At first it seemed overwhelming, but I signed up for an online class with Writer’s Digest University called Blogging 101. The class outlined the importance of creating compelling content and setting an editorial calendar. This class also stressed the importance of creating a full social media presence as a writer, including Twitter, Facebook and Website (This was before the introduction of other social media channels we have today, including Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.) The class stressed the importance of having a strong, but concise, topic for the blog, based on something that interests you.
After the class concluded I decided I wanted to focus my blog on healthy eating, but that was still too broad. After much thought, I narrowed my topic down to “150 of the Healthiest Foods in 150 Days”. I challenged myself to eat healthier by trying all 150 of the “healthiest foods on earth” as defined by Dr. Jonny Bowden. I lost 80 pounds through diet and exercise and I wanted not only to share my experience with others, but I also wanted to continue my journey by learning more about healthy eating and connecting with others on the topic.
The Writers Digest class was great, but it didn’t go into detail about the step-by-step technical component of creating a blog. So I diligently scoured Blogging by Amy’s blog, which is all about creating and maintaining a blog in WordPress. Her instructions were invaluable and they walked me through the process of setting up my first blog. I then set up my @StacyCacciatore Twitter account.
After experiencing increased success over the course of a year, I decided to take my blog to the next level and rebrand it to Five a Day the Fun Way by purchasing my own domain. I switched to the WordPress.org hosted blog account and moved from the free WordPress to self-hosted WordPress account. This was an exciting journey as I began to build my own brand. I hired a graphic designer to create a Five a Day the Fun Way logo, created a @Fiveadayfun Twitter handle, Five a Day the Fun Way Facebook page and began writing books with the recipes and tips I developed on the site.
My social media presence grew and allowed me to build an entire brand around my passion: healthy eating.
If it wasn’t for my creation of my first blog, I wouldn’t have become the author of my three books: Guilt-Free Cupcakes, Culinary Duct Tape and Candy Around the World. Nor would I have been selected for the Disney Parks Panel, which allows me to be an ambassador for Walt Disney World through their social media channels.
Social media opened doors for me that I never even knew existed. My journey is not over, it has just begun. I still blog at Five a Day the Fun Way and I now write for several magazines, blogs and forums, including Walt Disney World, Family Travel Magazine and Orbiz.
I greatly look forward to learning more about social media channels in class and how I can use those to expand my brand further. I’m energized at the thought of using social media channels to enhance the learning experience at Queens! I actually already created a Facebook Group for the classmates we have in the program. I would love to see our class connect via social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and the blog, to learn from each other, set-up study groups and get to know each other better.
What was the first social media channel you used? A blog? Twitter? Instagram? I’d love to hear from you!