PBS Blog Schedule 2019

Before you abandon your blogs to turn up tonight (tee hee), I’d like to introduce our schedule for this year. First, I’d like to thank and welcome our newbies and our die-hard supporters, the people who like our every post and share on social media. You guys are awesome and I do not take your contributions to the growth of The PBS Blog for granted. If you are new to this blog, please be sure to take this time to look around and familiarize yourself with the place. There are four years worth of material here to help you get to know me better and my writing.

Bloggers and Blogging

If you are not sure how the blog works or if you are thinking of starting a blog of your own, I invite you to visit the Blog Tips page HERE where I have archived my tips on blogging. I highly recommend you skim through them if you are new to the WordPress platform and are thinking to start a blog of your own (new writers, blogging is a great way to connect with readers!)

Writers and Writing

If you are a writer (especially an Independent writer) and you are looking for encouragement, resources or a better understanding of writing from an Independent/Self-Publishing perspective, I invite you to visit the Writer Tips and Resources page HERE where I have archived my tips on all things writerly and links to resources from others (particularly those more knowledgeable in the field.)

Book Reviews

I will publish reviews of books I’ve read to this blog again. I have not been as consistent as I was in 2017 (because of amazon‘s constantly changing review policies and my constantly changing schedule) but I am back on it dagone it. You can view my new policy here. (Does not apply to books I read on my own for leisure, just review requests.)

Segments

2018 has been a year of self-reflection, self-understanding and focus. This means that I intentionally focused on myself. Not in a selfish way but in a way where I can better understand me in order to help you. Long story short, in 2019 I will be refocusing on my services to others, armed with the fresh revelations that have come from getting to know myself better. I want to do more for aspiring authors, new bloggers, writers and the like. I am excited and motivated with the drive and desire to serve.

Now, let’s get to the point so you can get out of here.

2019 Schedule

While I have segments going on throughout the week to keep this blog afloat, this is not a niche blog. Meaning, I do not just post about one thing. Do know this schedule does not include any random, off topic posting I may do when I just feel like writing.

 

Everything starts back up next week, 1/7 – 1/11

Monday

Introduce Yourself Author Interviews – I will keep Mondays open for author interviews. To learn more about how to get featured on this blog, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday

No Whining Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday will continue with quotes and empowering notes that help to keep you from whining, criticizing, or complaining! Learn more about NWW HERE  (scroll down for the archived articles or follow the No Whining Wednesday tag).

Thursday

Throwback Thursday – I miss how we used to jam ya’ll! Throwback Thursday will be in full swing next week. Throwback Thursday is when I post old school music videos to the blog. I have 3 categories so everyone gets a lil something something from it.

1. Throwback Jams (old school music the 80s on back)

2. 90s Throwback Jams (jams from the 90s, obviously)

3. and Early 2000 Jams (music from the early 2000’s)

Friday

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Throwback Thursday Jams and Black History Fun Facts are the most popular on this blog so they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Black History Fun Facts will return in full swing. (I have written tons of Black History articles on this blog that should keep you busy reading if you are new to PBS. CLICK HERE.) I noticed we dragged a bit in 2018 so I need to step it up in 2019. There’s been a lot of talk about The Year of Return (1619-2019 makes 400-years for Blacks in the America’s per captivity) I may just start the year off talking about that.

Poetry

Not included is poetry because I don’t have a special day for this. I will continue to publish poetry pretty much whenever I feel like it. If you would like listen to my poems, subscribe to my YouTube Channel HERE. I also host an Annual Poetry Contest, founded in 2017. We have had two amazingly talented winners so far and some outstanding runner-ups and it’s almost time to get things started for our 3rd Annual Contest!

Annual Poetry Contest Winner 2017

Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2018


The PBS Blog now contains affiliate links. This means should you purchase anything from these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to keep this blog up and running. I will never link to something I haven’t personally used or disliked so don‘t be shy, click on the book cover to this month‘s featured book (Michelle Obama‘s Becoming) in the sidebar and thank you for your support!

Advertisements

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Ends Soon! Enter TODAY

It’s the final countdown people!

You have until midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/31) to enter your poem into my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest.

The contest is heating up and we have some very talented poets out there!

…and some awesome prizes! We are giving away money, publishing, promotion, books and more! DO NOT miss out on this. There is NO entry fee to enter.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ENTRANCE GUIDELINES BY CLICKING HERE.

Submit a poem on self-love / self-care in some way, subscribe to the email list (you need to subscribe so you get updates on the contest) and then email your poem to: yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com

Go Go Go!!

MailChimp Moves to Single Opt-In: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been wondering what Mailchimp’s Single Opt-In is all about and whether to go with it or keep your double opt-in, I’ve found the article for you. Kirsten Oliphant has the scoop:

Single Opt-In: Essentially when someone enters their email into your form and clicks “I Want It What Way!” (because “Subscribe” is so 2011), they are automatically subscribed. Right then and there. The end.

Double Opt-In: When someone enters their email into your form and clicks “Send Me All The Things!”, they will receive an email asking them to confirm. If they do not click, they will not get an email from you. They are not, in fact, a subscriber.

Legally Opted

Single opt-in is not legal all over the world. (True story.) The un-apt-ly named CAN-SPAM Act (which says you CANNOT, in fact, spam people) doesn’t care about opt-ins, surprisingly. You can single opt-in all day long legally in the USA and many other countries.

Just not Germany.

I’m sure there are others, but Germany has super strict laws on privacy. So if someone from Germany signs up through your single opt-in form, you’ve broken their laws.

Are you really going to be hunted down or fined? Probably not.

But do you want to be breaking international laws when you send emails? Um…probably not.

KEEP READING THROUGH TO THE ORIGINAL HERE

7 Things I Learned about Email List Building

I’ve learned so far that there’s a lot more to building an email list than getting people signed up. I’ve had an email list for years but I feel that only now am I starting to really understand how it works. A little. OK so maybe I just have an inkling of an idea. Who knows but it’s a start.

While having one is great, building an email list and the upkeep is not easy! OK, well, it’s not hair-pulling difficult but it does take some tending to. I don’t want to scare anyone away. It’s not brain surgery or anything like that but I guess that’s why they call it “building”. You don’t build anything over night. There are lots of steps and parts to keeping an email list updated and valuable.

(Click Here to read 7 Common Sense Reasons You Should Build an Email List)

Here are some things I learned, or I should say I am learning, about the email list:

  1. More Subscribers Mean Little to Nothing

At first, I was concerned with getting more subscribers. I mean, that’s a start, right? Yes and no. Yes because of course I want readers. No because that’s just the beginning.

I learned that getting people to subscribe, as challenging as it can be, turned out not to represent as much of the process as I’d thought. While getting subscribers is great, you should know that it’s never a guarantee that people will:

  1. Stay subscribed to your list (people can unsubscribe anytime)
  2. Open the emails you send
  3. Click on your links
  4. Support your product / service

One of the first lessons I am learning in my continual quest to better understand list building is that subscribers mean little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. It is not so much how many people are on the list so much as it is how many of these people are engaged: open emails, read the content, click links and offer feedback. Are they part of my target audience or just taking up space? Are they at all interested in what I have to say?

I’ve learned that an email list of only ten people on it in which eight are engaged and supporting is better than a thousand who can care less.

2. The “From” Address – Use the name that is the most popular and noticeable to your readers

When setting up an email list, part of the process is to enter a “From” Address or the name you want to appear as the person the email is coming from. For the two years or so of sending emails through Mail Chimp I used Literary Korner Publishing, my business name and all was well.

Toward the close of last year, I decided to do something different. I stopped using my business name and used my name, Yecheilyah, instead. I wanted to see if my open and click rate would increase. It did. It worked because it is the name most familiar to my readers.

3. Email – Use a business email address

Another thing I started off with is using my personal Gmail account as the email linked to my list. When setting up an email list, you’ll also have the option of choosing where the emails will come from / people can reply to. In the beginning, it was my Gmail account. I have since changed this.

Toward the close of last year I changed my email. It required an upgrade but it was worth it. It does look more professional but I’ll be honest in saying I didn’t do it for how it would look. I did it to make sure my emails aren’t going into my subscriber’s spam folders. As a result, my open rates did increase. I didn’t get a snapshot so you’ll have to take my word for it. I’ll remember to snag some images next time.

What’s a good business email address?

Your name (at) your domain name dot com (yourname@yourdomainname.com)

4. Headline – Choose a headline that will speak to your list

I didn’t start off paying much attention to my email list headline. If people opened the email they opened it. If not, oh well. That’s how I saw it.

And then I grew up…

I am not doing this for my health which means that it does matter if people are finding value in the content or not and if I am seeing a return as a result. So, I started to pay more attention to the Headline of my emails or the title that people see that tells them what the email is about. It didn’t occur to me that if this didn’t speak to them there would be no reason to open the email! Yikes.

Somehow, I’d taken it for granted that people, though signed up, are not obligated to open and read the content. I thought about blogging and how important the title of the blog post is. (Click Here for 5 Creative Ways to Headline Your Blog Post) I decided to apply this to my list.

Just like someone must be interested enough to click on the blog and read it, someone must also be interested enough in the email headline to open the email and read it.

The headline is the first clue to the reader on what the email is about. If it is something they can care less about, they will not open the email. I have noticed that putting more thought into my email headlines has increased the open rates as well. Meaning, more people are opening the emails and clicking on the links. (A decent open rate is anywhere from 30-55%. It means that most of your list is seeing every email. But do not expect everyone on your list to be engaged. I’ve learned that even if only 20% of my list is communicating with me, that’s good).

5. Dividing the List – Sub divide your list by interest

I really didn’t want to do this. The only reason I can think of is laziness. I didn’t feel like splitting anyone up and sending more than one email.

And then I grew up…

I have recently began the first process of dividing my list and I feel good about it so far! The feedback alone told me a lot about the people who open and read my emails and gave me an idea into what it is they each want. Right now, I am only working with two lists and it was interesting to see who fell into which group.

Monthly – My monthly email list is compiled mostly of people who have either known me for years (at least more than two years but also as long as ten), enjoy getting everything summarized into one list, or who I know have busy schedules and don’t feel like being bothered with me more than once a month. They know me too well.

Bimonthly – My bimonthly email list, which is much smaller, is compiled mostly of people who have met me recently (anywhere from one week to one year ago), open my emails regularly and give the most feedback, are interested in emails about inspiration and motivation, and who like their emails smaller.

I loved the process of dividing them up! It was fun and helped me to focus on every single subscriber and to get to know them on a more personal level based on their interest.

6. Less is More – Limiting the Creative Mind

I consider myself a boring person outside of writing. But when I am writing and putting together emails I love colors and images! I love doing different things and experimenting. I love being silly and using my cartoon avatar. However, I have since pulled back a little with this.

Maybe I’m just getting older or I just know better but I cut a lot of that out. My avatar remains but outside of this I’ve limited the number of images used, switched to a basic theme with a white background and toned down the colors. While I’d love for my email to look like a magazine spread, images increase the possibility of spam as well and too much going on is distracting. The white background on the other hand made everything pop and it is easier to read.

7. Removal – Taking people off your email list

What? You mean I did all that work to get people signed up and now I have to…take them off?

Yea, pretty much.

It took my numbers down a notch but I feel that the cleaning will do me some good. I am not interested in having people subscribed who really don’t want to be there or who are just there to spy, just for the sake of numbers. That’s never been me. One thing I am sure everyone should do every now and again is to clean up their email list.

This means to go through the list and either (1) reach out to or (2) remove altogether those emails belonging to people who never open your emails or interact with you at all. I imagine they see the emails and trash / spam them but for whatever strange reason they don’t unsubscribe. Or maybe they subscribed because you had a contest or offered something for them and now that they got it they’re no longer interested. Whatever the reason, it’s their business. Growth is not just about gaining. It’s about losing too. I believe trimming the weeds will help me to grow and I will soon have twice as much support as I’ve had to lose.

The point is that I want people on my email list who want to be there. Not people who are just there to spy or be nosy. They hate my guts but they open every email. That doesn’t make any sense. I also don’t want people on my list who never open a single email but they won’t unsubscribe. I don’t understand why they are there.

Even when people unsubscribe themselves, I’ve learned this is not a bad thing. It literally does me no good to have people around who don’t want to be. This is a business not a hobby. Whatever is not contributing to growth has gotta go. Don’t be afraid to get rid of dead weight.

When I look at my list today I feel good. I know that the people subscribed want to be there and if they ever feel bored, I hope they will just unsubscribe. That’s just the realness of it. You win some, and you lose some but you live. You live to fight another day. Yes, that’s from the movie Friday. It doesn’t have anything to do with this article but I thought I’d leave you with a chuckle. Or not.

—————————-

Interested in being part of my crew? They’re great! Emails go out once or twice a month based on your preference. CLICK HERE to sign up and thank you!

The First 300: How I Reached 300 Blog Followers in 3 Months

blogging

I don’t know what it is this week but I’ve been in a blog subject type of mood. Every article post idea has been about blogging. Could be the excitement still emanating from my radio show feature with Annette earlier this week –listen here- or it could be the excitement over reaching the 1,000 subscriber mark (and the crowd goes wild…. or not), but I thought I’d share my first experiences as a new blogger two years ago.

I started this blog in 2014 so to just be making it to the thousands may not be all that significant to some but this is huge for me. The conception of this post was thinking back to the early days where I praised reaching three hundred and four hundred followers. Why did I stop doing that? It was fun! I even monitored the international support I received and I was really excited about it. Yes, life gets busy but I’d hate to become proud as if I’ve made it somewhere when I’ve not. That is when I thought, “Well, share your experience with starting the PBS blog.”

I remember my excitement over my first one hundred! In fact, my first blogging experience on this blog got off to a pretty good start far as subscribers are concerned. I managed to reach 300 followers in my first three months. Here’s some of what I did. Will it work for you? Possibly. I caution however that blogging is a funny thing. Everyone has to find their own way. Here’s what I did:

1. Resurrect Old Writings

When I started this blog I was actually still blogging on WordPress under a different account. The name of that blog was A House of Poetry (you can find my silly post about cheating on that blog with The PBS Blog here) and it was a blog dedicated completely to poetry. Thing is, it didn’t really go anywhere and I wasn’t dedicated to it. When I started this blog I began by transferring a lot of my published poetry to this blog. I also tore into some old poetry books and rewrote some older poems and added them to this blog. My goal was to introduce myself to the blogosphere by showcasing something I knew was a strength: poetry. Every day I published a new poem and the faucet was on.

  1. Get Organized

I knew I couldn’t go on much longer with just poetry. I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work. So, I got organized and a tad bit crazy but I’ll speak on that in the next point. I decided to incorporate some features into this blog so I decided I’d publish three posts a day all covering three separate things: One poem, one article or creative writing piece, and one quote. Every day I published these to attract more than one kind of reader. Some people liked the poetry most, others the quotes and others the written piece. I was on the road to creating variety with my blog which is what I wanted. Since my poetry blog, focusing on a niche has never been my thing. Yes, I know, many people say to have a niche. Truth is, I don’t think you need one to be successful at blogging. What you need is quality content and interaction with others, but I digress.

  1. Consistency

Probably by far the most influential, I got a little crazy. I was publishing three posts every day, six days a week. I know, but that’s the kind of person I am. Dedicated. Loyal.  All or nothing. I knew I couldn’t keep up this momentum for long but I felt it was important to establishing a presence in the beginning. At the end of the day, what I was trying to achieve was consistency. Beginnings are difficult and challenging but when it comes to blogging, consistency is important. Even if you just post once a day (or even once a month) it can make a big difference. Again, I think it’s important to remember that my first experience with blogging was not this blog. I’ve had two blogs before this. I’ve tried preaching to the choir. I’ve tried the staunch “staying true to my art”. Been there and done that. With this blog, I’ve come to learn how to stay true to myself WHILE incorporate my passion into something  relatable to other people. Preach art all you want, but people need to be able to feel and relate to what you’re saying to truly understand it (people will never give ear to what they do not understand). Otherwise, your  blog is not going to attract new faces. Oh? You don’t care? So what are we here for? Personally, I am not here to smile and look “deep”. It’s time for new levels.  How powerful is my message if it never reaches anyone? Exactly.

  1. Persistence

Just because I was posting a lot does not mean that I was getting feedback. All of these beginner posts got anywhere between zero to five likes and no comments. I wasn’t sure how to engage or what it meant to produce quality content and all that. I just knew that I had something to say and that as a beginner I needed to get a good foundation under me. What it helped me to do was to be humble. I learned to always respond to comments and to rejoice at whatever little growth I got. Ten likes were golden and because of this experience, it still is. I still take the time to open every email notification of a new like or comment. It’s to the point now where I know which of you will like what based on your like habits! Yes, I’ve gotten to know you better too.

  1. Networking

Probably the most effective was networking or as I like to call it, the bonding process. The posting was not and is not enough. My first time seeing real feedback was when I started to follow other blogs, comment on other blogs, share content from other blogs and interact in challenges. This is when I really started to see blog growth. In fact, I noticed one hundred followers in one month, then another hundred, and then another. I noticed that I was getting one hundred followers a month and by the end of my first three months, I had a nice three hundred under me.

  1. Building

I’m not sure if there’s a standard with blogging, but three hundred followers was mine. For a long time, I considered ending this blog. Over time, however, I decided that it may be worth it to keep it. As I made this decision I also had to consider building. This meant paying attention to a lot of the technical things I hadn’t paid attention to before, tags, content, images, social media sharing, networking. No longer was it sufficient to just post anything, now I had to take into consideration a lot of background work that may help contribute to building a greater blog. In the beginning, it was posting, the equivalent to getting myself out there but now, if I was to continue to grow then I had to continue to do more than just post. I had to consider how important blogging was to me, and how much time I was willing to dedicate to it (not trying to spend a lifetime here or anything but by time I just mean at least a post a day). Now it was about more than just posting, it was about doing the work.

bitmoji638116932

Here’s to another one thousand. Maybe someday all of this work will pay off and I’ll be writing AND blogging full time. Here’s to endless possibilities. Cheers.