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Oct 23, 2015

Brave Bloggers and #FreeWord

Following Blog Action Day campaign, this is to thank everyone who participated and cared. We'd also like to highlight some of the bloggers who have suffered as a result of simply expressing thoughts. We do this, so that those of us who have the privilege to write freely - continue raising awareness and support fellow bloggers who can't do so.

Here is a list of brave bloggers who were detained for their #FreeWord, reproduced from English Pen - one of the editing partners of this year's Blog Action Day, who has been promoting and defending the freedom to write and the freedom to read for almost 100 years:

* Vice News blogger Mohammed Ismael Rasool, who is imprisoned in Turkey, where he "celebrated" his 25th birthday this week.

* Academic and blogger Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, serving a life sentence for his peaceful opposition activities in Bahrain, along with others.

* Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes, and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair, serving a 15-year prison sentence.

* Qatari poet Mohammed al-Ajami, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a poem.

* Poet and teacher Mahvash Sabet, is serving a 20-year prison sentence in Iran.

* Chinese activist and poet Liu Xiaobo, the only Nobel laureate currently in prison. His wife, the poet and artist Liu Xia, has now spent five years under house arrest.

* The Zone9 bloggers in Ethiopia, four of whom remain imprisoned for their writing.

In this context, it is somewhat relieving the news that on the same day Blog Action Day was happening, the Zone9 bloggers were acquitted of terrorism charges.

Bloggers are now on the front line of free speech. The rise of the internet, blogging and social media has changed how the world views writing and publishing. Sadly, mainstream media is often controlled and influenced when telling stories. That is why bloggers are so important and this is a call to action, to keep on with making use of your freedom of speech, as well as spread awareness for those who can't.

There are various ways you can support fellow bloggers and writers at risk around the world. Here are a few:
  • Share details of those at risk and their writings on blogs and social media, to help keep up momentum and ensure that they are not forgotten.
  • Send a message of support to provide moral encouragement for a detained writer and their family.
  • Lobby the authorities in the country in question or your own, and bodies such as the UN and EU, which can have a significant impact.
  • Sign and share petitions to show the level of concern in a case.
Together we could do more and we can do better. Please keep it up and share this call.

Speak out for those who can't

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Oct 14, 2015

#RaiseYourVoice, Make an Impact

You are invited to join Blog Action Day by October 16 - when voices from all over the world simultaneously share stories and ideas about important global topics. This year's main theme is #RaiseYourVoice and bloggers now have the choice to write on 3 sub-topics: #JustABlogger, #FreeWord or #GirlsRaiseYourVoice

Since 2007 Blog Action Day has united bloggers from 130 countries in over 40 languages, to create huge global conversations on the same day about particular critical issues. Past topics have included Inequality, Poverty, Climate Change and Human Rights, among others.

As a supporting partner we’ve been featuring Blog Action Day through our channels for a while now. This is a call to our blogger community to get your blog posts ready.

#RaiseYourVoice, Blog Action Day
On October 16, 2015, thousands of bloggers will raise their voice in support of those who cannot do it safely, when faced with censorship, threats and violence. We will raise our voices to defend their right to raise theirs. Together we could do more and make those voices actually heard.

Following it is to highlight the sub-themes, so that you choose the topic that is the closest to you and take it further from here.

#JustABlogger - bloggers speak truth and tell stories of social importance. Sometimes risking their lives in doing so, as this causes discomfort for some powerful individuals, groups and unfair governments. Be it about corruption, privacy issues, illegal trading, etc. Mainstream media is not always reflecting stories as they actually are, because they are often influenced and controlled. And so the bloggers are the ones who shine a light on issues and, sadly, are sometimes attacked for being just a blogger. Fellow bloggers who have the privilege of being protected by a better democracy, are encouraged on this October 16 to feature the issues other bloggers have been repressed for telling.

#FreeWord - the freedom to write and read keeps being under attack, despite the fact that we've gone a long way heading towards a better society. Authors, journalists and bloggers must be able to express ideas freely and should not be punished or censored when criticizing governments and ruling structures. Readers should have unfettered access to the flow of these ideas and the freedom to respond. With this sub-theme bloggers and participants are invited to tell stories on the importance of the freedom to express.

#GirlsRaiseYourVoice - gender discrimination is still an issue in certain parts of the word, unfortunately. From very young ages to adult women. Bloggers who have stories to tell on gender inequality issues are encouraged to share them on this occasion, so that the world knows and takes further action.

Everyone’s posts on the topics suggested above are invited on October 16. The hashtag for selected sub-theme (#JustABlogger, #FreeWord or #GirlsRaiseYourVoice) has to be used along with one of the following main hashtags: #BlogActionDay, #RaiseYourVoice or #Oct16.

The hashtags are particularly relevant on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, since they make it easy for interested fellows to follow a hashtag and discover posts. And when particular hashtags are used by more people at the same time - they get a lot more attention and traction. That is why Blog Action Day is a really smart initiative and a unique occasion for all of us, which can actually amplify messages and trigger social change.

Getting involved is easy:
* Submit your blog to register for Blog Action Day 2015 by October 16;
* Choose a topic of the ones proposed and be inspired by editorial partners;
* Get a badge to use for your blog and your Blog Action Day post;
* Share your blog posts and use proposed tags across social networks;
* Visit blogactionday.org and connect with the comunity.

Those of you who are not blogging but are on social networks, please share with your followers a link, a media piece or a few words to build awareness. Because when issues get elevated and into attention, they tend to be solved. Please feel free to choose for sharing the story of your liking at blogactionday.org on October 16.

Raising voices united could really be powerful.  The more we are, the stronger the impact. Be part of a unique community who cares, to make the world a better place.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

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Aug 7, 2015

Blog Tips to Re-check

In order to grow a successful blog there are certain factors to consider. The blog tips we've written here derive from our observations while curating thousands of submitted blogs. We'd like to highlight some of those tips for newer members of our blogger community, as well as remind them to our loyal bloggers.

1. Visualize your blog post through images and media
Writing great content is essential. It's also important to complement your written content and catch reader's attention through an image, video or illustration related to your blog post. Creative media helps increase the engagement and allows blog readers understand whether the post is relevant and interesting to them. Remember to optimize image size, so that it's just right for blog layout and doesn't delay page loading.

2. Keep blog content per page at a reasonable amount
Too much content on a single page takes time to load and makes the blog less responsive overall. This affects blog readers as well as search engines checking your updates. Most blog readers might not be patient and wait till the page loads completely. As well as search engines favor websites that load fast. In this context, 5 to 10 blog posts on a single page is recommended. Check the next link for more related blog tips.
Blog tips to grow your blog
3. Share and promote your blog
As now many say - "Content is King, Distribution is Queen". Having a new blog post published on your blog is a great start. To have it read and reach out to more blog readers - the content has to be distributed and brought right in front of the readers. There are multiple social platforms where readers spend their time. Depending which audience you are targeting, share and promote your blog on social media platforms that are common to your potential blog readers. Our goal at BlogUpp is to support you in that through multiple content distribution channels, by helping bloggers connect, feature blogs and help readers discover authentic blog content. Note that we also share your blog to Facebook / Twitter, when you enable cross-posting feature. Be advised to check your cross-posting from time to time to maintain it active, as described here.

4. Update blogs at least once every couple of months
Blogs updated more frequently are generally favored in search results, keep blog readers more engaged and loyal. Blogging takes time and it's understood that some bloggers make pauses in publishing to their blogs. Nevertheless, it's recommended to write in the blog at least once in a while, to let existing blog readers know that they still should follow the blog. Note that as part of blog curation process we might deactivate the blog service for blogs that haven't been updated for more than 6 months. After a while without posting it is advisable to re-submit your blog with us in order to reactivate content distribution.

5. Check your blog RSS feed
Blog syndication services rely on RSS feeds to pull and distribute content accordingly. For feeds generated by third party services (like Feedburner) it's worth checking them periodically to make sure they are functional and valid. During our blog review and periodical analysis, we are noticing feeds becoming invalid, while the blogs themselves are active. Note that feed errors may also be caused by certain uncommon symbols inserted in your blog posts. For tips on fixing blog RSS feeds, please check this blog post.

6. Upgrade your blog
Established bloggers with a solid audience need to consider upgrading their blogs, in order to sustain blog growth. That includes, among others, moving to a professional custom domain, re-evaluate the publishing platform, update the template and design as per blogger's posting needs. Blog upgrade requires preparation in advance, such as securing your desired blog domain name early and studying content migration options. Full time bloggers or teams of bloggers publishing to shared blogs more than a couple of blog posts per day, might also consider amplifying blog content distribution with premium options.

While most blog tips seem obvious, they are not always applied - hence we encourage you to do so, for the success of your blog and yours.

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Apr 21, 2015

Content Marketing World is back again

The largest content marketing event that we've been supporting as a media partner is back. Over 100 speakers - including big names from Fortune 500 brands and leading social networks - will share inspiring and actionable keynotes, with hands-on learning and relevant content marketing examples. The conference also gives a chance to connect with over 3,500 interactive, content marketing, communications, SEO and social marketing professionals from over 50 countries.

That being said, we at BlogUpp highly recommend and invite our blogger community to Content Marketing World conference. You can choose to get an in person entry to the event or apply for access to post-show videos. Be advised to benefit from early bird rates before the end of May. In addition, by using the code "MEDIA" you save $100 off registration. Secure your ticket to Content Marketing World today for September 8 - 11. Don't wait until it's too late.

There is an extra opportunity with the event, which we'd like you to know about. It has a dedicated affiliate program, which allows selected bloggers earn $100 for each referred guest. Apply for the program here to help content marketers and yourself.

Content Marketing World 2015

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Mar 6, 2015

Free Content Writing Assistance App

Growing a blog audience requires you to create content worth reading, before wondering how to promote the blog. Recommendations on how to improve content for your target audience make it a lot easier to write great stories and blog posts.

In this context we'd like to recommend Atomic App, which is a free content writing assistance app built by the fellows at Atomic Reach. Click on the infographic below to enlarge it and learn more on how you can benefit from content recommendations provided by the app, to simplify content creation. Give it a try and share it with your fellow bloggers.

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