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Five Tricks For Blogging From The Field

Whether you’re blogging for your news organization or are a freelancer representing yourself, blogging from the field has never been easier. If you’re using WordPress.com (not the self-hosted version, although there are similar solutions for WordPress.org users), here are a few tricks for your phone or tablet to help make you better at what you do.

1. WordPress’ mobile apps

iPhone? Android? Blackberry?  WordPress has you covered. With its many cross-platform applications, you can access your blog from anywhere with cell or Wi-Fi through one of these apps:

And if you don’t have any of those mobile devices, point your mobile browser to http://m.wordpress.com/. The apps let you moderate comments, write posts, add photos and preview/publish your content.

I’ve only used the iPhone app personally, and the only big flaw that I’ve experienced is in adding hyperlinks. To insert a hyperlink, you have to manually type out the <a href=”http://”></a> because the visual interface doesn’t work without tweaking the code it generates. I’d like to see a better WYSIWYG editor on mobile simply because finding the special characters for manually coding special formatting is a pain on the iOS interface.  Otherwise, adding photos, categories, tags, a title and body is a piece of cake.

2. Call-in audio posts

If you’re using WordPress.com to blog, there’s a cool feature you may not have heard about called Post by Voice.  It does exactly what it sounds like– you call in, record your post, then WordPress embeds the audio file to your blog. It’s perfect for recording interviews from the field, or filing information while you’re out n’ about and still entrenched in the scene.  To set this up:

  • Dashboard –> My Blogs –>Enable Post by Voice
  • To post: Call the number provided, enter you secret key, talk away!

You get up to an hour per call, and the recording will automatically stop after 10 seconds of silence.

3. Add GeoLocation to your posts

Are you reporting from a series of locations? If so, you can add your location to each blog post, either by manually adding it or auto-detecting it. This is an especially cool feature if you’re travelling as you blog, or covering a route (parade, trial, march).  To set  this up:

  • Users –> Personal Settings –> My Location –> Enable GeoTagging

4. Blog by text message

For those distant places where you don’t have 3G coverage, but you still have cell reception, you can interact with WordPress.com through SMS text messages. To set this up:

  • Settings –> Text Messaging –> Enter phone number –> Send activation code

From the text messaging interface, you can moderate comments, respond to comments, and write new blog posts. This function is ideal for liveblogging quick snippets of information from the scene of an event. In light of recent natural disasters, this tip is great for conserving your battery, and blogging quickly without a 3G (or 4G) network.

5. VideoPress mobile video uploads

If you’re serious about video and don’t mind shelling out a little dough, VideoPress integrates with your WordPress.com blog and allows you to upload video from any of the mobile apps. The cost is relatively cheap for the value you get from VideoPress– just $59.97 per year. That comes out to a little less than $5 per month.

In addition to adding video via mobile, you get Flash and HTML5 players, HD options, statistics, long-form publishing, and lots more.

If you have any other favorite mobile tricks for either WordPress.com blogs or your self-hosted WordPress.org blog, share them in the comments!

 

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