Monday, February 07, 2011

Yoga Article Published & Great Sites to Share Content

I had a great time working on this yoga article for the premier issue of Image, a new publication here in Silicon Valley that appeared last week, enclosed with The Daily News. In the article, I describe highlights from the Grand Opening of Be Yoga in Palo Alto, one of the areas hot (literally and figuratively) new yoga spots -- as well as explore trends in the rise of yoga in this area over the last ten years. I learned a lot writing the article, including the difference between ashtanga and asana, getting my updog /downdog straight (figuratively and literally), and learning that "hot" yoga doesn't always mean popular, but rather that the room is heated, for maximum effect --detoxification being one of them. Thanks so much for the folks at Image to give me the green light on the assignment, and to Lisa Haley and the team at Be Yoga for hosting such a wonderful day of classes, music, and snacks.

Now, onto the business of publishing...I realized when the article came out, that there are so many choices nowadays in sites to upload and share content --it's not just your blog or your website anymore. Not only that, but sharing your documents through social networks and on publishing sites is key to getting your brand noticed and heightening your online visibility.While I have a few favorites, I'm always interested in exploring more, as I find that each platform has its own unique features. Essential features to look for in any document upload platform are: ease of upload, sharing ability including links and e-mail features, viewing options, commenting options, and optimum graphics.

Here are a few sites I recommend you try out when you next have a document or e-book to upload and share:

  • Your own blog and/or web site:
    Sometimes, it's easy to forget that your website is home, and no matter where else you post your content, you must make sure it's at your home base first. I keep both a selected portfolio of articles, as well as an article archive by topic, on my main website at, in addition to posting links to published pieces here on my blog.

    I've been writing a  lot about lately, mostly because I really like the user interface with this cloud software. It's my preferred site for uploading photos, and it's easy to create new folders, move or copy documents within folders, and take advantage of the Linked In function that allows viewers to view your Linked In folder. I have found this a  great way to display not only photo highlights, but press clips, events, article publications, project galleries, and other types of content. The sharing option is great, with a new App that allows users to Share easily with Facebook, as well as provide links to email and share files.

  • Googledocs:
    By now, you're probably familiar with Googledocs as a handy file storage solution, for both photos and documents. I like to keep a backup of important files as well as published articles here as well. While the download can be a little slow if you have multiple documents and files, a basic account is free, and I like the convenience of having your files easily accessible on e-mail. Those of you who aren't editors may not realize that you can convert a file to an edit format in Googledocs, by selecting the editing function on the right-hand screen, avoiding the need to open Word. Cool!
  •  Docstoc:
    I first discovered Doctsoc when I was looking for sites to upload Twitteration, my Twitter e-book that I published last year. This program has fast downloads and easy menus to follow, plus it has a cool Search feature that shows results from within your document for every term you type in. The program also has a new store features that allows users to purchase business documents -- books, and templates, from everything from business plans to nondisclosure agreements. A great reference and resource.
  • Scribd:
    I admit that I am partial to Scribd, not only because they have so optimized their sharing features that it isn't funny, but I actually had a chance to visit them during last year's Start Up Crawl, and not only was their staff totally fun and hospitable, but they served the coolest cupcakes ever -- little cakes on a stick, featuring their logo in light blue icing. (OK, that's not the point -- I'm hungry as I'm writing this.) The Scribd motto is to liberate the written word, and they're not kidding. You can easily log on and connect your documents with Facebook, and they offer a Readcast feature, which allows you to broadcast what you're reading on twitter and facebook. My only critique of Scribd is that I don't like the ads in the sidebar, and they need better category filters. I could not locate Health and Fitness, so I chose Magazines instead, but it wasn't my preferred category. With Docstoc, I found the Health and Fitness category with no problem.
  • Ezine:
    I haven't tried Ezine yet as far as uploading my own documents, but I have reviewed articles others have written on a wide variety of topics, and they were pretty good quality. A friend of mine and client recently mentioned to me that she had a rough time uploading her blog posts onto ezine, and that there were a lot of restrictive criteria, so she had to keep trying several times before the folks there gave her the go-ahead. If anyone has had an easier time of it as Ezine, please post a comment and share.

  • Yudu:
    This is an interesting site I just learned about recently, that allows you to easily self-publish e-books, articles, and other documents. It is free, but a Yudu Plus account, at about $160 a year, allows for video, audio, and flash upload options, as well as more variety in publishing options. Yudu has an interesting store feature that allows users to purchase business titles, consumer magazines, and more, similar to Scribd and Docstoc. Clearly, they are a British company, as all their pricing is in English pounds. Maybe the could be more buyer friendly for those of us in the US and convert their prices to dollars as well. I just tried out a quick upload of my article and strangely enough, this was the only program I've tried where the upload was not instant -- they e-mail you when the document is ready. This is a tad awkward, but the email came quickly.  I was offered a link to my publication, but once I arrived, so to speak, I could not find a tool that would allow me to adjust the screen image to the width of my screen, and I had some difficulty navigating the document. There were also no visible social media sharing icons that I could find. Perhaps this program is intended more for magazines?

  • Issuu:
    This is a fun program I just discovered in doing research for this post. It only took me seconds to upload my article, and as was the case with Yudu, I had to type in my e-mail to be notified when the document was ready. Issue wants you to register before being able to access your file, and a screen prompt that follows urges you to contact friends via Yahoo, Plaxo, and Gmail. When I accessed my document, I was a bit surprised that the viewing options were limited to very small, or, Full Screen options, and I would have preferred a toggle tool so I could adjust the viewing. I was also surprised that for SEO purposes, I was not asked to Tag or filter by category any of the article content. The sharing features were the usual fare - Facebook, Twitter, and Buzz, with LinkedIn not connected, as was the case with all of the programs above. Linked In folks, you need to get in on these self-publishing sites.
So, that's my roundup for now on self-publishing sites. I'm sure I left more then a few out. Those who have done some exploring in this area, please share your experiences in the comments here...I'm on a mission to find the best uploading platforms, and I can't be stopped!

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