Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’
This past year has been truly exceptional and while I love blogging, I am not a writer. So from that regard, I struggle. I know this is *my* blog and I can do with it what I’d like, but I also don’t want to produce crap content. I have SO many thoughts rattling around in my head but the pressure to make them perfect stops me from writing them down. And the time to make them perfect doesn’t exist…so, again, nothing gets written.
My other issue is that I can no longer scale. Trust me, I have really tried. I have been up to all hours of the morning just trying to keep up. But now I need to have time for my family, my home, my life. That means I don’t have 6 hours to write a post (yes, posts take me anywhere from 4-6 hours to write each one. Pathetic, right?!).
As well, I know social media is quid pro quo and while I try my best to keep up with other blogs (reading and commenting), comments on my blog, etc. I am falling WAY short and for that I am terribly sorry. I would completely understand if people stopped commenting/tweeting my stuff.
Thanks for all of your support through the past year; it has meant the world to me.
I am not saying that I won’t be blogging anymore… I just don’t know when. I need to step back and re-think how I want to approach blogging because where I am now is not working for me.
P.S. I’ll definitely be blogging at the Daily Fix because, lucky for me, it’s part of my job. But here at THoM, I am raising the white flag.
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“A guy walks into a bar…”
It actually goes more like this “a communicator walks into a meeting and the VP or client says ‘I want bloggers!’” (or we want a “well known” social media consultant!)
I used ‘communicator’ because I don’t want to be accused of continually beating up the PR rank and file and because it’s not always PR folks, it’s also marketers and organizations/clients seeking social media consultants.
So what’s the pickup line you ask? “I/We LOVE your blog!”
If you have a blog I am sure you’ve heard it before. Someone wants something from you and they figure the quickest way in is to flatter your blog. What annoys me about this pickup line is the assumption that bloggers are so vane that sucking up with an insincere one-liner will make them give you what you want. A lot of us bloggers don’t blog to be self-important. We blog because it’s a space for us to share our thoughts, insights or opinions and to be a part of the community (whether that’s marketing, social media, golfing, wine, shopping, business, whatever…).
When I get this line (and my gut tells me they are insincere), I’ll usually say “Hey thanks! So tell, me what posts have you liked or disagreed with the most?” The usual reply: “er, um, ah…” Yeah, thought so. Another indication of insincerity is that they have never once commented or even tried to be a part of the community.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want something from someone who blogs―whether it’s a blog post you seek or consulting services-don’t enter the relationship with a cheesy one-liner. It doesn’t work in a bar and it surely doesn’t work in business because no one wants to be just a person on your list. (Actually, this is just good advice for interpersonal relations…people know when they are being used, no matter how smooth, suave or smart *you* might think you are.) Relationships do matter regardless of the situation.
Next time you find yourself uttering those words, remember that you have just joined the ranks of being “that guy (or girl).” (In case you don’t know what that means… it’s the obnoxious person no one wants to be near.)
Have you heard any other one-liners recently?
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Are you hearing Carly Simon in your head now? Good. That’s the effect I wanted, although I’ll probably regret it later [when you want to kill me because you can't get the song out of said head]. Maybe I am just taking a note from my friend Narciso Tovar over at Method + Moxie, he always equates his posts to music and a serious point.
I have been mulling this over for a few weeks now and I think it’s just something that has to be said. My blog posts are not about you. Let me clarify, they are about us as collective marketers and the marketing industry…but they aren’t about any one person, company, or situation in particular.
As marketers we have a lot of experiences and interactions with different industries, bosses, co-workers, agencies, customers, etc. and each leaves a lasting impression, especially for analytic types.
Now, think of all those experiences from the point of view of a marketer that also blogs. We look for trends (people are getting bored with Twitter…), we see trends recycling (just like flair bottom jeans & clogs), we learn about and analyze what’s effective and ineffective (Motrin, anyone?), we look for what’s new (oh, hello latest new social tool!), etc., etc., etc.
And, of course, marketers who blog are usually also very socially connected. That means we use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, forums, etc. We go to offline association meetings (like the PRSA, AMA, IABC, SMC, etc.). And we read…a lot! Especially other blogs with viewpoints other than our own, books and magazines.
All of these additional experiences, social interactions, conversations, debates, and reading often spark an idea or thought that leads to an entire post for a marketing blogger.
- Is this post even about me/us?
- Is there any truth to this post?
- Is this post completely untrue?
Essentially ask yourself is the blogger holding a “mirror up to nature?”
For most marketing bloggers, the answer is a resounding “YES!” We are holding up a mirror to our experiences, the profession, and more. If we didn’t, we’d be quite boring!
So the next time you’re reading a post and the thought crosses your mind that it could be about you or your company, think twice, maybe even three times, because most likely it’s not. Marketers, especially those who are passionate about being marketers (you know they type, they eat, sleep, drink, tweet, blog marketing 24/7) are, for the most part, blogging to be reflective, thoughtful, analytic and well, marketers…
Now you can scold me for Carly Simon bouncing around in your head.
[Hat tip to Rachel Reuben for leading me to Nikki's post. Thanks Rachel!]
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This post is for the attendees (and anyone else who stops by) of the March 20, 2009 IABC meeting on Writing for the Web. My portion of the panel discussion is writing for social media. And instead of having boring handouts, I wanted to share the information via a blog post and hopefully get attendees to engage in conversation…because that’s what social media is all about!
Social media is surely the buzz word these days and perhaps you’re ready to tip your toe into the social waters. Before you do…Ask yourself the following:
- Can I comprehensively write in 140-characters?
- Do I know the best practices for blog writing?
- Am I prepared to change how I write news releases?
- Do I know how to write with the unwritten rules of social media in mind?
Twitter and Facebook
On a basic level, Twitter is a microblogging and social networking that allows you to share your daily events (microblogging) and have conversations with other people (social networking) in 140 characters. Facebook, another social networking tool, also lets you connect with people and share ‘what’s on your mind’ in 160 characters. Marketers and communicators tend to be verbose, so how can you chat in 140-characters without sounding like a 14-year? (u know what I mean, kthxbai.)
Shorten your words and say exactly what you mean. Sounds basic, right? But you’d be surprised how hard it can be at first. Writing in 140 characters has really strengthened my writing skills and I have heard the same from other marketers. Also, it’s okay to shorten common words…for example:
- About – abt
- Great – grt
- Good – gd
- Thanks – thx
- And – &
- People – ppl
- Social Media – SM
- Social Networking – socnet
You get the drift…
Best Practices for Blog Writing
Because everyone blogs for their own reasons, styles and mileage will vary. But since we are talking, for the most part, about corporate blogs here are some quick tips:
- Always write your own posts (i.e. don’t outsource to a ghost blogger)
- Don’t use a blog as a vehicle for collateral or news release delivery (that’s what websites are for)
- Use a blog to expand on your news and have conversations around it
- Find and have an authentic voice
- Write about something interesting to your audience
- Use your search engine optimization (SEO) keywords in your copy (but not overtly)
- Always use outbound links to other blogs and sites (just like I did here)
- Ask questions that generate conversation
- Consider having multiple bloggers (Graco’s corporate blog is a great example of this!)
- Write often (1-2 times a week is a good start)
- And don’t forget to have fun
Want to get more information on blog writing? Check out Debbie Weil’s awesome book, The Corporate Blogging Book and be sure to subscribe to her blog too. Another good source to get you started is Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.
Writing a Social News Release
The Social Media News Release (click on the link to see the format) was introduced in 2006 by Todd Defren (the principal of SHIFT Communications). Todd is truly a pioneer because people are just starting to use this format in varying formats. What’s different? The Social Media News Release focuses on less writing and more concise, targeted content. But better yet, it includes information that can be viewed (videos), listened to (podcasts) and shared! Because these days, public relations isn’t just about the media…it’s about putting the ‘public’ back in PR.
If you aren’t quite ready to dive into a Social Media News Release, try an optimized and shareable release that is social without giving up the traditional format. Services like PitchEngine, PRX Builder, PRWeb, Business Wire’s EON, MarketWire, PR Newswire offer the ability to optimize your releases for search and come with the option to make your release shareable (i.e. Digg, del.icio.us, Newsvine, etc.). As well some provide multimedia features that let you add collateral, videos, podcasts, etc.
The Unwritten Rules of Social Media
As a company [or non-profit, agency (government or creative), university, etc.] engaged in social media you’ll find that a community starts to develop. They’ll be the ones to let you know how they want to how they want to be communicated to/with. In other words, there aren’t any hard and fast rules to social media or writing for social media…just guidelines and best practices.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you engage (and write) in social networks:
- Be real
- Be nice
- Be respectful
- Listen then talk
- Give then take
- Try to be consistent
- Apologize when you make a mistake
- Say thank you
- Don’t broadcast (i.e. self promote)
- Don’t stalk
- It’s not a numbers game
- Don’t publicly or privately unfollow/unfriend
Seems like basic etiquette, right? You’d be surprised how often companies [or non-profits, agencies (government or creative), universities, etc.] get off track and then have to deal with fixing their snafus. Try to keep Emily Post in the back of your mind.
What would you add to this information? If there are any questions, don’t be shy and be sure to ask…we’re all here to help!
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Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. [Their] aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.
When: October 15, 2008
This year’s Blog Action Day focuses on global poverty, but I am a firm believer in helping those at home first.
Poverty in the USA
From Wikipedia: …the most common measure of poverty is the “
poverty line” set by the U.S. government, which recognizes poverty as lacking those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society. The official poverty threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. Poverty in the United States is cyclical in nature with roughly 12% to 16% living below the federal poverty line at any given point in time, and roughly 40% falling below the poverty line at some time within a 10 year time span. Most, 58.5%, of all Americans will spend at least one year beneath the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.
Today, there are 304,961,313 people in the United States. That means 121,984,525.20 will at one point be living below the poverty line once in ten years (let’s assume this includes children and/or their parents). And 178,402,368 people will be poor at least once in their adult life.As marketers and bloggers, we are fortunate to have the best and latest computers, phones and gadgets, access to the Internet—and a voice. When Blog Action Day has come and gone what can we do to continue helping and making a difference?
Here are a just a few ways:
- Computers with Causes
- Teaming for Technology
- Komputers 4 R Kids
- Dress for Success
- The Grameen Foundation
- The National Cristina Foundation
By helping out, just a little bit, we could just make a difference in someone else’s life and maybe, just maybe, give them a voice.
For now, I only ask you to consider joining me and 2,770 other sites and 3,967,559 readers! (as of August 24, 2008). Thank you!Do you know of any other ways to help? Let’s be sure to share them.
[Hat tip: Conversation Agent. Give Valeria’s blog a visit, she has a wonderful Blog Action Day video!]