October 26, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Small Business Blogger Rises from the Ashes

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 11/30/05

I have a close friend and fellow business blogger who lost her jewelry store to a fire on November 1st, just at the start of the holiday selling season. Her name is Patti Thompson.

Here’s the cool thing, Patti has blogged the entire incident, along with the story of her rebuilding process, on her blog at DiamondDivaOnline.

There are a number of remarks I could make about her willingness to do this, not the least of which is that it represents a vital way blogs can be used to communicate with customers and others — blogging during times of crisis, chronicling the entire process on a blog for all the world to see. She’s done it with genuine openness and transparency too, which in my estimation represents the highest ideals to which we bloggers aspire.

Let me make a simple request. If you’re a business blogger, why not write a post retelling Patti’s story. It is indeed one worth telling. Oh, and don’t pity her. She’s a real trooper, both stalwart and optimistic, determined to "rise from the ashes" and rebuild her business better than before. Knowing her, I have no doubt she’ll do just that. You’ll know too, because she will blog it all.

Scoble’s Blogroll

Posted by: of Blogging Systems Group on 11/28/05

Just received Frank Barnako’s Internet Daily enewsletter. In it he mentioned Scoble has pared down his blogroll to about 800 feeds. I checked to see if I made the cut. I didn’t, but maybe you did, so you might want to take a look.

RSS Industry Night Roundtable in San Francisco in December

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/28/05

If you’re coming to the Syndicate conference this December 12-14 in San Francisco and you work in the "RSS industry", we’d like to invite you to drop in for some lively discussion on the future of our industry. 

In conjunction with the event, Pheedo is informally hosting an off-conference RSS Industry Night (full disclosure: I work for Pheedo) Roundtable, Rok Hrastnik will be moderating the evening as a neutral party. Essentially, we are aiming to focus the event on our industry and not on any company in particular.

Event Summary:
Coinciding with the RSS industry conference, Syndicate, the RSS Industry Night Roundtable aims to assemble a group of the top thought leaders in the RSS industry to discuss key topics that challenge all of us in this space. This group will span the disciplines of RSS advertising, RSS manufacture, RSS aggregators and readers, and RSS purveyors and luminaries.

The intent of this meeting is to discuss a number of key issues facing our industry and it’s chances for continued success. This meeting will also serve as a vehicle for our key industry partners to discuss mutual challenges and viable solutions, as well as come to a mutual understanding of goals and objectives that we all have for the RSS space. Lastly, we will have an opportunity to collaborate, as leaders in the industry, on how we can increase the rate of RSS adoption among information consumers.

When:

Time: 6:30PM

Date:
December 12th

Timing: In conjunction with the first day of Syndicate Conference on December 12th, 2005 in San Francisco.


Moderator:

Rok Hrastnik, a noted RSS authority and author of the book Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS has agreed to moderate the event as a neutral party.


Topics:

There are so many topics that we can collectively address as an industry, however, it’s critical that we focus on the important few that address issues of RSS growth and adoption.

We will focus on key industry issues that are preventing business adoption of RSS. Below are the high-level issues that we’ll cover on the 12th. At the end of the document are additional topics that can be discussed if there is additional time.

–> Lack of standardized RSS metrics

–> Lack of presentable case studies and best practices

–> IRSS mass syndication

–> Actual RSS penetration

–> Rich-media advertising

Attendees:
Ideally, the event will attract around 20 high level leaders from within the RSS industry from the following disciplines.

RSS Manufacture
RSS Advertising
RSS Readers
RSS Services
RSS Convergence
RSS Research

Participation:
If you wish to participate, please contact Rok Hrastnik as soon as possible for additional event information. The audience will be targeted to RSS service providers.

Blogging – Dilbert Style

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/25/05

Dilbert_blog
It appears that the world was just waiting for Scott Adams to start a dilbert-esque blog. Well, in fact, he did just that with the Dilbert Blog.  The number of comments that he’s attracted for each post in just two short months of blogging is just mad – a recent post on "why [Scott Adams] is stupid" has almost 200 comments alone, and it was posted on the 22nd of November.

A few days ago I invited the readers of my blog to tell me why I’m stupid. The results are in.  If you are new to the Internet, allow me to explain how to debate in this
medium. When one person makes any kind of statement, all you need to do
is apply one of these methods to make it sound stupid. Then go on the
offensive.

Who says that no one reads blogs?  It looks like those folks that are reading blogs are the same ones  who’ve long since left the fairytale world where corporations are good and ethical and our bosses are right and reasonable.  (mine is, don’t know much about yours…)  I guess that puts the blog numbers
‘way up there’ considering that just about every disengaged worker in America is at least a passive Dilbert fan (there, take that generality and turn it into and absolute).

WordPress.com is out of beta! Come and get your (better) free blog!

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 11/24/05
No more Golden Tickets required to get your own free WordPress.com blog.  The hosted, free WordPress blogging platform/service is now open to all.  I was lucky enough to get an invite early on and that experience made me a huge fan of WP.  I’m now a big proponent of using it for DIY installs.  It’s easy, works well, and is pretty easy to skin/design.

wordpresscom.jpg

Blogger, watch out … you certainly have your work cut out for you.  WordPress.com blows you out of the water, frankly.  I guess, Matt … I hope you and your team are ready for the onslaught.  I hope you don’t get slammed with curse of popularity.
 
Hat tip to TipMonkies where I saw this first.
 

Just desserts

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 11/24/05
In the end, it works out.  Boy, Toby, Donna, and I sure didn’t think so a few months ago.  DeliciousDestinations is the blog for GourmetStation  mail-to-you gourmet food service.
 
As a quick side-note.  I’m not unbiased here.  Toby is a dear friend.  We talk a lot and collaborate on a few things together.  I also did some small tweaks on her blog and DeliciousDestinations.  And, since I am in California this week, took the opportunity to try a gourmet meal from GourmetStation.  Wow.  We had the 4-course Tuscan dinner.  It came, still all nice and frozen, in a insulated, nicely-packaged box via UPS.  I’m pretty handy in the kitchen, but for those who are pressed for time (or skill or both) this is a nice, nice treat.  Pretty much all you’d have to do is to pick up a bottle of wine to match (Toby, actually, took care of that for me … thank you again).  If you are a single guy and wanted to be sneaky you could seriously impress your date with this meal, hot out of the oven (from soup to dessert, even a candle, it’s all there), nicely plated.  Regardless it was a great meal.  The Italian Wedding Soup is something I have to look for a recipe for.
 
Back to the matter at hand … I’m glad to see that my friends and colleagues (and BusinessWeek’s Blogspotting) gave theInc. article and GourmetStation some space and positive words.  Toby and Donna certainly did work the blogosphere as the storm was whirling above them.  A lot of the discussion was far less than flattering (or polite for that matter), but they stuck to their guns.  We should all be thankful that they did too.  They pushed the boundaries.  They did it with style and panache.  Now, I think a well done character blog (can I still lay claim to coining that?) is certainly an acceptable thing.  Whew, ’cause I certainly have some characters begging to get out of me!
 
Thanks Toby and Donna.
 

GM FastLane Blog begins to reflect the troubles of the corporation?

Most corporate blogs are pretty cheery places, with their message almost perpetually positive and the tone reflecting some of the best copywriting on the entire network. General Motor’s FastLane Blog has been an example of this, with interesting and engaging articles from various members of the massive GM team talking about auto design, car shows, features of specific models, and so on. But now that GM the company is facing extraordinarily tough times on the business side, it appears that its weblog is descending into cranky defensiveness, a tactic sure to backfire.

Read all about it at:

    GM FastLane Blog Gets Defensive

Even if you aren’t interested in the automotive industry ,it’s still an excellent chance to learn about how a business blog can backfire if not managed properly.

The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers Make

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 11/18/05

The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers MakeIt’s easy to get started blogging…today’s blogging software is inexpensive, easy-to-learn, and does most of the heavy lifting for you.

However, it’s a lot more difficult to build a successful blog: one that attracts prospects and clients, establishes you as an expert or an industry leader, and helps you attain search engine "findability."

There’s some great advice out there for big companies and CEO’s who want to blog; just check out Debbie Weil’s BlogWrite for CEOs. However, when you’re a small business owner like me, not all the advice is directly transferable.

I wish the "today" me could go back and talk to the "then" me and give him (me?) some good advice on business blogging. It would have saved me a lot of time and frustration over the past year.

If you’re interested in learning from my mistakes, check out The 11 Biggest Mistakes Small Business Bloggers Make. (Email registration required.)

Plus, if you’ve got some of your own mistakes that you’d like to share, please take advantage of our comments and trackbacks below. After all, failure (or a mistake) is a much better teacher than success.

Why I Began My Blog

Posted by: of Duct Tape Marketing Blog on 11/18/05

My good friend and fellow Duct Tape Marketing Blog Channeler Zane Safrit, CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited, has a wonderfully thoughtful personal blog post that follows an interview he conducted with a Communications major at Northeastern University on the subject of blogging.

The student was writing an essay on blogs and Zane is one of the most articulate and passionate bloggers I know – you should to get to know him.

RSS Feeds and Podcasting from Pubcon X

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 11/17/05

This week the search marketing conference Pubcon X was held in Las Vegas with many great sessions, one of which, was particularly well done.  Presenters included:  Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo, Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit, Daron Babin of New Gen Media and Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR.

Presentations ranged from the how-to’s of podcasting and tools, podcast optimization, using RSS to uncover and promote hidden publisher content, industry data on podcasting and of course, Jeremy focused on Yahoo’s tools involving RSS and .

Detailed coverage of the session can be found at: "".

Yahoo Stock Rises 6% on Announcement of Gawker Content Deal

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 11/16/05

Build your bomb shelters now, the world has gone completely fucking insane. CNN Money attributes (in an ephemeral link) a spike in Yahoo’s stock today to its distribution deal with Gawker Media:

The Internet portal signed a distribution deal with Gawker blogs in its
efforts to get more original writing content on its site.

More TypePad Time Outs

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 11/16/05

Typepadtimeout_1I
was setting up a client’s new blogs in TypePad this afternoon when I
got this error. You may wonder why I’m still using TypePad for blogging
clients…I’m wondering the same thing myself.

What’s more frustrating is the only option is to click the OK button. How about a "Not OK" button?

This is just a day after TypePad users received an email from TypePad offering a
rebate on 0, 15, 30 or 45 days, depending on how much the user was
affected.

While we are not done with our work, and
there is always the chance of outages on any web service, we believe
that the worst performance is behind us, and it is now time to focus on
how we can make these problems up to you.

Well, I
was debating between 15 or 30, but I’m glad I held off. Now I’ll take
the full 45, though I’m not  sure that will make a difference.  Business bloggers need a platform they can rely on, not a rebate when it goes down.

This feels like a dysfunctional relationship where I keep on hoping my significant other will change and everything will be fine. And we all know how those turn out.

Smart Partnering: Gawker + Yahoo Content Deal

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/15/05

According to the Wall St. Journal and Paid Content, Gawker’s Nick Denton has signed a partnering arrangement to distribute content to Yahoo that will be featured on their news site.

I’m of the mind that partnering is smarter than acquisition at this point in the blogosphere.  Let’s see how this one plays out.

RSS, the heir apparent to the throne

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 11/15/05

Neville talks about an interesting, really cool IMHO, thing the U.K. supermarket chain Tesco is doing.  Not only are they sending out traditional e-mail marketing e-mails to customers (on the quantity or quality concept) they have created a “deal of the day” RSS feed.  Now, this rocks.  Frankly, I’d love to get my store flier in RSS.  Maybe, the just before the end of the day … how about a quick recipe for an easydinner and oh … here are the ingredients … oh and severalof them are on a special web-recipe sale. How about that.

From Neville:

So my prediction is – more RSS feeds by consumer-focused businesses such as supermarkets. It’s getting easier for people to use RSS (often without realizing it) and will get easier still as more businesses offer information via RSS, as simpler ways of describing it emerge (like ‘ live bookmarks ,’ for instance), and as it becomes ever more easier to get the information offered via RSS. (Related development: expect more advertising in RSS.)

It’s the heir to the direct marketing throne.

I think he’s really got it.  I can sit here and think about all the easy, easy ways for companies to reach customers.  And as all the Browsers get better at this … well we’re not even going to notice are we?
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Audible Releases Podcast Listenership Measurement….Sort of…

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/11/05

The end of an era where we can’t meausure podcast listenership is almost over, so says Audible.com. I’m betting that this was ‘all the rage’ at the Portable Media Expo near Los Angeles today.

According to an article in today’s Wall St. Journal (sub. req.), Audible will be releasing technology, already deployed in it’s audio book products, for the podcast market which will help track and measure the listenership of any given podcast that’s run though its proprietary system.

Audible is making its tracking service available to outside podcasters.
The company will charge three cents per downloaded podcast to report
whether a downloader listened, and for how long. Audible will also
offer tools that will stop the podcast from being emailed to others. It
will charge five cents per download to track listening and attach the
access restrictions. For half a cent per download, Audible will insert
an ad relevant to the podcast.

Let’s all line up, nice and orderly now, to get in partnership with Audible to better track ads in podcasts.   The technology will be made available some time next quarter.

New Blog Survey on the Block

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/11/05

Tim Manners, publisher of Reveries ‘Cool News’, has released a blogging survey in the face of some of the negative blog related data coming out of AdAge and Forbes.  The objective is to get the marketers’ and agencies’ takes on the real skinny of what’s going on with blogs and gauge the sentiments of the marketers who have to defend ‘the brands and the lives that blogs allegedly destroy’, according to the Forbes article.

In an email to Cool News Today subscribers, Tim put it this way.

In view of the rapidly growing impact of blogs, we have developed a survey to
get underneath the hype and find out how marketers (both brand and agency)
actually view blogs — as a potential useful tool or lurking danger — and to
what extent, in fact, our readers currently monitor blogs as the Forbes
article recommends:

Take the survey here:
http://response.surveyincite.com/survey/18667.jsp

The results of this survey will be available to all participants to
judge for themselves whether they are ahead or behind on the blogging curve.

There have been a number of blog surveys this year but none has really given us the ‘complete truth’ or the whole picture.  However, I think that the more of these we do and the higher the response rates, the closer we get to having a real understanding of what the blogosphere means to the advertising and marketing community.

What If What Marketers Think They Know About Media is Wrong?

Posted by: of Made for Marketing on 11/11/05

In his Fast Forward column in September’s issue of Media magazine, editor-in-chief Joe Mandese highlights a scene from Back to School where Rodney Dangerfield is shopping for textbooks when someone recommends that he buy used ones because the key passages are already highlighted from previous owners.  In reply, Dangerfield responds, "But what if they were morons?".

I’m not about to call everyone who’s not bought into the metaphor of customer community, citizen contributed media and dialogue that blogging stands for a moron.  That wouldn’t be nice.  However, I would argue that the path we’ve traveled to marketing riches before has been written over by a new generation of marketer.  Your customer.

A friend of mine, who’s trying very hard to shift the mentality of an old-world company through the power of blogging has this to say about her struggles, which typifies the argument that many are having inside the walls of corporations around the world.

This group is afraid of blogs. They don’t see anything but the danger in blogging.  They are afraid of the conversations and afraid to "lose control" of our message.

You want fear?  Understand this.  In talking with some of the folks at I/PRO recently, they cite a well known fact that the major panel based web ratings firms like ComScore and Nielsen have a pretty good idea of what’s happening on the top 100 sites on the web.  They know little about what’s really going on in the long tail, which is where I/PRO’s ‘sweet spot’ lies, based on their methodology of auditing sites well beyond the top 100.  Media planners around the country are waking up to old media, and even the top 100 sites, becoming less relevant to the greater population than the millions of blogs that make up the long tail.

I think that the tagline for the citizen contributed media world should be "The Long Tail Wagging The Old Media Dog."  Because that’s what old media, and an old media command and control mindset really is.  Just an old dog.  How ironic that ‘cynicism’ is the Greek word for ‘a dog’.  (taken literally, the ‘piss on ideas’)

For those who fear the new media, blogging infiltrated world, the only real safe path is in partnership with your customer.  A change of attitude is what’s required here.  An attitude that the conversation, community, citizen participation and the Internet as one great big wonderful media lab is what’s required here. 

The point here is that marketers need to always be asking the question "but, what if they were wrong?" (let’s not call anyone morons here).  What if what I know about marketing, my customers, and what I think about blogging is wrong, or at best, misguided.

Yeah, what if…

Does Sony Corporation Need a Crisis Management Blog?

If you’ve been following the tech news for the last week, you already know that beleaguered Sony Corporation has another problem on its hands; it appears that music CDs from subsidiary BMG are being shipped with hidden Digital Rights Management software that automatically installs on your computer if you simply listen to one of them. Know as a “rootkit” because of how it ties into your Windows operating system, this situation is pretty astonishing and it’s another splendid example of where a large corporation needs to clearly think through its crisis management strategy, to identify the thought and opinion leaders who are basically dictating the community response to the situation, and communicate with them directly.

In the 21st Century, those thought and opinion leaders are online, and if they’re not writing their own weblogs, they’re certainly paying attention to the so-called blogosphere. Which leads to the question of Where’s Sony?

Personally, I find this entire topic quite fascinating for a number of reasons: First, some of the case studies I worked through in business school were on damage control and crisis management, so having something cause negative publicity and then being forced to respond shouldn’t be anyhing new to any senior manager at Sony. There are good and bad examples of this sort of crisis management, but one of the cornerstones of any approach is to take your response to the community most affected by the problem.

But it’s not quite that simple either, and a group of professionals from the group LinkedInBloggers recently tossed this question around, with some very thought-provoking results:

      Does Sony Need a Damage Control Blog?

You might well be surprised by what these active bloggers have to say on this subject…

Attack of the Zombies

Posted by: of One By One Media on 11/10/05
We have been reporting about the use of fake blogs or spam blogs (Splogs/Zombies) since Mark Cuban went on the attack creating the Splog Reporter.  Nobody is immune from this practice not even us blog consultants.
 
A blogger in my blogging pool at Bloggers For Hire recently found that his personal blog at The Parental Olympian (yes, he was a gold medalist in the Athens Summer Games for swimming), was being copied and used as a splog or a zombie blog.  He posts about it on Bloggers For Hire.
 
This is something that is being done more and more by those wearing black hats in the SEO (search engine optimization) market.  The content is being generated for them and they are benefiting by stealing the words and using that content for their own gain.  This must be stopped if bloggers are going to be taken serious in the business arena.  If you think that your content has been stolen and used for evil, please report the site.  You can check using Copyscape.

Business RSS 101: How Businesses Can Use RSS for Marketing and Communication

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 11/9/05

More and more businesses are starting to discover and explore RSS (Real Simple Syndication) as an alternative to email marketing.

RSS allows you to syndicate your content very easily; it’s most commonly used in blogging and podcasting as an RSS feed is automatically created by most blogging and podcasting platforms. However, RSS can be created for your Web site as well, and is fast becoming an important communication channel for businesses.

In Your 7-Step RSS Marketing Plan, Rok Hrastnik holds your hand while you dip your toe in the RSS ocean.

Come on in! The water’s fine!

 

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