July 25, 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.

Content Curation in B2B Marketing

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 06/29/10

Content Curation in B2B MarketingMany of the B2B companies that publish corporate blogs have long realized the value of publishing useful content in the form of white papers, case studies, webinars, newsletters and other types of educational content.

Business buyers typically seek additional information and resources for information on business products and services. In the growing content marketing field, some companies choose a pure creation strategy (often using blogging platforms for publishing) and find it to be a challenge.

Within the field of content marketing, content curation blends a mix of new content with the filtering and management of useful information streams from blogs and other RSS resources. The curation of useful content for B2B marketing serves as a productive and manageable solution for providing prospective customers a steady stream of useful information from trusted sources.  Pure content creation is demanding. Pure automation of content aggregation doesn’t foster interaction. For B2B marketers, content curation provides the best of both worlds.

To make more sense out of the notion of content curation, here are some useful thought leader definitions of the topic and insight into where curation might fit within a digital marketing program:

Joe Pulizzi – Founder Junta42 and Content Marketing Institute, Co-Author of Get Content, Get Customers.

Content curation is editing on steroids.

As more content floods through all aspects of the web (as well as print and online), we’ll need more brands stepping up to make sense of what we really should be paying attention to. Content curation is as important in the content marketing toolbox as is creation. We need both…and curation doesn’t work without creation (much like Google trying to save the newspapers because they need great news to survive, but that is for another story). For some brands, curation may be enough. You can’t find the resources to develop the most valuable, most compelling content in your industry? Then just tap into your network that does, and package that content to present you as the trusted industry leader. It’s still a needed service, just a bit different from creation.

Where it will go, no one knows…but I’ve heard from smarter people than me that content curation is the future (even present) of media. I’d rather say curation and creation go together like Macaroni & Cheese…a splendid combination.

Pawan Deshpande – CEO, HiveFire, Makers of Curata

Content curation is the cure for a broken content marketing strategy. Content marketing is about a brand producing valuable content, and prospects being educated with that content. It’s valuable, it works and it’s not going away.

But the only problem is that day by day, it’s less effective as everyone produces more and more content. Brands are increasingly competing to get their content noticed. At the same time, prospects are increasingly spending more time searching for relevant content.

Content curation has emerged as a new and powerful way for marketers to seamlessly sift through the flood of content available to prospects. Like the owner of a high-end art gallery, you have to sift through the information from across the web and “curate” it to ensure that it is relevant to the customer. You will be navigating your prospects through this sea of content by leading them to the most relevant important information.

It’s already happened in the consumer world: Sites like Digg (social curation) which have little or no original content have become key resources for information. Similarly we are seeing leading businesses take a similar approach to become the experts for their respective areas.

Paul Gillin – Consultant and Author of The New Influencers and Secrets of Social Media Marketing

I define content curation as the process of assembling, summarizing and categorizing and interpreting information from multiple sources in a context that is relevant to a particular audience. I think this discipline will be absolutely essential to content marketing in the future because of changes in the media landscape.

Marketers can build trust with their constituencies by providing focused curation in areas that matter to their constituents. Original content will always have value, but curation is coming to have nearly equal value.  The key is to stake out unique topic areas and to become the most trusted source in those areas. You don’t need a lot of money to do this. You just need to know the subject matter very well.

So it seems that not only do companies need to enter the world of publishing, but undertake the role of digital librarian as well. I cannot imagine the need for original blogging going away anytime soon. But I can see blogging complemented and even facilitated by the incorporation of curated feeds (excerpts) from other blogs and information sources. Citation and links benefit the sources and the collection of useful information benefits the readers.  Satisfied readers can turn into interested prospects and satisfied customers.

Blogging Top Ranked Digital Marketing Tactic for 2009

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 04/21/09

Companies world-wide are cutting costs as well as looking for creative, high impact and accountable marketing. With concerns over the recession and its impact on marketing, I recently ran a poll of the 17,000 subscribers at Online Marketing Blog to discover their intentions for digital marketing tactics in 2009.

Poll respondents cast 1,559 votes for their top three digital marketing tactics (from a list of 45) for 200. Blogging, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization topped the list. Out of the top ten rated marketing tactics, six fell into the category of Social Media Marketing.

The actual question asked was, “What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?” Here are the top ten tactics selected:

• Blogging (34%)
• Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
• Search engine optimization (28%)
• Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
• Email marketing (17%)
• Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
• Pay per click (14%)
• Blogger relations (12%)
• Video marketing (10%)
• Social media advertising (7%)

Email marketing rated higher than PPC which is surprising given the budgets spent on PPC vs email. Some tactics are much easier to implement than others, or less expensive, which may explain a few of the top choices, such as Twitter.

Corporate web sites didn’t rate in the top ten tactics. Does this mean the death of company web sites? Some companies are succumbing to the social media perspective to extremes, like the Skittles site which had been simplified to a page of search results from Twitter and then changed to their Facebook page. Others are adding social features to their company sites to complement existing messaging and functionality.

By now, most companies have their 2009 online marketing plans in place. Does this ranked order of tactics mean you should change up your online marketing mix? The answer is that digital marketing tactics should match the needs of the situation, company resources, the target market and end consumer preferences. The proper tactical mix for a digital marketing program could be anything from the 45 tactics listed in the TopRank Blog poll and still be successful as long as they support a valid strategy.

Some companies are prepared for digital and social media marketing programs and many are not. To get “ready”, companies need to develop a social media roadmap and get up to speed on both best and worst practices. Whether those methods of reaching and communicating with customers reconciles with existing marketing plans or not, companies would do well to allocate resources to some level of ongoing social media training, testing and development of expertise in the social media space.

How To Share Your Blog Content?

Posted by: of BizGrowthNews on 06/28/08

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Have you ever wondered how to make sure that you provide the opportunity for people to share the great articles on your blog to their social networking sites?

You might recall I wrote about one tool recently that you can add to the side bar of your business blog that allows people to save PDF’s of your articles and even email them to others.

A plugin that you might want to consider for your business blog that is becoming increasingly popular is ShareThis. ShareThis is available to use across a host of blog platforms including WordPress.org and TypePad.com

You’ll usually see the ShareThis logo at the bottom of an article or blog post.

When you click on it you will see you have several options:

  • You can post the article and share it to your favourite social networking sites such as Digg and Ma.gnolia
  • You can make sure that your friends at your social networks such as Facebook and Twitter know about the post or article you have read
  • And you can even email yourself or others a copy.

Of course it’s not just making sure the readers of your business blog understand what the ShareThis logo means – it does rely on us as content creators writing content that people want to pass on to their friends or keep as reference material.

So why not consider adding ShareThis to your business blog? And if you have added the ShareThis plugin to your business blog, perhaps you can share with us your experience of it as a tool to encourage people sharing your great content?

Five More Reasons You Need to Start Blogging Today

Posted by: of BSETC on 05/10/08

Back in December of 2007, I decided that I wanted to try something new and fresh with my website. I was also getting tired of the standard websites with their uniform look and I didn’t really feel like I was getting any benefit from it. So, I did a bit of research and decided that I wanted to try a blogging platform and after a bit more research, I chose WordPress.

Before I fully converted to the blog, I was receiving approximately 900 unique visitors each month.

  • By January, one month after I converted, I was receiving 1300 unique visitors.
  • By February it had grown to 2500 unique visitors
  • In March, it had grown to 4000 unique visitors in the month.

That is four times the traffic I started with!

So, let’s look at the top five reasons why you need a blog (in my biased opinion, WordPress is the way to go so I will reference WP throughout this post but you could use any blogging platform to achieve these same benefits…):

1. Blogs are User-Friendly and Very Easy to Use

The upside to having blog software as opposed to a website is that it is very user-friendly. The blog uses a GUI, or a graphic-user interface, which means that that everything that you may need to do is laid out in simple to understand graphics. The blogging software also conforms to the standards of most other software programs. For example, the graphic icons you see in Microsoft Office programs are very similar to the graphics you’ll see inside of your blog.

The reason that this is so important is that YOU can update your OWN website and you don’t need to pay high prices in web design fees to do so! There is no messing around with HTML code, you can avoid having a dull, lifeless site that people only visit occasionally and instead, you can update it yourself and give people a reason to return again and again and again.

The other upside to this is that when you want something changed quickly, you can do so. You no longer have to wait on a web designer or a virtual assistant, you can just pop in to the dashboard and update the page you need to make changes to and click save and boom – you’re done!

Making regular posts is also easy to do. In a few, short clicks and then some keystrokes for the body of your post, you can have fresh, new content on your blog immediately. If you’re feeling particularly creative one day, you can write a series of posts and save them all to post on future dates. For me, I will write eight or nine blog entries at a time and save them to post one or two days apart. This is also useful if you are going on vacation. In February, my husband and I went to the Dominican for a vacation and before I left, I wrote blog entries to cover the week I was gone and just posted them in advance. On the days that I specified, my blog entries showed up on the blog!

2. Blogs Are Easy to Navigate

All blogs follow a fairly standard style of formatting and navigation. Although each template may look different, they all contain the same standard elements. When I visit a blog, I always know where to go to see Recent Posts. I also know that on the majority of blogs, I will be able to find a place to subscribe to the blogs feed. A feed is simply a syndication of your blog entries. That syndicated text is then sent out to your blog visitors feed readers and is sent out to the search engines, etc. This is part of the reason that blogging is so powerful in getting people to your site.

Have you ever visited a website where every menu has been different and each sidebar contained different text depending on where you were on the website? Those types of websites are confusing and they don’t lead the website visitor where they should be going. With blogging software, it remains standard and is always updating itself. When you make a change on one sidebar, it automatically updates on every other sidebar which eliminates any sort of confusion for your website visitors.

A great book I want to recommend is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think.� Even if you don’t design websites, you want to read this book. A lot of the reasons that I love blogs are outlined in his usability section. He references making websites more functional by following his principles but what is so great is that a blog already conforms to many of his standards.

3. People Can Subscribe to Your Blog and Stay Current

Now, I want to explain what RSS is first. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. What it is is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. People who are into blogging will use your RSS feed to do a few things:

  • They may subscribe to receive a daily digest of new content. Think of how powerful this is in terms of keeping you in touch with your target market. If someone receives constant, updated messages from you, you are always in their line of sight and they will see what you are up to, new products or services you are launching and how much knowledge you have on your chosen subject.
  • They may also add you to their feed reader. I have a program that I use called Feed Demon and this software program tracks all of the blogs I am interested in by capturing and updating the feed that comes from the blog. Each day I can open up this software program and have an instant summary of every blog I have subscribed to and I can review what it is people are talking about. This allows me to stay current without having a thousand bookmarks in my internet browser or trying to remember which blogs I liked to read. The same is true for your visitors. They want a quick, easy way to be reminded that you exist and that you are posting things that they want to know about.

Normal sites don’t do this for you unless you are putting out a monthly ezine that contains all of your business updates. By having the blog, you can nearly cut out the monthly ezine and just let the blog do the work for you!

4. Search Engines Love Them and They Are Content Managers

In fact, it’s so easy to build content on your blog that I have actually created info-products based on content I had blogged about over the past year. Info-products become simple to do because you aren’t creating fresh, new content each and every time. What you blog about could become an article which could turn into an e-book. Blogging gets you into the habit of writing and creating which then allows you to easily and effortlessly create info-products.

Your visitors will also love this because when they show up on your site looking for assistance in your chosen profession, they can find a whole archive of great content. Most of my blogging clients will archive their past newsletters or e-zines on their blogs so that their clients can read past issues without having to download PDFs or visit thirteen or fourteen different web pages.

Search engines love blogs for a number of reasons. Number one, they love the fact that fresh, new content is being posted all of the time. Even if you are only updating it once a week, you will still see the benefits from it. Each and every time you post something to your blog, the search engines are automatically pinged and if you have pinging software installed, which is free and simple to use, it’ll automatically ping the different services that should be pinged.

Number two, search engines love hyperlinks and trackbacks. Hyperlinks are links to other people’s websites, blog entries, audio files, etc. and track backs are special links from someone else’s blog entry that let the other person know you’ve blogged about him or her. It also posts YOUR entry on their site for other people to read. This is how blogging also becomes so viral.

5. They Become an Active Networking Source for Your Business

For me, I have met a number of brand new people through my blog. Some of these people became clients, others were just frequent readers that became friends and others asked me to collaborate with them on special projects. By having a blog, you can become a place where people visit to learn about what it is you are writing about but also so that they can meet you, get to know you and someday work with you. You can build a community and allow other people to meet through you which then allows people to talk about you and get your name out there.

If you think of standard networking, you think of people showing up to an event for about an hour, rushing through the crowds trying to get business cards and then leaving the event and never really having a true feeling of connection. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. Blogging gives your interested parties a place to come to learn about you. They can start to see how you both would benefit from knowing each other and they will be more apt to approach you over time. This is a much more effective way to network and you don’t need to worry about your business card being thrown in the trash.

Another way that it becomes a networking tool is when you reach out to other people’s blogs. Once you start blogging, you will quickly realize that the whole world is blogging and there are many great things to be read. By visiting other people’s blogs and leaving comments on their posts, you will do two things: one, you will introduce yourself in a non-threatening or non-imposing way to someone you may not have wanted to just e-mail in the past and two, by showing that you have interest in that subject on their blog, you’ll gain interested visitors who share similar interests.

Erin Blaskie is the owner of Business Services ETC, The VA Coach and VA Matchmaker.  She services internet marketers, coaches, speakers and solopreneurs with their everyday operational needs which frees up their time to focus on the big picture.  She can be found at www.erinblaskie.com.

Using Your Feed Reader to Generate More Traffic and New Business

Posted by: of BSETC on 05/7/08

Feed readers are tools that keep track of the blogs you have interest in. You may use your feed reader to keep track of competitor’s blogs or blogs that will notify you of trends or important news. Whichever blogs you choose to add, there are some great ways that you can make use of that blog traffic.

Here are some of the ways that to generate traffic to your blog.

Build a Network

When you’re reading other people’s blogs, you’ll develop a network of like-minded individuals and people who share similar interests. You can also meet people to provide your products and services to and you’ll find people who have products and services that you need.

The beauty of creating a network this way is that the more you are on other people’s blogs and commenting on their posts, the more traffic you will receive. The thing to remember is that people love to have visitors on their site and they want to know who those people are. If you’re commenting on posts they have written, you can bet that they are going to appreciate that and check out your site as well.

Do This!

Register a feed reader account at a website like Newsgator (www.newsgator.com) or Blog Lines (www.bloglines.com) and add some feeds from your favorite blogs. Now, spend about 1 to 2 hours per week reading your blog feeds and comment on posts that you feel you can provide valuable feedback on.

Create Links Back to Your Site

By commenting on other people’s blogs, you’re creating a search engine ranking fiesta and all roads lead back to you! Page rank is determined by a number of things but one of those things is how many incoming links you have to your website. The more links, the higher you rank.

One thing to keep in mind though is that a simple comment is not going to give you much back in terms of valuable traffic and notoriety. When posting comments and creating these links back to your site, you want to be sure there is some substance in your comments.

Another way to create links back to your site is to write great blog entries that people will want to post onto their blogs. In the world of blogging, people ‘copy’ content all of the time and link back to the original author. This allows you to have a viral marketing source and you won’t need to do anything to generate this traffic.

One last way to create links back to your site is to add your favorite bloggers to your “Blog Roll� and request that they add you to theirs. If you have a lot of colleagues, friends or family who also own blogs, ask them to also add you to their “Blog Rolls.� All of these incoming links will increase your traffic AND your page rank.

Do This!

Right now, go to your blog and create a “Blog Roll� if you don’t have one already. Add your favorite bloggers to this list. Next, ask your friends, family and colleagues to add you to their links list on their blogs. Make sure that whatever you do in terms of links, it is reciprocal so that both parties benefit.

There are many ways to generate traffic but those are just a couple of the ways to utilize the RSS feed reader tool that you have to stay in the line of sight of your potential customers (and ideal clients).

Erin Blaskie is the owner of Business Services ETC, The VA Coach and VA Matchmaker. She services internet marketers, coaches, speakers and solopreneurs with their everyday operational needs which frees up their time to focus on the big picture. She can be found at www.erinblaskie.com.

How To Name Your Business Blog

Posted by: of BizGrowthNews on 04/24/08

One of the questions I often get asked is how to name your business blog or name your business.

Many people call their business blog by their own name which is great especially if you are in the area of professional services and want to be known online by your name, therefore building your personal brand online.

In fact I always recommend that you purchase your own name as a domain name whether you are ready to start business blogging or buiding your personal brand online.

However I always consider whether the name of your business blog will be easy for people to understand if you speak it outloud on a teleseminar, at a speaking event, on a podcast, at a networking meeting, at a speaking gig or when on the radio.

My name is difficult for many people to understand and also difficult for many people to spell – in fact other than my family, I do not know anyone who has ever correctly spelt my surname when first meeting me - you pronounce it ‘Day’ but you spell it ‘De’.

That’s one of the reasons I chose a name for my main business blog ‘Biz Growth News’ - it’s relatively easy to understand when you say it outloud and it does what it says on the tin – I share strategies and insights about growing your business.

My business blog sits on my portal site represnting me online and after naming my business blog, I purchased a domain name for ‘Biz Growth News’ which points across to the blog.

I recently came across a great business blog by Paul Stamatiou. Paul as obviously recognised that his surname is difficult to pronounce and spell correctly. You see, at the bottom of his business blog is a note that says

Can’t spell my name – use pstam.com

What a great idea. Paul has purchased a domain name that is a shortened version of his name and one that most people will be able to understand and spell.

So if you have a business blog consider how easy is it for people to find it online when they hear you speak out the name of your blog.

If you are not starting a blog from the get go and don’t wish to re-name your blog, consider if you could purchase a domain name that you could re-direct to your blog so that you don’t lose that all important blog traffic because people can’t understand your business blogs name when you speak it out loud.

The Dangers of Anonymous Blogging

BusinessWeek reports on anonymous blogging gone bad in a recent article Busting a Rogue Blogger.

Yes, there’s controversy in the sexy world of patent litigation, as Troll Tracker–formerly anonymous, now outed as Rick Frenkel–a blogger who writes on patent trolling, was outed as a Cisco employee. Why is this relevant? Because Frenkel was blogging about the very issues that Cisco was in court over.

Apparently Cisco didn’t know that they employed the Troll Tracker, but Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler cited the blog as an “independent source of information” while lobbying for changes in patent laws that would be beneficial to Cisco.

Death threats, bounties on the Troll Tracker’s identity, and litigation followed.

Cisco has since established some blogging policies, but they probably won’t help them in court. Even if these policies had been in place before Frankel started blogging anonymously, they probably wouldn’t save them from litigation.

Perhaps it’s time to start to develop your own business blogging policies for employees? What policies do you currently have in place?

Business Blogs Can Bring You Killer PR

When talking to people about the benefits of business blogs I often mention “establishing your credibility.” This goes hand-in-hand with “getting killer PR.”

Let’s face it, journalists are having to do more with less, so they’re more and more likely to turn to Google and other search engines to track down “experts” in a given field.

As you continue to build your blog over time, creating great content in a specific niche, Google’s more likely to return your blog as a result when a journalist starts researching a column or article. I’ve never hired a PR firm, and I work out of the top right corner of the US us locals call “Maine”, but I’ve gotten quotes in Inc., BusinessWeek Small Biz, and other periodicals and the local evening news because of our Web marketing blog.

In the Independent Street blog over at WSJ.com, Kelly Spors writes on How to Get Killer PR and gives five important tips. Just add “Write a Business Blog” as number six and you’re well on your way.

Do You Need a Blogging Regimen?

As a certified Business Blog Consultant–I’m still awaiting the paperwork, but I’ve been assured it’s on it’s way–I work with a number of businesses on their blog and other Web marketing strategies. Being a blog consultant is tricky; much of our work is up front.

We often design a blog, set it up on either WordPress or TypePad, strategize with the client, identify influential bloggers in their industries, and show them how to work the software.

Often, that’s where our work ends. Some of our clients blog regularly and see the expected, positive results and return on their investment. Others, unfortunately, put up one or two posts and begin the shame spiral of neglect.

Although I’ll sometimes nag a client who’s blog is whithering on the vine, there’s not much I can do–short of ghost blogging–to get their blog back in shape.

Which is why I wrote Jumpstart Your Blog: A Business Blogging Workout Regimen. The article reviews some blogging basics along with the amount of time new bloggers should spent on each activity.

I’m not sure if this is a salvo against abandoned blogs, a wake-up call to companies that have neglected their blog, or a reality check to people who are thinking about a blog but don’t realize the time and passion that needs to be committed to a successful business blog…I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

If you do have a new or lapsed blog, perhaps all you need is a workout strategy. What do you do when it’s been a while since your last blog post?

Is Blogging Recession Proof?

There are two groups of people who apparently make hay during  a recession: journalists and Web marketers.

I’m not sure if this recession is different than previous ones, or if I’m just more aware this time around, but it seems to me that every business magazine and marketer is talking up the recession.

Business magazines run cover stories like “You Can Beat the Bad Economy.” (BusinessWeek Small Biz). Marketers talk about how to sell, market or profit from a recession in ezines, blogs, teleclasses and seminars. (I should know, I’m talking to a fellow marketer about doing a teleseminar on this very subject.)

There is one truism to a recession: market more. Yes, while everyone runs for cover, this is the time for you to ramp up your sales and marketing efforts.  One of the most cost-effective ways businesses can do this is through a blog. And, as every one else scales back on marketing, it makes your life so much easier.

Even with falling advertising costs, your blog still costs less; basically a few dollars a month in hosting fees. And, with a falling economy, there’s plenty of topics to discuss. A quick search of Technorati includes such posts as:

Hmm…maybe that last one hints that even bloggers aren’t immune to the recession…especially those who are reliant on Google Adsense to make a profit.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Blogging from a Legal Standpoint

Too many articles about the legal ramifications of corporate blogs focus entirely on the negative side of blogs. This makes sense; corporate lawyers are hired with the intent of keeping the company safe and limiting risk. Marketing, extending your brand, and keeping employees and customers happy are someone else’s responsibilities.

However, As Blogging Grows, So Do Its Do’s and Don’ts, over at Law.com’s Legal Technology is a much more even-handed approach. (In fact, its do’s outnumber its don’ts about 2-to-1.)

There’s advice for public companies (do be mindful of security laws…risks associated with…making material misstatements that could manipulate the stock price and expose the company to liability for securities fraud under Rule 10b-5), companies with trade secrets, and just about anyone else.

The article can be summarized by the final quote:

The key to sticking with the “Do’s” is remembering that corporate blogging is like any other business communication that represents the company: Honesty and common sense go a long way to keeping the company (and its blog) on the right side of the law.

Jumpstart Traffic to Your Blog with these Web 2.0 Steps

I stumbled upon this post about 5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Website [or blog] over at College Startup.

It leans heavily on Web 2.0 sites like Reddit and Digg and some upstart called Netscape. However, if you’re looking to reach a new audience this post has the links you’ll need to try out.

I took the author’s advice and posted Top-Level Domain Survey (or what to do when your .com is taken) to his number one recommendation and got about 30 hits in 30 minutes from the source. Not bad for 2 minutes of work. (Not including the hour or so I put into creating the survey and blogging about it.)

YMMV depending on your audience, post and title.

Warning: EU making anonymous comments illegal?

In case we don’t have enough to worry about as bloggers, it appears that the European Union is passing a new directive that makes it illegal for businesses to falsely masquerade as a consumer. Not just with fake blogs (also known as “sock puppet blogs”) but with comments on blogs too, reviews on Amazon.com and other review sites, and more.

It all sounds good in theory, but in reality I fear that this will prove to be a nightmare for bloggers if we are going to be held liable for verifying the identity of everyone who adds comments to our weblogs. I mean, let’s be straight here: identity is impossible to verify anyway, and even if you could, the nuances of identity are such that the system is trivially defeated anyway. For example, if my sister works at a company and I write a blog comment on someone else’s weblog that defends her firm, do I need to disclose that relationship?

It’s a curious law and I surmise that the EU won’t be able to enforce this new directive. But that’s just me. What’s your opinion of the new law that’s just starting to surface in the online world?

Tip: More details on this article can be found on my own blog, in a considerably longer article entitled: EU makes fake blogs and comments illegal: are all bloggers liable?

30 Tips to Increase Traffic at Your Blog

Daniel over at Daily Blog Tips–a blog that focuses on providing daily tips to bloggers to keep those creative juices flowing–has listed 30 results from his reader survey on tips to increase traffic to one’s blog.

They vary from the obvious–create valuable content and comment on related blogs–to ideas on social networking and building community on sites like del.icio.us, Digg and Squidoo.

Chances are you’ll find at least one gem in this list of proven traffic-building techniques.

Much Ado About Pork

I almost have to wonder if the National Pork Board is practicing brilliant, subversive marketing.

If you haven’t heard, the NPB is suing a blogger. (Seems like the best stories always start out that way.) Jennifer Laycock, the blogger behind The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog, has been threatened with a lawsuit for her t-shirt promoting breastfeeding that reads “The Other White Milk.”

The t-shirt was one of many available at her lactating store at CaféPress including others that read:

  • nip/suck
  • milk jugs, and my personal favorite,
  • that’s my baby’s lunch you’re staring at.

[Snicker.]

I mean, when you go after a blogger, you’re begging for attention. According to her blog, Laycock has only made $8 off the shirt. I can’t imagine that this is a thread to the NPB or their tired advertising campaign.

If there are any global conglomerates out there looking for a little publicity in-and-out of the blogosphere please contact me. I’d be happy to riff on your advertising for a little mutual profiteering.

Blogging Article for Innkeepers

To promote the fact I’ll be speaking at the next Maine Innkeeper’s Conference, the group asked me to write an article on blogging for their newsletter. (PDF, 1.3MB)

There’s also an article in there on podcasting as well.

Want a Traffic Spike? Link to Google’s Blog.

This morning I wrote a post on my blog called “Bush No Longer a Miserable Failure, Claims Google.” It was in reaction to Google’s new algorithm that defuses “Google Bombs.

At the bottom I linked to the post on Google’s blog that goes into more detail about what they did and why. (Whoops! I did it again!)

At the bottom of the post they have a section called “Links to this post” which has…wait for it…links to that post.

About a third of my traffic so far this morning is from that Google post, obviously from the blog’s readers.

Caveats:

  • A spike in traffic is not the same thing as a spike in business.
  • Don’t link to the Google blog unless you’re adding to the conversation.
  • I’m not seeing a hard coded link to my blog from this page, so you’re probably not gaining any PageRank.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this reaction from linking to Google’s blog. To make the most out of it, you probably want to get your link in their early, while there’s still a lot of people coming to that post.

Alternatively, you could link to it late, and hope few people link after you, pushing you down the list.

Like any other technique, this is easily abused. Use it only for good, my young padawan.

Forrester’s new whitepaper will make business blogging easier

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 01/25/07

One of the big questions us business blogging consultants have to answer is “So, what’s the ROI here?”.  Sure, we all have good answers.  As a group we’ve all bantered this around, especially when we get together and we’re bantering over a round … of drinks, and we’re pretty much all on the same page here.  One thing that has been lacking is that all-important uber-consultant seal of approval.  I know it’s silly, but hey it’s the truth.  Big companies like to see Gartner or Forrester reports that back what you’re saying.

Today Forrester released their blogging ROI whitepaper and real-world application of the model to GM  (hat tips to Steve and Charlene).  Finally!  Now if I could just get my hands on a copy of that report …

If you’d like to read a little more in-depth analysis of the report, check out my post on the OBO blog.

Tags: , ,

Is RSS Good for Your Enterprise?

Good article over at eWeek called “RSS Offers Relief from Enterprise E-Mail Overload.”

It talks about how email has fallen out of favor as a way of distributing information to large groups of people, and how certain businesses are starting to use RSS.

The article also covers some negatives of RSS, including:

  • Problems with adoption and inertia from some users
  • How RSS feeds can reduce page visits, and
  • How RSS can create bandwidth bottlenecks for popular feeds.

This definitely isn’t one of those “email is dead” articles, but instead shows how forward thinking companies are looking to RSS as a new distribution channel.

 

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