January 19, 2018

Politics and Political Blogs

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Whatever your political persuasion — right, left, or center — the blogosphere is a great place for bloggers to share their political views and make plenty of friends and enemies. We try to follow the conservative, liberal, and everything in between of politics and political blogs/blogging — but only when it intersects with business blogging.

Have a read below of our latest entries on politics and political blogging…

Passion’s the key ingredient in successful blogging

Not getting as much marketing power out of your blog as you’d hoped? The rules for successful blogging are the same whether you’re writing for personal or business reasons. First of all, you have to write about what you love or what you’re passionate about. When you write about what you are passionate about, readers will feel it too, and the entire process of writing will be more enjoyable as well. If you’re running out of topics or your blogging feels like a chore, then you should find a new angle on your work — one that you’re passionate about. Hopefully you love your work and your job, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find things that are fun to write about, but sometimes it’s better that you concentrate on a specific aspect of your work that you’re particularly interested in.

If you have no passion for what you are writing about, why are you writing at all? Your entries will come across as boring or flat and you will not gain the readership your writing skills deserve. When you write about what you love, it is a lot easier to sound like an expert in your field. If you are not sure what you are passionate about, take the time to figure it out. You owe it to yourself, and your potential readers, to know and write about what makes you get out of bed in the morning. If your goal is to make money with a blog, write about what you love and the money (or sales) will follow… You will have more readers and will write better posts. Great content brings traffic/conversions and when you write about something you love it is difficult to write poorly.

What’s it like to read your favorite blogs? I’d have to say my all-time favorite blogger from a writing perspective is Fake Steve Jobs. Sure, he’s not even real, but he “keeps it real.” Every post is witty, and I love his creative use of language and his invented words (e.g. MicroTards, Freetards). The blog provides a little window into Steve Jobs’ psyche. Well okay, maybe not, since it’s actually being written by a Forbes magazine journo, but wouldn’t it be cool if it were the real Steve Jobs?

FSJ may not be the real Apple CEO, but Jonathan Schwartz definitely is the real CEO of Sun Microsystems, and his blog is an excellent example of great blogging. Jonathan posts about Sun projects that he finds exciting, and technology trends that he has an interest in. As a top-level industry insider, Jonathan makes you feel like you’re getting a unique perspective on information technology.

In the past I’ve held up science teacher Steve Spangler’s blog as an excellent example of business blogging, as well. Steve’s blog helps establish his expertise and showcase his brilliance, which keeps him busy in his various adventures. If you like science and haven’t visited Steve’s site yet, you’re missing out.

What are some of your favorite examples of passionate business or marketing blogs?

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.

Is Cuppy’s trying to stifle bad PR about them?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 01/26/07

Sean Kelly, who writes the Franchise Pick blog for b5media (where I am also and author and channel editor), has a pretty disturbing, if true, post about the coffee franchise Cuppy’s (formerly Java Jo’z).

The gist is that few months ago Scoble wrote about his brother Ben’s problems with the franchise.  A tempest ensued over allegations of bad business practices from Cuppy’s.  Fair enough, standard fare for the Blogosphere.  The odd thing is that suddenly Scoble’s post disappeared.  So did posts on both of his brothers’ blogs.  Then other negative posts started disappearing and blogs critical to Cuppy’s started to have problems.  To make it more interesting, comments on the LJ and Xanaga sites for Cuppy’s turned effusively glowing.  There are now questions regarding the company threatening or even (maybe) bribing bloggers to delete posts or change their tune.

Sean has heard from Ben Scoble and he can’t talk about the issue, which means that some legal maneuvering has been taking place.  So the question remains, what’s going on here?  Is a company trying to silence critics?  While there might not be any thing wrong going on here, it certainly doesn’t look good.

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How to Subscribe to a Blog Feed

For many of you this may seem basic, but there’s a first time for everything….

Have you ever wondered how us “blogging experts” keep up on dozens or even hundreds of blogs a day? Do we visit dozens or hundreds of Web sites a day hoping that each one has posted new, worthwhile post(s)? Don’t we have lives? Don’t we have businesses to run?!?

The answer is that we subscribe to the feed from these blogs and collect them in one central location. I prefer NetNewsWire (Mac only!) while others prefer the browser-based Bloglines.

Unfortunately, subscribing to a blog feed is counter-intuitive. The very action we’ve been trained to do with Pavlovian perfection–clicking on a link–instead presents us with a page of XML mumbo-jumbo.

To that end, I’ve put together this little movie (at 10.2 MB it’s actually not that little) that walks you through the subscription process. Soon you’ll be able to subscribe to blogs with the best of ’em, keeping up on important industry information and staying ahead of your competition.

How to Subscribe to a Blog Feed: The Movie!

A case study in pitching bloggers

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/20/06

I was going to let this one go, but Paul Chaney suggested I write this up as a post on how not to and how to pitch bloggers to write up stories for their blogs.

This morning I got an e-mail pitch from a PR company to write about a pretty cool use of blogs and real estate.  This isn’t too unusual for me, not as common as say Scoble, who just gave me an obscene number of e-mails to look for blog fodder for the PodTech blog, but it happens.  The story, like I said, was interesting, but immediately I saw a problem.  The company that did the blog was Paul’s company Blogging Systems, which would be fine except that Jim Turner and I work together in a competing company One By One Media.  So I couldn’t really give Paul and co. props without twisting it to also highlight the work that Jim and I do with OBO.

I replied with a polite e-mail back the the PR person, copying Paul, asking how Paul might want to handle this.  Then the PR guy calls me to talk about it.  Well, I explain, Paul and I are friends, but we’re also competitors.  Oh.  Wait, it gets better.  The PR company in question is Lee Odden’s company!  So we have four bloggers involved in this, who all know each other, and all contribute here too!  Yeah I told you it got better.  This is why this makes a great case study.  This is no fault of Lee’s or Paul’s, don’t worry guys.

So first thing about pitching bloggers is you have to do your research.  Not just, oh he/she blogs about business, you have to dig deeper you have to look into who that blogger is connected to on the blogosphere.  Who does he/she work for (and there could be several alliances there)?  Where does he/she contribute?

Bloggers are a very social and interconnected bunch.  We often wear many hats and have several gigs going at the same time. We also tend to know everyone in our niche, friends will help friends but we have to draw the line at competitors (even if they are friends).  Researching the blogger will help with this little problem.

Next you need to contact the blogger before the first pitch to find out if they are interested in being pitched.  Some bloggers don’t want to be pitched.  Others, like me, don’t mind, but I do like to be asked first (I’ve even blogged about this).

I don’t think the person pitching me really knew who I was.  If he had asked Paul or Lee they would have told him … yeah great blogger, bad choice for this pitch.  Let me sum up my recommendations for PR folks pitching bloggers:

  • Do your research first
  • Don’t e-mail out of the blue with a pitch
  • Don’t call on the phone right away to push your pitch
  • Do tell the blogger why they were picked.
  • Don’t just say “I think this would be interesting for your blog” , unless you’ve already established a relationship with the blogger
  • Don’t be offended if they pass
  • Do thank them if they post
  • Do track mention of the pitch topic, you might be getting slammed or miss a great post

Like I said, this the best part of this story is the whole interconnectedness of the whole thing.  Paul, Lee, Jim, and I all know each other and contribute here.  Again, this is no fault of Paul or Lee.  I’m sure they will get a chuckle out of it.

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Edelman responds with a plan, will it be enough?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 10/21/06

I caught on Steve’s blog last night and via Jeff Jarvis this morning, Richard Edelman’s blog what is an interesting follow up to yesterday’s news about Wal-Mart (Walgate? Floggergate?).

From Richard Edelman’s blog:

  • We are undertaking a thorough audit around the world to ensure we apply best practice guidelines to every program in every market and specialty area.
  • We are requiring that all employees attend an Edelman University class on ethics in social media, hosted by members of me2revolution team as well as external experts. This will take place before the end of next week
  • We are establishing a 24/7 hotline so our me2revolution team can review, provide counsel and apply best practice guidelines on social media programs before their implementation. This ensures that programs adhere to the WOMMA guidelines or best-in-class standards around the world.
  • We are creating ethics materials that will be distributed to each office and all new hires.

This is just the beginning. We recognize we have further to go. You can and should be helping us. I appreciate all the invaluable feedback you have provided during this week–and we have taken action on at least of one of your comments. If there any other actions that you would advise us to consider, I would welcome them.

The question is then, is this enough?  On the surface, I’d say it’s a really good start.  Time is going to have to tell though.  I suggested in a comment on Richard’s blog that they need to tout some successes and start a blog with a client that really follows all the principles and ethos of WOMMA.  And hire some outside biz bloggers as coaches wouldn’t hurt either.

You can bet this is going to be talked about at Blog Business Summit next week!

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Blog PR

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 10/8/06

Blogs are increasingly competitive sources of information for users’ time online compared to mainstream media and many marketers and public relations practitioners persist at stumbling about the blogosphere like bulls in a china shop.

Since my own blog gets about 5-10 pitches per week on average, I think I have a pretty good idea of the variety of ways blogs in general are getting pitched these days. The verdict? Not good.

The emergence of such blogs as The Bad Pitch Blog which is updated a lot more frequently and far more popular than The Good Pitch Blog goes to show that there’s simply not enough attention paid to what constitutes a good pitch. And we all know what Rick thinks about a crappy pitch.

On the topic of blog relations, you hear a lot about being careful of pitching bloggers and that you shouldn’t pitch blogs the same way as you would a print journalist. That’s true for the most part, but there are also many similarities.

To help pros and flacks alike, here are a few of my own tips on pitching blogs which may help PR practitioners resonate more with the blogging community.

  1. Be relevant. It seems so simple and obvious, yet it is the biggest mistake made when pitching bloggers. Look at the categories of the blog and look at previous blog posts. Is your pitch REALLY relevant for the blog? With a lot of the pitches we get, you can tell there’s been no attempt to look any further than the title of the blog. For example, on my own blog I get pitches about things like online advertising or creative interactive advertising campaigns ala Adrants and a quick look at the categories or previous blog posts reveals that the blog clearly does not cover advertising.
  2. Personalize. Getting an email pitch with no personal reference at all, or just a press release and no message is a sure trip to the trash folder. Even more annoying is when there is an attempt to personalize, but it’s copy/paste and the fonts are completely different between the template text being used and the “personalized” content, which often ends up not being very accurate anyway. Take the time to research the blog, make comments and get involved. Be honest about who you are in the comments and provide thoughtful insight that is of value and relevant to the blog post.
  3. Make it easy. Time and time again, I get pitches with one sentence and then the full press release copied into the email or worse, attached as a MS Word doc. This can be very annoying and shows there has been very little effort made. Most bloggers don’t write 600 word stories in response to a press release. They are far more prone to link to a press release. So provide a summary of the release in the email, and a link to the full version of the press release hosted elsewhere. Some bloggers might just copy and paste your summary, add some commentary and a link to the full release you’ve provided. Remember, popular bloggers are very busy. Make it easy for them to blog your story.
  4. Schwag is good. I’ll admit it. I don’t mind getting books sent to me to review. In almost all cases I will at least mention the book in a post if it’s relevant to the topics we cover. I know one thing is for sure, if a search engine or company sent us schwag, we would absolutely post a photo of it along with some honest commentary. Does it suck or is it cool? People want to know!
  5. Be persistent. Don’t be offended or give up if a blogger doesn’t take your story the first time. Be courteous and smart about repeat attempts though. Watch to see if they really do pick up on your story before sending another pitch. Of course, this is not a problem if you actually read their blog.

Here are a number of additional resources on blogger relations and pitching bloggers:

In case you’ll be attending the DMA06 conference in San Francisco later this month, be sure to check out the session on Blogs, RSS and Podcasting with Dr. Amanda Watlington, BBC co-contributor Stephan Spencer and myself where I will be presenting on using blogs for public relations.

Blogging For CIOs A Cautionary Tale

Posted by: of One By One Media on 09/13/06

Niall Cook yesterday posted about CIOs and their thoughts about corporate blogs in an article by Andy McCue at Silicon.com.  He and I both agree that perhaps CIOs are a little paranoid when referring to blogs, but in their defense, it is scary for companies to try something new.  Many businesses don’t want to be the leader in new and different ways of corporate communication.  They like to be copycat for the things that work.  Until companies begin to embrace blogs as an online marketing tool and a way to communicate with clients and customers, they will tread lightly, making sure that the water is warm before jumping in the pool.  The best example of the fear is exemplified in the comment by Rob Wharton, CIO of Colt Telecoms:

“Blogs are popular because they tend to represent personal opinions and personality rather than corporate messages. Therefore we need to take a great deal of care to ensure appropriate use so we don’t devalue the blog concept, whilst avoiding mayhem in what essentially needs to be a controlled message.”

The first part of the comment is spot on, that blogging is a personality of your company and what it represents, and that can be a frightful thought.  What Mr. Wharton needs to realize is consumers and customers want to see that personality and they don’t want the corporate speak of the controlled message.  The “mayhem” he discusses can be controlled if the personality is proper.  Until they see it in action blogs are still the boogey man of corporate communication.

Blogs, Podcasts, RSS and B2B: New Research Study Available

KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann have begun to release an emerging media series study into how blogs, podcasts and other RSS technologies affect technology purchasing decisions.

So far only the podcasting study has been released (free with registration), but they’ve released some teaser factoids:

  • 53% of respondants get business and technology information from blogs
  • 59% of business and IT professionals are somewhat or very familiar with RSS
  • 70% pass along content from blogs

Of course, they don’t go into detail (at least yet) on whether these people are making a buying decision on what they read at Engadget, or whether an RSS feed is helping them choose the right server or keeping them up with last night’s episode of Lost.

You can read the abstract and register for the free report here.

Thanks to Media Buyer Planner for the link.

Will bloggers write about stuff you send us?

As bloggers and blogging has raised its visibility in the media landscape, and as us bloggers have become thought and opinion leaders, to a greater or lesser extent, it should be no surprise that we’re smack-dab in the middle of the radar screen for Public Relations firms and individual companies seeking to gain “buzz” or visibility for their products or services.

What clearly isn’t quite so obvious, however, is how to approach bloggers when you want to send them something to check out. Do you explicitly say “do you want to review this” or, even more blatantly, “will you say nice things about it if we send you one?” or is there a more subtle road you can travel, one that’s more akin to “thought you’d find this cool. Want one?” without any expressed desire to have one of us actually write about it?

I would suggest that it’s an unsolved puzzle and that when I was approached by a company that sells high-tech bean bag chairs to see if I’d like to review one, this all came to the fore because, well, because I’m a business writer, not a furniture reviewer or home decorating maven. (trust me, you don’t want me decorating your home! 🙂 )

The key revolves around disclosure, and instead of actually reviewing the chair, I decided that I’d write somewhat of a meta-review, talking about how the chair ended up in my office and its implications for both bloggers and PR professionals seeking to have us examine their wares.

Oh, and my review? Here’s an excerpt: “As it turns out, I don’t particularly like the chair because while the fabric cover is clearly tough and durable, the rip-proof nylon isn’t very comfortable and I really wish it had a cloth, cotton or even corduroy cover. But I’m in the minority. My wife…”

You can read more about this topic, including the email back and forth with Omni, the bean bag company, on my business blog: How to get bloggers to write about your product.

Israel Distributes ‘Word of Mouth’ Propaganda Tool to Swing Online Opinions

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/20/06
Comments Off on Israel Distributes ‘Word of Mouth’ Propaganda Tool to Swing Online OpinionsLinking Blogs : Add to del.icio.us :

Wow. I just heard about this on the radio. I don’t want to get sucked into a political debate here (and since I moderate comments, I will delete those that are simply political rants), but apparently the Israeli government has sponsored a piece of software that Israelis have been urged to download that keeps them up to date about the online debate regarding the war with Lebonan. The software directs them online to discussion forums and Internet polls where software users can use their large numbers (thousands have downloaded it) to swing opinion on the debate.

Normally, it’s pornographers that pioneer new marketing and media strategies that mainstream advertisers and media companies come to adopt not long after (think of the VHS video tape format or pop-up ads). But I am sure it’s only a matter of time before some companies start using this politically motivated tactic in a similar capacity to emplower “word of mouth” networks to send armies of dittoheads to badger bloggers and other grassroots forums. Just imagine if they could somehow penetrate research panels like Greenfield or comScore (or, shudder to think, Nielsen Media Research). If nothing else, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more of this as part of election online marketing tactics.

Sorry Strumpette, Your Corporate Blogging’s Dead Riff Is Oh So Clever But It’s Not accurate

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 07/26/06

Strumpy (aka Amanda Chapel / anonymous PR blogger / tall, athletic, Pantene shoulder-length black hair, perfect perky boobs – ed. note: you’ve got to be kidding) is all fired up today with his/her new meme: The Death of Corporate Blogging.

God, (s)he’s clever the way she/he/it writes.

But (s)he’s wrong: corporate blogging – or at least the widespread use of blogging as a business communications tool is NOT dead. And I’m not just saying that because my new book, The Corporate Blogging Book (Penguin Portfolio August 2006), is coming out next week.

Well OK that’s one reason I’m saying it.

Corporate blogging is just getting started

The real reason is oh so simple. Far from being dead, corporate blogging – the use of a blog either internally or externally as part of a company’s online communications and marketing toolkit – is just getting started.

As Ken Yarmosh, who live-blogged my Washington DC book launch yesterday, put it:

“Despite the echoes we often hear in the halls of geek-dom, the blogosphere is not saturated yet. There are many, many more voices to come, blogging on everything from finance to real estate, to yes, even air conditioners. And I know, because I’ve met them this afternoon.” – Ken Y.

Look, I’m sifting through the stack of business cards I got yesterday and here are the kinds of corporate blogging wannabes who attended (I won’t use specific names out of respect for their privacy): commercial real estate, attorney-at-law, non-profit foundation, custom publishing group, government affairs office, board of trade, three or four national associations and so on.

Strumpy, read my book

Strumpy, read my book for god’s sake and maybe you’ll get it. I make a lot of points. Three of the key ones are this:

It’s not about being cool

Corporate blogging is not about being cool. It’s about following your customers where they’re going… and that’s online. You gotta be there to interact with your customers. It’s that simple. Blogging enables an instant (or almost) conversation with them. And that’s what people want. They want to be heard. They want to be acknowledged. Then they’re more apt to do business with you and your organization.

A blog is just a publishing platform
A blog is just a platform, a powerful, simple, inexpensive Web publishing system. Why in heck wouldn’t most companies adopt this platform? Call it Web 2.0. Call it common sense. Call it budget cutting. Who needs a whole IT department that takes months to update a page on a corporate site, when a non-techie manager can do it in minutes with blogging software?

Customers are driving this – not consultants
The new world that PR practitioners, marketing strategists and other consultants are touting is here. We haven’t concocted it as a way to line our pockets with gold. Marketing has become a two-way conversation between customer and corporation. The big guys at the top have lost control or at least complete control. A lot of the best creative stuff (new ideas, great writing) is bubbling up from below.

With 40,000 or 60,000 or whatever new videos being posted everyday to YouTube, with trackbacks and tagging and RSS and digging and Technorati and del.ici.ous and all that cool stuff innovating, fine tuning and becoming easier for the non-techie to use every day… well I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that corporate blogging is here to stay.

Remember, those ordinary people are customers. They’re driving this thing. Not the corporate blogging consultants.

Sorry Strumpy, stuff it.

Update: See here.
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Brian Carroll Shows Us Book Launch 2.0 With the Release of “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale”

Posted by: of BlogWrite for CEOs on 06/13/06

Way to go, Brian! It’s exciting when a fellow author hits publication day and can announce the official release of his book: Lead Generation for the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071458972, $24.95).

2.0: the new way to publicize your book release

Just got an email from Brian with a link to today’s press release about the launch. (He uses PRWeb which I’ve also used and recommend highly. Inexpensive and reliable; your release gets picked up by Google and other news sources.)

Cleverly, he’s also released a matching podcast through PRWeb Podcast. [Note: Brian’s PRWeb podcast is 7:41 mins and links directly to an MP3 file that is 7.1 MB. Wish there were an interim download page for this.]

Notice that Brian also has a big-name publisher, McGraw-Hill. These days, that isn’t enough. You’ve got to market your book as imaginatively and aggressively as if you were self-published. In fact, proving that you can do that is one key piece in getting a book deal.

About the book

Brian sent me a preview copy. It’s a handsome hardcover that packs in everything you could possibly want to know about creating and sustaining a lead generation program. If you’re in big-time sales with long lead times — or managing anyone who is — you gotta have Brian’s book on your desk. Order on Amazon.

More about the book and other ways to order.

Richard Edelman might get the blogosphere … but PRWeek doesn’t.

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 05/24/06

One of the great things about this blog is that Rick gets pitched by lots of people and we tend to get some good scoops. Dave Frankland zapped this nice tidbit over to Rick today about Richard Edelman’s keynote at Syndicate 2006. Here’s the really interesting thing … the link to the PRWeek story yielded this:

Edelman keynote at Syndicate touches upon industry changes
NEW YORK: Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, facing an audience at the 2006 Syndicate Conference in New York City that has traditionally been hostile to PR professionals, launched into a discussion of how blogs and other new media are changing the business.

From the PRWeek website … that’s all folks.

Oh man. Man oh man. Edelman, I think, gets the blogosphere, but PRWeek doesn’t. Check out his own blog post on his keynote. He also links to David Weinberger’s live blogging of the keynote (I love live conference blogging … it’s fun, it’s exciting, and it helps get the great messages and quotable quotes out there as soon as the speaker has said them), which I have yet to pour over … but I am looking forward to reading asap.

In Richard Edelman’s post and the snippets I read in the PRWeek article (because Dave forwarded it to Rick), it’s clear the PR folks have to change tactics to adapt to the new communications and media realities. I’m not saying that bloggers are all powerful, what I’m saying is that bloggers can get a message out fast. That message can be good or bad. Things like PRWeek (and other publications) blocking off content behind the walled garden of subscribers only, yeah that doesn’t fly. It especially doesn’t fly when the article blocked is about a luminary of PR talking about how PR professionals have to adapt to the new blogosphere reality. Sheesh. I hope they open this article up to the world, because Edelman really says great stuff.

Let’s take how he described, and apologized for, Robert Scoble’s recent experience with PR people:

Microsoft employee and blogger Robert Scoble, who was scheduled to interview Edelman for the keynote, has experienced a family emergency, which he wrote about on his blog. Despite broadcasting his tragedy, he noted in a follow-up post that he was still receiving PR pitches since he wrote about his family’s situation.

Scoble could not attend, but, sent a question asking why PR people, who presumably value his opinion enough to have read his blog, were still sending him product pitches while he was facing tragedy.

“On behalf the PR field, I apologize to Robert for the misbehavior and tell you that there is a better way,” Edelman said.


“A lot of PR people regard blogs as another form of the mainstream media to be pitched,” Edelman said. “Our methodology has traditionally been to throw out 1,000 flowers and one might bloom. That’s not the way to interact with the blogosphere.”

That’s good, that’s smart. Robert, though, really hits the nail on the head:

But, in today’s world of search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Technorati, Feedster, and others, it just isn’t good to be clued out. —Scoble

Edelman also “gets” how blogger love to get sneak peaks at stuff … oh do we love it.

“Our great triumphs are persuading clients to show beta versions of products to bloggers months in advance of actual product launch,” Edelman said. “By the time we started talking to the MSM [mainstream media], we had some momentum.”

That’s totally it. I’ve been apart of a few beta tests recently (Ether for example) where after the beta period (and bloggers are among the testers), we were asked for our feedback and if we wished to be included in press materials. Smart, very smart. Hey, we’re interested in your opinion and would you like to be included in stuff to get you some attention. Hmm, umm, yes!

Richard Edelman knows that the PR world is changing. PR folks can’t just spin and massage the message any more. They have to deal with citizen journalists, bloggers, and just plain everyone. It’s going to take a while before blogger stop getting e-mail pitches out of the blue, but here’s to hoping.

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PR Case Study: How Not to Email a Blogger

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 03/30/06

[Skip to NEW UPDATE]

You want me to write about your stupid company, Greg? Okay, here you go. (Let this be a lesson to the rest of you!)

From: gregs@[mystupidcompany].com
To: Rick Bruner
Date: 30 Mar 2006 15:02:28 -0500
Subject: [mystupidcompany].COM = Restaurant Finder

Well here is my question………I need to get my name out there…I read your Blog it is about websites which is what [mystupidcompany].COM is. I need people that are internet savy to look at my site.

Do your readers eat out? If the answer is yes then why not right a small blurb about [mystupidcompany].com

Let me know how to aproach guys like you in the future…….so that I can better prepare myself.

Thank you for the guidence, also let me know what to put in the title.

Have a great day


—–Original Message—–
From: Rick Bruner
Sent: Thu, 30 March 2006 19:12:01
To: gregs@[mystupidcompany].com
Subject: Re: *****PLEASE READ****

Not that I want to get into a big thing over this, but you don’t know me, your business has nothing to do with anything I write about, and your subject line is obnoxious. I realize you’re not harvesting addresses and sending out a million emails in a batch, but anyway it’s not what I would call best-practice PR.

On 30 Mar 2006 12:26:57 -0500, gregs@[mystupidcompany].com wrote:
> I was not spaming I was asking………….thank you for your time.
> Have a great day
> Greg S********
> By the way I thought it was cool how you give people your email
> Rickbruner at gmail dot com
> Genious if it is okay with you I will strat doing thesame thing.
> Again sory to bother you have a great day
> greg
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Rick Bruner
> Sent: Thu, 30 March 2006 16:48:01
> To: gregs@[mystupidcompany].com
> Subject: Re: *****PLEASE READ****
> No, I won’t, as this has nothing to do with anything I write about,
> and you should have more creative ways of getting PR than spam.
> On 30 Mar 2006 11:43:35 -0500, gregs@[mystupidcompany].com wrote:
> > Hello Rick my name is Greg S******** was wondering if you would be able to write about [MYSTUPIDCOMPANY].COM
> >
> > http://www.[redacted-url].com/subscribe/
> > http://www.[another-redacted-url].com/article.php?id_articol=134
> >
> > We are going through first round of funding starting June 15.
> >
> > Thank you so much
> > Have a great day
> >
> > Greg S*****
> > 847 – ### – ####
> >

You have a great day, too! And do me a favor and lose my email address.

I just couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to check my email trash folder (I had set up a filter on Greg’s email to auto delete any further emails, but something told me he was going to write again…)

See that the problem with guys like you………you spend time writing something what you wrote……….if you would of wrote something nice I would of given you 100,000 shares of my company.

But you waste your time………doing what you did………………

Have a great day


—–Original Message—–
From: Rick Bruner
Sent: Thu, 30 March 2006 20:11:21
To: gregs@[mystupidcompany].com
Subject: Re: [MYSTUPIDCOMPANY].COM = Restaurant Finder


I’ll be blocking your email address now, so please just move on with your life.

All the best,


I swear I’m not making this shit up!

PS: If anyone wants to take Greg up on his offer for 100,000 shares of his stupid company for a blog post, paypal me $1 at rickbruner at gmail dot com and I’ll send you the name of his firm.

PPS: I think I accidentally saved this post to draft form last night (still getting the hang of WordPress), so sorry it disappeared for 10 hours.

Blogger PR

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 03/20/06

Using blogs for public relations is new territory for most traditional PR practitioners. I recently engaged in a Q/A about blogs and RSS with a PR agency specialist that I thought would be interesting to post here. If you’ve been in the business of blogging for any length of time, you’ll see how telling the questions are as to the perception of RSS/blogs and how much room there is for clarification and education.

What are the most popular news feeds to subscribe to?

The beauty of RSS is that there are so many niche, quality sources. However, the most popular feeds overall may not be the best for any one individual. In other words, it depends on the interests of the user. In terms of overall popularity, here are several lists of popular blogs/feeds:

You can also find feeds using one of the many blog search engines such as: Technorati, Google Blog Search, Feedster or Gada.be.

If a journalist is using an aggregator, which news feeds does it draw from?

Most feed aggregators offer pre-selected feeds to general news sources, but you can add feeds directly from blogs of interest. When you visit a blog, there are often subscription buttons for the various feed readers and aggregators. Clicking on one will subscribe you to that feed. You can also subscribe to feeds from other sources such as search results from Yahoo News, MSN search results or social bookmark sites like del.icio.us.

How can a PR firm submit news to RSS feeds?

When an entry is made to a blog, it automatically places that information to a web page and also as a post to a corresponding RSS feed. It’s possible to create a feed manually using software if a blog is not desired.

Other opportunities to get your news out via RSS include making sure your blog software is configured so that each time a post is made, a “ping� is sent out the the major blog and RSS search engines to notify them you’ve made an update.

If a blogger picks up your release then it will be included in the RSS feed of that blog and all of it’s subscribers. You can also promote a blog through the major blog directories.

Wire services such as PRWeb will automatically offer a form of your press release as part of an RSS feed which can be pinged to RSS search engines.

If your press releases are archived and managed with a blog, then readers (including journalists) can subscribe to the corresponding RSS feed. Increasingly, journalists are prone to pulling news ideas and sources in, rather than relying on the deluge of press releases being pushed to them via email. Making sure the press release RSS feed is added to the main company site in an auto discovery tag enables visitors using a RSS-friendly browser to subscribe without having to navigate to that part of the site with their browser.

Is there any way to find out which news feeds journalists are using (without asking them)?

Sort of. You can gain some insight by visiting journalists blogs and seeing who is listed in their blogroll – which is a list of links to other blogs that they like.

Also, you can see if they have a del.icio.us account. If you could see the sites a journalist has bookmarked it may gain some insight into what’s interesting to them. That’s what viewing their del.icio.us account could do,- if they have one. Here is a screencast by prominent tech journalist, Jon Udell explaining how he uses del.icio.us to track memes and find information for stories. Very insightful for blogger PR.

Tools such as similicious, Alexa and TouchGraph Google Browser are useful for finding similar or related blogs and may prove useful for discovering journalist blogs that focus on particular industries or related topics.

Another useful feature of RSS is to monitor search results as a feed based on a keyword query. If you want to monitor a certain Journalist, publication or topic, you can perform the corresponding keyword query at a Yahoo, Yahoo News, Google News, Google Blog Search, BlogPulse and others and subscribe to the search results in your Feed Reader/Aggregator – sort of like Google Alerts on steriods.

BlogPulse and PubSub offer excellent blog tracking tools and Aaron Wall has an excellent blog post listing trending and tracking tools for the blogosphere and newsosphere.

There’s a lot more to blogger PR than these few questions and answers. But they do provide some insight into what PR firms are thinking and hopefully a few useful tools.

Wal-Mart Blog PR Backfires

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 03/7/06

The New York Times reports on efforts by Wal-Mart and its PR firm, Edelman to influence public opinion by providing information to bloggers. Nothing wrong with that, but apparently a number of the bloggers picking up on the information are posting it word for word and not citing the source.

Pitching blogs is picking up steam as a public relations activity by companies big and small. Wal-Mart’s Mona Williams is quoted on MediaBuyerPlanner.com: “As more and more Americans go to the internet to get information from varied, credible, trusted sources, Wal-Mart is committed to participating in that online conversation.”

While the issue getting attention stems from the way in which bloggers are posting the news and information, it’s Wal-Mart and Edelman that are left to deal with all the less-than-desired blog buzz that will result.

This is just another lesson for corporate PR on the right and wrong way to implement blog public relations and WOM marketing.

PR Secret Weapon: Free Stuff

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 02/17/06

I did PR for a while, and I was a journalist for quite a while, and one formula I’ve always been a fan of is “free stuff.” I especially endorse the idea for bloggers, particularly when you’re transparent that there are no explict expectations. As far as marketing dollars go, it’s a pretty cheap strategy. Hit or miss, but so is most of marketing. In that spirit, here’s a plug for an honest pitch (and note, I’m aware that they’re getting exposure from my even posting this without my even trying to get the free stuff, but that just proves my point that this is a good PR strategy):


It’s probably Hugh MacLeod’s fault for giving away free wine to bloggers and now free dinners (not to mention John Scott’s latest attempt to grow traffic with talk of a $10,000 prize to a reader of his blog), but today Hillstead Publishing announced they’re giving 250 copies free to bloggers, of a book called “Living the Artist’s life”.

Unlike other book giveaways, there are no requirements to review, blog, or link. Time will tell if the ‘coversation’ gets bigger.

source: http://pauldorrell.com/blog/2006/02/free-books-for-bloggers.html

Disclosure: I am the webmaster of the book’s website


Liam Daly

Besides, I’m all for blaming things on Hugh.

More Blogging Good and Evil

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/11/06

The Economist published an article this week on the threats and opportunities of blogs and bloggers, “Corporate reputations – The blog in the corporate machine“.

The Threat:

“The spread of “social mediaâ€? across the internet—such as online discussion groups, e-mailing lists and blogs—has brought forth a new breed of brand assassin, who can materialise from nowhere and savage a firm’s reputation.”

The Opportunity:

“Many big companies have been looking eagerly for ways to tailor their advertising to specific groups of consumers. They have found that web logs and internet discussion groups, which bring together people of similar interests, can help them turn hot links into cold cash. But besides trying to get out their message, companies are also learning that blogs can provide early warning signs of potential problems.”

Steve Rubel was also quoted in the article giving tips on how to use a blog for crisis communications, suggesting the creation of a “lockbox blog”.

Despite the attempt at describing pros and cons of consumer generated media and blogs in particular, the article doesn’t do justice to the many positive marketing, PR and branding benefits. Reputation management is not the only reason companies should pay attention to the blogosphere. Regardless, the article does draw more attention to blogging with an influential audience and that’s a good thing.

Influence the Influencers with RSS

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 08/29/05
Comments Off on Influence the Influencers with RSSLinking Blogs : Add to del.icio.us :

The Nooked.com blog published the results of their Influencer study recently with 87% of respondents reporting the use of a RSS reader to keep current. 

"The Nooked – Influencer survey set out to
establish if key influencers – journalists, analysts and bloggers – are
using RSS to collect information for analysis, news & reports
and/or determine their future plans for adopting RSS as an information
gathering & tracking tool."

Respondents included 200 individuals broken down as: Journalists – 25%, Analysts – 15%, Bloggers – 45% and the remaining 15% comprised of interested parties.

While this was not exactly scientific research, it does provide yet more information in support of the notion that business RSS feeds (usually accompanied by a blog) can be effective as marketing and public relations tools.

Via Rok Hrastnik


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