September 23, 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.

A Blog Conversation

Posted by: of One By One Media on 09/12/06

An interesting development transpired here at BBC, a blog conversation broke out.  BBC contributor Stephan Spencer’s post PR Firms Comment Spamming? began a small conversation with the VP of Connors Communications.  Stephan had assumed a comment left on his blog about the long tail was a PR firm touting the latest client’s software program.  Although Stephan was mistaken in his assumption, through the use of blog mining or RSS (now I’m assuming), Mike Levin the person that left the comment, was able to correct his mistake.  In fact Mike was touting the application he had developed for Connors Communications. 

An open conversation was the result, and although Stephan and Mike may disagree on the use of comments on a blog, it is clear that their exchange was civil, and exactly what companies can use a blog to develop, an open commuincation with their customer or clients. 

Sorry Mike, now it’s my turn to provide some feedback.  After going to the Connors website, I wanted to rush to read your blog since you had indicated you were a passionate blogger in your comment.  I looked far and wide and could not seem to locate that blog.  On a whim I decided to check out the hard to find navigational site map link and searched a long time again before I found the link to your company blog.  You are correct by stating in the comments here:

I read many blogs, and sometimes I am compelled to leave comments, just as comments on our blog are welcome. I think if you read a few of my blog posts, you will find me to be sincere and on the level.

I read a few of your blog posts and you are definitely on the level and sincere.  The problem or at least what made it difficult was the navigation to your blog.  If you don’t make it easy to access those blog posts people may never get to find your wisdom.  A simple “Read Our Weblog” button or link in the top left with the rest of the navigation would prove to be beneficial to you and Connors Communications.

Great job gentleman and lets keep up the blogging conversation.

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.

[snip]

“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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It’s election time in Canada … where are the party blogs?

Posted by: of A View from the Isle on 12/7/05
Here in Canada we’re in the midst of a federal election. The Parliament was dissolved a bit ago and the campaign is starting to get going (sort of a semi-start since the Holiday Season is going to come in the middle of the campaign towards the late-January election).
After the success of blogs in the American Presidential election, one might think Canadian Federal parties would wise up to this. Think again. They are totally missing the boat.
Politics is like business in many, many ways. Blogs work for this so well. Personal opinion, passion, wit, clever writing. This yells “Blog me!”.

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…

Wal-Mart Needs a Blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 01/13/05

Filed under "This Site Needs a Blog," USA Today reports today Wal-Mart is trying to address its critics more directly with a new public openness. So far, that has taken the form of an open letter from CEO H. Lee Scott in 100 newspapers and planned TV and radio show interviews, as well as a new web site WalmartFacts.com. Notably, however, the site does not feature a blog.

World Toilet Organization

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 11/19/04

This could easily be my favorite blog if they published one.

Well…okay, top 10, anyway.

Link

Engadget: Kryptonite Evolution 2000 U- Lock hacked by a Bic Pen

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 09/17/04
Kryptonite
Engadget’s Phillip Torrone Hacks
the Evolution 2000 in seconds

This is so incredible. You had better believe that Kryptonite, makers of the most popular bicycle locks in the United States, will know what blogs are from this week forward. I believe the story was actually broken last weekend on a web-based discussion board, BikeForums.com, where a user observed that using a 10-cent Bic ballpoint pen you could easily pick a $100 Kryptonite lock. A variety of Kryptonite products seem vulnerable to this. The above link (see headline) is to a video of how to do it, in case you had any doubts. (Other videos here and here.) I just heard the story also on National Public Radio, and it also ran today in the NY Times, and it’s basically breaking out all over the place.

Kryptonite2
NYT photo

Incredibly, Kryptonite’s site (which is loading veeerrrry slooooowly today) still has nothing about this issue, a week after the story broke, despite the homepage ironically proclaiming “This is the place to get the most information about our products, our dealer locations, our company and more.” The most recent news on the homepage is about their having moved office locations in June 2002. (I see that they did provide a response to Engadget, and it’s less than encouraging that they’re on top of the crisis, or unclear that they even view it as a crisis.)

This is simply going to devistate Kryptonite. Too bad, I’ve always been a fan. Of course, this isn’t principally a communication problem; it’s a product problem. The only thing I could think that might save their business at this point would be a massive recall/refund for every customer with a U-lock. But this is also a communication problem. As a customer (I have four of their locks), I would really like to know whether this problem affect their other products, or whether it is limited to that Evolution 2000. But their communication on this sucks. The story broke online, yet there is nothing about it on their web site. They could really, really use a blog to try to contain the damage ASAP. But looking at their actions so far, I am not optimistic. For myself, I will probably go out and buy another brand this weekend, as I’m not going to risk losing my bike while they try to get their PR act together. (I’m certainly not going to bother trying to call them and wait on hold for 2 days with the volume of calls they must be getting now.)

As Phillip Torrone writes in his Engadget follow-up post:

We’ve spent over $100 on these types of locks for our bicycles, and hearing “the world just got tougher and so did our locks,” kinda got us a little miffed. The world didnít get tougher, it got Bic pens, blogs and your locks got opened.

Sad.

Engadget: Kryptonite Evolution 2000 U- Lock hacked by a Bic Pen

TroutGirl: Shitcanned

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/31/04

Oh, this is rich. The latest example of someone getting fired for blogging comes from an employee of no less savvy socially networked company than Friendster (which, so far as I am aware, has no official blog of its own to address the controversy on; too bad, that). According to the blogger in question, Joyce Park, aka TroutGirl, the offending posts were both quite short and, to my outsider interpretation, fairly innocuous. I predict this is going to have a bad PR fallout for Friendster in the blogosphere.

UPDATE:
Ted Pibil notes in my comments thread on this post that Jon Udell has an excellent wrap up on this: Why we owe Troutgirl our thanks. Lots of good links there to add context and further the analysis of the implications of this. Thought it was worth highlighting here in the main post. Thanks Ted.

TroutGirl: Shitcanned

CNN: Olympians largely barred from blogging

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 08/23/04

Insanely dumb. Just imagine how much more interest in the Olympics and the Olympians athlete blogs could spur.

CNN: Olympians largely barred from blogging

HackingNetflix.com: Bloggers & Corporate Public Relations Departments

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 06/27/04

This post on a fan blog devoted to the movie rental service Netflix is a perfect example of how poorly many companies understand the opportunities of weblogs. First of all, it’s painfully obvious that Netflix itself should have a blog. If you have any doubts about that, just check out GreenCine Daily.

But that’s not even what HackingNetflix.com is proposing. HackingNetflix already has the traffic (~1,000 visitors a day) who are interested in Netflix; all the blogger was asking to do was to forward “Ask Netflix” questions to Netflix’s PR department, but their PR department declined.

HackingNetflix’s blogger (identified only as Mike) notes that he gets on the order of 20-30,000 readers per month interested specifically in Netflix news. Yet this is not enough to register on the radar of Netflix as important? And this is an Internet-based company? Sad.

HackingNetflix.com: Bloggers & Corporate Public Relations Departments

NYT Advertising About Blogs Via Google

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 06/16/04
nyt-blog-ad

Interesting. The NY Times is conspicuous in its reluctance to start a blog of its own, unlike many other traditional media companies that already have blogs, but the paper can’t seem to get enough of writing about blogs. As if to underline that point, it has recently started advertsing via Google AdWords/AdSense on the topic of blogs. I recently saw the ad pictured here on Duct Tape Marketing’s blog. The ad links to this NYT story about Nike’s new blog.

Huh? Here’s an idea: if you want bloggers to think your publication is cool and relevant, start a frickin’ blog instead of advertising about the stories you write about blogs!

Google.com/blog

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 05/1/04

It has been quite surprising that Google has not yet started blogging, given their acquisition last year of Blogger.com, and all, not to mention their perfectly aligned sensibilities with blog culture, or at least one would assume.

Well, it looks like we’ll see something interesting soon. As of this writing, the google.com/blog page says only “test,” but it’s certainly cause for hope.

[UPDATE 5/6/04: This page now comes up as an error. Someone is obviously playing around with something, though. Stay tuned...]

Link

Trojan Condoms

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 04/25/04
trojans

This site needs a blog. The site looks like it was built in 1997. I’d say it sucks, but then, the pun is too kind to them.

The postcards for your friends &0158; could the be lamer? The merchandise &0158; yawn. (When I was in junior high school, one of my favorite t-shirts (wishful thinking) said “Trojan Field Tester.” That was at least sort of funny. No one at this company has a sense of humor?) The arcade games &0158; pu-leeeaase! Were those ever fun or challenging for someone older than four years old?

The only half-way interesting and useful section of the site is the information center. But it is just crying for a blog. Imagine all the legitimate condom, STD and sex-related news they could report on, not to mention more interesting Fark-ish naughy, funny and incredible-but-true sex-related stuff.

Call me when you’re ready to have an interesting web site.

Link

WD-40

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 04/23/04
wd-40

B.L. Ochman is right, this site needs a blog. It’s a product that actually has a lot to say, mainly in the form of user testimonial of all the great things they’ve used WD-40 for. But how tedious that you have to fill out a long form to sign up for a community just to be able to submit a use for consideration. How about an email address and a blog instead? I’m sure they’re losing a lot of people to that form. I filled it out only because I was determined to see the process so I could right about it here. An example of a product site that they have simple over-thought and over-complicated.

Blog me, baby!

Link

Banana Guard

Posted by: of ExecutiveSummary.com on 04/22/04
banana-guard.gif

With this entry, I initiate a new category: “This Site Needs a Blog.” Please feel free to nominate others for the category.

If it works for Clip-n-Seal, a blog should work for Banana Guard.

“Protect your banana!” (Yes, it’s work safe.)

Link

 

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