Breaking Through to Bloggers Tapping the Power of Blogs Brian G. Smith, Ph.D. University of Houston
The First Blogger? Name: Isocrates Profile: Loved Politics – Wasn’t a Politician Debated Issues – No town hall meetings Popular – No Personal Interaction Blog Purpose: “to wage war against the false pretenders of wisdom” Topics: Proper conduct of Greeks Direct political affairs Public opinion Source: Blogwars by David Perlmutter
argue from a safe distance. Does this sound new? It isn’t.
Blogging Isn’t New… Human Nature Impulse Argue …as many people as possible Blogging is… Debate Force opinion ...Just the Technology is
Blog-specific The blog post: Short, Random, What’s on your mind? Hyperlinks: Linking people and ideas Endless Surfing? Feedback Interaction – Opportunity to participate is Critical The Power of the “Comment” Niche-oriented How do you tie YOUR shoes? Four Blog Metagroups: Politics, Gossip/Celebrity, Motherhood/Family, Music
The Million $ Question Where do posts come from? How do Bloggers decide what to write? First…understand how bloggers become bloggers.
Blogger Evolution 1. Explore Create something purely personal that only die-hard fans and aficionados read 2. Community Membership 3. Autonomy Reader interests take precedence, bloggers feel pressure to write for the community Blogger returns to original purpose, takes content control, becomes more proprietary and personal Fight or Flight
“I think a lot of bloggers, when they first get started out, get excited about the metrics, the traffic they get, how many people are reading the RSS feeds, and it matters to them a lot. But I think once you cross a certain threshold, it really doesn’t matter anymore. I think that’s something I had at first…but now, I tend to write more my own perspectives…the postings get more personal and deeper.” -A Technology Blogger
Blogger Decisions Reader Interests Blogger Interests Autonomy Self-interest 3. Blog as an extension of the self 1. Reader reactions / feedback 2. Serve the community 3. Meaningful Contribution PR / Marcomm Actions The Rules: No Spam No “Wowing” with fancy copy No forgetting they’re human
Blogger Interests “One thing I try not to do is pander or write what I think readers want to hear. I lose a lot of individuality and it becomes an assembly line…I write it more for me, and I’m glad they like what I write.” -A Political Blogger
Reader Interests “I think it’s worse if people read something that’s dumb than if they don’t read anything at all.” - A Personal Blogger
Public Relations Actions “The only red flag would be if someone wrote me a note that said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you wrote something like this?’ trying to influence the way that I write my column. That would be a right red line I wouldn’t cross, and I would probably have a few choice words for him.” - A Political Blogger
At best…You Are A Last Resort “Sometimes I have writer’s block and I have nothing to write about. If I haven’t written in four days, I’m much more likely to say ‘screw it’ and just talk about whatever, a press release or whatever.” – A Tech Blogger
10 Reasons why your buzz blog will fail? Maybe you’ve done this… Dear PR Agents
“And in the end…the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” – the Beatles It’s a love-hate relationship. They want a relationship.
So….let’s take a look at what you’re doing Information source? Niche Audience Targeting? “Street Cred” - The In Crowd Promotion – an easy route to publicity? The most common Dialogue, Interaction, and Feedback? Blogging on your own? Some of these may of have worked with journalists, but bloggers don’t play the game.
Sorry, I do this because I love writing, not because I want to be pitched.” “It’s not just this quick-fix that people think it is…you have to treat them as a long-lead publication. You should know their blog, know who they are, and go back to your client to develop content they will find interesting. Don’t just try to push whatever the client says is their press release to them.”
Social Media Relations Principles Creativity Catch their attention – but be personal Create a Win-Win Approach them on own terms Build Relationship Open, Honest “I usually make fun of my industry [and] am irreverent about my job. I throw myself under the bus because I know they want to already. I usually introduce myself as a PR flak who has to do this.”
Skills and Tips Manage the media flow RSS Feeds Categories, Keywords, Tags: Strategic Recent Posts / Popular Posts Company Speak vs. Fun Humanizing the Organization Creating an identity The importance of diversion
Summing up Social Media Start Creative First communications should be catchy Go Conversational-Be Human Limit corporate speak Personal interest Emphasize Win-Win Be consistent Go Niche
How About You? If you can’t Beat ‘em… Are You Blogging? Become part of the 20%
“In a world of fragmented media, employees’ online diaries can be a seductive way to lure customers into conversations.” “They’re sticky – readers check back several times a day. And posts get linked to other sites amplifying their impact.” “They’re efficient. Employees can post questions about their work and get instant, mass feedback.” “Done well, they can humanize faceless behemoths. The Evil Empire of Redmond can instead become the home of ‘The Scobleizer,’ Microsoft’s most famous blogger.”
Talking Content Publish content & ideas (52%) Build Communities (47%) Thought leadership (44%) Get info to customers (36%) Get feedback from customers (23%)
Corporate Blogs Kodak: Educating Customers Xerox: Becoming an expert Starbucks: Testing Ideas PBS: Building Relationships
Good Corp Blogs: The Authority? Technorati Authority Popularity: the # of blogs linking to a website in the last 6 months. The higher the number, the more authority the blog has. Blog Links: #of blogs linked to the blog, rather than number of times linked. Though, a new link on the blog means +1 point for another 180 days. Google Ranking Keyword Usage: Most important in the title, but body text as well. Also relevance of keyword rate. Links: Not just quantity, but quality, in- and outbound Originality: Negative rank for similarity of content to other sites Age and Update: i.e. ongoing incoming links, updates
Top Blogs (Technorati) Top 100 Blogs Top 15 Corporate Blogs