Category Archives: Blogging Tips

Using online images to tell your story (video)

If you want to reach and engage your most important audiences, don’t discount the power of images. Online images are proven attention-getters on Facebook Pages and blogs, and can increase your EdgeRank and SEO.

Here are  a few practical tips from a presentation recorded in front of a live audience at RHED Pixed in October 2011.

To view the entire social media presentation, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FribPuQhwc

Special thanks to Richard Harrington and the video production crew at RHED Pixel.

25 Ways Blogging is Like Sex

  1. It’s natural to feel nervous the first time, or even the first few times, but you get the hang of it eventually.
  2. If you’re faking, it’s so obvious.
  3. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
  4. It’s so much fun, most people do it for free, although some do get paid.
  5. Sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to do it, but that’s okay.  The urge will come back.
  6. You can figure out the basics on your own, but if you really want to be good, you can learn advanced skills from a book, or from a good coach.
  7. You have to try new and different things on occasion.  Sometimes you have to change it up a little to maintain interest.
  8. Even a quickie can be good if you’re enthusiastic.
  9. You’ll generally get better results if you loosen up, release your inhibitions, and reveal the real you.
  10. If you do it a lot, soon people will start calling you an expert.  They may even ask you for advice.
  11. You can do it too much, though; it can take over your life.
  12. Photographs are often a nice addition.  You can take them yourself, or use ones taken by someone else.  You’ll find lots of free ones online.
  13. Appearance matters, yes, but performance is what really counts.
  14. It’s so easy to put it off, but as soon as you actually make time for it, it’s so satisfying, you wonder why you don’t do it more often.
  15. If you’re not into it, it’s just bad for everybody.
  16. If you are into it, chances are it will turn out pretty well.
  17. If you really want attention, try shooting some videos.
  18. Short-term benefits include feelings of accomplishment and well-being, while long-term benefits can include increased self-confidence, enhanced communications skills, and improved self-image.
  19. Sometimes, you run out of ideas, but you will eventually come up with an interesting and different angle.
  20. There are a number of tools you can use, but they’re strictly optional.
  21. Having a warm, accessible style and a conversational tone draws people in. It’s a mistake to be too formal. Or overly business-like.  Or use jargon.
  22. The best results come from commitment over time.
  23. Listening to feedback and being responsive counts for a lot.
  24. Managing several can be a real juggling act, but it never fails to impress the heck out of people.
  25. Comments are generally welcome, although some prefer not to be rated.

Writing for engagement: tips and best practices (video presentation)

I had the opportunity to speak at the RHED Pixel annual Open House last week on best practices for effective social media updates, and wanted to share the video with you today.

I enjoy this event because the speakers are terrific, it’s informal and interactive, and free!  So mark your calendars for the Open House next year.

Thanks so much to Richard Harrington for inviting me to present and to Adam Martray and the terrific RHED Pixel team for coordinating and taping the event (which featured a lot of other speakers, including Richard Harrington).

If you didn’t have a chance to go (the room was packed!) or watch the presentations live on UStream, I’ll share the link to those recorded presentations when they become available online.  Meanwhile, the folks at RHED Pixel have generously shared the video of my presentation and if you have the time, check it out.  I’m sharing tips for marketing your business, nonprofit, association or govt. agency with blogs, Facebook Pages, Twitter profiles, YouTube and more.

These are my highly subjective opinions about what has worked for me and what I have observed.  If you concur, or you believe differently, or have tips to share, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear your views.

For more creative and affordable marketing tips, please subscribe to the Fletcher Prince blog http://fletcher-prince.com/blog

Presentation recorded October 25, 2011 in front of a live audience at RHED Pixel, Falls Church, Virginia.

How to Get More Readers for Your Blog

So, we all know blogging is a worthwhile endeavor.  But getting readers for your blog can be challenging.  How can you get more readers for your blog?  WordPress published an excellent article of 12 tips for doing just that.  My two favorite traffic-building tips from their list include enabling email subscriptions and commenting on other blogs, two strategies that tend to be under-utilized by bloggers.

You should read the article, but here are five recommendations for getting more traffic for your blog that you may not have considered.  In addition to the 12 WordPress tips, these tactics have worked well for me.

1. Blog for fun, as well as for work

If you blog for work, create another blog for fun. Or two, or three, or four!  I have several blogs.  Someone once asked me why I have so many blogs.  Well, I have a variety of interests (blogs work best that focus on a single interest or topic), and like most bloggers, I love to write.  But writing for fun also makes me a better blogger: it keeps my corporate blog fresh, by freeing up your creativity in a low-pressure way.  Think of it as blogging “cross-training.”  I have also found my “side-blogging” inspires me to write new content for my corporate blog.  It’s also a useful experimental sandbox: with your “just-for-fun” blogs, you can look at your stats and see what kinds of topics get the most reads.

2. Write news-related or seasonal content whenever possible

I see a tremendous leap in reads for a blog article I have posted that refers to a recent news event or seasonal event in a relevant way.   If you can connect your business content to what people are already talking and thinking about, you have a much better chance of getting read.  For my Fletcher Prince blog, for example, I got increased hits for a blog post about public relations that referred to the hurricanes this fall.  I wrote about Facebook Timelines the day it was announced and obtained more readers in a single day than I had ever achieved.  Holiday blog posts also get more traffic, in my experience.

3. Take advantage of YouTube

YouTube is a great asset for bloggers.  As I have mentioned before, I have a client who has a YouTube Channel without any video she has produced on it.  However, she gets plenty of traffic on her Channel and the Channel links to her blog.  It’s easy to track traffic to your blog, and I find that my YouTube Channel brings readers to my blog, as well.  So be sure to link to your blog from your YouTube videos (put the link in the video description) and from your YouTube Channel profile.

4. Feature your blog on LinkedIn

Do you write for a business audience?  Then, you want to feature your blog on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn allows you to link to your blog from your personal profile and your business profile.  You can also use the WordPress application to feature the latest (truncated) entries on your blog on your profile.

Some people promote their individual blog articles in the Discussions feature in LinkedIn Groups.  I think that is overly self-promotional, however, and undermines the purpose of Discussions, so I don’t indulge in that practice. There are so many better ways to promote your blog than that.

5. Examine your stats carefully for content clues

I look at the stats of all my blogs for clues about what people want to read.  You can easily tell which blog posts achieved the most hits.  But you can also examine which search engine results brought people to your blog, and how many reads are associated with them.  For example, this morning I learned that my “social media in the workplace” articles I wrote in September are still getting plenty of views.  Having this information will help you plan the kind of content that will increase your readership.

6. Bonus tip: if you can, write often, to get more readers

I see a definite correlation with how frequently I write and the number of views I get for my blog (beyond the obvious increase in reads for more posts).  And even when I take a blogging break, that effect seems to last for a while.  WordPress recommends that you blog on a schedule, and that you take the time you need to write quality posts, and I would agree with that.  But if you have something to say, put it out there.

It can be easy to stop blogging when you only have one blog.  Few of us can feel inspired to write about our company every single day.  But because I have several blogs, I write for at least one every day.  Sometimes, I just prefer to write about a Halloween custom that day.  That’s okay — it keeps me sharp, and it keeps me blogging.

By the numbers: top posts from the Fletcher Prince blog

Of the 410+ blog posts I’ve written for the Fletcher Prince Blog , these are the posts with the most views –

  1. How much does it cost to advertise? 1,393 views
  2. The trends that will power public relations in 2010 1,003
  3. Creating your podcast logo 575
  4. Marketing Idea: Create a Holiday Greeting Video  535
  5. The Latest Twitter Statistics (and what they mean to you) 510
  6. How to Monitor Comments on Your Facebook Page 470
  7. Makeup Tips for Online Video 387
  8. 10 Reasons to Create a Facebook Page for Your Company 383
  9. Marketing with A YouTube Channel 365
  10. The recession, the craft trend and its impact on marketing 357

Have you ever checked out your own blog stats?  I was fascinated that the top posts represented a true cross-section of marketing topics.

If you blog about public relations or marketing, what do you find your readers like to read about most?

Commenting on blog posts: composing comments that matter (part 4)

Mary Fletcher Jones encourages you to make those blog comments stand out!

For the past three days, I’ve been blogging about why commenting on blogs is so important.

We’ve addressed the why, now let’s talk about the how.  Posting a comment is one thing; composing comments that matter — and enhance your reputation as a subject matter expert — now, we’re getting somewhere!

Any comment you post to a blog article is going to create a backlink for you.  But you’re ready to take it to the next level, are you not?  Why waste a visibility opportunity?  For you newbie commenters, I know you have it in you to say something a little more original than “excellent post.”  If you want to impress the blog author and readers, you’re going to have to try a little harder than that!  Select one point that stood out for you, or your big takeaway.  Add an omitted detail or fact, or state an opposing point of view (but keep your comments courteous).  It doesn’t have to be long, in fact, shorter is better.

Short. Relevant. Positive. Useful.  Expert.  And entertaining, if you have it in you.

Now, if you are really inspired, you can always take your reaction to an article or point of view and compose a blog post out of it, which I’ve done, many times (in this case, be sure to provide a link to the original post).  In fact, if I have writer’s block, all I have to do is read a few blog posts and write a few comments and — voila! — no more block.  Lots more ideas, loads more inspiration.

What are you waiting for?

My advice today is to take the time, if you have not already done so, to create a fully-fledged WordPress account, username and profile, and Gravatar, including multiple images, description, and links.

Then start commenting!

Related articles

SEO value: commenting on blog posts vs. sharing on social networks

Mary Fletcher Jones wants you to BOTH comment on AND tweet those blog articles!

Yesterday, I gave you five good reasons why it’s worthwhile to post comments on blog posts.

Today, I’m going to talk about why I believe posting blog comments is infinitely more useful than posting links to blog posts on social networks.  You should do both — but never to the exclusion of posting comments.

Why Sharing Links on Twitter is Not Enough

Are social networks making us lazy communicators?  Perhaps.

Of course, it’s a piece of cake to share blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  It’s so easy to share links to blog posts and online articles.  So easy, that’s the only kind of Twitter update many people post: links and retweets to links.

But easier is not always better.  Sharing on social profiles is a good thing to do, but in moderation.  Sharing links does not increase your website’s SEO.  Sharing links does not enhance your online reputation significantly.  Sharing links is not a substitute for commenting, or for creating your own, reputation-building, original content.

Posting blog comments, as I discussed yesterday, creates backlinks to your blog or website but posting links to articles other people write on Twitter or Facebook don’t.  You’re just not doing yourself any favors by ONLY posting the link on social networks.  By the way, if you’re linking to your website or blog in your blog comment through your commenting profile — and why wouldn’t you? — make sure there is some good content and a call to action on that landing page for people who go to the trouble of clicking through.

Commenting is good media relations

What about media relations?  Well, if you’re trying to build relationships with journalists and influencers, tweeting links to articles they wrote is negligible in relationship-building value compared to commenting on those articles.

Think about it: the blog author or journalist  may not notice you if you tweet his or her article — but if you comment on it, you do stand out. Do both, to be on the safe side.   Generally, authors appreciate and value the contribution of meaningful comments.  They notice commenters.  So does Google.

Which, as I mentioned yesterday, makes you a somebody instead of a nobody.  Which could greatly improve the likelihood of a successful pitch, should you choose to make that pitch in the future.

Create a fully-fledged blog profile — and use your real name!

Oh, and a word about the identity under which you comment?  Blogs are now making it easier to register with Facebook or with Twitter, and post a comment with that social networking identity.  A little too easy. It’s good for them, maybe not so good for you.

If you can avoid it and post with an identity and profile you have carefully crafted with WordPress or OpenID, I would recommend doing that, instead.  In this way,  your comment contains a backlink to your website or blog, which is more valuable to you than backlinks to your Facebook profile (which may or may not be visible to others, depending on your privacy settings) or your Twitter profile (which does not carry the same marketing value as a website or blog).

You don’t need more backlinks to your Facebook profile or Twitter profile, unless you work for Facebook or Twitter!  Direct backlinks where they count: to your website or blog (which will have Facebook and Twitter links, anyway).

The BEST strategy: comment first, then link

If you had to make a choice between sharing a link to a blog article on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn…and commenting on that blog article…I hope you are convinced by now that you should compose the comment.  But it’s not an either/or situation, really.  Do both. Compose and post the comment first — then share the link.

What has been your experienced with commenting?

Please share your blog commenting experiences.  What do you learn when you comment on blogs?  Has commenting on blogs earned you backlinks — or do you know?  Has it enhanced your online reputation or helped you make valuable connections?

5 reasons to comment on blog posts (part 2)

Mary Fletcher Jones has five good reasons why you should take the time to comment on blog posts -- can you think of more?

Yesterday, I encouraged all of you to comment on blog posts, even if it feels strange and uncomfortable at first.

Feel the fear and do it anyway is what I say!

But there has to be a reason, right?

Why should you comment on blog posts?  What’s in it for you?

Five excellent reasons come to mind.

1. Commenting on blog posts is really good for your SEO If you set up an identity on WordPress, or OpenID, your name and image (either you or your company logo) typically appears with your post.  That’s free advertising for you.  But importantly, it creates a backlink to your website.  The more reputable and well-read the blog, the more valuable the backlink. The more high quality backlinks you have directing to your website, the higher your website rises in search engine rankings when people search for keywords related to your industry.  That’s money in the SEO bank.  I have tens of thousands of backlinks to my website and blog from commenting.

2. Commenting on blog posts helps you become a more articulate and confident thought leader.  In a nutshell, it sharpens your critical reasoning skills.  It’s one thing to read a blog post, it’s another to reflect on it and form a well-written response.  You will definitely retain more of the information you learn from a blog post if you formulate a response to it.  The discipline of writing intelligent blog comments will increase your ability to share your own ideas and presentation skills, spoken or in writing, which will increase your confidence. It may even lead you to become so confident you begin blogging yourself!

3. Commenting on blog posts is good karma.  Leaving a blog comment is the best payment you can provide to a subject matter expert who has taken the time to share his or her knowledge with you so you can do your job better (or make more money, or bake a better brownie, or discover a new vacation destination, or what have you).  It’s like a tip for good service.  If that blog post actually taught you something useful, and you don’t leave a blog comment about it, it’s rather ungrateful, don’t you think?  I do!  One hand washes the other.

4. Commenting on blog posts can enhance your reputation as a subject matter expert or thought leader.  People do read blog comments and they are curious about commenters.  Being an active commenter posting under a real name (NEVER use a pseudonym or post anonymously) with a fully-developed commenting profile (including image!) can improve your online reputation and obtain you more followers on Twitter, and for your own blog, if you happen to have one.

5. Commenting on blog posts and online articles can help you build useful relationships with journalists and influencers important to your industry or nonprofit.  One of the most effective media relations techniques I know is to regularly read the online articles posted by journalists you wish to cultivate, and post relevant and useful comments as frequently as is reasonably possible.  This will familiarize the journalist with you and your knowledge set, so that any pitches you subsequently attempt will have a greater chance of success.  You go from a “nobody” to a “somebody” when you are a thoughtful and intelligent commenter.

Can you think of any more reasons?  If you can, guess what? You should post them as comments! :)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, when I explain why sharing links to articles on Twitter and Facebook is not enough, and how posting comments on articles is a better strategy for you.

Why you should be commenting on blog posts (part 1)

Mary Fletcher Jones wants you to seize the golden opportunity that is associated with blog commenting

If you’re reading this blog post today, chances are you are a communicator, like more than half of my clients, or a savvy business owner or nonprofit manager who is into marketing, and wants to learn more.

Most of you are on Facebook or Twitter.  All of you have important and interesting information to share with the community.

Yet, you don’t blog.

Well, I’m not going to get on my soap box this morning and say for the 100th time why you should be blogging.  I know — from personal experience and training many people how to blog — that nothing I say in this article is going to push you to blog if you have not already embraced it.

So, forget about blogging for a moment.  What I AM going to encourage you to do is start commenting on the blogs and online articles you read.

Commenting is much easier than blogging, but it can net you almost even better results.  Much better results, certainly, than sharing a blog post on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Comment here, of course. I would love that.   But be a little more strategic about your commenting than The Fletcher Prince Blog.  If you are a communicator, you should be actively commenting on any online article you read.  The PRSA-NCC BlogWaxing UnlyricalPRSAYCapitol Communicator. Mopwater PR.  Washington Business Journal articles.  Social Media Examiner articles.

If you work in another field, you should be commenting on your competitors’ blogs, and blogs penned by journalists, industry leaders, and experts connected with local and national associations.

Hey, I get why people are reluctant to comment, particularly communicators, who you would think would take to blogging and commenting like ducks to water.  In my experience, they’re timid about putting themselves and their ideas out there, for all to see, in perpetuity.

Well, let me put it like this.  If you’re afraid of making a mistake, it’s time to get over it.  You’re making a mistake right now — you’re missing a golden opportunity by not commenting on blogs and online articles.

Why?  Check back tomorrow. I will give you five incredibly good reasons why you should be taking the time to comment on blog articles.

A Collection of Blogs From Our Facebook Friends

David and I feel fortunate to have 95 Fletcher Prince friends on Facebook.  And did you know, there are many excellent bloggers among them?  Check out these blogs written by our Facebook buddies…

Susan Rink — Take Note: Employee Communications Strategies http://rinkcomms.net/blog

Ann Bevans  — Ideabook http://blog.annbevans.com/

Ami Neiberger-Miller — The PR Toolkit for Nonprofits http://amazingprmaven.blogspot.com/

Colby Cox — Kimball’s Perspective: The Thoughts of Colby Cox http://kimballsperspectivethoughtsofcolbycox.com/

Ray Ortega  — Ray Ortega: Web Producer http://rayortega.com/

Richard Harrington –  Richard Harrington http://www.richardharringtonblog.com/

Soraya Duke — Cosmopolitan Photography http://cosmopolitanphotography.wordpress.com

Coral Gundlach — Selling Homes in Arlington http://activerain.com/blogs/coralgundlach

Erica Tait — Tait Photography http://www.taitphoto.com/blog/

Eric Fadden — Eric Fadden Dot Com http://ericfadden.com/

Karen Hoffman Haines — Let’s Talk Real Estate http://www.fallproperties.typepad.com/

Shonali Burke – Waxing Unlyrical: Musings on Public Relations http://www.waxingunlyrical.com/

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