Blog Archives

Blogging Your Enthusiasm – Social Media Week DC Presentation

I hope to see many of you at our presentation on blogging and podcasting today.  But for those of you who cannot make it in person, you can watch it on Livestream at noon today.

Here is the blogging presentation.  If you download this presentation from SlideShare, you can see the notes.

And here is the handout for today’s session on blogging

Sunshine Awards for Blogs

sunshineawardI’m pleased to acknowledge the recognition of a fellow communicator and blogger, Jay Morris, who writes The wayward journey. He nominated me for a Sunshine Award.

It’s truly gratifying when another blogger thinks your blog is worth reading!   But when someone like Jay thinks your blog is decent, it’s humbling, because I aspire to be the kind of writer he is.

So, thank you, Jay!

To accept this award, I’m obliged to follow certain rules (see bel0w).  I’m not one for awards, much, but I do like this way of showcasing blogs and discovering new ones.

Now, I’m supposed to tell seven facts about myself.  What?  Just seven?  Why, I have more than seven blogs!

Oops, that was one.  Now I only have six left.  Rats.  Okay.

  1. I wiggle my toes when I am happy.
  2. I don’t have pierced ears.
  3. I do not own a television, but I do watch Hulu and PBS online (I like Downton Abbey, Grimm, Nashville, and Scandal).
  4. I love to dance – I’ve taken ballet, jazz ballet, belly dancing, ballroom dancing, and Latin.
  5. I read my horoscope every day (I am a Pisces).
  6. My current challenges includes finding somewhere to live, finding the right school for my son, and deciding the course of my life.  I don’t have good answers right now.

I would nominate Jay’s blog, but he has already been nominated.  Also, I follow a lot of group blogs (like WWPR and PRSA), government blogs (like Fairfax County Emergency Services), news blogs (like CNN Security), and company blogs (like RP3).  They are excellent, but I wanted to identify the blogs that had that kind of personal, individual identity and voice.  I think that is the idea.  So, here are ten other blogs I nominate:

  1. Ami Neiberger-Miller The PR Toolkit for Nonprofits
  2. Amanda Miller Littlejohn  Mopwater + Media Notes
  3. Kate Perrin and Melanie Jordan PRofessional Solutions, LLC
  4. Ray Ortega The Podcaster’s Studio
  5. Ayanna Nahmias The Nahmias Cipher Report
  6. Deborah Brody Caffeinated Ideas and Views on Marketing Communications
  7. Leah Ibraheem Marketing and More
  8. Omawarisan Blurt
  9. Ann Bevans Ideabook
  10. Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt Finding Thalhimer’s
To accept an award, the rules are:
Link back to the person who nominated you.
Post the award image to your page.
Tell seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 10 other blogs.
Let them know they are nominated.

Did you resolve to blog in 2013?

Did you?  Are you thinking about it?  Are you, huh?

Okay. I’m going to share my blogging presentation with you, then.  The one I usually reserve for college students.

Now, go forth and blog!  And if you need more help, then hire me to help you.  ‘Cause that’s what I do!

Fletcher Prince can launch or makeover your company blog

Blogs are the best way to showcase your subject matter expertise, obtain the trust of potential clients and customers, build value for current customers and clients, and increase SEO for your website.

The effort involved in creating and maintaining a corporate blog is not insubstantial, but the payoff can be great.

Your friends at Fletcher Prince can help.  We can design your branded blog, integrate social networks and video, and coach you on the most effective blogging techniques.

  • Blog coaching
  • Content creation
  • Design your branded blog
  • Enable social media and sharing features
  • Configure email subscriptions
  • Set up categories, widgets, and pages

 

How many blog views a day should you be getting?

The proud. The few. The obscure.

100 views per day is a respectable figure for daily views.  Plenty of bloggers get more than that, such as bloggers who cover certain popular subjects.

The most views I have ever achieved in a single day for one blog was 2,463.  Typically, I average about 100/day for Fletcher Prince.  And it took me years to achieve this modest level!

The interesting thing is that the blog post of the day is not always the one driving views.  In fact, out of 620 posts on the Fletcher Prince blog, about 10-15 of archived posts snag the most daily views.

I’ve got eight blogs besides this one.  And yes, people visit my Halloween blog and my Christmas blog every day.  Even in summer.  I learn something from all of my blogs.  It’s worthwhile to blog about your various interests or hobbies.  It’s good writing practice and it can spur ideas for your business-oriented blog.

Even if you are not getting a lot of views, a blog conveys a lot of value for you and your business or nonprofit.  But scanty daily views are not good.  If you’re getting 15 or fewer views/day, you do need to try harder:

  • Read ProBlogger for tips.
  • Blog more frequently.
  • Pick up on the news of the day and work it into your post.
  • Write shorter posts.
  • Add more tags and categorize your posts.
  • Make it easy for people to follow and subscribe to your blog.
  • Post links on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If your content is good, you should see those numbers climb over time.  Keep an eye on your stats, and set goals for your blog.

Happy blogging!

12 must-read blogs for PR students

Another blog I should have mentioned! Conversations in Public Relations…

This morning, I spoke with George Mason University students in Serge Samoilenko’s class.  The topic was blogging.  Since many of them will be working communications, I compiled a list of blogs that I thought would help them learn more about PR, understand what it is like to work in PR, and maybe even make useful contacts.

One thing I emphasize for students (and professionals, as well) is to take full advantage of the comments feature to add to the discussion and cultivate relationships (and perhaps drive traffic to their own blogs).

I do follow many other excellent PR blogs but these were the ones that I thought might be most useful to undergrad students and soon-to-be PR professionals.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1. PRSay is the blog of the Public Relations Society of America, which of course is the foremost professional organization for PR professionals in the states.  It’s a high quality blog that delivers just what you would expect it to.

2. Beyond PR is PR Newswire’s blog and it is outstanding.  You can tell the people who write for this blog love to write.  But they are also on the cutting edge of any new PR development.  The practical public relations tips are invaluable.  One of my favorite blogs to read.

3. Fresh Ideas is the blog for BurrellesLuce.  I especially like the blog posts by local Debbie Friez.   This is another blog with practical public relations tips, as well as takeaways from area public relations professional development events .  I advised the students to get to know Debbie’s work through her posts on this blog and to seek her out at networking events, as she is highly connected and influential in DC’s PR community.

4. The Publicity Hound delivers good quality, practical public relations advice you can use in a succinct and uncomplicated way.  Joan Stewart‘s writing is fun to read, and I often find tips on public relations topics not covered widely elsewhere. In short, it’s interesting.

5. Levick Strategic Communications has expanded and rebranded their Insights blog from their former Bulletproof Blog, which was excellent.  I am just getting used to the new format, but is there ever a lot of good content here.  Levick Strategic Communications, as you may know, is one of the foremost crisis public relations firms.  Their blog is an education in crisis communications, and never fails to impress me.

6. Social Media Club DC had some starts and stops but it seems like their blog and programming are really on a roll now.  None of the students in this class had been to any SMC-DC events, so I strongly recommended that they subscribe and start connecting with this active group.

7. The Fletcher Prince Blog.  Like I wasn’t going to recommend my own blog! :)  620 blog posts, people. I’m just saying….

8. The blog for PRofessional Solutions, LLC (client) disseminates the wisdom of Kate Perrin and Melanie Jordan, who manage the DC area’s only public relations staffing firm.   They deal everyday with companies and job seekers, and they know their stuff.  Both women are excellent writers, and yes, I would say that even if they were not my clients! :) These are also influential contacts to get to know and emulate.  I know I often think: “What would Kate or Melanie do/say now?” That’s how savvy they are.

9. Ami Neiberger-Miller writes The PR Toolkit for Nonprofits.  Ami started her professional career as a journalist and you can tell: she really is a wonderful and intelligent writer.   She has such a broad wealth of public relations experience and knowledge to draw on, and she is a committed blogger.  Of course, nonprofit PR is huge in DC.  Ami is another DC PR pro people should really get to know.

10. Amanda Miller Littlejohn is another DC area independent who also got her start as a journalist.  Amanda’s blog posts on Mopwater + Media Notes are thought-provoking and often inspiring, which is appropriate since she likes to help people build their personal brands.   This is an especially useful blog for students and young professionals to start reading on a regular basis, because Amanda also interviews public relations professionals about their jobs, and shares job openings.

11. Another local independent, Denise Graveline, has two excellent PR blogs.  I directed them to The Eloquent Woman for its unique focus on public speaking. What communicator would not benefit from public speaking tips and anecdotes?

12. And last but not least, I recommend the blog, Mr. Media Training.  I have never met the author, Brad Phillips, but I think his PR expertise makes his blog subscription-worthy.  One thing that impresses me about this prolific blogger is how he hops right on a news story or breaking development, so I enjoy those current events insights, as well.  I think it would be an excellent addition to any student’s (0r professional’s) daily reading to do list.

 

Should your business start a blog?

Can we talk about blogs for a moment?

Okay, first of all: some perspective.  A blog is not as critical to your business as, say, a logo, or a website.  You can run a business or have a nonprofit without having a blog.  Just like you can manage a business and not use advertising, or signage.

Benefits of blogging for your business or nonprofit

But blogs help. Blogs are terrific for your SEO, because all that text is searchable and all those pages link back to you.  Posting timely, helpful and interesting blog posts that people read helps you build an audience of potential clients or supporters.  They keep coming back because you’re offering value to them.

Another important benefit of creating a blog for your company is that, perhaps more than any other tactic, blogs establish you as a subject matter expert.  So, as you demonstrate again and again that you know your stuff, blogs can help you achieve that incredible marketing attribute of trust among your clients, potential clients, supporters, and even the media.

An additional benefit of blogs is that they are share-able.  It’s very easy to share blog content with a friend, through email, Twitter, Facebook, or bookmarking sites.  So your readers help expand your audience for you.

Do you have an audience for your company blog?

There are few conditions that need to be in place for blogs to work well as a marketing tactic.  The most important reason to start a blog is because you believe the people you really want to reach will find value in reading online articles about topics related to your company and industry. A minimum requirement is they have to enjoy reading about that topic.

For blogs to make sense for your business or organization, your existing and potential clients/supporters must have the time and ability to access the Internet.  This is not quite a universal tendency.  Your customers or supporters just may not happen to be online article-readers.

Still, for most companies and nonprofits, there are enough CEOs, journalists, and influencers who read online articles that will make it worth your while to create a branded blog for your company.

Of course, at Fletcher Prince, we are wildly enthusiastic about blogs and what they can accomplish.  I’ve been blogging since 2006 and I have several blogs myself.   This is the 605th blog post I’ve written for Fletcher Prince.  I’ve created blogs for clients and I’ve taught people how blog and manage blogs.  But if you think your target audiences won’t read and value your blog, then consider other marketing approaches, such as advertising, or video.

The ingredients of a successful blog

Let’s say that you believe there is an audience for your blog, and you are potentially interested in creating a blog, or making over your existing blog.  What else do you need to take into consideration?

Well, blogs work when the writing works.  People who are passionate about their topic make good writers.  So if you have someone in your organization who loves to write, may already be blogging, and is passionate about your company, you have a tremendous resource on your hands.

However, that resource may require some tending to reach its full potential.  Plenty of bloggers start well, but stop blogging on a regular basis.  An organized blogger is just as important as a creative one.

How can you sustain the blog effort over time?  You approach it like any other long-term marketing strategy.   It would be helpful, for example, to start with a plan that outlines your goals, topics, audiences, timelines, team, and promotional tactics.   You may find that an editorial calendar organizes your efforts.  What you will discover is that blogging is a commitment of time, talent, and resources.  It has to pay off for it to be worth it, and those benefits may be long-term, rather than immediate.  So some faith and patience is also required.

Fletcher Prince can help your company blog get off to a great start

At Fletcher Prince, we can’t create the passion in those writers for you.  People either love to write or they don’t.  But we can coach them, help them get organized, teach them how to write for online audiences, help develop a blog plan and an editorial calendar, design and launch the blog, and show you how to track and measure results.

Talk to us if you’d like us to help you launch a blog, makeover your existing blog, or coach your team to become expert bloggers.

To live tweet, or not live tweet: that is the question

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Just put away the smartphone!

Joan Stewart posted a great opinion article on her blog, The Publicity Hound, last week on live tweeting.  Joan made the points that live tweeting during a presentation takes away from the experience, as a participant.  For example, while live tweeting, an attendee can miss points made during the presentation.

Live Tweeting Can Throw Off a Presenter

You know, giving a presentation is not easy!  It takes a lot of focus and nerve.  That’s the reason why I request that people not take photos during my presentations (although they usually do, anyway). But live tweeting is worse.  When I’m up there in front of an audience, it is slightly unnerving to see people bent over their Blackberrys and iPhones.  I don’t know if they’re live tweeting, or bored and checking their email, or what.  As a speaker, you need nonverbal cues and facial feedback from your participants — are you losing your audience?  Should you pick up the pace?  Did they get that last point, or do they seem to need clarification?  So I think paying attention and being in the moment is respectful to the speaker.

Live Tweets Lack Perspective of the Presentation as a Whole

In my experience, looking at the live tweets that have posted after my talk, I have also found that people who live tweet my presentations often focus on superficial details, and I can see where they’re missing points mid-stream.  They are basically missing the forest for the trees by focusing on the micro, instead of processing the whole.   Live tweeting can get a little “high school.”  It’s the digital equivalent of passing notes in class.  I’ve had people live tweet about my appearance (in a complimentary way, still, it’s beside the point of my talk), or about the kinds of pictures I use in my slides.

I see other drawbacks with live tweets, in addition to the ones you mentioned. Some people approach live tweeting like court reporting, recording every point, and I think that’s a mistake.  Once, I reiterated a point, and someone made a snarky tweet that I was repeating myself — but he was tweeting almost every statement I made!  But in presentations, repeating main points is important.

Live Tweets Are Not Effective Communication
I also think live tweeting can be a disservice to your Twitter followers.  Your followers may appreciate your insights from a presentation they can’t attend, but when that report is coming across the stream in disjointed bits and pieces, interrupted by other tweets — well, that’s just not effective communication.  (This is the same reason why I don’t like Twitter chats.)

Live Tweets Do Not Help Your Personal Brand

When I think about activities that enhance your image and raise awareness of your personal brand online, live tweeting is not one strategy that comes to mind.  That’s because Tweets have such a short life span, and almost no search engine results value at all.  That’s a lot of effort that could be diverted into blogging.  How much better would it be to take a few notes, snap a photo afterwards (with permission), and then write a blog post about your takeaways, which would elevate both you and the speaker (and wouldn’t evaporate from search engine results, the way tweets do).  Then you could tweet the link to your blog post.

Live Tweeting May Make You Less Social

To be sure, live tweeting can be distancing.  One thing I’ve noticed: live tweeters rarely come up to me and introduce themselves, before or after a presentation.  But bloggers almost invariably do.  It could be just my personal experience, but in a way, I think live tweeting can make you less social.

Live Tweeting is Probably Here to Stay

As a speaker, I can’t really do anything to discourage live tweeting.  It’s something people are going to want to do, and I don’t think collecting phones (some do!) or asking people not to live tweet is practical.  But I may think of ways to give preference to bloggers who connect with me, such as recognition, preferential seating, good quality photos, and special attention.

What are your thoughts on live tweeting?  Do you feel it adds to the experience, or takes away from it?

Blogging Tips Video Presentation from Social Media Week DC

Do you blog for work?  Do you find it difficult to blog on a regular basis? Do you ever run out of ideas?  Do you wish you had more readers for your blog?

In this Social Media Week DC presentation, Mary Fletcher Jones of Fletcher Prince http://www.FletcherPrince.com will talk about the marketing advantages of blogging for your business, agency, or nonprofit organization, and identify some of the common challenges associated with blogging.

Mary will suggest practical planning and writing tips, engagement strategies, and topic ideas.

Please excuse the production quality of this video.  I used footage from our Livestream broadcast which required a web cam, so the image quality is not the best. I did insert the slides, though!  So, hopefully you will find it useful, if you were unable to watch last week.

The content level in this presentation is appropriate for people who are new to blogging, beginning bloggers, and intermediate-level bloggers.

This session was recorded live at Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, Virginia on February 14, 2012

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.

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