Tag Archives: Delicious

Better Blog Project 2: Goals and Support

benefits of setting goals on blackboardThis is post number  in the Better Blog November Challenge, or #BtrBlogNov that I declared a few weeks ago. Twenty plus p eople have signed on to this free project because we all want to improve the quality/quantity/range of our blogs and blog posts. This is the first set of  info & exercises.

Link 2 #BtrBlogNov intro post: http://bit.ly/jmSOM

Link to Twitter list of people who re giving it a try:  http://bit.ly/4iLz2Z

Reminder of main monthly goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts depending on which our site needs most

Here is Monday’s Nov. 2, Better Blog Project (TM)- A little bit of strategy can inform and strengthen your blog writing. By the way, I am doing the exercises too:

  • Identify our blogging goals
  • Create basic structure to capture our ideas when/where we find them – that works for you
  • Resources for finding blog ideas
  • Blogging Goals – Write down why you are writing your blog, try for 3 to 5 reasons.
    • Try and jot your own ideas down first. Then look at the list below afterwards. Then of your 3-5 goals – rank them in order – think about which of these goals will help you create a Better Blog then keep that in mind when writing your posts. Maybe put it on a sticky note on your computer screen:
      • Some goals: To reinforce your brand, increase your/your company’s name recognition online; to get more readers; to share information about a certain field, niche, or trend; to sell products, get clients, customers, or find business partners; to promote a cause; to monetize your blog and make money directly; to explore a topic; to find connections with others; to get speaking gigs; to learn bout the process of blogging; to get asked to blog for other larger sites; to get freelance writing gigs; or to get a fulltime job etc.
      • Most probably it will be a mix of several of these goals, but as above – ranks the top three and find a mix or balance that will help you create a better blog.
    • Explore your old blog posts, at least the titles to see where you have been, where there are holes you can fill, duplicates to trim, ruts you got in, gaps you left (in the topic, or in time). See what patterns (both good and bad) you can find.
    • Extra Credit: If you are very motivated, and have a blog statistics package set up for your blog (WordPress blog stats or Google Analytics), check them out – find out which posts have been more popular – see what keywords people used to find your site or a post. Don’t get overwhelmed; we might come back to this one later with more detail.
  • Exercise: Create two documents to support your play/work with your blog, in whatever way works for you
    • A document for blog ideasA computer file in which you jot down blog ideas, possible titles, a few sentences, and where you can copy & paste links into the file for reference. Create a shortcut and save it to your computer desktop, so you can open it quickly when you have an idea. I can tell you how, if you don’t know how to do that, or what that is. (also carry a paper notebook around with you to catch those ideas too). Why on the computer for most of us, for me, if I write the whole post on paper, then try and rewrite it on the computer, I can get lazy, it seems boring, I find excuses to avoid it. Your choice. I’ll have another trick in Monday’s version of this email.
    • A Document for the strategy part of crafting a better blog. This can either be on paper, or on the computer, but you want a place for your musings, brainstorming, where you can see the arc of you blogging as it unfolds during our explorations. Suggestion: One file & one notebook, not 3 notebooks – then it’s hard to find what you are looking for. (Tip, if you jot an idea down on a scrap of paper, instead of rewriting it (which I sometimes avoid doing, or end up losing it) instead: just tape or staple it into your main notebook). This is a clarification – thanks to @ NJDreaming – one of our BBP bloggers.
    • Start using these files/notepad today -when you get the seed of an idea, train yourself to jot it down, now (as long as it is safe, like you’re not driving or operating a train or something. ;~)

Resources & Tools:

    • Tools that may help you remember blog post ideasEvernote: http://www.evernote.com/, http://www.rememberthemilk.com/, http://www.delicious.com/. Or your cell phone – use the reminders function, or send yourself a text, or an email: indicate “blog idea” in the subject line (create a folder/label to store these).
    • I’m creating a Delicious.com account to save interesting articles on blogging as inspiration to all of us. You don’t have to sign up for Delicious in order to read my Better Blog Project Delicious files. I have saved the above noted links to my new Delicious account: www.Delicious.com/BetterBlogProject.
    • Extra Credit: I suggest you also start your own free Delicious account, as a way to bookmark cool articles to reference/link to in posts, comment on, or just learn from. Be sure to keep your tags/keywords simple to help you find items later. If it is by a popular blogger I make their name (or twitter name) one keyword, and month/yr as another.
      • Note: Delicious is now working with yahoo, if you don’t already have a yahoo account, you will have to set one up to create a Delicious account. Sorry, it’s new. Tips, create it, when it confirms your account details, at bottom hit: Edit Marketing Preferences- a uncheck all of them (your choice); also check the notifications and decide if you want to hide your profile (i.e. – only use it for Delicious.com, or create another social networking out post) and what notifications you want sent to your new yahoo email account. To keep active you have to login and do something once every 4 months or they can delete the account. Also go to my profile and check hide my age (which it automatically displays). That sounds complicated, but will save you from getting a bunch of junk.
      • Then continue and create your Delicious page, which is much easier. Say yes to the toolbar, then when you find a post you want to save, just hit Tag, login (I rarely log out) and it saves it for you, you add keywords so you can find it later. Cool!

Happy Blogging – No pressure just take what you find useful and move it forward!

I have to add two more inspirations behind this project – @problogger Darren Rowse‘s 31 Days to a better Blog in 2007 (link is on Delicious page and will be in Wednesday’s info, he also has an updated ebook version for $19.95 Click here to view more details ) and http://www.nanowrimo.org/ National Novel Writing Month (also in November) – I thought if people can write a novel in a month, we can improve our blogs in a month!

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Web Savvy PR Tip #4 Comment Before You Link

Do you think before you link (or retweet a link on Twitter)? Commenting before you post a link to any social site can be a great online PR tactic

This is a part of my how to series on Twitter.com: #WebSavvyPRTip 4: Think B4 U Link: Commenting on a post B4 you link 2 it can be a good PR strategy. http://websavvypr.com/category/pr-tips/ 4 more

Before posting the link of someone else’s good blog post to a social networking or social bookmarking site (like Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, LinkedIn or other such sites) – think. If it is a post that fits the interest of your audience (readers, customers, clients, friends) consider commenting on the post before you link to it. Then your audience gets to see your POV, hence expanding the reach of your brand or company. This also shows that you know what they are interested in by exposing your followers/friends to a great blog post that may be of interest to them.

Now, this strategy will have it’s detractors, and can be misused. Hence my “think before you link.”

First – be sure it is a topic you are interested in, your readers are interested in, and be sure that your comment can add something to the conversation on that blog (not just be looked at as spammy by the post’s author or that site’s readers). Feel free to comment on any blog you want, but if you are looking to expand the reach of your brand – by using this technique: by commenting, then posting the link on a social networking site in which you have built a community – choose wisely. Be thoughtful/selective about the posts to comment on and link to. Is it in your area of expertise? Will it help find new readers/clients? Will it look like you are trying to horn in on someone else’s territory. This commenng idea may sound cold, or calculating, but done right, it is a four way win/win situation: for you & your audience, and for the blogger and his or her readers.

The Pros of commenting on the right post before lining to it:

  • It creates opportunities for conversation – or engaging with people – and that’s the foundation of social networking.
  • It builds your brand (when you fill out the comment form on the blog – fill in your name or social media username and your website/blog URL).
  • It also establishes your credibility – allowing you to share your expertise briefly, and exposes that blog’s readers to your point of view, as well as your own audience. Think share info, not show-off.
  • It shares the love – the interactivity of comments are the solar power that makes this “social media electricity” work. It’s a part of what separates a static website from a dynamic blog. It’s also a way to “pay it forward” as they say. The last time I commented on a blog, I had several readers of that blog head over to my site and comment on a post there.
  • It can help build a connection with another blogger, be they big-wig, newbie or just another blogger like us, or even with another person who commented on the post too.
  • Many folks have said that social networking sites are killing blogs – that people comment on Twitter and Digg, and not on the blog itself. Sure it happens, but why not do both – I have seen them act synergistically or work well together to move a client’s brand forward.
  • Everyone likes good comments on their blogs, it. But be sure it is a “good comment.” I suggest not writing a throw away comment like “great post” (although I enjoy getting these on my blog too, and they are fine for the new or shy person commenting early on, but that is under-utilizing the potential power of comments ). Good comments add value to the conversation; they move it forward. That is, they provide useful information that either expands on the original post, provides additional info on the idea, confirms the original post with additional info, or provides a different POV on the subject among other things. Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog, might it get more people to engage here, on this blog? If so, then make it.
  • If more folks did this, it might increase the interactivity on many blogs. If you have gotten used to the 140-160 character limits on Twitter (and Facebook/Linked in Status updates), it gives you a chance to briefly expand on an idea.

The Cons of commenting on a post before linking:

  • You can be seen as a Comment SPAMMER That is – don’t comment something bland and put a link to your own site – that’s the basic definition of “Comment SPAM.”
  • Your comments are “searchable” via Google & Yahoo– your comments can show up when a prospective client searches for your name/company– make them count. If you tear into a blogger with a different POV than yours, it can come back to haunt you. That client seeing your venting may decide they don’t want to work with someone like that; or by being taken out of context; or by starting a “flame war,” a series of comments back and forth that begins to remind you of the schoolyard when you were ten. Intelligent healthy debate – builds your brand integrity, peeing matches are just that.
  • Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog? Or is it the equivalent of the guy who comes to the party and talks so loudly about his own “stuff,” that people start avoiding him. Don’t be the blow hard.
  • Read the other comments on the blog post, be sure you are not duplicating what others have said already, or if you are weighing in – reference other comments above – to show you read them, and are not a spammer.
  • As your brand’s audience grows, if you ONLY comment on blogs where it is sure to drive traffic back to your site – that is a kind of link bait or comment SPAM- and can diminish the quality of your brand in your own audience’s eyes, or in that of a prospective customer, and that blogger.

So – Think before you Link, and Comment First if Appropriate:

  1. Comment on appropriate blog posts in ways that expand your brand, and add value to the conversation;
  2. Then post the link to your favorite social media or social networking site (How to do this effectively may be fodder for another post);
  3. Don’t forget to check the blog’s comment stream later (many allow you to sign up to receive e-mail when more comments are made). Someone may be trying to engage you in further conversation – that’s when you know you’ve hit the right note. Don’t be a hit-and-run commenter.

Feel free to share your @twitter name or Twitter link when commenting on my blog. That does not equal spam for me; It helps further opportunities to connect.

By Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com, find me on Twitter; I am an online and traditional PR consultant, with many  years of Public Relations experience, and a social media guide. I help individuals and small businesses find the right strategies and tools for their business to help expand the reach of their brand. I can help you: create a blog or add one to your existing website; learn to use social media tools and social networking software to get the word out about what you do; and help you reach out to traditional media outlets to tell your story. 484-802-7576, See my blog sidebar for other social media sites I am on and how to contact me.