July 17, 2007

Over one hundred marketing bloggers collaborate on charity e-book

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103 marketing professionals from around the globe, all of whom blog, have collaborated to create an e-book, profits of which will go towards helping the Variety children’s charity.

Initiated by Drew McLellan from Iowa and Gavin Heaton from Sydney, they came up with the topic – “The Age of Conversation” – and charity after a three email exchange, and then invited other marketing professionals to commit to write essays about conversation.

Within seven days, 103 had committed.

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Are You Losing Readers? Why?

A commenter on my blog recently blamed closing down her blog on her readers abandoning her. She said that was the only reason she gave up on her blog.

I believe the theory that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Blogs are not immune to that theory. Her readers didn’t just abandoned her. Something happened to drive them away.

While I don’t have the facts in her case, it got me thinking about what bloggers may be doing to lose readers.

It’s true that there is more competition than ever among blogs. Readers have tons of blogs from which to choose. With the vast numbers, it’s natural that there will be some attrition as readers have more blogs to read.

However, let’s address the issue of what causes readers to leave and not return.
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July 16, 2007

Ni Hao! The Blog Herald China Launches!

We here at the Blog Herald always look for ways to reach out to more people. Last March we launched the Blog Herald Japan. Considering that English may not exactly be the most prevalent language in the blogosphere today, I think it was a good move. According to Technorati, Japanese language blogs account for 37% of posts, while English comes at a close second at 36%.

Our sister site, 901am, also launched its own Japanese edition based on the same premise. What’s great is that both Japanese versions are humanly translated, so the context is not lost in machine-translation, which tends to be too literal.

But what about the other 27%? We thought it was worth our while to expand into even more markets. Third biggest in terms of language is Chinese, at about 8% (I think the Chinese market is potentially bigger than the 8% estimated by Technorati, though). So the next logical move would be to open an edition in Chinese.

With this we are proud to announce the launch of the Blog Herald China Edition.

Similar to Blog Herald Japan, the China edition is humanly translated into Mandarin. We hand-picked featured columns for translation to be sure we reach the intended market with content that is relevant to them, and that is timeless. These include tips and tutorials on better blogging, blog monetization, and taking advantage of social media, among others.

We started translated our archives dating back to Splashpress Media’s acquisition of the Blog Herald, and translation into Mandarin by our in-house translator is an ongoing activity. The China edition uses the same theme as the English, but modified a bit given the difference how Chinese characters appear onscreen. We are still doing some tweaks and optimizations and are yet uploading some of the more recent articles, so please bear with us. We target to catch up with current posting soon.

With this development, we are also considering creating original content in Mandarin. We have already started posting China-specific articles, care of a contributor based in mainland China, and we intend to keep this up, perhaps taking in other contributors to help out.

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Blogging On The iPhone Part 1

Apple’s iPhone has been touted as delivering the full Internet to a mobile device and of course what would the Internet be without a little Blogging action? Here are some tips to help you get your Blogging (pocket Blogging?) started on the iPhone.

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Following up on a Cease and Desist

You’ve tracked down a plagiarist or someone else who is misusing your content. Upset, frustrated and perhaps a bit angry, you send them a letter demanding they stop.

However, no matter if your letter was written off the cuff and angry, intended as a polite request or created using a stock letter, there is a chance the person receiving it might act unfavorably.

The letter can bounce, be ignored or, perhaps worst of all, generate a negative response from the plagiarist, either in private or in public.

The simple truth is that, as plagiarism and content theft has shifted away from individuals seeking praise to profiteers seeking an easy living, the cease and desist letter has become less and less useful.

The odds of a favorable response to a cease and desist letter have dropped drastically and it is more important than ever to have a plan of attack for when it doesn’t work.

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Happy birthday blogging? Ten years old, apparently

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The Wall Street Journal has proclaimed that the blog is now 10 years old, and they’ve picked on twelve people to divulge what blogs mean to them.

I’m not convinced that Jorn Barger was quite so revolutionary as to have created the first blog in 1997, as I was reading reverse-chronological web pages way before then – as far back as 1994. Nevertheless, it’s the likes of Barger, Dave Winer, and Cameron Barrett that have been crowned as the first real bloggers, according to WSJ.

The WSJ does a fair job of waxing lyrical about the decade-long history of blogging, and as readers of the Blog Herald, I’m sure you don’t need it all repeating here.

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Writing and Publishing Code in Your WordPress Blog Posts

The issue of publishing code in WordPress blogs continues to be one that people struggle with. You find or develop code for WordPress, javascript, PHP, CSS, HTML, etc., and want to share it with your readers. Yet, when they copy and paste the code to use, it won’t work. They poke and punch the code but it won’t work.

Why?

By default, PHP, HTML, Javascript, and other web programming code will do one or both of two things when included in its original code format inside of a WordPress blog post:

  1. Act like code, trying to initiate the code commands, resulting in unpredictable and ugly web page generation.
  2. Be filtered out and leave gapping holes and messed up content.

Either way, it’s not pretty.

Many assume that if they use the <code> or <pre> HTML tags that the code will automatically look and act like content in a code format. Unless you are using a WordPress Plugin that automatically converts anything in those tags to a text code format, all you are doing is changing the font not the structure of the letters and symbols within the code.
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July 13, 2007

3 Reasons Why Blogging *is* Open Source Marketing

Today I’m trying something new. As you’re reading this post, I will be immersed in a conversation with a group of bloggers at blog|Philadelphia, an unconference. So it is quite fitting that my chosen topic be open source marketing.

I’ll get right to it. The three main reasons why blogging is open source marketing.

Blogging as News Broadcasting — Your Feed, Live all the Time

Many of you are used to the concept of live blogging –- you go to a conference, and blog about it as the event takes place; your readers enjoy the news as you hit the “publish” button. Notes taken this way serve your audience only in part.

It takes a while for you to process the fresh content you’re learning and mesh it with what you already know, and your post may not end up capturing the essential piece of the live experience –- the conversation and its dynamics. One of the most powerful aspects of joining the conversation is that you’re learning about what you think as you go.

If you’re busy typing, in your haste not to loose the thread of your writing, you are not present to the thread of the talking. One ear is busy listening to your internal talk about the subject matter; the other is busy keeping up. Your attention is divided. And you may lose the nuances and lessons contained in the voices of other attendees.

Consider what would happen if you posted about the subject matter of the conference before attending and then came back with a follow up post afterwards. Yes, this would require more work on your part. Researching the speakers and topics, figuring out who else is going to be there, etc. Think how much better your posts would be.

In fact, I would like to propose that you are blogging live all the time, you just never thought of it that way. The insights, lessons, and tips you include in your posts are streaming from your thinking as it occurs, while it is processing information. When someone links to you, you’re not only making the news, you are the news.

Blogging as Self Publishing -– Your Expertise for Finding (and Sale)

The term open source was born to identify a set of principles and practices created to provide access to the design and production of goods and knowledge. It popularized the concept of making source code available to allow users to create software content through incremental individual effort or through collaboration.

From term to culture, this concept would not have been alive today without the Internet. Online you have access to an even greater array of inexpensive digital media and tools and are granted an unprecedented access to other users. Both the platform and the tools make it extremely easy for anyone to become a publisher today.

Do you want to become a self published author? Start a blog. This will give you the discipline to write on a regular basis. Your readers will provide the essential stimulation and measurement through feedback and a challenge to think harder. Have you noticed how much easier it is to produce better content when we’re part of an active dialogue?

If you look for a couple of recent examples of books published as a result of conversations launched on blogs, look no further than The Long Tail by Chris Anderson and The No Asshole Rule by Bob Sutton*. To date, the only author that I know of who published a book collecting blog posts successfully is Seth Godin with Small is the New Big. He demonstrated that it can be done.

Are your posts well thought out and of high quality? The beauty of blogs is that they are rich in content that nobody sees more than once. Dig into your archives and you will find plenty of material that showcases your expertise. That can be repurposed, it’s yours. And it can help you reinforce your brand and sell your expertise.

Blogging as Relationship Builders – Talk is not Cheap, the Tools are

When you talk about the fact that you blog with family and friends who don’t, they might look at you strange and question your sanity. There are some days when you question it yourself, I’m sure. “Why do you need to spend so much time online when we’re right here?” It’s a good argument.

Because they are tools that allow conversations in real time, blogs are a great way to build relationships with many professionals all over the world. Where else can you find subject matter experts just a few keystrokes away? Relationships are important for the health and wealth of your business.

So why are relationships so important? People recommend people they know. People work with people they respect. People do business with people they like.

When your friends ask you if blogs are places where you can form relationships, what do you say? I suggest that you reply that talk is indeed not cheap, the tools are.

So here we are. You reading this post while I’m having a conversation with a group of smart professionals who want to learn more about why blogging is open source marketing *and* are helping me define what that means in real time. For now, remember:

1. Your feed, live all the time
2. Your expertise for finding (and sale)
2. Talk is not cheap, the tools are

UPDATE: The main impetus for publishing The No Asshole Rule was the e-mail reaction (personal emails sent to Mr. Sutton, not blogs) to a short Harvard Business Review article that he published in 2004. Blog attention ignited by an early interview on Guy Kawasaki’s blog drove early Amazon sales, which then got the traditional press interested and encouraged traditional book stores to carry the book.

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10 Minute Blog Tips: Why a Dragnet Approach Makes a Lousy Blogger

Do you remember the catch phrase? “Just the facts, Ma’am” This might work in the fictional world of crime-fighting, but in blogging the only thing you are going to catch with that approach is some sleep.

Today’s 10 Minute Tip?

How to impart information without sedating your audience …
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Are Tags Working?

Are blog tags working? Are they working for your blog? As a blog reader, do you use them to search a blog when you visit? Do you visit Technorati and search through their tags for information, or do you just hit the search engines?

We’ve been playing with tags on our blogs for about three years or so and I’m wondering if they are still working.

Categories work. I use categories all the time on the blogs I visit. They represent the content on the blog, directing me to categories of information I may be interested in. I also use them as identifiers on the expertise of the blogger. If the categories are related, they must know what they are blogging about. I see categories as your blog’s table of contents.

Tags, however, are more like your blog’s index words. They are micro-categories. Do you use them when you visit a blog? I’m not and I’m wondering why.
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