Three Blogging Lessons We Can Learn From Public Relations

how blogging can benefit from public relations

how blogging can benefit from public relations

Blogging is a practice that can draw from a series of different ways to get your companies name out there. By learning from other channels the best ways to connect with your customers, you can translate these lessons into blog posts and strategy.

Public relations is one of these areas where there is a lot of information and strategy that can be translated into blogging. From events to creating buzz about your company’s action, public relations capitalizes on telling your target audience what you want them to know. Successful blogging can do the same by aiming to educate and provide information to your customers, without seeming overly pushy.

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How Two Guys and a Cement Mixer Changed How Bloggers Think

Cart-Away-Concrete logo

On , I just published “The Real Benefits of Sponsoring a WordCamp” which highlighted one of the most talked about exhibitors at Blog World Expo in Las Vegas a few weeks ago: Bruce Christensen and Tom Vail of Cart-Away Concrete.

While most of the exhibitors at Blog World Expo were there to promote their products and services to the mass of bloggers in attendance, Tom and Bruce were there for a different reason. They were there to learn.

So many events and conferences bring together a lot of people with a marketing agenda. They want to sell products and services and make money. Tom and Bruce of Cart-Away Concrete showed up at this blogging conference with their portable cement mixer and said, “We don’t have anything for you to buy. We came here to learn.”

That’s right. They just came to learn from everyone who walked through the Las Vegas Convention Center Exhibition Hall over the course of the three day event. They aren’t bloggers, they aren’t web hosts, they aren’t marketers, or guys with cool blog gadgets. They are construction experts in equipment and concrete. How many bloggers have a huge commercial construction project underway and would need them? Hmmm?

No, they were there to learn. They could hire someone to teach them what to do and set up their blogs and social media services to promote their franchise and contractor business, but that’s not what they wanted. They wanted to learn from everyone in this new online social media business.

And they did. [Read more…]

Several years later, the Washington Posts notices that blogs are being used for Marketing

I’d say that the Washington Post has been living under a rock, since they are just now writing about how marketing is moving to the blogosphere in an article for today’s edition:

Bethesda’s Honest Tea launched its blog in late 2005 as a way to get close to customers. With a name like Honest Tea, chief executive Seth Goldman said, “we’re trying to be as open and disclose as much information as we can.” When the company announced that Coca-Cola would acquire a 40 percent interest in the brand, many of Honest Tea’s customers who opposed the agreement took their complaints to the blog.

“We gave a very loud voice to the people who said they weren’t happy about this decision,” Goldman said.

Goldman then took one of the most thoughtful, detailed customer criticisms and responded to each point. Even if readers still didn’t agree, “The blog at least helps people see how we think about it,” Goldman said.

All that said, many companies are just now beginning to utilize the power of the internet through blogs in order to have a real dialogue – or conversation – with their customers. [Read more…]

Berocca sends out Blogger Relief Packs

Berocca Blogger Relief Pack contents

The concept may not be that new, but a couple of weeks ago a colleague introduced me to Berocca’s Blogger Relief Pack. I signed up with one of my blogs, and yesterday received the pack.

Berocca Blogger Relief Pack contents

While it’s not the complete answer to managing the stress of blogging, a tube of Berocca and a nice glass to drink it in is welcome, and the quirky stress toys are amusing enough.

I must make it clear that I’m not on any kind of commission here, though if the Blog Herald makes it onto the “featured blogs” section as a result, so much the better.

Berocca’s welcome letter says that “this is just the start of what we’ll be doing with bloggers and we have exciting plans for the future. If we’re doing something that’s cool, worth blogging about and relevant to you we’ll be in touch, but we promise we won’t spam you needlessly.”

Freebie toys and gadgets from companies are nothing new, and it’s fun to get a few perks for blogging now and again. Companies wanting to get their products in front of more niche influencers (rather than mainstream journalists and other media people) isn’t new either. I just hope that they keep it as real and as fresh as possible.

Oh, and any other companies who want to send me free food, drink, and iPhones gadgets, feel free!

Your Resume is Now Spread Across the Web

While researching information with a client regarding integration of WordPress and a popular educational, proprietary software package, we were stunned at the number of bad reviews, horror stories, and frustration with using that program – let’s call it ABC.

Finding such negative information about ABC was not our goal. We were looking for technical articles and had to wade through post titles like Overcoming ABC Frustrations, If You Want Technical Support Don’t Ask ABC, Why Teachers Hate ABC, When ABC is More Trouble Than Your Students, The Battle to Convince the School Board to Not Use ABC, Why We Hate ABC, and so on.

Frustrated with using the program herself, my client was stunned by the number of public complaints and negative rants. Stepping back to reconsider, she finally said, “Let’s change our parameters. Let’s research if WordPress integrates with a similar program, one without the bad reputation.” Once she returned to her office, she would put my project to develop a proposal to stop using this very costly program for her university and transition the school to a better program.

All because of an unrelated simple keyword search, ABC would lose over a hundred thousand dollars a year from this university now convinced that this isn’t the way to go.

While this huge economic decision was influenced by search engine results, results which may not truly reflect the quality and integrity of the program, online reputations are made and broken by what people uncover through their searches. Are you paying attention to your online reputation for your blog, business, and life?
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Bloggers Need Email To Communicate, Too

email graphic - copyright Lorelle VanFossen

email graphic - copyright Lorelle VanFossenI’ve recently had some email communications from bloggers who have seemed to forgotten that an email is not a blog comment. They seem to have forgotten how to use email as a professional communications tool.

I get a lot of email with requests for me to write about something or promote it on my blog. I also get link requests and other requests, as well as questions on blogging and WordPress, and – okay, I get a lot of email. Email is another method communication we use as web communicators, so why don’t we bloggers set an example by emailing as well, if not better, than we blog?

Before you send off your next email to another blogger, ask yourself: [Read more…]

Are You Readers Keeping You Honest?

Pamela spanked me for screwing up a link. Ian found a misspelling. Sidney got me on a PHP code error. Angie corrected a fact. Finny found four grammar errors. Andy uncovered a dead link. Barry gave me a link to a better resource.

Are your readers keeping you honest? Are they keeping track of what you are doing and letting you know when you do wrong? Are they helping you blog better?

Sure, like many, I sigh and moan when I get a blog comment that corrects my blog post, wishing the spelling police would go elsewhere, then I stop. I work my ass off to encourage readers to come back to my blog. I bust butt to give them reasons to link. It’s important to me to build a community around my blogs, so why should I whine when I’m getting what I ask for?

When I look around at the friends I label “best” in my life, they are people of all cultures and lifestyles but the have one thing in common: They tell the truth when they find it.

They are people who tell you that there is toilet paper stuck to your shoe, your slip is showing, your zipper is unzipped, you have something hanging out your nostril, and a long hair growing out of your face in a way that catches the light and makes a rainbow. Pretty, but not esthetically pleasing.
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Business School for Bloggers: How to Make Money With Your Blog

Sobcon 2007 conference meeting with attendees - photography by Lorelle VanFossen

I am frequently asked about how to make money on the web, especially how to make money with your blog. I find a wide variety of answers around the web, some of them get rich quick schemes, PageRank games, and SEO illusions, but there is only one answer that I want to shout to the roofs, but few people listen.

Blogging as a business is business. It takes business training and skills to make money with your blog.

That’s it. That’s the secret. John Chow, Guy Kawawasaki, Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, these princes of blogging didn’t get rich with their blogs by just having blogs. They used their business sense and know how to make their blogs work for them. They understood that a blog is just another tool in the business arsenal, a business card and resume all wrapped up in one, offering a business a powerful communications tool. In order to make your blog work for you, you have to understand how business works.

To have a “successful” blog and to make your blog work for you, you have to have skills and training in advertising, marketing, economics, finance, writing ability and language skills, public relations, networking, everything any business needs. These are the skills you bring it to your blog to make it a success, earning the money you deserve.
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Blogging is About Writing – and Not

Business of Blogging graphic - copyright Lorelle VanFossen

Blogging is about writing. That is a fact. You can video blog, podcast, and do all kinds of fun things with your blog, but it is the writing that makes or breaks a blog. What you say in the blog posts, descriptions of visual and audio elements, and what words you offer search engines for their indexing to help people find your blog.

However, blogging is not just about the writing, albeit it is a large part. Blogging today is about so much more. Are you ready? Do you know all the things you have to know about blogging before you start blogging? Or after?

Whether you are a new blogger or long time blogger, these are the things you are going to have to learn about in order to blog in today’s world.
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How to Talk to a Blogger

Romance Writers of America and bloggers meet to talk about web publishing - photograph copyright Lorelle VanFossenI’ve arrived in the southern part of the Mid-Western United States for WordCamp Dallas and have already started meeting fans and friends. While I love to talk blogging anywhere and any how, I’m finding it interesting how some people are having trouble talking to a blogger. This goes beyond “what is blogging?” This is when you are a blogger confronted with another blogger and you want to ask questions, but you don’t know what to say.

I’ve had people rush up, all excited to talk to me, then stumble with their words, unable to get out anything intelligent. I know they are brilliant people, but talking blogging requires some planning, especially when meeting someone you’ve come to know so well online. In person, the dynamics change. One person asked me to tell them how I got started. Hm, let’s see, how do I sum up 14 years of blog struggles in 10 seconds or less? Another person said, “Well, so what do you blog about?” Since I knew that they knew what I blogged about, we both know it’s an awkward question and that they are just trying to say something until something better comes along.

Another popular question is “Where do you find things to write about?” How do you come up with blog stories and articles? While the answer can be interesting, from one blogger to another, we know where blog stories come from: anywhere and everywhere.

While these are good questions to ask, they are not the questions bloggers should be asking other bloggers. Let’s put the nerves aside and look at some tips on how to talk to a fellow blogger about blogging.
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