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August 16, 2007

Time Wasting Blog Comments, Comments Policies, and Comment Etiquette

In Terms of Use and Universal Comment Link Philosophy, guest blogger, John Pozadzides, laments the need for a comments policy on your blog:

…for the last several days my blog was being absolutely accosted by what seemed to be terrible, evil comment spammers, and the Marine in me was ready to go on the warpath. All of these comments started showing up (like 100 per day) with commercial URLs in place of the Author link, and we were deleting them left and right.

…Then some of the new visitors who had been commenting profusely started questioning why all of their posts were being deleted both in the blog’s comments and via the contact form.

At first I just couldn’t believe I needed to explain why they were being moderated. But it turns out that these visitors were completely unaware that they were violating basic blog etiquette. So I instated (and then clarified) some Terms of Use on the blog and lo and behold much of the problem seems to have gone away.

This got me thinking – why don’t all blogs have Terms of Use posted on them? I mean, are we expecting commenters to just know by osmosis what they should and should not be doing?

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August 14, 2007

The Art of Guest Blogging: Blog Your Best Writing

I recently had a guest blogger tell me that he’d give me anything he came up with that didn’t line up with his own blog, any one-offs he wanted to write about that he didn’t want.

This told me several things about the blogger. First, he wanted the best for himself, which is fair. And second, he considered guest blogging of little benefit. Or at least that guest blogging on my blog wouldn’t give him much benefit.

Graphic Copyright Lorelle VanFossen - Reminder - a guest blog post is my resumeWhen you guest blog, your blog post is a resume you are putting out to the world that publicly states who you are, what you can do, what you know, why you are good at what you do, and why should people come to visit you for more.

If you don’t deliver your best, do you think people will follow? And what does that say about the relationship between you and the host blogger?

Guest blogging pushes your writing skills to the limit. It also pushes your communications ability, if you want to frame your blog post in a way to generate comments.

As part of this ongoing series on Learning the Art of Guest Blogging, let’s explore why and how you should give your guest blogging gigs your very best work.
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August 2, 2007

Learning the Art of Guest Blogging

I’ve just announced that I’m going to do two months of celebrating blogging and WordPress on in honor of the second anniversary of and my blog.

The idea is to create a two month “party” on the blog with a bunch of guest bloggers. In August, they will be blogging about blogging only, and I’ll add any WordPress-related news that might come up, and the whole month of September will be non-stop WordPress Tips.

However, I realized that while I have been a guest blogger on many blogs, I really know little or nothing about administrating guest bloggers. I know how to add users and authors to my blogs. Even dead ones. I know how to ask people for help, but there is a lot of learning that is going to be happening over the next two months as I coordinate all these bloggers, and continue to provide the information my readers come to read.

So while I’m researching and experiencing this last minute decision of mine, I’d love your tips and advice on how to handle guest bloggers.
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May 16, 2007

Blogging: A Core Competency For New Media Professionals?

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It might be. And it can certainly be a factor in you getting hired. Case in point: Joel Postman, whose experience was recently catalogued in the San Francisco Examiner.

On the other hand, its a story that’s worth reading closely. The story is not, for example, of an anonymous blogger with no work or prior experience who started a blog which led to him getting hired into a great position at a communications company.

No, Mr. Postman’s story is that of a blogger who had a degree in journalism, who was already at HP and pioneered a blogging initiative at that company. There’s no surprise then, that he was hired into a communications firm with the purposely ambiguous title of “Director of Emerging Media”, with a mandate to help evangelize blogging amongst the firm’s clients.

While I don’t know if having a blog, or having a familiarity with blogs is a required competency for new media professionals, one would think that it would help.  On the other hand, while blogging is a tool which is clearly recognized by public relations and marketing professionals as important there’s still a disconnect between what is regarded as important, and what actions are actually taken to embrace it as a tool.

Mr. Postman took advantage of this disconnect by embracing it at his old company, which I think is fantastic.  On the other hand, one does wonder blogging as a medium is no longer “new”, and *does* become something that is required, rather than regarded as something new and ground breaking.

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May 11, 2007

Micro-Marketing

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Something I’ve been thinking about recently, and talking to clients about, is the ability Web 2.0 and the idea of the social Web gives them (and us) the ability to track conversations about them and their industry.

It’s not that this sort of peer-to-peer chatter hasn’t happened before, or that companies haven’t been trying to generate buzz around them before – in fact many companies spend huge amounts of marketing dollars on companies such as Bzz Agent and Agent Wildfire to build up excitement – it’s the fact that every online conversation is indexed and is searchable.

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May 4, 2007

Public Relations Is…

In the short time I’ve been writing here at the BH, I’ve occasionally used my bi-weekly column to gripe about PR and the new age of the web we’re calling Web 2.0. In our haste to try to reinvent the press release, convince our clients to podcast their AGM or industry conference, and culling lists of “influential” bloggers in order to hawk the latest goods and services for our clients, we might be forgetting what public relations is truly all about: the client.

If it seems obvious, it bears repeating: our jobs as PR professionals is to satisfy the client. By this I certainly don’t mean that when the client wants a news release we say “What kind of distribution would you like on that?”, as often the wrong tools are employed in certain situations because PR professionals are unwilling to speak up against such practices. If one of our responsibilities is to make sure the client is getting value for our work, then it’s certainly worth talking to them about using the right tools for the job. But, I digress… read more

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April 27, 2007

How to give a good interview

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It seems simple enough. Reporter contacts you for a quote or two to beef up an article he’s writing on a friend and business partner. All you need do is give the reporter your phone number and he’ll call you at an agreed time, you’ll have a friendly chat and he’ll try and draw something printable from your conversation.

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April 23, 2007

Public Relations and the Twitter Scandal

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By now some of you might have already read about the recent scandal involving Twitter and PR blogger Steve Rubel (of Micro Persuasion fame). Here’s how it went, straight from Steve himself in an open letter to PC Magazine‘s Editor in Chief, Jim Louderback.

Last Friday, yes Friday the 13th, I put up a post on Twitter that I wish I hadn’t. I said that I don’t read the hard copy of PC Magazine and that my free subscription goes in the trash. In a guest editorial on Strumpette you weighed whether the magazine in response should blacklist all PR pitches from Edelman, my employer, on behalf of our tech clients.

I learned a valuable lesson. Post too fast without providing context and it can elicit an unintended response. While the item is true, it does not reflect my full media consumption habits. I subscribe to PC Mag RSS feeds and have linked to several of your publication’s online articles over the three years I have been writing this blog. Further, I have linked to articles from eWeek, your sister site.

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April 20, 2007

PR Strategies and Tactics

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You wouldn’t dive head-first into a pool without knowing how deep the water is, would you?

Public relations practitioners are focused on getting things done. “Let’s put out a news release!” or “Let’s start a blog!” are the quick-fix answers to questions like “How are we going to communicate this message to our publics?” when the real need is for careful planning before these questions should even come up. read more

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April 13, 2007

So, Public Relations…what DO you do all day?

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“PR? Bunch of champagne charlies and sloane rangers harassing journalists and going out for long boozy lunches? That’s an easy job!”

So said one of my friends when I got my first job in public relations. In truth, I agreed with her, despite my complete lack of knowledge of the industry and the people who worked in it.

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