Blogging with @Tearfund for #TFBloggers

Last year I went to Uganda with #TFBloggers, as we sought to share stories of the work that Tearfund does, to encourage others to support it. For 2014, there’s an opportunity for 3 more bloggers to visit Cambodia and share the work that is done there:

tfbloggers

Entries will be open from December 9th to January 5th – see the Tearfund site for how to enter.

@drbexl’s sessions at #medialit

This morning I have been presenting, using Prezi, accompanied by a number of exercises that I hope have made people think:

Hope you enjoy, and I look forward to your comments.

Blogging for Business: Tony Treacy

Wired Wessex sponsored an event by Tony Treacy on Blogging for Business on Thursday 28th May. Social Media is exploding and Tony’s right there, giving us advice via econsultants.it.

SuperFunDaysOut
In discussions with SuperFunDaysOut about taking over their blogging, Twitter and bookmarking strategies (looking forward to all that adrenaline flowing online!), I thought I’d see if there was more to learn – there always is – but was pleased to note that much of it was familiar, although I need to put more of it into practice!
Inbound/Outbound Marketing
Previously Tony had given a talk on outbound (interruption) versus inbound (permission/opt-in) marketing – with social media falling into the second category, and much the way that business now goes. How it all fits together.
Blogs, SEO, Tools
  • Blogs are outdoing the web for SEO/traffic, as they are indexed quicker, therefore move up the Google, or Technorati, chain faster. 
  • WordPress is Tony’s recommended tool for blogs, with its own analytics software. It’s free, strong, professional (around 4,500 themes), and 6000+ plug-ins available.  He particularly recommends allinone. As WordPress also functions as a CMS, can have a consistent look to website/blog.
  • Particularly recommends Ping.Fm, allowing autoupdates of all social media.
Keywords
Keywords are the key to everything, as Google is simply a database, albeit a very sophisticated one! I’ve forgotten the name of the new tool that Tony mentioned which Google are developing in response to the success of Twitter…

On a website, with organic methods, optimising and tweaking the content, it can take around 6 months to reach the top-spot in Google, but with blogs, it can be possible in 3-4 days!

Time, however, needs to be spent in the early stages to define the keywords – it’s not rocket science, but experience demonstrates that it takes around 3 days to develop this.

What do you write about?
Write about what they want to learn about, not what you want to sell (aside from any possible benefits it may have for your viewers), as it’s all about a process of relationship-building. 

Know Me -> Like Me -> Trust Me -> Buy Me

In the UK studies have shown that visitors access a site 6-7 times before they buy.

What should a post look like?
  • Internal headings (indicative of content)
  • At least one graphic
  • 500-800 words (ok, view many of my posts so far as extended reportage, rather than blogs!)
  • Lists – not too many (e.g. 10 things for x)
  • 1 idea per post, keyword related.
  • The headline should assume that the reader won’t read the article.
  • Can surprise people with twists on words, etc [although I would add I'd take care not to be nothing to do with the words, as I get REALLY annoyed by that]
  • No problems with being commercial if it’s a personal opinion, clarify as such. 
  • No spelling errors!
A couple of free-ebooks are on his website

Publishing Schedule
  • 1-2 times per week and stick to it.
  • With WordPress (and probably others) can set a date to publish
  • Create keyword content/strategy.
What can you put in a post?
  • Interviews (including via email)
  • Video interviews
  • Guest posts from similar blogs (copy but provide a backlink, this is your CURATORIAL slant – pointing people to the best material)
  • “Best of” lists
  • “How do we do it” posts, including screenshots
Can you get someone else to write it?
Yes, plenty can be found on eLance, but no one knows your business as you do, and you’re missing out on participating on the conversation.

Tony, however, cited an example of tallshipsraces.org, which he took from a static site, which was targeting the 16-24 age bracket, and turned it into a site which generated great publicity/its own content, including YouTube. 

Put an RSS feed on and talk to your market. A number of US blogs are now using blogs as cusomter service. Time consuming but gets results. 

Comments
  • ="font-weight:normal;">Take comments seriously
  • Comment back – share an example, etc. (don’t just market your product). Tony recommended CommentHut for commenting (along with another product he’d forgotten the name of!), aiming for 10 comments/backlinks per day.
  • Off thought leadership.
  • Find out who people are and follow links.
  • Subscribe to blogs and follow on Twitter
  • There are pros/cons to monitoring comments, but easy with WordPress
Twitter
  • Use it as part of your blogging strategy.
  • Check out the “social media experts”, who’s following them?
  • Aim for 95% personal tweets, 5% sales, otherwise likely to be de-followed. 
  • Place Twitter URL on homepage, press releases, business card, email signatures!
Technorati
Technorati is the Google of the blogging world, so get your blog registered there. Find some big bloggers and start to link to their material (so you start to feature in their comments, etc.)

Google Reader
There’s a number of RSS feed readers [I use Newsgator], and Tony recommends Google Reader, which I use to follow blogspot blogs. 

Tony Treacy
I like Tony’s approach, offering advice to allow clients to run their own blogs! He’s passionate about what he’s doing and you can hear the excitement in his voice as he talks about the explosion of social media and how few companies can survive with a website alone!

Age Groups (Roughly!)
  • Under 35: Digital Natives
  • 35-55: Digital Immigrants
  • 55-65: Digital Aliens
  • 65 + Silver Surfers (who largely want to PhotoShop their family history then email it!)
Meantime, I’m looking forward to the end of this month when I’ll be adapting my WordPress for websites to WordPress for blogs to schoolkids who are engaging with University for the first time, shall think how best to structure the session!

My bucket list starts with: Visit Canada

Visit Canada
Canada looks a beautiful, friendly country, and all the Canadians I’ve met (and shared rooms with on my travels) have been lovely! I read all the Anne of Green Gables novels when I was younger, and have always wanted to go and see Prince Edward Island… also want to get the train across to the Rockies, see the bright lights of Toronto, ski in Banff, and just take in the beautiful landscapes… while trying out some daft activities and taking a million photos no doubt, see: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/drbexl/ for evidence of that!

Publish my PhD as a Book
I will never feel like I’ve finished my PhD until I see my name on the spine of a book in the bookstores. There’s plenty of interesting material in my PhD (see http://www.ww2poster.co.uk), lots of interest in it (see the recent furore over ‘Keep Calm and Carry On': http://drbexl.blogspot.com/2009/03/keep-calm-and-carry-on.html). Originally I intended to call my book “It’s Up To You” after a poster which takes the Kitchener “Your Country Needs You” as a design inspiration, but now Keep Calm and Carry On seems far more appropriate, as I’m particularly interested in why such images still resonate over 60 years later). At my PhD viva we spent most of the time discussing turning the thesis into a book (would probably take around a year on top of a steady job), and the book proposal is in process… meantime, travelling and job-seeking have rather taken away from that!

Visit Israel
OK, so it’s another “visit somewhere”, as the remainder may be… I want to take a trip to Israel with http://www.oakhall.co.uk. I know loads of people who’ve been and they all say the same thing… really tiring, but completely awesome and inspiring (well, that describes pretty much any Oak Hall trip that I’ve been on!)

See a Formula 1 Race live
I used to follow Formula 1 avidly, watching heats, races, repeats, highlights – you name it, and reading all the magazines. I then realised how much of my life this was taking up and pretty much went cold turkey. However, getting to know Emma @ Manchester we chatted about Formula 1 lots, and I would still like to go to see a live race… not sure where yet. I have stood on the starting grid and podium at Albert Park in Australia, and may watch some of this weekend’s… if only to remind me of the time I spent in Australia (and there’s somewhere else to go back to!)… I had a day’s race car driving experience: http://www.bex-lewis.co.uk/career/big_achievements/drivingexperience.htm, whic was great… bring on the skid-pan racing next!

Run the London or New York Marathon
I’ve done a couple of 10ks, and would even need to build back up to that length at the moment, but I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon (although sometimes I think the New York would suit my traveller mind more). I have actually completed a full-length marathon event: http://www.bex-lewis.co.uk/career/big_achievements/moonwalk.htm, which is maybe almost harder than a daytime marathon, but still, running a marathon beckons…

DespairWear and Subversion!

DespairWear

I love the subverted messages that come through from Despairwear (in fact any recognisable brand that can be subverted is of interest, has been so since I have seen people subverting the Second World War posters that I spent many years studying for my PhD!)

I thought this t-shirt was particularly apt, as I don’t think I’ve quite found my focus with this blog yet, so it’s likely to be highly relevant, ah, the New Year, all will change… right?!