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

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 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, 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. 

  • 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
  • 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 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!


J John, Week 3: “Prosper with a Clean Conscience”

Do Not Steal

Just 10 Winchester is into it’s 3rd week already, and again J John put across an uncompromising message in a humourous way! He’s not getting at us, he’s joining us in the daily challenge to live according to God’s laws within a contemporary living space.

J John opened his challenge that stealing tends to smart small (often in the workplace), but tends to get bigger.

Ron Heather: Bus Driver
The interview this week was with Ron Heather, the bus driver from Southampton who risked losing his job in refusing to drive a bus with the Athiest poster “There’s probably no God: Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life”, as he felt it was against his conscience (see what Theos thought). He knew his customers well, many were elderly, he felt this message wasn’t appropriate – and he was more worried about upsetting God than upsetting his bosses! The ensuing fuss gave him many opportunities for conversations with his supportive colleagues!

The Yorkshire Sketch
Every week this “elderly couple” from “Yorkshire” find interesting ways to break the commandment… this week the reasoning is that if there was a 2-for-1 offer on last week, but not this week, the shop wouldn’t mind if he bought one/pocketed the other!!! Hmmm…

Back to J John
J. John bounced back onto the stage, but opens on a sombre note… many of us have been casualties of theft (J John has had his coat stolen whilst he was preaching in the past!), and financial crime in the UK costs £29 billion per annum (and he wasn’t talking about MPs expenses!), with over a million reported burglaries every year. How many of you still have the Gideon New Testament give to you at school? The Gideons give away 20 million Bibles a year, of which they are pleased to say 22,000 are stolen every year!

Define Stealing: “Taking something which belongs to someone else”… and there are so many different ways to describe this in the English language that it’s clearly a big problem! God is against dishonesty and demands fairness in everyday work:

  • Don’t cheat/swindle when buying/selling
  • Avoid false advertising (e.g. “Ideal DIY opportunity” = needs complete overhaul)
  • Don’t quote for unnecessary jobs (if it’s going to just need a small part, just quote on that!)

The Inland Revenue estimate that £5000million per annum is lost in undeclared taxes/monies, with many justifying it on the basis that the government “takes too much and wastes what they have”, but “if your ship ever comes in, the IR will be there to help unload it!”

Employers: Don’t cheat your employees; don’t take advantage; teach people what is right & fair’ don’t manipulate.

Employees: Obey, not only when their eye is upon you, but when they are not looking. Why is it that the majority of sick days are on Friday/Monday?!

A large cause of inflation is these (seemingly minor, but mounting) costs, which are then passed onto the consumer.

What is the 8th commandment?

“You shall not steal” not “You shall not steal more than £1 at a time” (or borrow something without any intention of returning it).

What is the biggest item of theft?

TIME: “How little can I do for how much?”. J John spent a summer trying to cut grass in slow motion whilst taking endless tea breaks for an employer who kept telling him to “slow down”! I guess this is where there needs to be trust between employer (that the employee will do the work) and the employee (who has to trust that the employer won’t take advantage, expecting him/her to work at a high pace all the time if they’ve managed it once!)

Do for others what you would like them to do for you: how do we apply this to life?

  1. By working
    Work leads to profit, talk leads to poverty (not necessarily talking about waged work)
    Too many people are keen to move the piano stool when there’s a piano to be moved
    Most people are keen to avoid hard work and would rather ‘pick the lock’
    The only place in which success comes before work is in the dictionary.
    Don’t count the days, make the days count.
  2. By saving
    Good planning & hard work lead to prosperity (not that he was peddling the ‘prosperity gospel’ or at least I hope not!); hasty short cuts lead to poverty (Jesus commended the wise investor).
    Each of J John’s children were provided with 3 money tins: “Spend” “Save” “Give”
  3. By praying
    God loves to give gifts, even more so when we ask him.

Generosity & Guilt
The Earth and everything in it belond to God, we only have it on loan: God loves us into change, he doesn’t beat us into change!

What do we do with guilt?

  • Deny it?
  • Deflect it?
  • Drown it? (with drink/drugs/experiences)
  • NO: Dissolve it in the blood of Jesus.

Always a sticky subject, some think the church is only out for our money! Do we cheat God in our offerings? Do we think that God is happy with the occasional 50p that we give him, the Bible clearly states 10% (joyfully given in the expectation that God will provide).

When J John became a Christian aged 17, he decided to take back a couple of books he’d stolen froma book shop. The Director asked him for an explanation and asked if he realised that he could call the Police… and was then surprised when the owner told him he was “free to go”… felt totally liberated!

The Amnesty Bins
Next week, J John is wheeling out the Amnesty Bins. He set a challenge that if we’ve stolen something we return it to its rightful owners in the coming week… and if that is not possible, then what we stole (or its equivalent value) can be placed in the amnesty bins on the way out (what is given is either thrown as rubbish, returned to original owners if accompanied by an ‘anon’ note, given to charity shops, or given to homeless shelters – not a single penny taken in admin!). The first time he did this one man placed £102,000 cash in the bins, another week, a man took his shirt off on the way out!

Let’s Get Practical: Have you ever:

  • Made an over-inflated/false insurance claim?
  • Called in sick when you weren’t?
  • Taken office supplies?
  • Used expenses for personal use?
  • Defrauded on your income tax
  • Left a debt unpaid
  • Borrowed books without returning
  • Taken hotel bathrobes (he’s always surprised by how many of these he gets!)
  • Copies of software?
  • Have you stolen from God?

Have you felt violated by theft?
You need to forgive those who have stolen from you:

Forgive & Forget, not Remember and Regret!

Be Transformed, Not Informed
The purpose of Just 10 is not to listen/be informed, but to subject yourself “to the Lord’s searchlight”, and reach out for forgiveness, and so be transformed! Will you?

J John says “tell your story“.


The Challenge of Daily Bible Readings

OK, it was a resolution I made last summer, challenged by Alastair McKenna to try and read the Bible more regularly. On my RTW travels, this didn’t really happen, but I had lots of time out to think and check out God’s creation. Once I hooked up with Oak Hall for this summer, again with Alastair on my first trip, I decided I’d go for the ‘Bible in a Year’ option. I tried using one of the plans where you jump around the Bible, combined with my study Bible, but I got bogged down. There’s plenty of those kind of options on Amazon. Whilst at the Manor (Oak Hall), someone left ‘The Message‘ in my pigeon hole in August, and I challenged myself to read one chapter per day (more if I wished), and about 95% of the time this is happening, so I’m slowly getting there… result!

Online Helps
I’ve found it quite helpful to have some daily readings come in.

Seeds of the Kingdom
Written by staff from Ellel Ministries, this short daily devotional provides a verse or 2 from the Bible, and then a commentary, which is usually quite a thought-provoking but practical focus for the day, plus a brief prayer.

What did they say today about New Year’s Resolutions?
But what would happen if all believers approached the New Year with a different question and asked God what were His plans for them? And then we spent some time with God waiting on Him so that we could listen to His still small voice? We would then have fresh vision for the year ahead – and if it is vision from Him then we wouldn\’t run out of soulish energy in no time at all, but we would discover His sustaining power, enabling us to press on toward the goal He has put before us.

Word Live
Written by Scripture Union whose aim is “Using the Bible to inspire children, young people and adults to know God.”I got rather overwhelmed by this as it seemed quite long, but this is designed to offer options, rather than necessarily working your way through the whole-thing, and offers a multi-media engagement with the Bible:

  • Read the translation you prefer
  • Listen to music and podcasts
  • Meditate with images and video
  • Dig deeper into further Bible study
  • Use WordLive on the move, whenever and wherever

What did they say today to welcome in the New Year?
A poem by Samuel Johnson: 1709–1794 to highlight that a new year is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Our God is a God of new beginnings.
Almighty God,
by whose mercy my life has been
yet prolonged to another year,
grant that thy mercy may not be in vain.

Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt,
but as age advances,
let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, and more obedient to thy laws.
Let not the cares of the world distract me, nor the evils of age overwhelm me. But continue and increase thy loving kindness towards me,
and when thou shalt call me hence,
receive me to everlasting happiness,
for the sake of Jesus Christ,
our Lord.

E-WordA short Bible passage arrives in your inbox each morning, with further information available online if you so choose to click through (for a variety of translations and languages). The aim of E-Word is to set up a good daily habit and understand God’s plan for your life. Also included in your e-mail message is a Christian Thought for the Day, words of wisdom from Charles H. Spurgeon, and a short Sermon Snippet. The on-line edition also includes direct access links to today’s most popular on-line devotionals in text and audio formats.

What was Spurgeon’s thought for the day today?
“I believe we must either go forward, or we must fall. The rule is in Christian life, if we do not bring forth fruit unto the Lord our God, we shall lose even our leaves, and stand like a winter’s tree, bare and withered.”

All of them have subscription options so they arrive as a little prompt in your inbox. I’m sure there’s lots of others, but these are the ones I’ve used!