Manchester-based Freelance B2B PR professional and copywriter

Archive for the ‘Online’ Category

Blogger relations

After delivering a couple of lectures on blogger relations I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the key differences when contacting bloggers as part of a PR campaign. I have several friends who are influential bloggers and say that there are a lot of people still getting it wrong.

Here are my top three tips for blogger relations’ campaigns, yes similar to traditional media relations but some distinct differences:

1. Remember bloggers do not have to write, they do not have a number of pages to fill or deadlines to meet. If they don’t want to write strictly speaking they don’t have to.

2. Know the content and what they write about, do some research before you approach a blogger. Collate all your information in a spreadsheet so you can use it in future campaigns. Remember to update your research regularly though.

3. Dont underestimate the influence of bloggers, in many consumer fields bloggers are key to reaching a particular audience. There are a few key indicators of how big a bloggers audience is: look at the number of comments/shares on each post, the number of followers, or stats from alexa.com can also be quite useful.

Hopefully these three tips shouldn’t see you far wrong.

 

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Keep On Blogging

Ironic isn’t it? I spend most of my time preaching to clients about the importance of writing regular blog posts and keeping it as up to date as possible, and here we are – only my second post of 2012. In truth it’s due to the fact that I have been so busy working hard on PR and social media projects as well as lecturing at MMU and the University of Chester rather than a lack of content.

However, it just goes to prove the point that a good blogging strategy needs to be planned well in advance as well as having flexibility to respond to current trends. So here are my top tips for blogging success:

  1. Create an editorial calendar: It’s always to best to plan ahead and in the majority of cases blogging is going to come second to your actual day job. Before you start, pull together about six months’ worth of content ideas for blog posts and put them into an editorial calendar (i.e. when you are going to write and post them). That way if there is nothing topical happening then you will always have something great to write about.
  2. Brainstorm content ideas: Get together as many people within your business as you can, everyone brings a different perspective and the best blogs are those that make you think differently about a subject. A few basic ideas for blogs could be new legislation, research on your particular industry, trends that your salesforce has noticed, topical debate or even common customer questions.
  3. Appoint a blog editor: Sounds like a grand title but it’s simply someone who has overall responsibility to ensure that there are regular blog posts added. It is always worth making this person responsible for editing individual blogs, especially if you are having different writers to make sure there is a consistent overall tone.
  4. Promote your blog: Ensuring regular content is just half the battle, a successful blog hinges on getting regular readers. Therefore, it is important to promote your blog as much as you possibly can, promote individual posts across all your social media platforms, on e-newsletters and even on email signatures.
  5. Remain flexible: While I’ve concentrated on the importance of planning ahead, it is also important to be flexible and respond to topical subjects as and when they arise. This will keep your blog fresh and ensure readers come back regularly.

There you go – it is now my pledge to follow my own advice to the letter and blog regularly.

Happy blogging, if you have any tips please feel free to comment below.

Getting Social Media Write

As a B2B PR professional the written word is my main tool of the trade (ok and the ability to talk endlessly!) so I thought it was just me that got annoyed by the amount of spelling and grammar mistakes on social media platforms but apparently not. I read a great piece on Fresh
Business Thinking
the other day professing how much it grated on the author too.

Yes, yes I know that on Twitter you only get 140 characters and I don’t mind a few abbreviations to get the point across and I am not that old that I don’t appreciate the fact that it’s supposed to be a more casual form of communication. But surely that doesn’t excuse a poor grasp of the English language and over use of punctuation?!

Personally, I think it’s particularly prevalent in the B2B arena – if you’re managing a company’s social media presence or using any platform for professional purposes then shouldn’t one of the main aims be to get your key messages across in an appropriate and eloquent manner? Building relationships is a key element of social media but would you trust a firm of solicitors, for example that couldn’t spot a typo in their LinkedIn profile? You get my point so my top tip and one that I feel like shouting at my computer screen sometimes is:

Social media is another marketing channel, treat it in the same way you would an e-shot or brochure – proof read the copy!

It’s important to remember that all the little things combined form your online reputation – don’t fall at the first hurdle. I’d be interested to hear other people’s comments on this subject so tweet me @deegoldstraw.

Ensuring your online marcomms comply with ASA regulations

As of 1st March the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) started to regulate marketing communications (marcomms) on websites and that includes blogs and social media sites too. This means the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) applies in full to any marketing messages online.

A time to worry? Or a time to give your online marcomms a once over? Fear not, it can only be a positive for online marketing as it brings it in line with the rules that apply to offline media. Put simply it is a crackdown on the crazy promises that are made by some unscrupulous traders, as a result trust in online marketing should increase.

Here are a couple of points to consider:

  1. Know what on your site constitutes marcomms: it’s not just the obvious large adverts but also subtle claims about products or services or delighted customer testimonials that aren’t quite true that could fall foul of the regulations.
  2. Check your social media platforms: as the rules apply to sites such as Facebook and Twitter too, don’t make any unsubstantiated claims about your products or services. Instead engage followers in industry debate or comments on issues in the news.
  3. Keep an eye on your blog too: especially as it is one of the most informal parts of your website it can be easy to slip up. Do talk about your products or services’ benefits but only if they are true and can be substantiated.

I hope that goes someway to helping you understand what the new regulations mean – in conclusion just make sure that everything you write online is truthful, transparent and not likely to mislead or offend.