Key Advice Blog

Archive for November 2009

Blogs are the ‘backbone’ of one’s online presence, says Marvin Belle, Director’s Notes blogger and new media trainer. I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I didn’t! So what is it about blogging that gives it staying power? Here are three reasons – and they should encourage you to get on the ‘blog wagon’,  if you aren’t already.

First, blog platforms are easy to use – and free. You don’t need HTML or CSS training. You simply need to know how to follow instructions and be open to learning a few techniques – like image sizing. It’s a matter of cutting and pasting your article in (or writing it live); adding a headline that will attract search engines by using key words, providing links to make the user experience more satisfying and putting in a graphic or image where it suits.

Secondly, blogs were designed for and by users – and the users remain at the heart of them.  Bloggers choose a topic they are passionate about and work hard to give their readership valuable information to keep them coming back. Craig McGinty’s ThisFrenchLife blog and Kevin Tea’s Web2.0 show the proof is in the pudding.

Thirdly, blogs offer so many built-in functionalities – like RSS feeds for subscribers, archives to aid searching, pulling in content from sites like Twitter, ability to upload images, podcasts and video, organising content in categories.  Mashable.com do all this so well.

This means anyone, anywhere with Internet access, can have a site up and running in no time – and provide valuable, multi-media information to a global audience.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook are quick, fun, easy to use. But, I keep coming back to blogs for information from an expert; detailed advice to help me promote  my own social media services; and the latest technology explained and demonstrated to help me keep up-to-date, fast!

If you have a computer, a deep interest in a topic,  information to share, and the ability to write clearly – then you should be blogging!  At the very least, you should be finding some bloggers with whom you share an interest, and following them!

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After several months of absorbing a high volume of excellent information on social media, I found there were a few pearls of wisdom that continued to shine through. Thought I would share them – in no particular order (sorry to sound like an X Factor host).

1. Not having a social media presence is like not answering your phone when it rings. Karl Havard, Somatica, who has 11 links on the back of his business card, is a big link supporter. Karl advocates listening to build consumer trust – and social media offers an abundance of opportunities to do this.

2. Repeating a line from the culture secretary that the old media world had ended, Francois Nel, director of Journalism Leaders Programme, UCLAN, reported at the last Digital Editors Network event  that there is not the same level of innovation in business as there is in technology. Old way was Web 1.0; new way is Web2.0 interactivity. Organisations need to adopt flexible strategies.

3. The democratisation of media is leading to a key trend of more ‘collaborative community’ activities online, says Sarah Hartley, The Guardian’s digital editor and media blogger.  Sarah, who is leading the ‘beatblogging’ Guardian Local project, has recruited a new breed of online journalists – community oriented bloggers. They may well be using the new Help Me Investigate platform to get to the heart of the matter.

4. ‘Blogging is the backbone’ of the social media strategy, says Marvin Belle, new media guru who runs the successful Director’s Notes blog. At the Making the Most of Social Media workshop Marvin lead for the Creative Industries Development Agency in London recently, he talked about the importance of putting a ‘human face’ on your online ‘skeleton’. Thank people who comment. Reply to questions promptly. It’s all about connecting.

5. Groundswell, social media bible written by Forrester Research,  says ‘relationships are everything’ and it’s important to understand all the new media tools are simply new ways to connect and communicate with our clients.

And from my own experience, social media is critical, but will only be successful if it is integrated – into the organisations’ strategies, from top to bottom, into training plans. If you want the customer service X Factor, you need a supported social media presence.


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