Beginner’s Guide to Blogging #2

13 01 2009

You have found a Blog platform and you have registered a blog.  You have also found a design template that you are happy with.  You might want to explore which features of the template you can adapt and alter.   You can often add graphics to the headline or background and this is a good way of  making a template based blog look a bit more individual.   Have a look at the widgets and see which ones will work best.  Have a look at your favourite blogs to get some ideas about which widgets to use.  Don’t worry to much about changing the look and feel of your blog even if it is ‘live’.  At this point it won’t be getting any traffic.  Work on the design and layout until you are happy.

Make sure you get the basics right.  There will be no separate proof reader and no grammar checker.  If you aren’t good at these things get someone to check your posts before you publish.  Most blog platforms have spell checkers, use them and proof read your work.  A blog with spelling mistakes or poor grammar will be the kiss of death, even if the quality of the writing is good.

The importance of the quality still can not be underestimated and it is our job to make the material engaging.  Some people find this easier than others but it can be learnt.  There are many blogs out there created by technically brilliant people who can’t or won’t write in a coherent fashion.

If it doesn’t come naturally then practise.  Read as much as you can learn what works and take advice from others.  If that doesn’t work then partner up with someone that can write.   If the content is poor then the blog is too.





Blogger Engagement #2

18 12 2008

It is widely agreed that bloggers and podcasters dislike getting press releases; well, so do most journalists that I have met.   If we want to engage with bloggers we must establish certain things.  Are they relevant to us in terms of reach and authority?  Are we relevant to them, is what we are pitching well targeted, will they be interested and do they accept pitches at all?  Many bloggers do not.

If we have overcome all of these hurdles I firmly believe that we can talk to many bloggers or podcasters in the same way as we approach journalists – by e-mail and by telephone and on the odd occasion by actually meeting.   So is this new form of public relations just the same as the old?  Well, some bits of its are and some aspects are entirely new. 

The world is considerably more complex but the traditional skills of a good PR person are particularly useful in this new environment where much of the media has become socialised.   In addition to pitching ideas offline we can have  conversations with bloggers very simply just by adding a post or a comment to their blog.   Remember that this is a conversation in public and that mostly they will talk back.





A Short History of Blogging

15 12 2008

The word Blog is a contraction of ‘web log’.  It’s hard to be exact about when blogging started. The peripheral  ‘blogger’ Jorn Barger editor of the blog Robot Wisdom, effectively invented the term ‘weblog’ but the term “blog” was not used for another two and a half years.   It was first employed by Peter Merholz and intended as a joke. He broke the word weblog into two words we blog in his own peterme.com blog.  In doing so he essentially created the verb “to blog,” meaning to create a weblog as well as initiating the contraction of the noun into its now popular form.

The first bloggers were the effectively online diarists, who would keep a running account of their lives.  These blogs began well before the term was coined and the authors referred to themselves usually as diarists or online journalists.  Perhaps the first of these and therefore the original blogger was Justin Hall, who began blogging in 1994 and posted his first regular blog ‘Justin’s links to the underground’ whilst a still a student.    Blogging took off when the publishing platform Blogger was launched in August 1999.  It quickly became the most popular and simple to use blogging tool and it allowed mainstream internet users with little or no technical knowledge to start blogs.  Blogger was bought by Google in 2003.








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