Whoa, whoa, stop right there. I assure you that is not yet another 2010 social media trends or 2011 forecast post (those will come later). Although this blog focuses 98.9% on social media and online marketing, I simply have too many interests and hobbies not to broaden post topics a tad.
With that, here’s a list of some of my favorite personal and professional content finds from the past year. Happy holidays and safe travels to all. Cheers to a fantastic 2011!
Top 5 Favorite Professional Blogs in 2010
With changes on the world’s largest social network happening everyday, few are able to quickly and effectively communicate implications, reasoning and end-user impact. All Facebook is my daily “go to” hub for staying on top of Zuck’s vision.
I’ve always had a great amount of respect for Dave’s dedication and clear insight around the social space. Chances are you’ve come across Dave’s content in some form or another but his blog remains on top of my “must read” list each week.
Anyone who gives an inkling about effective online marketing is zeroed in on Hubspot. The crew does a fantastic job with their blog, utilizing strong visuals and outlining tactical plans for boosting traffic through smart strategy.
Whether helping PR pros land gigs through HAPPO, coordinating MN blogger conferences, or sharing valuable insight on tough topics, Arik is not only an incredible connector but a passionate stronghold in the social world.
Joe Waters does not simply know “cause marketing.” Joe helps define cause marketing. As more and more corporations and nonprofits begin to refine what it means to build mutually beneficial partnerships, Joe is helping map the pathway to success for cause marketers across the world.
Favorite New Music Blog
I love music and although a traditional first stop lands me at Pitchfork on any given day, Slowcoustic is a constant “go to” for satisfying my indie folk and lo-fi acoustic music discoveries.
Favorite New Band
Strand of Oaks
Not new, just new to me. I just really enjoy this band.
Favorite New Music Video
KEXP. Outdoor concert. Sunny summer day in Seattle. Incredible local band. ‘Nuff said.
Favorite Professional Book from 2010
The Networked Nonprofit
Simply put, it’s a great book. Fantastic strategy insight mixed with a tangible plan for helping nonprofits shift their internal dynamic for maximizing external engagement.
Favorite New Nonprofit…s
One Day’s Wages
Love the concept, motivation of the team running the show and overall impact of this organization.
Megan Gibbard runs a great organization that fills a much needed void in Seattle.
Favorite Photographer from 2010
Hands down award to Cole Rise. Guy shoots amazing, amazing stuff.
Favorite 2010 Photo Blog
I’m Just Walkin. Meet Matt. He walked across the U.S. And shot photos. Fantastic visual storytelling.
Enough about me. What about YOU? Personal/professional, I don’t care. Share links to your favorite content finds from 2010 below. Happy New Year!
Image courtesy of Jen Collins.
NOTE: This post also appear’s on Waggener Edstrom’s Thinkers & Doers blog.
Let’s face it. In the blogosphere, you’re either a spectator, critic or a creator.
To put the spectator or critic categories into a visual format, consider the following. Would you rather be:
A) A Statistic…
B) A Connector…
The answer is easy for anyone that has the intent of ever building relationships and engaging with others online.
Let’s be honest – we’re all strained for time. PR people are lucky to sneak in a glance at blogs or social news sites before having to jump back to client work (unless you’re Gatorade and have opted to centralize monitoring with a social media war room…yea, I’m jealous). While most people may be perfectly okay consuming content in a passive manner (option A above), we all know that it takes active participation to actually build dialogue and make connections online.
Too often, blogger outreach is still vastly overlooked on the PR front. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a headline story in the NYT or Washington Post. But, why only bank on delivery of the golden ticket when having a vast network of influential bloggers can drastically help boost your outreach? In addition, bloggers are often the starting point for building momentum around a story that will eventually help you leverage outreach to top-tier publications.
So Scott, let me get this right. You’re saying we just need to start commenting like crazy on industry blogs and we’ll be moving right along?
Connecting with bloggers is different from connecting with mainstream media. You don’t pitch bloggers. You build relationships and as we all know, relationships take time (check out Brian Solis‘ and Arik Hanson’s tips on blogger relations).
Commenting is a solid start to building relationships but it’s important to remember the following before throwing up any random response:
1. Comment early.
If you’re not already, you should be using Google Reader, Feedly or some other aggregator to pull in blogs and news sites that you want to read daily. A quick glance at your Reader each morning provides a great opportunity to be one of the first to comment. This shows the blogger that you’re attentive and also gives you more freedom to shape the follow-up discussion.
2. Keep your comment concise and relevant.
Deviate too much from the topic of the post or try to be a sly marketer and you’re asking to have your comment blocked or deleted.
3. Add value.
Very rarely does a short “Great post!” comment do anything but boost the comment stats for a blogger. Provide some additional insight, share a relevant link to a similar article or useful resource (again, be careful not to appear as though you’re marketing yourself – it’s good to link to content that doesn’t directly benefit you), suggest that the blogger connect with person X…the options are endless.
4. Provide your name and a legit link.
There is nothing worse than seeing a comment from someone only to find that it’s a spammer attempting to get you to click over to a bogus site. Keep it personal by linking your comment to your Twitter handle, blog, or LinkedIn profile. It’s also not a bad idea to sign off your comment with your Twitter handle for other commenters to connect with you. NOTE: If you’re a PR pro and represent a client, say so. Transparency trumps all.
Don’t just leave a comment and not return to a post – especially if you are voicing a strong opinion that is likely to generate further conversation. Some blogs do provide the option to be notified when you leave a comment but if not, be sure to check back one other time that day and the morning after to see if you should respond further.
6. Show respect.
Would you walk into someone else’s house and greet them by spitting on their shoes? No…at least I hope not. Same rules apply. It’s absolutely okay to disagree with a blogger (and bloggers will often write posts with the intent of prompting feedback with differing opinions) but don’t come out of the box with a contentious line. Step back, breathe, think about what you want to say and carefully craft your response in a respectful manner lest you plan on being shunned from the comment board forever.
Bonus – Connect further!
Comments are great but you can easily be buried in the mix, especially with popular bloggers or posts. If the blogger provides an email address, try connecting further after you’ve commented on his or her blog a few times. Your name will likely ring a bell as most bloggers receive email notifications when a new comment is posted. That being said, keep your initial outreach simple. Don’t dare use the email as a way to paste in a press release/ irrelevant pitch and call it a day simply because this blogger made it onto your target outreach list.
On that same token, do your research, some bloggers refuse pitches all together. But, remember degrees of influence. A “don’t pitch me” blogger may help you connect with a better resource down the line.
If not by email, try poking around on other social sites to connect further. A few retweets and replies or consistent post bookmarks on Delicious are likely to help draw a blogger’s eye and assist with name recognition down the line.
Finding Time to Comment
Kiesha Easely recently provided a breakdown on her daily blogging schedule. Few people in PR have time to maintain this intense of a schedule but it’s a good example. At the least, you should be monitoring. It’s too easy to do and way too important. If you’re not, you’re missing out on huge opportunities.
Start by taking 15 minutes after your daily monitoring to comment on three different blogs. Analyze the types of comments others post and find ways to fit your voice into the conversation. Over time and if done right, people will respect you as a member of the community.
Now, go get your comment on.
Yup, yup, it’s that time of year where we’re all trying to figure out where we’ve ended up and where we’ll be a year from now. It’s anyone’s guess to a degree but I did want to check in with a couple social media colleagues to have them share their insight.
Lee is the Manager of Syndication and Social Media at Mayo Clinic and also heads up Social Media University Global. He’s had quite the busy year, spurring along a viral video and traveling across the country to share insight about Mayo Clinic’s social media success. I look forward to presenting with Lee on a Webinar in January for the organ/tissue donation community.
Arik has also had a big year as 2009 marked the launch of ACH Communications. A constant innovator and connector, Arik also plays a big role as a mover and shaker in the world of healthcare and social media.
On top of checking out Lee and Arik’s responses below, I’d also encourage you to hop over to David Mullen‘s blog to check out his post on Four PR Trend Predictions for 2010. I always have a grand appreciation for David’s insight and this post will not disappoint.
In your mind, what one social media trend dominated 2009?
AH: One trend we saw in 2009 was toward using social media for social good. Just look what Danny Brown and 12for12K Nation did in the last 11 months. What about how Sarah Evans helped a local shelter raise 16K in less than three weeks. Or even what David Armano did early in the year to raise money for a family in need. Maybe not a social cause, but definitely social good. The larger point? Organizations–and people–used social media to make a difference.
LA: I think 2009 was the year of Twitter. With lots of celebrities getting involved it drew millions of others to try it out. I also think we saw the Twitter site make significant changes so that the basic Web interface is much more functional. For instance, it’s now reasonable to follow and participate in a Twitter chat right from your Twitter home page. I did a post on the topic here: 3 Steps to Joining or Leading a Twitter Chat.
I previously would have said you needed to use Tweetdeck or another interface for a Twitter chat. This makes it much more practical for lots of people to get involved in group Twitter chats.
What trend do you think will be big in 2010?
AH: Two things: Mobile and social media “behind the firewall.” With more people buying smart phones every day, mobile marketing is ready to explode. I only see that growing in 2010. And, as the devices evolve, so will our marketing efforts and approaches. There are so many opportunities with mobile video, live streaming, FourSquare, BrightKite, Twitter, etc. Increasingly, people are doing more business on mobile devices. Banking, buying, donating, reading review of restaurants, I could go on and on. Brands would be wise to keep a pulse on this scene.
I think you’ll also see more companies start using social media as a tool “behind the firewall.” To date, more companies have been intrigued by the possibilities social media can provide with customers and other external stakeholders. But, in 2010, I think you’ll see more organizations think about using some of these same tools internally to foster collaboration, innovation and faster decision-making.
Organizations still need to become more efficient. That’s not going away just because the economy is showing signs of life. And, all successful companies thrive on innovation. Most social tools make these processes easier–especially for organizations that operate in a silo or are geographically dispersed.
LA: I think the mobile Web will be even bigger, with Android-based phones providing more smartphone choices, so while apps have been big in 2009, I think they’ll be huge in 2010.
Name one of your social media goals for 2010:
AH: In a word: Read.
Sure, most of my goals revolve around my new business and getting that off the ground, but reading is something that always gets pushed to the backburner. And, I simply can’t let that happen in 2010. By making time for daily reading (i.e., blogs, news sites and other sources of information), I am able to stay better informed of what’s going on in the world which helps me personally, professionally and on the new business front.
Reading blogs has also proven to be a tremendous networking tool for me. In 2009, I started reading Mengel’s Musings, LAF, Dave Fleet, Conversation Agent, Media Emerging, Social Media Explorer and Convince & Convert, among many, many others. That has not only led to learning new skills, generating new ideas and expanding my view in the social sphere, but also to actually meeting the bloggers behind these fantastically smart reads. And, in turn, that has enriched my life. Beyond words. The benefits speak for themselves.
LA: We (Mayo Clinic) had a really exciting year in 2009, launching our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog and syndicating an hour-long radio show nationally using social media (Twitter, streaming audio and our radio.mayoclinic.org blog) for about five percent of the cost of traditional syndication. One of my goals in 2010 is to consolidate some of those activities and create even more efficient and standardized processes, so we can have a good platform from which to launch our next wave.
That next wave is going to be pretty exciting. Stay tuned.