Monday, June 20, 2011
MagNet11: Meg Pickard on blogging, Pt. 2
June 16

Meg Pickard‘s afternoon session at MagNet was “Building a Business Case for Blogs”. Below are my tweets from the session.

Don’t let mistakes online tarnish your existing brand value.

Blogs are excellent to reinforce authenticity and transparency.

Blogs can: Build engagement and get people emotionally invested in what you’re doing.

Blogs are really good at putting a personal face on your organization.

@megpickard‘s background is in anthropology. Looks at structures of community and social in media world. Perspective.

The Guardian has a site section where readers can pitch ideas that they want to read.

Blogs are very good at gaining the love of search engines.

Existing, off-the-shelf blog platforms like WordPress are already SEO-optimised. Makes things easy.

Be creative with blogs. @megpickard recommends blogging for cricket matches (they last for days…)

Blog vocab: “above the line” (journalism space), “below the line” (commenting space). Pay attention to both.

Blogs a good place to experiment. The Guardian used Google Translate to put Egypt live-blog into Arabic on the fly (refined later)

Andrew Sparrow: “If journalism is the first draft of history, live-blogging is the first draft of journalism”

Clay Shirky: “The problem isn’t information overload. It’s filter failure.” [Opportunity for editors and magazines.]

news stories answer questions, tie loose ends. Blogs ask questions, unpick things.

Build a blog for your actual audience, not the audience you wish you had.

Zuckerberg: “Communities already exist… think about how you can help that community do what it wants to do.”

With blogs, readers are part of the entire publishing process, not just reading the end result.

If someone comments, they’ll probably come back to comment again. Engagement begets engagement.

Commenters on your blog will add keywords, too. Good for SEO.

Blogging is a long-term engagement and hard work, but builds engagement with readers and matures over time. Not a quick fix.

When you set up blogs/topics, ask: “What are we going to write about when nothing is happening?” You have to have an answer.

Team blogs need to have similar tone, feel from each writer. Shouldn’t feel like disparate voices.

Get creative with blog pay models, beyond per post/word/PV. Compensate for engagement (comments), inbound links, social buzz.

Commissioned blog pieces that go into editors’ picks get paid more.

Measure everything you can. The more information you have, the better picture you can draw for your organization.

There’s no magic formula for blog metrics. Every blog has its own needs/goals.

Don’t just stick with CPM. Consider sponsorships. Guardian music blog: Orange for three months’ sponsorship.

Find the right sponsor that wants your particular audience = higher $ value.

Good Q: What metrics do you make available to sponsors? A: metrics they need for proper picture of what they’re buying.

What to do when blog doesn’t work? @megpickard’s blog post on end of Guardian Local

Give readers notice if you’re shutting something down.

When killing a blog, let the writers wind it down too. Don’t just end things abruptly.

Shocking! “Social media doesn’t need to be sociable” – value in lurking and using social info (eg tripadvisor) without engaging.

Very cool – Guardian Zeitgeist – “what is most interesting on our site at the moment”

- Kat Tancock
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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