Blogging: Edinburgh New Media Breakfast

Despite the Pope’s best effort, this mornings’ New Media Breakfast was very well attended. A good 60+ risked the traffic disruption. Below are my notes taken at the event, published a couple of hours later than intended due to lack of connectivity.

This morning’s breakfast was led by Gordon White from fatBuzz.  I did a quick slot on the relationship between SEO & Blogs.

New Media Breakfast

Gordon kicked off with a video (below) of Seth Godin and Tom Peters.

Tom Peters:

No single thing in the last 15 years has been more important to my professional life. Blogging is the best marketing tool bar none

Why Blog?

  • Single most important word: Trust – Generates brand trust, personal trust
  • Humanises the organisation. Example given of Kenneth Martin at Blog Architects who has been blogging about donating his kidney to his Dad. A clever mix of personal and corporate to bring personality to the organisation. It has raised the profile of his architecture practice, striking a balance between industry commentary and personal life. Kenneth feels that the blog is the most powerful part of his social media strategy.
  • Promote yourself as an industry expert – e.g. impact of legisalation, industry trends, comment on articles in traditional trade press etc. You could even interview competitors – shock horror?!
  • Use as a syndication platform – You can use your blog as the hub of your social media presence that you can then use to seed your Twitter, Facebook page, LinkedIn etc.  This saves time and keeps control of the content.  Imagine if you’d decided to put all your content only onto Bebo a few years ago. Those doing the same now on Facebook will likely live to regret that. By having the content on your own blog, you continue to control all your content. When the next Facebook arrives, you can then simply start sending your content there rather than trying to start again from scratch.
  • Adds an interactive element to your website – illustrated with a great case study: the Attacat Brain! (not at my request honestly!)
  • Telling stories – blogs are great for making things interesting. The example given was the McKay whisky barrel flooring post.
  • Engaging in conversation
  • SEO – I did a quick cameo appearance to discuss Blogs and SEO.  You can read full notes on that here.

Which Platform?

Many of the leading blogs use different platforms e.g. Huffington Post – Movable Type, Masahble – WordPress, Google Blog – Blogger. However the advice is to use a mainstream one.

The 5 most used (at least easy to identify) blog platforms:

Things to consider when choosing a platform:

  • Customisation – note Blogger is more customisable than many believe (but not necessarily as customisable as others)
  • Plugins – Plugins can add significant functionality to your site e.g. polls, sharing widgets, great SEO tools etc etc. WordPress is the clear leader on this front. Be be careful about plugins that are not supported if they are business critical (In most cases though, when one doesn’t work, someone else will write one that does, so don’t worry too much)
  • Advertising – do you want to make money from advertising. Gordon recommends Google’s Blogger for this.
  • Can you export your content to different platforms?
  • Whether or not you can have it as part of your website or not?
  • Can you have your own domain name?

Recommendation: Use backupify to back up your blog. It will back up all sorts of other things too including Google Docs and social media sites.

Some functionaility to consider adding to your blog:

  • Get your own domain name
  • Add sharing buttons.
  • Link to your other web presences (can’t do that word)
  • Twitter feeds (can get from Twitter)
  • JustGiving widget if you are doing any fund raising
  • Your own company widgets – e.g. if you are a property company, add your property search to the side of the blog

What Content?

Gordon gave many examples, many of which I missed – sorry.

  • Nest: Just showed their new business cards – a seemingly dull topic but because the design is so good and the passion comes through, it gets the message over that they care about their brand
  • It doesn’t always have to be text based. The Satorialist is a blog of great pictures of New Yorkers.  Gordon mentioned a Glasgow equivalent called Les Garcons de Glasgow
  • STA Travel – Gave round the world tickets to two students a year on the understanding that they blog about where they are.
  • (There have been many other content ideas that have been shared at the New Media Breakfasts such as the ones on Podcasting and Facebook that can be also be applied effectively to blogging.

Some good habits:

  • Be linky!
  • Use Tags
  • Encourage sharing
  • Syndicating Content – is one way of syndicating content out to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Makes it easy and instanteous.

Promoting Posts and Encouraging Engagement

When the event was run in Glasgow, a short but very interesting talk was given by Gordon Macintyre Kemp on how he promoted his post “42.5 Tips on How to Tweet for Business” on the Drum Blog

So how did he do it.  He started by writing it well!

He then promoted it by Tweeting. He then went to a competitor site, and followed 500 of thier followers. The first tweet they would’ve seen was Gordon’s blog post. They then retweet.

He then sent another tweet out saying that 70 others have retweeted it and 2000 had read it. That generated even more retweets.

Gordon likes the Topsy button because it showed who the most influential retweeters were. You can then start to build relationships with them. He’s saved them to a list on Twitter and he now RTs their posts and starts messaging them. Has another list of VEP (Very engaged people) who RT almost everything Gordon says.

The end result: Leads from 5 major brands and 5 Scottish SMEs

(Side note – Gordon’s website, like the Attacat site is entirely built on wordpress and tweaked to look like a site)

Encouraging Comments, Engement & Conversation

“First Question Syndrome – blog comments are a bit like the “Any questions?” moment at an event – for some reason nobody want to be first”

  • Invite people to comment
  • Reciprocate comments – comment on friend’s blogs, so they’ll do the same to you.  Create a syndicate of half a dozen or so people who all comment on each others posts
  • Answer comments! Make sure if people engage with you, you engage back
  • Add comment to other blogs and refer to yours (but don’t over do it!)
  • Link to it from Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In etc
  • Mention it in video or audio podcasts

So how are you getting on?

If you been inspired to post today as a result of the breakfast (or as a result of the Glasgow event), be it about the event itself or otherwise, please tell us in the comments below and feel free to add a link!  (Thanks to Nadine Pierce at Eden Scott for this great idea!).

The next breakfast will be an internet marketing question time. 24th September in Glasgow, 21st October in Edinburgh. Booking details.

If you need any help in doing "digital" better don't hesitate to contact us.

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