Friday, October 10, 2008

The Best Form of Flattery

From Katie Noonan – An old post I stumbled upon from the Blog Herald offered great tips for modeling your blog after some of the most popular blogs on the web according to Technorati’s "Top 100 Blogs" list. I felt these tips were worth sharing because they continue to be relevant today. While it was reassuring to see that the PR Lawyer frequently implements many of the Blog Herald’s best blogging practices, I know I will try to be more consistent with adhering to the following tips:

  1. Publish frequently
  2. Have a team
  3. Offer hot news
  4. Have an attitude
  5. Be visual

Publish frequently

If it’s one thing we do here at the PR Lawyer, it’s publish frequently; partly because we have a great team of bloggers, but also because all of us make an effort to stay on top of industry news whether it be through subscriptions to trade publications, our RSS feeds replete with online marketing, public relations, and social media blogs, or our own insight as we work with clients to address their public relations challenges. As a result, it is typically pretty easy to come up with a topic to blog about -enabling the team to blog daily, and some days post more than once.

Have a team

I can’t agree more with the Blog Herald’s suggestion to have a team of bloggers. I think it’s so important to utilize different team members because it takes the pressure off each individual. If I have a lot on my plate one day, I can rest easy knowing that Gina, Amanda, Leah, or Marisa will be probably be posting on the PR Lawyer.

Offer hot news

Here at the PR Lawyer, I think we try to strike a balance between public relations news and insight and “other news.” It helps that we have Amanda blogging internationally and offering her insight about social media, culture and language; that Gina in addition to being a public relations expert is also a lawyer and former “South Philly girl;” and that I am a self-professed political nerd and C-Span watcher. As a result of all of our individual interests and experiences I think we offer unique perspectives not just about public relations but a wide array of issues that are hopefully of interest to readers.

Though I think in addition to offering “hot news,” it is also important to stick to what your blog is known for. If you have a technology blog, chances are readers read it for tech news and tips. While your political insight may be interesting, it could also turn off your readers if for the month of October you forgo tech news in favor of commenting on the presidential campaign. Bloggers that can somehow tie in hot news to the blog’s primary topic will probably be more successful in engaging and keeping readers.

Have an attitude

I also agree with the Blog Herald’s suggestion that bloggers should have an attitude. This doesn’t mean we should be afraid to run into them in a dark alley, but rather, that they have a distinct voice and unique writing style. From reading the PR Lawyer, it’s clear that we all have our own style of blogging. If you were to remove the names from our posts, chances are you could still pick out which one of us was the author. Certainly the difference in our topics would be an indication, but also our individual voices. Interestingly, Amanda and I went to the same high school, were in many of the same English classes, and still have very different blogging styles. It’s because blogging is so different from academic writing. It lends itself to more personality and less formality, but developing your own attitude takes time and practice. It should always be sincere. If you’re not generally a sarcastic person, using sarcasm may come off as disingenuous to readers.

I would warn though, that too much attitude can be a turn-off to readers. Just the other day I was reading a blog where the blogger’s use of obscenity was over the top, and their cynicism bordered on outright bitterness. It was so distracting to the blogger’s message that I left without a clear idea of what their blog was actually about. Blogs often have a very diverse audience. What may be appropriate for a conversation with your friends in the bar on a Friday night, might not fly on your blog when your readership could be anywhere from 18-55.

Be visual

I know I personally could incorporate more pictures and videos. Blogs that make use of visual media are successful because they are more dynamic and engaging to readers. Plus, they’re usually just plain nicer to look at. A straight page of text can be intimidating to readers who often use blogs for quick snippets of news or information. Using meaningful images or video clips can break up the monotony of straight text and make your blog more interactive.

1 comment:

Amanda W. said...

Great post Katie! Those tips are part of what makes the PR Lawyer so relevant for many professionals in a wide range of industries.