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Showing posts from April, 2008

The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging

The flipside of the ten P's of blogging previously covered here are the attributes or characteristics that should be avoided in creating a successful business blog. Like the seven deadly sins in Christianity, these vices can relegate a blogger to the underworld of the blogosphere though the judgment of readers.

Gluttony: Avoid the "it's all about ME!" syndrome in blogging, where every post is about ME, MY company, or MY product or service. It's perfectly acceptable to write a personal post on occasion, or selectively bring up one's product or service in highly pertinent posts. But if one's own company and its offerings are the only topics of coverage, the end result will be a (very boring) piece of extended marketing collateral, rather than an effective blog that enhances organizational recognition and credibility.

Greed: Everyone has to eat, so there's nothing wrong with generating income from a blog—providing it's done ethically. Including sidebar…

The Importance of a Follow-Up

Being social media savvy, you add blogger outreach to your PR plans for a new product launch. You carefully research blogs using related keywords and competitor names to build a solid outreach list. You carefully craft your message, following best practices for blogger PR outreach: personalize each message, make it clear that you've read the blog and understand its subject matter, and explain the relevance of your message.

You send your messages, and then...nothing. Or very little response. What now?

Just as with advertising, PR relies on frequency. There are many possible reasons for low uptake by bloggers; follow-up is essential to determining what may have gone wrong, and how results can be improved.

Blogger PR follow-up follows the same rules as initial outreach: make it personal, informal and relevant. In addition, follow-up should:
Provide new or updated information, not just a rehash of the original message. For example, with a new product launch, an update could include an…

Hosted Email Service Price Comparison: Part 1

Hosted marketing email services are almost a commodity. Much like web hosting, email outsourcing is pretty much a no-brainer for all but the highest volume mail senders; email providers have already made the investments in deliverability, CAN-SPAM compliance, HTML tools and reporting, so there's no reason to build your own. And also similar to web hosting providers, there are few significant functional differences to separate one from another, so the choice largely comes down to personal preference, and—as with all commodities—price.

Email hosting services aren't quite a commodity, as there are still differences in functionality and service offerings. Virtually all of them, however, offer at least the same basic set of capabilities, including list management, tools for creating HTML and plain text emails, scheduling and reporting.

This chart compares current pricing levels for eight popular hosted marketing email platforms (click to enlarge):

So, which platform offers the best de…

The 5 Best Social Media Sites for Small Businesses

Note: the following is a guest post from expert researcher and freelance writer Heather Johnson on how businesses can effectively use social media as a component of PR efforts, and efficiently focus their efforts on the most productive sites.

Social media sites, no longer relegated to just teens and college students, are now the most cost-effective way for a company to drum up international attention. In fact, social networking serves as a great equalizer for small businesses, as anyone with an Internet connection can now launch a successful, global marketing campaign.

With so many sites to choose from, however, one can easily become overwhelmed. Small businesses have neither the time nor the manpower to cover every major site. Instead, it is best to strongly focus on several and then let the viral nature of social media take over.

Below, I have listed the five best social media sites for small businesses, as well as related tips for each one.

1. StumbleUpon - A recent post cited StumbleU…

The 11th P of Blogging: Perspective

The 10Ps of blogging may seem to be quite enough, but a recent article by Matt Richtel of the New Yorks Times entitled Work fast, die young: The blogger lifestyle? pointed out the need for an 11th "P" word—perspective.

Why do you blog? Probably for many reasons, but most of the bloggers I most frequently interact with—people like Brian Carroll of the B2B Lead Generation Blog, Elge Premeau at My Travels on the Net, Albert Maruggi at the Marketing Edge, and Skip Lineberg of Marketing Genius—blog primarily as a PR activity to support a separate consulting business or marketing agency.

There are also corporate bloggers, analysts, journalists, and people who just enjoy writing as a creative outlet. The vast majority of bloggers do so on a part-time basis, but a few people—a tiny fraction of a fraction of the 100 million-plus bloggers—do it for a living.

Which brings us back to Richtel's article. He focused on two technology bloggers, Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant, who died sudde…

The 6 P's of Blogging

Following up on my recent post on The 4 Ps of Effective Business Blogging, here are six more Ps to keep in mind for business blogging success.

Platform

There are a wide array of options for building and hosting your blog, from the big 3 online options—Blogger, TypePad and WordPress—to software applications and content management (CMS) systems with blogging features. The topic of which platform is best has filled numerous blog posts, including inpholust's Blogger vs. TypePad vs. Wordpress, Blogger vs. TypePad: Some Questions from Blogging Basics 101, and TypePad vs. Blogger from The Blog Squad, as well as forum discussions.

The bottom line is: as long as the platform you choose makes your blog recognizable as such by search engines and provides RSS feed capability, it will work.

Prodigious

One of the original 4 Ps of blogging was persistence—writing new posts on a regular basis. Being prodigious refers to the frequency and volume of posting. Writing one new post per month, every mon…

SEOmoz and the SEO Industry Survey

Search marketing hub site SEOmoz recently released the results of a survey of more than 3,000 search marketers covering demographics, practices, tools used and other topics. Their article, The SEO Industry Survey Results, by SEOmoz staff members Nick Gerner, Rebecca Kelley, Jeff Pollard and Rand Fishkin, provides an excellent summary of the results, so I won't rehash all of that here, but rather offer just a few observations on some of the more surprising findings.

You Can't Win if You Don't Play

More than half of respondents reported that their company either doesn't use PPC advertising at all or spends less than than $500 per month on paid search advertising. That's about what would be expected from a survey of the general business population, but considering that the respondents to this survey were all search marketing professionals, that figure is astounding. How can that many companies not understand the cost-effectiveness and inherent measurabilty of SEM?

You …