Archives for November 2010

The content creation toolkit aka the Scottish blog

A guest post by @saraharrow

Lateral thinking is the most amazing tool for content creation. It helps you write fresh and unique blog postings.

The greatest thing I learnt in formal education was about Lateral Thinking.

The phrases was coined by Edward de Bono in the late 50’s/early 60’s. I won’t go into the history of how Lateral Thinking came about, I suggest you Google it and see for yourself (if you are interested). It’s a worthwhile exercise if you are serious about getting a constant stream of creative ideas for your blog.

You have some options before we carry on with my take on the Lateral Thinking Tools, bookmark this post or memorise it. I suggest you do both. I will make it easy for you to recall them as you go along. If you remember the tools, you will start to apply them in your blogging and it is where the real value of this post will be.

The Lateral Thinking Content toolkit.

tool belt

Think of this post as a toolkit, each tool have a process that will make your content, stronger, fresher and original. In the original thoughts you will find more readers, more commenters and more subscribers. You become remarkable, worthy of being remarked upon.

Lateral Thinking Wrench1. The Wrench Alternatives/Concept Extraction

Memorise by remembering you are ‘wrench”ing the idea to an alternative point of view.

My daughter is studying Macbeth at school and she is planning her essay. To demonstrate her understanding of the story she is considering “wrenching” around to another point of view. Perhaps Lady Macbeth was not mad, perhaps everyone around her was mad and she behaved was a reaction to them? If the storyteller was ‘one of them’ it becomes quite plausible, quite remarkable that perhaps Lady Macbeth was surrounded by madmen.

Of course the idea needs more work on it and that is just one example of a lateral thinking tool giving you a new angle on an old story, of which many interpretations exist already. She could also look at the the other use for the wrench. It’s a tool for extraction as well as a tool for alternatives.

How does Macbeth do as a story if you remove a fundamental part of it?

  • What happens if Lady Macbeth is extracted from the story?
  • Does Macbeth behave in the same way?
  • Would his actions still be the same?
  • Would the outcomes be the same?

Wrench‘ing an alternative angle or extracting something can give you a whole new take on an existing idea.

Lateral thinking magnifying glass2. The magnifying glass Focus /Magnify

Memorise by remembering to magnify one aspect of your content by focusing on it.

Back to Macbeth, how would the story look from a minor character being magnified?

  • How does the story play out if it is told from Ross the messengers point of view?
  • What if Ross is magnified so Macbeth is his story and his take on what happens?
  • How much of the story do we miss?
  • What aspects do we gain?

By focusing on Ross the story of Macbeth becomes unrecognisable, a different story entirely. Regicide is no longer the main focus when you magnify different characters. It’s a completely new story.

If you see a blog post that you really like is there one angle you can focus on? Magnify it so that becomes a new post in its own right.

3. The Axe Challenge

Memorise by thinking of using a axe to challenge, wielding it to chop or to deter.

Ok, I guess I am going to stick with Macbeth for the examples…

How does the tale fair if we chop the witches from it? What if we chop the beginning or saw out Banquo’s ghost. How does Macbeth look then?

  • Are they sitting enjoying the meal and his conscience is speaking instead of the ghost?
  • Is the conversation the same if the voice is not Banquo’s
  • If you chop the main characters out, what fills their place?
  • How does your post look if you take the saw to parts of it?

4. Torch – Random Entry

Memorise by remembering the light is shone in dark places to help make random connections

Random entry is to introduce a picture, photo, image or sound to an unseemingly related event. It then relies on the mind to connect the the unrelated objects. You know how the mind sees faces when there isn’t one? That’s how random entry works.

Go over to Flickr and start randomly collecting some images and see where they lead you. Thinking randomly has lead Macbeth originally a play becoming an opera, a film, comic books and a novel. And now a tool in describing lateral thinking for blog creation. How random is that?

5. The crowbar – Provocation

Memorise by remembering the crowbar can help you get out of the box!

Ever been told to ‘think outside the box’ but have no idea exactly what that means or how to do it? Boy are you going to love the crowbar! Start with a deliberately unreasonable idea and see where it leads you.

Yes start with the most outrageous idea you can imagine and see where it goes. Exaggeration is your friend here and the more exaggerated you are the fresher your content becomes. An example of this would be Lady Macbeth is a transsexual. Pretty unheard of in Shakespeare’s day. Pretty outrageous to suggest it but looking at it further, could it explain certain behaviors of Lady Macbeth? Crowbar your thoughts from the box and into new places. Use your blog to explore these ideas. See from the comments you gain whether you have hit the mark or not.

These 5 tools will help you create really fresh content, some will be hits and some will be misses but all will be uniquely yours.

This is by no means a complete toolkit for lateral thinking for content creation, I have other tools up my sleeve and in my toolkit. These form part of a fantastic blogging e-course that I am working on with Nikki and Barbara Saul. It will be released in 2011.

Macbeth? The Scottish connection? Happy St Andrews day.

Sarah

Sarah Arrow is the author of Advanced Blogging, managing editor of Birds on the Blog, co author of the best blogging e-course on the web, available 2011 (of course, she would say that). She can be found as @saraharrow on Twitter.

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Image credits – toolbelt (C)toolventures.co.uk

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"We only want to have Twitter followers"

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Image via Wikipedia

This was the comment I was faced with today, made by the Marketing Manager of a fairly large company who wanted to ‘dip their toes’ into the ‘world of social media’.

Try as I did to explain to them that Twitter, and Social Media in general, is about relationships and give and take, they were adamant they only wanted people to follow them.

The other rules I was given:

  • We don’t want to enter into conversations
  • We only want to Tweet links to our own website
  • We want to delete any negative comments about us on Twitter
  • We don’t want to get involved in Direct Messages
  • We only want links tweeting, no comments or updates on what we’re doing or planning

So basically this company only wanted to broadcast. And to top it all, they wanted 100,000 followers by the end of the year, for which they were happy to use a service where you buy completely untargeted followers.

A lot of the customers that come to me for Twitter Management services do say that they don’t see the point in conversations, they don’t want to share links and thoughts on their company, but within a short amount of time I’ve managed to get them to see why that strategy won’t work on Twitter, or indeed in Social Media Marketing at all.

This company were adamant that they knew what they wanted, they’d commissioned a Social Media Marketing report that had told them this would work for them, and it was their way or the highway.

I chose the highway 🙂

I really hope that their strategy works well for them, and it’s entirely possible that it will; they’re a fairly well known name and it could be that I’ve passed up a great opportunity.

But it’s not how I think Twitter should be used, and it’s not how I work, so I turned them away.

What would you have done?

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Why Failing to Promote Reader Engagement and Interaction Results In Blogging Disaster

Why Failing to Promote Reader Engagement and Interaction Results In Blogging Disaster

failWhen examining common blogging mistakes, it’s easy to presume that the problems lie with the design of a blog and/or incorrect on-page and off-page optimization. But there is another major area of common oversight that can seriously damage a blog’s potential and efficacy: Ignoring the importance of reader engagement and interaction.

Let’s look at these two crucial areas in closer detail.

1. Failing to Engage With Readers

For a blog, content is everything. People visiting corporate websites and websites run purely for business purposes may be influenced by overall appearance and stylistic flair. However, they are unlikely to judge blogs with the same indifference to contextual quality.

People read blogs because they contain topically relevant, up-to-date information. Blogs should be updated far more frequently than standard websites. They are the mini-sites readers go to when they are looking for new, fresh ideas on specific subject matter. Failing to provide interesting content that readers will find useful is a death sentence for any blog.

Many internet users have short attention spans and there is a vast amount of competition vying for their short attentions. For a blog to catch a readers’ eye, and keep it long enough to encourage the reader to stick around and then return to read the latest posts, the blog has to offer a level of engagement above that of competing sites.

Posts should be informative and insightful. A blog has to be in touch with its potential readership. Performing demographic research can offer a serious advantage. If a blog knows who their target audience is, it can mould its content to spark their interest. Reader engagement is the key to building a successful long-term readership base and increasing a blogs’ authority and relevance.

2. Minimal Interaction

Once a blog has attracted readers it needs to keep them entertained. Contextual engagement will provide a steady flow of loyal visitors but even regular visitors need additional stimulation. Many blogs are happy just to post regular entries for their visitors to read. The really successful blogs are those that provide readers with a source of interaction.

People like to feel part of something. They need to know that their opinion is valued and counts for something. A visitor is far more likely to continue returning to a blog if he or she considers they have some personal input. This is why encouraging reader interaction can turn an average blog into a dynamic blog.

Without interaction, readers will never be fully engaged. Thinking all it takes is a few regular posts a week on the latest industry news in order to be successful is a major mistake made by many blogs. This may work short-term, but the visitor statistics will probably show fluctuating peaks and troughs until the blog finally heads into a steady decline. Reader interaction can be easily encouraged by:

  • Posting polls and then displaying the results
  • Publishing entertaining, controversial content that encourages readers to comment
  • Running on-site competitions
  • Posting questions that readers can respond to and then choosing the best submission
  • Offering a Q&A section. Let readers post the questions the blog can then answer.

Failing to provide a forum for visitor input and ignoring a reader’s need to interact is a major mistake that many now extinct blogs wish they had never made. Provide readers with a conduit to voice their opinions and participate. Listen to what they have to say. Then address and react to this new information.

Making a Blog Reader-Friendly

One of the biggest turn-offs for a blog reader is constantly seeing posts that offer nothing more than the author’s biased perspectives. Failing to understand a blog’s demographic audience and addressing what their perceived attitudes and opinions may be is a huge blogging faux par.

In the majority of cases, people visit blogs to find quality, relevant information. A finely tuned blog that can establish a kinship with its readership and build an interactive rapport will create a substantial long-term reader base. A consistent audience should always be a primary target for any blog.

By providing topically relevant, entertaining, and informational content a blog will promote reader engagement and interaction. This effort will be rewarded with the generation of an ever-increasing loyal readership and a gradual improvement in the blog’s perceived authority and status.

Roko Nastic is an editor and member at WebmasterFormat.com. He likes to share his thoughts and observations about ever changing world of website development, best hosting providers, blogging and search engine marketing.

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Guest Blogging – Becoming a Guest Blogger

Google Blog Search Feed Offerings
Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

Yesterday we spoke about having someone Guest Blog on your blog. On the other side, being a guest blogger for someone else’s blog can also have a dramatic effect on your traffic and readership, so is well worth giving a go.

I don’t have time!
If you have time to write on your blog, you have time to write on someone else’s. And if you’ve got a guest posting on yours, that frees you up to write for another blog doesn’t it?

Who would want me?
You’d be surprised – some people are crying out for guest bloggers, and some people would be, if they knew that they existed!

So where do I start?
Much the same as you did when looking for your guest blogger. Decide the types of sites and blogs you would love to be associated with and approach them with the idea.

Ask a client
If you’ve done a good job for a client, ask if you guest post on their blog – they’ll be unlikely to say no. You could talk about the work you’re doing for them, what it’s like working with them, or something completely unrelated to the work you’re doing together, but mutually beneficial.

A supplier
The same as before, this is pretty safe and a supplier is usually pretty happy to have you give them a guest blog or two if you can relate it to their industry.

A competitor
This is a difficult one as his first impression will probably be to say no (let’s face it, when I said this before, yours was, wasn’t it?). But I do believe that there’s enough business out there for everyone and cross promotion is good, so think about giving it a go, and explain the benefits.

A related business
It could be a partner company, a company you speak to on Twitter or LinkedIn, or just a company blog you admire.

Find a blog
Get onto Google blog search and search for companies similar to yours – you should be able to draw up a shortlist of the type of blog you’d like to guest post to.

A guest blog blog
Look around at blogs that you see accepting guest posts, whether generic or focused. Lots of blogs now ask for guest bloggers, so it’s worth looking out for that too.

Are you a female blogger?
Consider asking for a guest slot on Birds on the Blog – a magazine themed blog with women blogging about everything from business to motherhood, diversity and equality to kitchen design, and everything in between.

A male blogger?
Consider their brother site Blokes on the Blog – similar diverse blog topics, but by Blokes. Both of these sites happily accept guest bloggers.

The new blog
Although there’s not much of an audience, guest posting on a new blog can be a great thing to do, as not only are you generating loyalty, you’re also sure that the blog owner is in the first flushes of enthusiasm and will be promoting it like mad.

The approach
Suffice to say, the email, leave it a while, follow up, don’t badger, don’t give up, but don’t become a stalker advice works here too.

Explain the benefits
Let the blog author know the benefits to them – a day that they don’t have to write content, you promoting the blog for that day, fresh eyes, a new audience, more traffic. Tell them what’s in it for them.

Deliver what you promise
As before, agree everything up front, and make sure you deliver what you promised, on time and with the elements (pictures, links etc.) that you said you would.

Don’t forget YOU!
Time and time again I get guest blogs with no info about the author on them – at the very least write an introduction to yourself as the opening paragraph, or an author type resource box at the end. That’s YOUR payment for providing free content for someone else’s blog – make sure you claim it!

Promote it!
Make sure you do your best to promote your guest post – after all that’s part of the deal really – you’ll tell your contacts about your post on their blog. Email it, blog it, tweet it, Facebook it, LinkedIn it, phone and tell your mum etc. etc.

Ask for stats
You want to know how well your post did in order to know whether to guest blog again for that publication. How many views did it get? Did any of them follow links to your site (you did remember the links to your site didn’t you?)
This is valuable info to help you to work out the best sites to spend time on and which ones to only blog for occasionally.

Review it
Look at the time you spent finding blogs to guest on, emailing the authors, writing the blog, checking the stats etc. Was it worth it for the results? Only you know what results are good – it maybe readers of your blog, newsletter sign ups, emails, retweets etc. – only you know so sit down and have a think. If it was, do it again!

Becoming a guest blogger can be hugely rewarding and lots of fun, but it’s easy to get caught up in it and let your own blog slide. Remember the whole aim of this is to build your readership and your leads / sales – so be strong, but enjoy it!

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Guest Blogging – Receiving Guest Bloggers

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, the words won’t flow. And when that’s the case, and you’ve used up all your spare blogs, well there’s only one thing for it – bring on the guest blogs!

A guest blogger is someone who comes along and has a blog published on your website. You may have asked him (or her) or he may have requested a spot, but guest bloggers can be a boon to a busy blog, and even to a not so busy one.

You get content, a new audience (he’s bound to tell all his contacts about his guest spot). He gets a new audience (yours, who may follow him back to his blog) and promotion (you’ll tell everyone you know about his guest slot).

So let’s find a few guest bloggers, shall we?

Ask a client
A safe first option as a guest blogger is probably a client who will say nice things about as well as get to promote her own blog and service (subtly, as with any blogging). This works especially well if your service and products bear relation to one another, but can also work if they don’t.

A supplier
Again, pretty safe and can work well either way. Not very exciting though is it? And you’ll soon run out of people.

A competitor
A brave move, and not one a lot of people would take, but a lot of times worth the risk. Let’s face it, he’ll have to reciprocate and you both have pretty much the same potential clients.

A related business
Probably the easiest and the best is to look at a related business and see if they’ll guest blog for you – if you have a similar market they may say yes and you’ll both win.

Look in the comments
If you have an established blog you may have some people who regularly comment and would jump at the opportunity to guest blog for you.

A celebrity
Whether your idea of a celebrity is Chris Evans or Chris Brogan, it won’t hurt to ask them to guest blog.

(A clue though, Chris Brogan is more likely to say yes than Chris Evans!) The worst they can do is ignore you…

The prolific blogger
He posts a blog post every day, is always promoting his blog posts and never seems to have time to work – grab him before he starts another post for his own site!

The already guesting blogger
Everywhere you go you see her posts, and she seems to be in with all the right people. This means she has a huge audience, but is also happy to blog on smaller blogs, so what have you got to lose by asking her?

The new blogger
He’s only just started his blog, so he’s not got much of an audience, but he’ll have enthusiasm and tell everyone he knows he’s guested on your blog. And who doesn’t want to help a new blogger?

He who doesn’t
He doesn’t have a blog, doesn’t want a blog and thinks blogging is for mugs. But he has content, and he needs to put it somewhere – give him a spot and he’ll promote you for life.

Invite them in
If you know them, speak to them however you would normally, but if you don’t, a polite email is best, asking them if they would like a guest spot on your site.

Don’t forget
Remember to send them the URL and explain your ‘niche’.

Don’t badger
If you haven’t heard in an hour, don’t send them another seven emails saying the same thing – you’ll just annoy them.

But don’t give up
Give it a week or so and then drop another polite email – it could be that they didn’t get the first, were too busy to read it, had a VA delete it by accident.

Wait a little longer
I’d leave it another month or so before approaching them again. It may be that the time isn’t right, or that they just don’t want to do it – the polite ones will email you back and let you know the situation though!

They said yes!
Well done you! Thank them and now let’s agree some ground rules

Tone and Subject
What do you want them to write about? What do they want to write about? Do you want something funny or serious, businesslike or chatty? Talk about this up front so that everyone knows what they’re letting themselves in for.

Length / Number of Words
You don’t want them sending you a couple of paragraphs when you expected a thousand words, so agree up front how long the piece will be.

Pictures?
Who is going to source the pictures? You or them? Free or paid? Make it easy by deciding these things up front and letting your guest blogger know. (I would say that I would deal with pictures but the final choice was theirs if they didn’t like the ones I’d chosen – but then I have a strange sense of humour when it comes to blog posts and images….

Payment?
Be clear up front if you’re not offering payment. Don’t panic – in most cases you’re not expected to, guest bloggers do it for free, but some high profile bloggers have been known to ask for a fee. Agree it up front – that way everyone knows what to do.

Date for submission
Try and get your blogger to send you the piece a few days before you need it, so you’ll have a chance to look it over, make any amendments agreed, upload it and schedule it to go.

Date for publication
Agree a date for publication and stick to it. Your guest blogger will probably have told people that they’re appearing on your blog and won’t want to be disappointed.

Introduce your guest blogger
Don’t just stick their post up there as a normal post – introduce them:
“Today we have a guest post from Nikki Pilkington. Nikki runs NikkiPilkington.com, a successful Internet Marketing Company based in the UK and France. She has been promoting websites for 15 years and today is going to talk to us about blah blah blah”
Followed by the post.

Alternatively
Another way to do it is just to say ‘A guest post by Nikki Pilkington’ , then have the post, then put the author info in a box at the end of the post.

Remember the links!
Probably one of the main reasons your guest author wants to post is to have the links back to his or her website – make sure they’re there and make sure they’re correct before publishing. This is also another good thing to have agreed up front – how many links and where in the piece they can appear.

Feedback
From your blogs stats (you do have stats don’t you?) let your guest blogger know how their post did on the day, and then again maybe a week or so later. They’ll want to know how many readers it had, at the very least, but you may be able to tell them other info such as how many people clicked through to their site, how many people came to the post from search engines, what they searched for etc.

How to get stats?
Consider installing the WordPress.com stats plugin – Once it’s running it’ll begin collecting information about your pageviews, which posts and pages are the most popular, where your traffic is coming from, and what people click on when they leave. It’ll also add a link to your dashboard which allows you to see all your stats on a single page.

Get Clicky
I’m also a huge fan of Clicky web stats which allows you to ‘spy’ on your visitors, in that you can see which pages they’re visiting in real time. It allows you to see the reaction to your Tweets and promotion of a post immediately. You can get it at Get Clicky.

Something different please
If neither of those grab you, then Mashable did a round up of 30+ WordPress plugins for statistics that may have something you like.

So please consider finding guest bloggers for your website – it’s not difficult and it can help to expand your blog readership dramatically.

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Need an online marketing plan for 2011?

Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog - ...
Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

If you’ve not started planning your 2011 online marketing yet, then this could be the perfect offer for you!

More and more we’re finding people who want to do their own online marketing, but aren’t really sure where to start – and that’s where we can help!

If you want to do everything yourself, but need a bit of a helping hand,then read on.

In 2011 we’re launching our “Online Marketing Plan” product and service, which will give you:

  • Competitor analysis – we’ll look at 3 of your main competitors and tell you EXACTLY what they’re doing online, and what you have to do to beat them
  • A marketing plan – a month by month plan, complete with checklists to enable you to see at a glance what marketing you should be doing each month
  • Telephone or Skype chat / email coaching – we’ll keep in touch with you at the beginning of each month, and answer your questions, point you in the right direction, and generally be your helping hand
  • Monthly reminder emails – each month you’ll get an email with our recommendations, hints and tips, written especially for YOU and YOUR business
  • Ad hoc advice – it often happens that we come across things that are suitable for our clients, and we’ll pass these on to you; whether they be opportunities for promotion, new directories you should be part of, new techniques or updates

The marketing plan will give you specific advice and objectives in all areas of your online marketing; website content and structure, blogging, Facebook, SEO, Twitter, YouTube, SocialMedia, Business Forums and more.

You’ll also have access to Nikki via Skype chat, email, Twitter, Facebook and more – a little like having an ‘expert’ at your fingertips!

In 2011 this isn’t going to be cheap – we’re looking at charging a minimum of ÂŁ500 initially followed by a monthly subscription fee.

HOWEVER…

We need some people to ‘test’ this on, and iron out any problems, so we’re offering it at a FANTASTICALLY reduced price for the next 7 DAYS ONLY.

If you buy now, you’ll have your initial plan by the end of November 2010, and a great head start for 2011!

The price? Just ÂŁ99 setup and NO MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION for the rest of 2010. If you want to subscribe for the ongoing service from January 2011, then you’ll have the option at just ÂŁ50 per month (no obligation to do this).

The catch? Well we’re only taking on 3 people for this ‘test’ service, and we’ll ask you to answer a few questions once you’ve received your marketing plan, to help with our promotion for 2011.

So, if you’d like to be a part of this fab new service, use the Paypal button below to purchase – remember, we’re only taking on 3 people, and it’s first come, first served! Questions? Drop an email to Nikki on nikkipilk@gmail.com or on Twitter @nikkipilkington





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It's competition time again!

Google Lego 50th Anniversary Inspiration

AND THE WINNER IS: Angelika Davey – well done Angelika, we’ll be in touch!

In this fab November competition we’re offering our Bronze Higher Google Listings Package to one lucky winner – for free for 6 months! That’s a great prize worth over ÂŁ1000!

If you’ve been struggling with SEO, aren’t sure what key phrases to focus on, or are just unsure where to start, our Package could be a great help to you.

You get:

  • Extensive key phrase research – find out which key phrases are actually worth targeting
  • Google Webmaster Tools Setup – essential to find out what’s going on with your website
  • XML sitemap – to tell Google about the pages on your website
  • Submission to directories – including ODP, a great asset to Google Listings
  • Onsite optimisation of each page of your website  (up to 10 key phrases)
  • Advice and tips
  • Weekly reports of positions
  • Ongoing recommendations
  • 1 article per month written for link building purposes – submitted to 3 main article websites and yours to use where you like!

Usually this would cost a minimum of ÂŁ499 set up and then ÂŁ100 a month – but we’re offering it free to one lucky winner.

So, what do you have to do?

All you have to do to be in with a chance of this great prize is sign up to our newsletter using the form below – it’s THAT simple! Sign up now to be in with a chance!

Already a subscriber? Simply use the boxes top right of this blog post to sign up to receive new blog posts via feedburner, and we’ll put you in the draw too – if you do both you’ll get 2 entries!

The random draw will be made on november 30th, so sign up now before you forget!

Email:
Name:

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Creative Commons License photo credit: manfrys

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A code of ethics for bloggers

Thanks to RedGage for reminding me of this 🙂

A BLOGGERS’ CODE OF ETHICS (from cyberjournalist.net )

Be Honest and Fair

Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Bloggers should:

• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and illustrations.
• Never information they know is inaccurate — and if questionable information, make it clear it’s in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm

Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.

Bloggers should:

• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable

Bloggers should:

• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog’s mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers’ conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Offering such information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

It’s an interesting list, and I know that not all bloggers agree with all of it – is there anything you think is out of place, or anything that could be added? Let’s update it and see what groupthink can come up with!

Blogging around :)

nikkitwitterI don’t only blog here, I’m active in a few other places (as well as blogging for clients of course!) – so here are a few of my blogs in other places you may not have known about!

Birds on the Blog

I love being a Bird, and if you haven’t checked out this great site, full of fab female bloggers blogging about business and life, then you should do it now! Here are some of my recent posts over there:

My personal Blogger blog

As you would imagine, I post about a lot of different things on here – personal stuff, bits about clients, things that interest me. I wiped it a few months ago and started again (lots of reasons) but there are a few posts on there that you may be interested in if you want to know more about ME:

Guest Blogs

I’m pretty much always available for a guest blog or two, so if you’re interested in having me write something for your blog, please get in touch at nikkipilk@gmail.com. Here are a few guest posts from me:

I blog in other places too, sometimes as me, sometimes under a pseudonym, depending on the content – if you spot me on your travels, do leave a comment and say Hi!

Need comments and exposure for your blog posts?

Hands in the air - in concertI’m going to revive something I used to run in a slightly different form a few years ago, and I’d be delighted if some of you would join me.

One of the problems lots of us have is getting comments on our blogs, finding blogs to comment on, and generally getting exposure for our blogs.

Blog commenting groups are a great way around this.

How does it work?

  • Each group consists of no more than 8 people, and each person lets the rest of the group know when they have made a new blog post.
  • The group resolves to comment on the other members’ blog posts where possible
  • The group is also asked to Tweet and Facebook any posts that are particular interesting to them (this isn’t obligatory)
  • In theory every blog post should have at least 7 comments on it, but the fact that they are promoted too means that in practice they often have many more

Who’s going to be in it?

Well, I’m going to do as I did before and run multiple groups, some will be loosely themed (eg sites of interest to mums, B2B blogs, retail etc) and some will be just random.

You can be a part of as many or as few groups as you like.

How’s it going to run?

Ideally I’d like to run this using Facebook Groups – we’ll keep each group private so only the members involved can see the relevant info. However, I am aware that not everyone is on Facebook so we could also run it via an email discussion group and / or Skype chats. We’ll work it out as we go along.

I don’t have a blog, can I still take part?

If you’re planning on commenting on the other blogs in the group then yes, but each group will only have one person that doesn’t have a blog.

Can we use the groups to ask for feedback on blogs / blogging ideas?

Yes, it’s as much a support group at times as it is a commenting group

OK, so how much will it cost me?

Nothing. Zero. Nada. It’s something I ran on a networking site I’m no longer involved with years ago, and it worked well – I think it could work well again. Eventually I might turn it into a website, but it will still be free.

I’m interested, sign me up!

OK, in the first instance you need to email me nikkipilk@gmail.com and tell me:

  • Your name
  • The address of your blog
  • Your industry
  • Whether you want to be in the ‘loosely related’ groups, the ‘random’ groups or both
  • Whether you’d rather be part of a Facebook group, an email group, a Skype chat, or you don’t care

That’s it! Please don’t leave your answers on this blog post, as I’ll be sending all emails to Leigh to collate the groups, and it’s easier for us both to keep everything in one place.

Thanks for reading so far and I look forward to helping you to get more and more comments on your blogs, and to us all helping each other out!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

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