To blog or not to blog … or the seven rules of blogging etiquette

 

Life is so full of interesting nuggents that it is hard not to be tempted to share it. What colleagues or relatives or friends say and think always has something interesting that longs to be shared. Yet there is a delicate balance that must be struck — not to divulge confidential stuff but yet not to feel censored either.

And this provides a valuable lesson on how to think about the boundaries when doing social media. Corporate boardrooms have long worried about the uncensored proliferation of opinions and gossip that make its way to the blog-o-sphere and the wider social media world.

So to guide all you budding bloggers – here are the seven basic rules for achieving the optimum balance.

1)     Never put anything in writing you would not or could not say to your colleagues directly.

2)     Play the role reverse game – if you recounting what you think is a funny anecdote about your Uncle Bill, read it again as though you are Uncle Bill. Would it sound so amusing to you?

3)     Be careful about including business details – one may slip in that could be more telling than you intend. Always keep it vague.

4)     Always, always be respectful of others feelings. Do not use your blog to vent or even a score. It will come back to haunt you – guaranteed.

5)     Always assume that who you write about will read it so censor yourself accordingly.

6)      Let your creative juices flow – but before you publish anything (particularly if you are recounting a funny anecdote about a co-worker) put it aside for a couple of hours. When you read it again “fresh” you will be in a good position to assess the “embarrassment” factor.

7)     Finally – always always be honest in your entries. Then you should have nothing to apologize for.

 

Let the fun begin. 

Judy Shapiro

The Top 5 Myths of Viral Marketing

 

I am surprised at how mysterious this wide world of viral marketing is to many of my colleagues. It reminds me of the days when companies were first learning about  the Internet. Companies were slow to climb on the Internet learning curve then and now I feel like this is a mass déjà vu moment again.

So to help accelerate the learning curve this time around, I’d like to explain what viral marketing is NOT  because it’s easier first to explain what something is NOT and then you can better understand what it is. So here is my top five list of what viral marketing IS NOT. Take note comrades – nothing is a silver bullet and viral marketing is no exception.

1) Viral marketing does not cost a lot

It is a mistake to assume that viral marketing is something that happens if you sprinkle pixie dust into the Internet engine. There are costs but it is often hidden. Great viral marketing is about participating “in the conversation”. That takes time. The “time is money” cliché is true. And guess what – since there are no automated tools to participate in the conversation – participation can be time consuming and therefore not cheap.

 

2) Build a blog and they will come

Sound familiar? Marketers rushed to create websites using that mantra and we know how that ended. Getting a blog going is just the beginning but for it to help create brand buzz requires time and diligence and patience. Blogging at its best can give your brand a personality and a way for people to engage with you. But it needs care and feedling just like any other marketing tactic.

 

3) Viral campaigns can’t be planned – it just happens

On rare occasion that is true. But here’s the reality – most viral marketing successes are the result of careful planning, good execution and a sound strategy. Just like any other marketing campaign.

 

4) Viral marketing can take care of itself

Successful viral marketing is no different than managing a successful direct marketing campaign or advertising campaign or public relations initiative. It must be measured so it can be managed.

 

Which leads me to the final myth …

 

5) You can’t really measure a viral campaign

This is arguably one myth that does the most damage and is a myth that agencies like to promote. After all, it is in the agencies best interests to convince clients that viral marketing can’t be measured because then there is no accountability. But not only is viral marketing measurable – it is in some ways easier to measure than many other tactics. You can measure traffic volumes, responses to blogs and more. So next time your agency hems and haws about measuring a viral marketing campaign – keep looking. You can do better.

So now that we have debunked some of the biggest myths – what now? Let’s talk about what’s a good way to execute a viral campaign. There is a new disciplined type of viral marketing called “content campaigns” that uses an emerging model, PVR – public + viral relations. This means that all content is focused on a few themes and it is distributed across all media – PR, SEO, corporate blogs, white papers, seminars etc etc. By coordinating content creation and distribution, you can optimize search volume and that my friends is how business gets done today.

Buzz that.

 

Judy Shapiro

Blogging and communities and affinity networks – oh my :(

Sometimes too much of a good thing is, well, too much. I talk to my marketing colleagues at big and large companies and they seem to be plagued by the same syndrome – the “am I missing the viral marketing angle because none of my agencies seem to get it” blues.

They consistently sense that there is more they could be doing but not sure how to proceed, not sure how to integrate viral marketing into their existing programs, not sure how to measure these tactics and on and on.

And who can blame them. Marketing agencies seem to take perverse pleasure in “black boxing” these newer marketing tactics that leaves many marketers feeling insecure – about what they don’t know nor their ability to manage it.

And worse, when you try and nail down an agency to explain what they do you often get lots of fancy words that seem to be the right buzz words with no real traction. You know you are in trouble when you talk to an agency about viral marketing and after an hour you still can’t name a specific tactic or specific program. In fact, you often feel like you are getting snowed.

So what’s the remedy? Arm yourself with information, education and intuition. Or if you can, find yourself a viral mentor – someone who either does it for a living or someone who has had success doing it. Seek out the advice of those who know this space so you can calibrate your tool kit. Agencies can’t or won’t do it for you. This is something you must do for yourself.

So here’s an offer. Got a question in viral marketing and can’t find a viral mentor. I’ll help. Not sure your agency reco is making sense. Run it by me and I will help you assess it.

Take me up on my offer. You’ll get objective feedback and I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two also.  

Together, we can get to Oz.  

Judy.shapiro@verizon.net

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