Liberate Media blends online PR with offline PR expertise to form a uniquely positioned social media agency.

Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Blog, Tweet, or Facebook, which would you choose?

August 20th, 2009

There has been a lot of talk recently about which is more effective at building brands and authority: blogging, tweeting, Facebook fanpages and groups.

Obviously there are many other ways to build brand authority and reputation but these three are some of the most common and well known. So the question is, which one is would you choose?

We’d love to know your thoughts, and you can cast your vote via this nifty little survey that we have created.


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Trade press concerns about blogging

April 17th, 2009

The digital marketing trade press has embraced blogging to varying degrees. While Haymarket has recently relaunched many of its magazine websites and simultaneously stepped-up the intensity of its blogging, other publishing houses are yet to rollout blogs for their flagship titles. Magazines such as NMA and Marketing Week, for example, are still without blogs.

What’s apparent is that some trade publishers have been nervous about blog content undermining the value of their magazine and online editorial, often failing to grasp where blogging can add value.

Having been following the progress of the Haymarket blogs and watching what other trade publishers are doing, as well as discussing the practicalities of blogging with journalists in our sector, I thought it might be helpful to offer some insight into some of the shared concerns, and for what it’s worth, my views on how these problems can be addressed…

* New demands for journalists to produce magazine and online content are high enough. Adding blogging to the list will lead to poorer quality of writing and less time for investigative reporting – this is a genuine concern that is shared by every trade editor I speak to, and journalists are similarly reluctant to take on extra writing responsibilities. Compile this with the recent redundancies that have taken place across most trade media, and the average journalist is over-worked and over-stressed.

However, this line of argument is missing the point about the role blogging plays in news consumption, and failing to acknowledge what magazine audiences want nowadays. Blog content can be equally as important as magazine coverage, if not more. Now is the time for publishers to be re-evaluating their content priorities.

* If content is now being broken online and followed-up in the magazine, what can we write about in a blog?- every new blogger worries about finding subject matter to write about, but journalists shouldn’t really have this problem! As a former trade journalist I know so many stories never make it into the magazine, or you have fascinating conversations with contacts that you wish you could do something with editorially. A magazine blog can be the perfect place to write about titbits of information that might otherwise get lost, or to start debate on subjects that you might feel passionate about. Although magazine editorial guidelines will most likely still need to be adhered to, the blog should be a place where journalists can publish independently and have a bit more freedom with subject matter.

* Blogging just doesn’t draw in the level of traffic that we’d like -magazines that have tested the water with blogging, but not dived in wholeheartedly, often cite this as a reason for delaying the launch of a proper blog. There can be many reasons for a magazine blog not taking off properly, but frequently the reasons are that the blog is hidden away on the website and not signposted clearly enough, that content is not interesting or updated frequently enough, and that measures have not been put in place to share the content socially or allow for comment and conversation.

* There’s no budget for professional blog set-up or consultancy, so we’re looking into it ourselves – it’s clear that times are tough for the trade publishing industry, and having worked on a trade magazine, I know what a battle it can be to make money available for these sort of projects. I would argue that this is a sign of a blog not being given the priority it should be, but that isn’t offering a useful solution to the problem.

Launching a magazine blog is a serious business (well it should be) and it’s important to bring in experts who know what they’re doing. It’s crucial that you have advice on the platform you’re going to use, as well as how it’s going to be designed and optimised etc. Particularly within the digital marketing industry, I’m sure there are companies out there who would be willing to advise the likes of NMA etc on a blog strategy for free. Now is a time to make the most of your contacts!

* We’ve already added ‘comments’ to our stories, so why do we need to blog? -this is probably the lamest excuse that I’ve heard for not blogging, but it’s come up a lot in conversations that I’ve had! If you’re a reader of sites such as NMA.co.uk and Revolutionmagazine.com etc, you’ll know that stories very rarely receive comments. Ticking this box is not a reason to delay launching a blog.

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    Looking for new bloggers to engage with digital and technology clients

    April 3rd, 2009

    At Liberate Media we are always looking to engage with like-minded individuals and bloggers, who share our passion for all things technology and digital.

    As part of this focus, we are eager to build new connections with bloggers who are interested in hearing from our clients. Don’t worry, we’re not going to spam anyone with press releases, but if you would be interested in getting in touch on a more one-to-one basis to discuss campaigns, opinions or simply to have a discussion on a relevant topic, we would love to hear from you.

    We have added a brief preview of some of our relevant clients below, but we are also in touch with a number of other brands and industry experts on various projects and campaigns, so please get in touch if you would like to hear more.

    Associated Northcliffe DigitalAssociated Northcliffe Digital has a massive online footprint, operating the digital assets of Associated Newspapers Ltd and Northcliffe Media, as well as key online classified sites.

    CollectiveCollective has been the lead agency behind Honda’s digital strategy for the past five years, and is using PR to help tell this story and gain greater recognition for the other high-calibre brands it works with including EA, Sega and Snickers.

    iBAHN - Having worked to establish iBAHN as the internet provider of choice for business travellers across the globe, we are now re-focusing our efforts on raising the profile of iBAHN’s growing portfolio of in-room digital entertainment services.

    KerbKerb is leading the future of online advertising, through its creation of highly engaging content-led campaigns and viral games for brands such as Samsung, Sony PlayStation, E4 and MTV. Its sister company, Kerb Games, is expert at producing highly successful massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs).

    NapsterNapster is the pioneer of digital music, and is now one of the industry’s fastest growing mobile music platforms.

    Mike Bayler – a consultant and author, specialising in consumer-led marketing and innovation. He has advised some of the world’s leading brands, media companies and international stars, including Nokia, Diageo, Telefonica, Bacardi Global Brands, Sky, BT, Sony BMG, Ogilvy and Mather, Robbie Williams, Dido and Simon Cowell.

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    Mzinga backlash: Is Twitter a reliable journalist/blogger source?

    March 18th, 2009

    Respected blogger and Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang came in for a bit of a battering yesterday when he published a blog post about social software company Mzinga, claiming he’d received multiple reports (“over four direct messages or emails”) that the company was in trouble. Please read the full post by Jeremiah.

    The post has received 75 irate comments (at time of writing), and Jeremiah has since been compelled to write a full public apology to Mzinga which has stirred up a further 35 comments.

    The incident is an important lesson to every blogger/journalist, and raises a big question mark over whether Twitter should be considered a reliable source of information, or indeed any social source.

    Trained journalists are taught to use multiple sources – as a rule of thumb, I was always taught to corroborate a story through a minimum of two to three trusted sources.

    According to Wikipedia, examples of sources include “official records, publications or broadcasts, officials in government or business, organizations or corporations, witnesses of crime, accidents or other events, and people involved with or affected by a news event or issue”. I haven’t been able to find any up-to-date industry guidelines on how journalists should treat social media sources – if you know of any, please share!

    In my mind, the mistake that Jeremiah made was to not wait for an official response from Mzinga. He linked to a Twitter reply from the company’s PR manager, in which she wrote: “@jowyang Sorry to not reply sooner. Happy to talk about what you’ve been hearing. Will DM you to set up a time to chat”, but decided to publish before having had this conversation. A journalist would never have been able to sneak this under the nose of an editor!

    Respected bloggers have a responsibility to their readers, and it could be argued should be bound by the same ethical and liable rules as journalists. Twitter is an unmoderated platform where anyone can say anything, and if it is to be used as a story source, my feeling is that the rule of multiple sources should be at least tripled before a story can be corroborated.

    If any journalists are reading this post, I’d be interested to hear whether their editorial guidelines are the same for their newspaper/magazine as their company blog, and whether they relax rules for a personal blog that they might write.

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    Is blogging on the way out…again?

    January 19th, 2009

    One week back into 2009 (for me at least) and out come the depressingly familiar predictions of ‘the end of blogging’.

    Where to begin. It seems like every year (often more frequently) the same story is rolled out, blogging has had its day, there are x million blogs in the world but only x amount are updated, you’ll never make money out of blogging, you know the score. Well, I’m here again to say that the point is well and truly being missed.

    This was a theme that ran through part of the an article in the current issue of NMA titled: Natural selection, which begins with the line: ‘Despite the fact there are some 130m blogs worldwide, some industry experts believe blogging is on its way out.’ First of all, I don’t have an issue with the piece as such, it’s well written, researched and explained, but in parts it is the most recent example of blogging being misinterpreted  to some extent.

    Forgetting the article, and in my humble opinion, blogging is not a technology that will build your empire, it was never meant to be, it’s not a communications strategy either. Blogging is part of the wider world of social media, it’s a tool that can be used to communicate with an audience, hopefully openly and as part of a two way conversation, but it’s not, as some of my colleagues in the PR industry would say, ‘a holistic solution’ – eugh, I feel dirty. Neither is it to be dismissed, as many PRs have in the past.

    My point is; those who say that blogging is on its way out are missing the point. Blogging being here to stay or disappearing isn’t really the issue. Blogging is just a flavour of a much wider social communications medium. A part of people getting together to discuss their opinions by way of conversation. They maybe corporates, consumers or one man and his dog, the conversation is the interesting part not the mechanism through which it is delivered.

    Yes, blogging has been misused in the corporate world, misunderstood by the publishing world and feared by the communications world, but for the most part we’re coming out of those dark ages, and as Greg Brooks states in the NMA piece, blogging isn’t dead its evolving – hear, hear.

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    Bloggers: slow down

    November 26th, 2008

    Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about the economic slow down, I think we’ve had quite enough of that for now. No, this post comes as a result of Jon Henley’s article on Guardian.co.uk today titled: ‘The bloggers who take it one post at a time’. It’s a great piece, based in turn on a recent article from the New York Times titled: Blogging at a snail’s pace.

    As you can probably gather, both pieces overview a more relaxed approach to blogging, quality over quantity if you like, where the object is not the first to get a post published on a breaking issue, but the one that can add most value.

    Both of these pieces refer to Todd Sieling’s ‘A slow blog manifesto’ written in 2006 by the technology consultant from British Columbia, who formulated a structure for the slow blogging movement, saying: “Slow blogging is a rejection of immediacy, it is an affirmation that not all things are worth reading are written quickly.”

    Having digested these articles, I felt it was worth pointing out that they have a lot of relevancy in the communications industry, and would be good advice to take on board for any blogger. In fact it’s something that I recommend to my clients: don’t try to be the first on the scene, try to add to the conversation.

    It’s still true that blogging, and the wider circle of social media, moves quickly. The last few years have seen a constant push to get more information out in as short a time frame as possible. Twitter is an example of the success of quick fire candid comment, but blogging gives us the opportunity to add more than just news or speed to an issue. It gives us the opportunity to put our opinion across and delve deeper into the discussion, or at least look at a different angle.

    It’s too easy to forget that blogging isn’t a race; we need to listen to our community and understand what would be most useful, to be relevant in a conversation. If that’s speed and constant availability, Twitter is probably a much better outlet for you.

    If your subscribers read your posts because they appreciate your knowledge or like your take on issues, then that’s what they want to hear, whether that’s an hour or two days after the issue has broken. I myself often like to sit back and see how an issue develops before posting or commenting, it makes sense to get the whole picture before joining in, and simply joining in shouldn’t be a key motivator.

    So, what have I taken from the slow blog theory? Well, affirmation of a belief that time isn’t the key factor in blogging, it is important, but it isn’t the issue we should focus on. Offering something to the debate should be the focus.

    This isn’t an excuse for those that like to post every few months to say that they are using their time to think – we know that isn’t the case, and it isn’t supposed to be a mantra that every post should be an epic, short posts are very useful and relevant, it’s just confirmation that slowing down and adding value is something that will be appreciated by your subscribers and wider community.

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    Five on Friday – five fabulous Web 2.0 tools and sites of the week (14-11-08)

    November 14th, 2008

    The Five on Friday webmaster is on holiday this week, so I’m filling in. I hope this week’s five are of interest, all themed around tools for your blog.

    Normal service will be resumed next week:

    1. iSpeech is first up today. It’s a useful tool that can convert your favourite websites, RSS, Blogs and documents into speech with any PC or mobile device, allowing you to easily podcast your favourite blogs and feeds.

    2. Sikbox is next and don’t be put off by the name as it’s a search engine for your blog, offering full live search capabilities to your site in minutes. It’s easy to use and can be placed anywhere on your site using just a single line of Javascript code.

    3. Feel like getting a bit more interactive with your blog subscribers? Then try Askablogr – an integrated blog question and answer service that allows readers to submit questions to bloggers who in turn can answer directly. Askablogr also creates an index of all the participating bloggers, readers and Q&A sessions, which opens you up to a world of new potential subscribers!

    Zemanta is a useful tool that helps your browser to recognise what you are blogging about and then suggests pictures, links articles and tags to help you improve your post.

    5. And finally for this week, if you enjoy commenting in the blogosphere, this one is for you: BackType is a service that lets you find, follow and share comments. Whenever you update the website field in a comment form of related site, BackType attributes it to you and adds it to a database profile featuring all the comments that you have published – lovely!

    Until next week!

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    Introducing a new(ish) member of the team

    August 8th, 2008

    At Liberate Media we’re always on the look out for consultants that can add a new dimension to our team, and Tim Greenhalgh has been a breath of fresh air since he joined last year. It may seem like an odd time to introduce him, but as we’ve taken the decision to divide our blogging power into separate focuses, now seemed like the right time to put Tim firmly in the spotlight.

    Personally, I’ve known Tim for many years, having first introduced him to my clients when he was working for The Times.  Tim has gathered a vast amount of experience in various roles, including 20 years as a national journalist, specialising in technology and education for The Times and Observer, and also launching several technology start-ups, including a VC-backed virtual world company.

    As you can imagine, Tim’s experience has been invaluable to us not only in terms of his journalist instinct and contacts, but with the real world business knowledge that comes from running your own company. Something that our clients appreciate.

    We hope you’ll enjoy Tim’s blog, which is focused on virtual worlds, mobile’s move into social media and digital education as well. You may have already seen a few of Tim’s posts on the central blog, and I’m sure he will build up a following of his own pretty quickly.

    Best of luck Tim.

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    Go Live blogging Go Nintendo

    July 15th, 2008

     gonintendo.jpeg

    As a big fan of the Nintendo Wii I just happened to spot an interesting headline on one of my RSS feeds:

    GoNintendo live-blog – Nintendo E3 media briefing

    Once I had clicked through, i was greeted by the following message: “This post will sit on the front page, inactive, until the show begins. As long as I can get a wireless signal, I will be providing updates to this post. If I cannot get a signal, Deux Michaels will handle this section. I will update you on the situation as the event nears its start.”

    Two things, first:

    I’m all for live blogging, instant comments and reaction to breaking news. Doing this puts your blog on the map and in pole position, it draws the crowd in and turns your site into a goto site for all the latest news.

    Secondly:

    Good on GoNintendo for trying a different approach to blogging and covering an all important media briefing, it’s certainly an approach I would recommend to our Liberate Media clients.

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    Blogging: is it becoming a propaganda tool?

    February 29th, 2008

    ‘Propaganda’. Now that’s a word I haven’t used for a while. Probably not since my politics A-Level! But yesterday’s report by US blog the Drudge Report, of Prince Harry’s stationing in Afghanistan, has brought to light the propaganda influence a blog can have.

    Tonight Jon Snow is referring to events over the past 24-hours as a “propaganda war”.

    Without wanting to state the obvious, the shocking reality of the situation is that one blog report, which ignored media censorship rules, has led to Prince Harry being flown home from Afghanistan. Public opinion is very divided on whether Druge should have published the classified information or not, as it would be on such a highly contentious issue…but for me what’s more concerning is the political power a single blog has managed to achieve.

    The potential for abuse is deeply concerning. The uncensored openness of the blogosphere is what makes it what it is, but are we heading for an abuse of that freedom? If blogs of influence begin to harness the power they have within their network, and use it for the wrong reasons, that could take us to a very bad place…

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