« Posts tagged Blogging

How to engage a blogger — mummy knows best

I re-read this blog post today written by one of the leading mum bloggers — a reminder that the best way to engage people online is to start by listening to them and meeting their needs, rather than pushing your own agenda.

Key points are:

  • Be useful
  • Get to know the blogger before getting involved
  • Be creative
  • Include the blogger in the planning
  • Provide product samples if you are inviting them to review something

This all sounds straightforward but it’s a reminder that bloggers aren’t traditional journalists. It’s essential to recognise that a different approach is needed and hearing it directly from a blogger is the best way to bring it home.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

It has been pointed out to me that I haven’t blogged recently. And it’s true. Partly it’s because the joys of fatherhood mean time is even tighter than it used to be and sleep deprivation doesn’t help either. But mostly it’s because:

  • I’m spending time catching up on listening. This means freshening up my incoming RSS feeds and generally creating an opportunity to keep across more of what’s out there.
  • I’m Commenting. Sometimes I use this blog to comment on someone else’s blog/story. At the moment I’m concentrating on placing direct comments on blogs and the like.
  • I’m using Twitter a lot more. I tweet unformed thoughts, links, comments, status updates, random mumblings about tea — all the kind of things that potentially would form blog posts. Twitter is increasingly upstream of the blog, it’s where the action is.

The UGC balancing act – but I’m still an advocate

Yesterday I blogged that TV was linear: I’d like to expand on that a bit and finish the thought.

When I left the TV world there was fairly little in the way of trying to solicit audience participation, other than asking for emails, running competitions and perhaps the odd photo. (I should reiterate here that I worked in TV News which has traditionally been “editor knows best” territory, although that’s all changing now.) I moved to the corporate online division, sitting across the whole business, so got to dabble in just about all content areas — sport, entertainment, arts, etc.  It was at the time when YouTube, blogging and the social networks were all starting to go crazy, so an exciting chance to do some strategic digital thinking about how to foster more audience engagement.

I’d better not go into the specifics for commercial confidentiality reasons but we measured a real uptick in online engagement with brands that genuinely embraced user generated video. This means they aired a call to action which they followed through by showing user video submissions on the TV. It created a cycle of engagement whereby viewers saw their videos were being broadcast and so were encouraged to submit even more videos. Ultimately there were all kinds of opportunities we explored to involve viewers in shows/with brands. (Sounds like an obvious process, but it can be quite a challenge persuading producers to spend valuable production time to create a call-to-action, sacrifice airtime to play the CTA and then put work into broadcasting submissions which they think is “loser generated content”, a term possibly coined by my esteemed colleague Mr Warren.) Commercial and other pressures make this all a fine balancing act.

These were earlyish attempts to transform TV from being linear to interactive, and we’re seeing more and more of it these days. Clearly some producers are getting it wrong (think phone-in scandals) but look at the use of social media now by the likes of the BBC.

With all these things, actions speak louder than words and it’s important for broadcasters to follow through on their calls to action. More on this in another posting…

All this brings me to wrap up with a few words on why this blog is called “Don’t Go Mad”. Well, it’s simply because with the rise of things like user generated content we can’t control everything anymore. Letting users/viewers/audiences get involved isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don’t go mad when they have their say but figure out how to make it work in your favour.

Pre-launch jitters

Excited to reveal that I’m finally breaking cover and launching my very own blog. I’m in the middle of fiddling with WordPress and its various options to get the design sorted out, etc etc. Anyway, I’ve just written my “about” page only to discover that the spellchecker doesn’t seem to recognise the word “blog”. OK, I know this is technically an abbreviation (and I am a big fan of WordPress) but this does seem a tad ironic…

The built-in spelling checker doesn't seem to recognise the word "blog"

The built-in spelling checker doesn't seem to recognise the word "blog"

First post next week (I guess this is a kind of beta).