Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

The gospel according to social media January 21, 2009

Filed under: social media — contentninja @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,
Transparent screen attempt
Image by jpstanley via Flickr

Content Ninja is taking the evangelizing on the road.

@jenneumann and @HeatherMSmith have asked me to join them in a presentation next week for the Chamber Academy, a B2B series sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

We’ll be talking about why businesses need to get involved with social media and how to use it for business. Some key points we’ll be making: listen, engage, contribute, keep it real and it’s not an age thing.

To register for Social Media Workshop 2.0 – Making it Work for your Business or to get more information, see the Chamber’s site. Also check out the nifty wiki that Jen created. It’ll be stocked with additional info and reading for business owners.

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Be a blog star, or at least link to one December 19, 2008

Filed under: social media,Uncategorized — contentninja @ 2:01 pm
Tags: ,
A broad metal chain.
Image via Wikipedia

Friend and former cohort in news Tracy Pratt asked me this week for some tips and best practices on blogging to share with a blogger from the community that she’s recruiting. I pounded out a bullet list in no time. It also got me thinking about all the blog newbies I know. So I’m pushing out the list here for all to enjoy.

Like my earlier post on social media tools, advice on building a successful blog abounds. Fellow bloggers with experience, please share your tips for best practices, too.

Note: These tips are more about building brand and audience development for a blog than how to write one. A wealth of advice exists in the writing category and can be easily accessed at your nearest bookstore or Google search bar.

  • Blog 2-3 times a week to build and maintain an audience. You can certainly blog more than that, but 2-3 times a week would be the minimum goal for maintaining your audience’s attention.
  • Find bloggers who speak to the same or similar topic as yours, comment on their blogs and link back to your blog. This helps build your audience.
  • Allow comments on your blog and — most importantly — respond and engage with folks there. If you don’t engage with your audience, you’ll lose them.
  • It’s OK to set rules for commenters about civility and niceness. It’s also OK to delete comments that break the rules, but you should be clear about what the rules are.
  • Give credit where it’s due. Attribute information you get from elsewhere. Even better, link to original source. Research shows that links out of your site can help build traffic. (It also helps search engines find you.)
  • Speaking of search engines, keep headlines short (5-7 words) and avoid abbreviations to make it easier for search engines to find you. A Web user is more likely to search for “Iowa City accident” than “IC accident,” for example.

Image by Toni Lozano

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Crusade: Carry it back to the silo September 1, 2008

Filed under: community,Uncategorized — contentninja @ 10:49 am
Tags: ,
Concrete silage siloImage via Wikipedia

It’s good to be back. I confess that I lost (or was being ignored by) my muse and have not felt inspired to write for weeks.

WAY back on July 30 I wrote about the debate around whether companies need a companywide social media strategy or if collaboration across departments is the key. I had some good feedback from Beth Kanter and Augie Ray, whose work inspired the post. In the end, I suggested we needed a collaboration strategy.

In the weeks since that post, I’ve spent time pounding the pavement to evangelize and recruit for a prep sports community and attended a multitude of meetings and presentations around the company, and I’m even more convinced that we need that collaboration strategy. And soon.

I believe that “community” is what we need to do all across the company — internal community with our peers; external community with our customers; across all products, core and niche; marketing and customer service.

Naturally, I have an idea for this collaboration, and for fun I’ll stick with the ninja imagery I already have going: That the handful of folks across the company (fine ninja all) who are/will be tasked with exploring/building community be grouped in a “dojo.”

That this group of people make a concerted effort to share information on best practices, tools and research. That they collaborate where it makes sense on determining best practices for our company, be a support network for each other when it makes sense to fight conformity and carry concepts back to their respective departments.

I am not suggesting we create another department. The dojo would be a loosely organized group of people from various departments. Colloboration is the operative word. Each of these ninja, supported by the rest of the dojo, would push their respective silos toward the ideal — community as an integral function of our work and our lives, so ingrained that we eventually don’t need the dojo or even the ninjas.

And “community” is so much bigger than social media. “Social media,” “social networking” — those are really references to the tools we can use to foster relationships. And THAT’S what community is about.

It’s been said to me that the companywide embracing of community is the ideal for some day. Why some day? It’s tempting and easy to put off the hard work to achieve fundamental change, but the ideal doesn’t just turn up, wrapped in silver foil and a red bow. “Oh, look, the ideal has arrived. Isn’t that nice?”

We have to (cue “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) work for it every day, climb hills for it, knowing it’s somewhere on the path ahead, and that effort should start today, one step at a time. And I think the dojo could take responsibility for pushing us along on that march, be guardians of the drive for the ideal, if you will.

You may snicker at this imagery or scoff at my attempt at an inspirational speech (Obama’s speech writers were busy, so I had to go it alone), but don’t ignore the underlying message. That we need to work together and we need to start now.

If we don’t, I fear “community” will become compartmentalized by each department, owned by each silo, a piece of territorial turf to fight over, and we’ll never achieve the ideal.

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