ALI Conference on Blogging and Podcasting: Day One

The preconference seminars were immensely helpful yesterday, and now we’re going to be getting into some networking and a series of case studies that will, I hope, give real, practical advice and examples.

The conference description promises “practical solutions you can apply immediately…” and based on a quick glance at the workbook of handouts, I’m confident it will meet those expectations.

Shel Holtz is giving the keynote…and even though I’m on Holtz overload (having heard him at the Ragan Conference in Chicago in September, and a three-hour seminar yesterday, I’m looking forward to the review/overview.

Bring it on, Shel!

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New Thread: It’s All Free (and Mostly Easy)

This morning I added a second thread to this blog, which will be a description/tutorial on how to get started blogging for free, and how you can do everything you see on this blog without programming knowledge. Go here — or click It’s All Free (and Mostly Easy) in the navigation bar above) — for the start of the tutorial.

Why do you start a new thread? If you are posting regularly, some of your good stuff will move way down in the reverse chronological format of the blog. For reference material you want to have easily accessed, and which isn’t commenting on news of the day, adding a new page (with child pages or sub-pages) instead of a new post is the way to go.

In this case, I hope to make it easy for people who want to get started blogging to do so, and to eliminate excuses for not starting.

I’m at a conference on blogging and podcasting where people are spending a minimum of $1,699 plus travel and lodging (and two days of their lives) to learn about these topics.

I think that’s a really worthwile investment. Conferences like this are great to get you out of the routine and think about the bigger picture.

Why not take the next step and really apply what we’re learning, especially since it’s FREE? By investing 90 seconds or less now, and no money, you can start a blog. Then, for those who are at the conference, you could even blog about the presentations, as I am. Or, when you go home, you could take a couple of hours to write about (and link to) the blogs and resources you found most helpful. It will be a great way to get hands on experience and really have the information sink in.

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Janet Johnson: Final Chapter

Well, I’m sure it won’t be her final chapter, but it’s my last post on her presentation, which has been excellent. Between her presentation and Shel’s this morning, this has been a really valuable day.

Janet recommends starting your blog where you intend to stay. I think that makes sense, so you don’t lose your links when you move. Don’t let IT change it. From my perspective that wouldn’t be a reason to agonize for a long time about where to start a personal blog. The perfect is the enemy of the good. You can spend a lot of time wringing your hands, wanting to be sure you picked the right service, or whether you should get your own URL (e.g. one that doesn’t have in it).

I would advise that you just do it, pick one of the free services (I like WordPress, but Blogger or others are fine too) and get started.

Then, after you have gotten comfortable with blogging and understand some of the issues better, make your decision on corporate blog hosting and the URL, and stick with it.

Pinging services like pingoat and ping-o-matic are ways to get more people to know about your blog. I had been just using the Technorati ping form, but pingoat can hit a few dozen similar sites, like IceRocket.

Janet also recommends some other blogs that will be helpful as reference:

Janet Johnson, Blog Business Summit, Marcom Blog, Uninstalled, Gaping Void, and Marqui.

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Janet Johnson on Blogging Best Practices

Here’s Janet’s list:

    Get the support of your CEO and others at the highest level.
    Assign roles, responsibilities and processes up front
    Impement a crisis communication plan… just in case
    Establish a clear theme/focus for the blog
    Keep posts fresh, relevant and accurate
    Manage comments in a timely manner
    Link to lots of other relevant blogs
    Actively comment on other blogs
    Keep an eye on who is linking to your blog/posts

For blog fodder, look at other relevant or popular blogs. By bringing together links that are helpful to people who have the same interests, you provide a service to your readers…which will make your blog more valuable to them. Scour vertical media in your niche. Blog at industry events (like I am right now.) Share your own experiences or ideas.

She also highlights some etiquette about blogging, and recommends a book called Publish & Prosper.

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Janet Johnson Part III

Now Janet is getting into legal issues. She highlighted a law firm I think is at that has some information on the legal issues. Privacy policies need to be updated to cover blogs and instant messaging, and the corporate blog should be monitored at least every eight hours or so.

In the discussion Steve Crescenzo, who works with Ragan Communications, was recommended as someone who can help build the case for blogging.

Here’s another case study in corporate blogging Janet mentioned.

This isn’t a great picture…got a little of the red-eye happening because of the flash, but it’s an example of how easy it is to take a picture, upload to Flickr and then link to a blog post.

Janet Johnson's Presentation

And this is actually the 2005 way to do it…a camera phone can upload directly to a site instead of taking out the SD card from the standalone digital camera.

She had a Weblogging Index from Waggener-Edstrom to help us understand where we are in the “readiness to blog” spectrum. That scoring instrument is here.

She also mentioned The Long Tail and the ClueTrain Manifesto.

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