Post Forty: How to attract search engines

So far I think it is fair to say that this blog has not had a huge impact on the world.

Fair enough.

But strangely, if you search Google for “The Man Who Invented Electricity” this site comes up as the third-ranked page as they pick up Post Thirteen.

I’m getting a hit most days on that search term. Hence the title of this post – I wonder if it has the same effect or if the crowd of content on this subject makes it a dud.

Anyway … the fact I’m getting hits on that term has quickly led me to understand a couple of bloggers I know who have gotten into hit-hunting, partly by being a frequent poster elsewhere and partly by doing clever things with keywords.

I think I shall go down the latter route.

The other option is to be very controversial – the most hits this blog has had is on the post that names the naughty PR companies who are bad at email list management. But I’m not sure that’s for me.

Post Thirty Nine: Social Networking goes nuts

A couple of weeks ago I joined Facebook, more out of curiosity than anything else.

I’ve since been deluged with offers of friendship and people galore are coming out of the woodwork and finding me.

At the same time, mysteriously, I’m getting LinkedIn requests at the rate of about two per day.

I have no idea why this is happening.

I also have no idea just what these sites are for. I had a way of contacting almost everyone I now count as online ‘friends’ via. email anyway.

Think I had better go and explore them some more to see what I may or may not be able to get out of them.

Post Thirty Eight: A day among young PRs

Well … the event I describe in post Thirty One has been and gone.

I’m a little surprised at how fired up I got explaining how freelancers differ from staff journos to an audience of young PR people.

For those who did not make it, a summary:

  • We are micro-businesses, so don’t assume we can give our time as freely as a staffer who gets paid regardless of how many hours they work each week. If we are not working, we are not earning, so it takes a mighty good offer to lure us away from our desks
  • Be professional in every communication. That means identify yourself thoroughly on the phone. Spell check email. Pitch with specific angles, not a “we can’t convince the editor, maybe the freelance will have a crack” attitude. And remember we are micro-businesses, not staffers, so professionalism extends to understanding that someone who works from home does not have a courier dock for your unexpected deliveries!
  • Many IT freelancers are the gateway to the tech coverage for the publication they work for. My editor at My Business, for example, simply flicks me every IT related press release. So don’t try to go over our heads – you’ll irritate us and the editor. Likewise, don’t try to run something through us if the editor has said no already. You risk making us look like fools.
  • Treat us as you treat any tier one journo: we can see through it when you invite a freelance 48 hours before an event as a desperate attempt to bolster numbers
  • Do your research. I get a lot of pitches from people who clearly have not read the publications I work for or have not looked at the ways we cover things. Pitches within the guidelines are far more likely to get up than ideas that ask us to change a whole publication’s look and feel!
  • Remember that many freelances have been in the IT journalism caper for longer than you … and often longer than your clients! This means our BS detectors are very finely tuned. An example is a young PR I spoke to last week who was told by a client that one of its strategies is new. I was actually at the launch of the client’s first attempt to get into the space a decade ago
  • Did I say be professional? Seriously, this is the most important thing of all. If you carefully consider how to communicate in a manner that befits a communications professional, you’ll do much better.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Incredible quantities of PR pitches make big assumptions. Why not ask if something will fit, rather than suggesting it is a fit?

Post Thirty Seven: It really is ridiculous…

… that albums on sale in the USA in digital format are not on sale in Australian online stores weeks later.

They Might Be Giants‘ and The Polyphonic Spree’s new albums have been out for six and one weeks respectively, but not for those of us here in the antipodes. I am sure fans of other bands have similar stories to tell

I’d happily pay for both this minute. But this stupidly anti-consumer behaviour from the record companies concerned will, I am sure, see them suffer for their failure to adapt to the modern world.

And when you consider the fact that other artists, like The White Stripes, can co-ordinate a global all-outlets release no worries it makes you wonder if the people representing smaller acts ‘get it’.

Post Thirty Six: My new training venture offers email detox

I’m branching out with my friend Steve and his company NRG solutions into training.

Together, we have devised an “email detox” course.

The premise is simple. By now you know that email can eat your life if you are not careful.

But have you considered how careless use of email can hurt your productivity in other ways? We’ve banged lots of heads to come up with some insights about how and why email becomes toxic we’ll share in this course.

It runs next Wednesday June 27th, 2007.

Read the flyer (PDF) and if you want to come along, we’ll do you a good deal.

Post Thirty Four: Wow! TwittyTunes is great!

I’ve used FoxyTunes for a while. For those of you who do not know it, the program is a plug-in for Firefox and IE that puts a small control panel for your media player in the browser.

I’ve come to rely on it more than I use iTunes.

Anyway … yesterday FoxyTunes added TwittyTunes which lets you make a Twitter.com post out of whatever you are listening to in two clicks.

Best of all, that post automatically includes a link to the FoxyTunes Planet service that scrapes the Net and finds YouTube clips, lyrics, Last.FM and Pandora recommendations based on the tune you just posted to Twitter. An example of such a page is here. More will pop up over on the right there in the ‘Blog within a Blog’ as I use it more.

Why do I love this? Ease of use! The one-button initiation is so simple that I now feel far more inclined to continue further exploration.

Thank you, TwittyTunes!

UPDATE: Oh man, it gets better. TwittyTunes also picks up the web page you are browsing and puts it in a Twitter post too. Unreal!

Post Thirty Three: The Phantom Menace

PR: Come to our event where we will discuss the terrible risks to business posed by the APEC summit.

Me: What are the risks?

PR: Business continuity

Me: Sorry? I don’t get it. How does the APEC conference threaten business continuity?

PR: Ummm

Me: The city will shut down for a day. What’s the business continuity risk in that? It’s just one day!

PR: There’ll be experts there to explain it.

Me: What will they explain? What’s the threat?

PR: So you’re not coming?

Anyway … this is one of the things I will need to recount in my session next week about working with freelancers.

As I have written before, attending this event on offer above is asking me to give up an awful lot of time without the pitch offering adequate indication of the potential payoff. The fact there’s a bit of a non-sequitur here made my decision easier!

If I had a job I’d probably think differently about it because I may well have the time to drop in without the payoff being obvious.

But when you work for yourself, the decision is different.