OK, here’s a fun little marketing test. Axosoft is selling its $495 project management software for only $5 and it’s donating that to the American Red Cross. I’m not getting a thing, they just emailed me and I thought this was cool. It’s only for three days. It’ll be interesting to see how many takers they get. I’m a sucker for innovative marketing approaches.
A dirty little secret about PR: they give certain press “exclusives” to try to get the story out better. This still goes on all the time. Why does Walt Mossberg or Steven Levy write about something before everyone else does? Cause PR types work with them to build trust, build relationships, and then reward that trust with an exclusive.
Trouble is that the world of PR is changing. Back in the 1980s you only needed to deal with a few people to get the message out. But now a kid sitting in Australia with only a handful of readers can go from obscurity to the front page of the New York Times in, what, 48 hours? (I’ve seen pretty much just that happen).
Now every single one of us has the power to have “the exclusive.” It really is messing with PR team’s heads as they try to deal with this new world of 20,000,000 people who can make or break your PR plans. It was so much easier back when you only needed to deal with a few hundred or less.
What am I talking about? Well, look at Ed Bott’s article in ZDNet. There are two forces arguing these issues inside of Microsoft. I’m here at the Blog Business Summit’s editorial meeting and I’m hearing stories of the same thing playing out all over the place. “Do we treat bloggers as press?” If so, how?
Are we seeing the death of the exclusive? I hope so. That’s what I’m fighting for. The “Z list” should have access to info as soon as the “A list” does.
I just want NDA rules that apply the same to everyone. What do you think?
Update: Chris Pirillo writes that the scoop no longer exists. Oh, Chris, we all want credit for our work! But, he’s right. To me it’s just “are you part of the conversation?” Do you want to be and are you being locked out? Then let’s fix that!
I keep getting asked “how do I get more traffic?” Or, “how do I get TechCrunch to notice my blog?”
Quick: go to Technorati and do the brrreeeport search. Now, which headline and opening text grabs you? Makes you wanna click? Hint: we’re all being slammed with hundreds of sites every day. The more interesting you can make your headline, the better. Think about what your headline will look like in the search engines and use every one as an opportunity to grab a little bit of traffic.
Now, look at the 98 brrreeeport results on Technorati. All are on the same topic, right? But some headlines stand out from the noise. Which ones grab your eye? The one that says simply “brrreeeport report?” Or the one that says “brrreeeport beats Mohammad cartoon?” Conflict is a story telling device. Use it in headlines!
Also, notice that Technorati has a way to “claim” a blog and if you do that you’ll get a little picture next to every one of your posts. Posts that have pictures win!
One other fun thing? Brrreeeport is a “top search” on the Technorati home page right now.
Need another tip on how to join the A list?
Here’s another one: be different. What do I mean by that?
Well, Dan Wieringa asked me for some help with his blog. It’s a decently written blog, but it isn’t getting much traffic.
First notice how his blog looks very similar to tons of other blogs? That’s hurting him.
One of TechCrunch’s popularity secrets is that he uses lots of graphics and screen shots. Makes his blog more pleasing to the eye. Sorta the way Technorati looks better than Google’s blog search.
Another thing? Dan’s title tag is boring. You need some personality! Look at Darren Barefoot’s title tag. Lots of personality and gives me some sense of who Darren is. Oh, and his blog’s design sticks out too. Different. Clean. Personal. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that smile? Yeah, WordPress.com makes it hard to change the template right now (Matt Mullenweg promises that’s changing soon, but in the meantime you can get ready by doing the other things — come up with a better title tag, write better headlines, work on finding interesting content that’ll help you stick out of the crowd on search engines and memetrackers.
Another way? Steph Booth taught me this one: tag often. Tag frequently. Tag better. In WordPress.com your categories are also tags. Don’t worry about using too many tags. The more tags you use, the more likely someone will find you in a search engine.
Another tip? Make friends with other bloggers. You know, if 15 z-listers link to you, are you a z-lister, or did you just move up to the m-list? Hint: it doesn’t take that many links to be seen as an “authority” on Technorati. Well, unless you’re Om Malik and then Technorati just thinks you don’t have any authority. Yikes. But, anyway, usually you will get noticed if a few blogs link to you and it’s not hard. Got a good post today? Why don’t you email a few people (one at a time, not in a group) and say “hey, I think you’d enjoy my post today on xxxxxx.” Don’t beg for a link, just show some passion about what you’ve written or posted.
Or, heck, do what I’m doing this week — just say screw it all and go skiing. See ya from the slopes tomorrow!
While I’m slushing at Keystone, Colorado as part of the Bloggy Mountain High trip (yes, my way was paid for, so this link is a sponsored link) why don’t you stick in your own URL and toot your own horn and join the A-List! Or, at minimum, post a good tip for getting noticed!
Fortune on CNN is wondering if Google and Microsoft would join forces to go against Apple.
I’m tired of these “who will defend against whom?” articles.
I’d rather hear what each company will do for customers and what they’ll stand for. Not against.
That’s how we’ll build great value.
Look at my mobile post yesterday. I used Google on a Microsoft SmartPhone to make my life better. Value was created.
That’s where we should focus our energies in this industry. I see tons of camera phones. Not enough applications that use them. I see tons of RSS feeds and still haven’t seen an RSS aggregator that really makes me happy (have you tried Dave Winer’s NewsRiver yet? You can get a preview here. I’m trying it and like it.)
We need more partnerships in this industry, not more fighting. And where we fight needs to be done because you have a better idea, not cause you’re trying to tear someone else down.
OK, this one is depressing to me. It’s one thing to pull a list of words out of blogs using an algorithm. It’s another thing to become an agent of a government and censor an entire blogger’s work. Yes, I know the consequences. Yes, there are thousands of jobs at stake. Billions of dollars. But, the behavior of my company in this instance is not right.
Why is this so important to me? Well, you ignore the voices of individual people at your peril. And, I’ve been raised by people who taught me the value of standing up for the little guy. My mom grew up in Germany. Her mom stood up to the Nazis (and got a lot of scorn from family and friends for doing so).
I do believe in a slippery slope. If they come after you today, maybe they’ll come after me tomorrow. Gotta stop this kind of stuff while we’re still talking about you.
Oh, and to: Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti I’d like to offer you a guest blog here on my blog. I won’t censor you and you can write whatever you’d like.
Guys over at MSN: sorry, I don’t agree with your being used as a state-run thug.
This whole post has a couple of disclaimers. 1) I am assuming all the facts are as Rebecca has presented them. She’s a former CNN reporter and I trust her a lot, but there might be more to the story than is being told — I’m going to try to find out. 2) These are my own opinions, obviously.
I’m copying this post to Christopher Payne, corporate Vice President over on MSN and will try to get his point of view on this.
Update: someone over on MSN Spaces just wrote me and said he hadn’t heard of this and that he’s raising this up the management chain too. I’ll report more as I hear more. he told me that Steve Liffick is the VP in charge of MSN Spaces and that he reports to Blake Irving. I’ve sent email to both of those guys on this issue.
Dana Epp is a security expert and founder of a small software company. Yesterday he wrote a post introducing us to LAMM. Tells Microsoft to wake up to what Novell is doing with Mono.
It’s 1:28 a.m. I’m awake. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be sleeping. I work at Microsoft.
Thanks Dana for the warning. Oh, and happy New Years! You gonna come to Mix06?