I had the pleasure of presenting an updated version of my "Blogger Relations: Rules of the Road" presentation to members of the Ann Arbor PR Council this morning. Agencies and brands alike filled the room to learn the 10 Simple Rules as issued by our council on blogger ethics.
The Q&A session featured excellent questions such as ethics and recent missteps in the blogosphere, SEO and how to apply the session's knowledge directly to their brand.
In particular, I want to focus on a non-profit company that attended called SOS Community Services. They help homeless families, children and individuals in Washtenaw County, which is home to our Ann Arbor crew. Nancy from SOS was in attendance and asked about getting traffic to her blog, in particular if I thought non-profits should be blogging and if they should focus on local blogs or take their campaigns national. My advice?
First - should they blog? Absolutely. Blogging about a subject you and others are passionate about is a no-brainer. They're set up through Blogger so it's free minus her time, which as a means to publish news is cheaper than maintaining a content management system and faster than waiting for a volunteer to update the site.
Now onto improving the blog. There are a ton of great articles online for reference, but given time constraints and the forum I offered up a few quick nuggets:
1. Create a blog roll, which she did as soon as she got back to the office.
2. Talk to some of the other local bloggers. Comment on their blogs.
3. If you like their stuff, link to them and ask for a reciprocal link. Obviously stay relevant with your comments and contact.
4. Tag your posts.
5. Publish frequently, but more importantly when it makes sense.
Go national? Absolutely. In fact, by blogging you're already going national if not global. This little blog gets regular views from Brazil, Canada, India and various European countries.
In case you've never been, Ann Arbor is the kind of city people fall in love with -- many move back. And you may have heard some news about some guys who decided to bring a branch of their business back to their beloved college town (side note: the Pfizer grounds would make an outstanding midwest GooglePlex!).
A good number of New Yorkers have and are attending the U, and I recall hearing that California is the number one state Michigan grads call home after graduation. Go national? I'll reiterate - absolutely.
MS&L has taken on pro-bono work in the past and I would expect to continue to help Nancy and SOS with this project. Show her some love by visiting her blog at http://soscs.blogspot.com/.