Monthly Archive for May, 2009

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Ideas for Corporate Blog Posts

When I talk to clients about writing regular blog posts and coming up with a content roadmap, the most common question is this: “How am I going to come up with that many ideas for blog posts?”

People seem to think that only the most brilliant, creative people can consistently come up with new ideas for blog posts. The reality is that there are some tricks for finding good blog content that I wanted to share.

Keep it Short

Blog posts should be more like conversations, not dissertations. The shorter the post, the more likely it is that people will finish reading it and remember the content. You can even break large posts into shorter multi-part posts, which means less writing for you.

Reuse and Recycle

Look within your company for existing content. Documentation, memos, intranet content, emails and other internal content can frequently be repurposed into a blog post for an external audience. Keep your eyes peeled for existing content that you can tweak to quickly make it into a blog post.

Highlight Existing Content

Linking to some existing piece of content is a quick and easy way to make a blog post that people will find useful. This could be a video, webinar, white paper or any other content that your readers would want to see.

React and Participate in the Conversation

When you read content written by other bloggers or in the mainstream press, think about your reaction to what you are reading. Do you agree or disagree, and do you have experiences that relate to the topic? These reactions and information about your related experiences can make great blog posts.

Use Research

When you read industry research or studies that are conducted at your company, think about how you might be able to use the research in a blog post. Post a few pieces of data or your reactions to the research as a blog post.

Quotes and Interviews

This is where you can pass the buck and get other people to write content for you. Ask a co-worker or industry expert a question or two that you can use as all or part of the content for a blog post.

The List Post

Readers respond well to list posts like “the top 3 ways to do X” or “the 5 tools I use for Y”. These can be fairly easy to write, since you don’t need to go into very much detail on each item.

What tips and tricks do you use to come up with blog posts?

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Discount on my Companies and Communities Book for Community 2.0

I’m spending the next 3 days at the Community 2.0 conference, so I wanted to offer a discount for anyone wanting to order  Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazy. For this week, you can get the paperback book for $3.00 off by using this discount code: QYW8QS6W to get it for $12.99.

The 130 page Companies and Communities paperback is normally available for $15.99. It’s small, light and easy to carry around with you or read on the plane. The book is also available on Amazon (they won’t let me give you the discount), but for those of you with Amazon Prime, you might want to get it from Amazon anyway.

If the dead tree paperback version isn’t your thing, you can also get the PDF eBook for $9.99, and you can also get it on the Kindle for $9.99.

As always, I appreciate any feedback about the book (typos, additions for future versions, etc.).

Recent Links

Here are a few interesting things from this week that I wanted to share …

Tech entrepreneurs defy recession –

How do you handle deaths in your community?

100 Tips and Tools to Research the Social Web

Social Media Statistics

YQL – A Query Language for the Web (SlideShare)

You can find my links on Delicious.

Community 2.0 and WebVisions

I wanted to let people know about two upcoming conferences where I will be speaking in the next 2 weeks.

Community 2.0 May 11 – 13 (San Francisco)

I will be on a panel discussion at 2:15 on Tuesday about How to be a Kick-A$$ Community Manager with some rock star community managers:

WebVisions May 20 – 22 (Portland, OR)

I’ll be presenting here in Portland at WebVisions on Friday, May 22nd at 10:30am on the topic of Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazy and will be covering many of the topics from my book.

The speaker list for WebVisions is a who’s who of cool people, and the conference is really reasonable to attend ($250 and under), so you should register if you haven’t already! They are also offering a very nice combo registration deal for Open Source Bridge if you need to register for both.

There are also a couple of special events during WebVisions that you won’t want to miss – you don’t even need to register to attend these!

I hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Big Discount on Yahoo Pipes Class Thursday, May 7

I still have some seats left in my Yahoo Pipes class, so I’m offering them at a big discount ($75 off) rather than letting them sit empty. Register now with the discount code ‘lastminute’ and get into the class for $25 as a freelancer / student or $175 for the corporate types.

The Details:
When: Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 3:00pm – 5:00pm
City: Portland, OR
Location: WebTrends 851 SW 6th Ave., Suite 1600 (no remote attendance)
Learn more: Prerequisites, Course Outline and Information

Blogging Elsewhere

Here is this week’s summary of links to my posts appearing on other blogs:

GigaOM’s WebWorkerDaily

Yahoo Developer Network Blog

If you want a feed of all of my blog posts across multiple sites, you can also subscribe to my über feed.

Recent Links

Here are a few interesting things from this week that I wanted to share …

Lifehacker – How to Filter and Manage Your Online Social Life – Social Networks

Yahoo’s YQL Makes the Internet Your Database

Enterprise Social Media Usage Policies and Guidelines

Positively Paula: 10 Tips for Social Media Marketers

Intel Social Media Guidelines

You can find my links on Delicious.

Keyword CSV Files and Searching: 2 Minute Yahoo Pipes Demo

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a 2 minute Yahoo Pipes video, but I had an opportunity to do a guest post on the Yahoo Developer Network blog (yay!), and I thought that a 2 minute screencast would be the best way to demonstrate my pipe.

This 2 minute demo takes a series of keywords from a CSV file and uses Yahoo Pipes to run each keyword through various searches. This technique can be very powerful when you search multiple services, but I’ve simplified the process to make it easier to understand the fundamentals of the technique by running the list of keywords only through Twitter search.

Here’s a quote about the technical details of the pipe from the Yahoo Developer Network post:

Technical Details and More Information:

  • The Demo Pipe. A copy of the Keyword CSV demo pipe – click “View Source” to see the modules.
  • Fetch CSV Module. Enter the URL of the CSV file (make sure that it already exists in a publicly accessible location) along with information about column names and separation characters as needed.
  • Loop module with URL Builder. Loops through each element in the CSV file and builds a search URL formatted for RSS output. In this case, we used Twitter search.
  • Loop module with Fetch Feed. Loops through each URL built in the previous step and fetches the feed associated with the item.
  • Sort Module. Sort by date in descending order to make sure things are sorted in a logical manner.
  • Pipe Output. The final module in every Yahoo Pipe.

I’ve created many Yahoo Pipes, and most of them have been published on my Yahoo Pipes and RSS Hacks page where you can also learn more about my Yahoo Pipes Training course on May 7th.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts