Bloggers are human – and yes – we make mistakes!

[tweetmeme source ="brooke_nolan"]

Like many people in the PR industry I read a lot of blogs.

I have the ones I read on a regular basis, as well as those that I stumble across on Twitter and Facebook.

The thing I love the most about blogs is the abillity people have to comment – to add value to a debate or a topic and help spark even more interest than the original post itself.

Or at least thats my idea of what comments are for – but apparently not everyone feels the same.

During my rounds today I found three comments on different blog posts – all pointing out mistakes which have been made by the blogs author.

Some were grammatical mistakes; others were statements or sentences which could perhaps have been written a little more clearly.

The comments weren’t written in a friendly way – they were rude and you could tell the people leaving them were feeling smug at the fact that they had spotted an error.

Now, I know that blogs should be correct and anyone in PR who makes a grammatical error should know better.

But do you know what – it happens! Get over it!

Why feel the need to leave a smug comment about it?

I also spotted a post on one of my favourite social media blogs which had – shock! Horror! – not one, not two, but THREE spelling mistakes.

Did I leave a rude comment chastising the author? Or did I think; “You know what, I bet they wrote that in 10 minutes in-between client meetings, phone calls and drafting copy for a deadline, so let’s give them a little slack shall we?”

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t call people out on errors (especially if they are factual errors) – indeed in some ways its a good thing. As an author you can then correct it and make sure you pay more attention next time.

But I don’t think it should be done rudely – and you should still add more to the conversation than just “oh, by the way, you’ve spelt that wrong.”

So, the moral of my rant is that mistakes DO happen! It’s making sure they don’t happen again, and how you handle the mistake that makes the difference.

Here are some tips:

1). Always approve negative comments on your blog, or ones that call you out – unless they are overly rude, personal or use bad language. Then craft your reply carefully. If someone points out an error thank them for there eager eyes and make a note not to make the same mistake again.

2). Get your work proofed. Part of my role as a manager is to proof any work drafted by other members of my team. But equally I always ask our account executive to proof my work. I’m human, mistakes happen, and sometimes you get too ‘close’ to your work to realise your making mistakes.

3). If you make a factual mistake, or you alter your post significantly after people have commented, always let your readers know you’ve made the change.

I’ve made six errors on purpose in this post (here’s hoping you don’t find more than that!). Let’s play ‘Call me out’. Go on – get it out your system!

New blog resolution

[tweetmeme source ="brooke_nolan"]

This year has been my first foray into social media and blogging.

It has been fairly successful – my Twitter followers have grown steadily, as have the conversations I’ve had with peers, I’ve become a contributor for PR Daily Europe – which means I have an excuse to consume far more social media and PR news each day than should be deemed necessary – and my blog has started to slowly attract more readers with each post.

Of course, it’s nothing in the realms of some of the master bloggers who we all look to for inspiration everyday – but they’re achievements nonetheless.

2011 is the year I want to step it up a gear.

But I know that in order to be truly successful I require one thing above all else – dedication.

Having just completed a 30 week blogging programme for a client, where I helped him draft a weekly blog, I know how hard it is to get the inspiration – and perhaps above all else – the time, to dedicate to creating regular (and high-quality) content. Especially when you’re busy with your ‘day job’.

But I also know that if you form the habit then it’s hard to break.

Next year will be the year that I make the time – after all, I help clients everyday with their social media strategies – and it’s a bit contradictory if I’m not practicing what I preach.

But I think that’s something that many PR practitioners are guilty of. How many times have you come across a company or individual that claims to be able to help you with public relations, social media or marketing and yet they are using none of these channels to promote themselves?

To this end, I have given this blog a bit of a makeover, hopefully making it easier to understand and digest.

Along with the new look is a new Facebook fan page. And there’s also a new domain name on its way

I’ve created a content schedule packed with ideas along the same line as my more successful advice-led articles and aim to update this blog at least once a week – more if I can.

My only problem is I don’t exactly have the greatest record when it comes to keeping new year’s resolutions.

Last year I was supposed to spend no more than £25 per month on clothes (that so didn’t happen!) and the year before that I was supposed to learn Spanish.

Let’s just say ‘no hablo español’ two years later!

But, I have a feeling this one might just be different. I’m passionate about communications, and the great thing about the industry at the moment is that there is something new to learn every day.

What about you? What are your new year’s resolutions?

Why have some businesses taken so long to blog?

It’s been a busy week in the office with four of our clients taking up an exciting opportunity to blog on a regional business news website.

Blogs were one of the first forms of so-called social media. They offer a platform for commentary, an opportunity for reflection and, of course, encourage comments and discussion among peers.

But ultimately, a blog is there to make you a thought-leader, to get your name out there and boost your SEO.

So, why has it taken so long for some businesses to catch on?

Writing a blog can be a scary experience fraught with questions: what do I say? Am I good enough to say it? Who is going to want to read it? How can I talk about my business without giving away too much?

All of these are valid questions and ones PRs have to tackle on a daily basis when persuading clients of the potential of these platforms.

But they are questions that can be answered easily by examining your objectives and looking for examples from those in your industry that are already using blogging to their advantage.

Like all social media it can seem a bit daunting or confusing. Alot of businesses perceive it as a ‘fad’ or something the ‘kids’ do.

But don’t underestimate the power of blogging, or indeed other social networking methods like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

It’s not a fad – it’s a fundamental shift in the way the world communicates.

And it doesn’t matter what your business is, whether it’s a PR agency, a firm of solicitors or a paper clip factory.

Somewhere, there are people who want to read about your company, your news and your opinions.

There are over 9 million blogs out there with 40,000 new ones popping up each day.

Some of them are primitive, but a lot of them are incredibly powerful, and if you utilise the skills of the communications and IT professionals around you there is no reason why your blog can’t become one of your greatest assets.