is your blog half empty or half full?

Guage2

When it comes to blogs in Aurora there are good examples of both.

Here are a couple blogs that I find to consistently be full of life and activity:

Lia

Living in Aurorahttp://livinginaurora.ca/

Aurora resident Anna has 43 posts since redesigning her site this March.  The site is visually appealing, and the WordPress engine and templates she has adopted make for a fantastic user experience that compliments her more than evident creativity and passion.

Her photography is very engaging and inspiring, making this blog a weekly reader.

Eb

Our Town and Its Business http://evelynmbuck.blogspot.com/

Clr. Evelyn Buck is not just a grandmother herself, but the grandmother of blogging here in Aurora.  With over 1200 posts since starting the blog back in 2006, 259 of those posts this year and 19 this month, the blog is a wealth of information and perspective on our town and one of it’s greatest political treasures.

The site is plain and there is completely void of tacky visual distractions.
There is always a reason to return, and daily.

Both are blogs that I aspire to elevate my own to.

As for a couple of misadventures, or “blogs that are as good as dead”:

Em

Last time I checked failed candidate for council Darryl Moore‘s blog there wasn’t a post since April.

The grass in the banner at the top of his site has grown long there are weeds growing in it and this level of inactivity has ceased any curiosity I once had.  I have since removed his site from my browsers bookmarks.

Ta

Mr. Moore’s not alone, The Town of Aurora (link removed from their website) had a mere 17 posts since it launched, the last one over a month and a half ago and since being removed from the Town’s website its abrupt end only solidifies what an amateur roll-out this was.

The Town of Aurora’s blog, in its current fashion is as unnecessary and without purpose as its Fliker feed.  Both seem like an experiment run amok by a highschool chemistry student dropout more interested in playing with matches than understanding exactly what fire is and what it can do.

The level of ineptitude put forward by some hansomely paid staff is frightening.

Ac

The Aurora Citizenhttp://auroracitizen.ca/  is, or was Aurora’s only true forum has been without any activity for some time now with it’s last post being made May 9th.

No update or note of the lack of activity is making people wonder if it has decided to close its doors in light of other obligations or mounting legal matters.

So how do some hot it out of the park where others stutter, crash and burn?

Dave Kerpen seems to have several answers.
As the founder of Likeable Media (http://www.likeable.com/ ) I highly recommend reading his latest book: http://www.likeablebook.com/

You can read chapter 13 for free here: http://www.likeable.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ch_13.pdf

It includes some action items which seem to differentiate the two groups of blogs I have outlined here in this post:

  1. Define your “wow” factor. What aspect of your products or services is truly worth talking about? If there isn’t a wow factor, what steps can you take to begin to build the wow factor into your products, services, or processes?
  2. Define your most passionate subset of customers. Who are they, what social networks(s) are they on, how can you reach them, and what tools and opportunities can you give them to encourage them to share their stories?
  3. Determine what incentives, if any, might be helpful in order to inspire and accelerate more word of mouth. Will recognition and rewards encourage your customers to share? Will contests, promotions, or giveaways help drive people to share? How about the occasional individual, direct offline interaction?

Another person to follow is Alexis Ohanian of reddit fame ( http://www.reddit.com/ ) who made some excellent points as to how to effectively use social media in a recent TED talk he gave where he talked about Mr. Splashy Pants:

Alexis explains the notion of a level playing field, where your link is just as good as my link.

The hard work comes into making people want to visit that link when there are so many venues available for them to go elsewhere.

I wholeheartedly agree with Alexis that being genuine is key.   I think this is the largest differentiator between the successful blogs in town from those that have fallen sideways and are circling the drain.

I particularly enjoyed one of his last slides that read:

“You no longer control the message and that’s okay”

I think his closing remarks that included the following reassurance is what is needed to make everyone succeed in Social Media:

“It’s okay to lose control.  It’s okay to take yourself a little less seriously.  Given that even though its a very serious cause you could ultimately achieve your final goal.”

Watts on your mind?

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