How not to blog

Follow these three simple steps for instant failure at blogging, guaranteed to win you links of people denouncing your “opportunism”, “bad taste” and for being “totally inappropriate”.

  1. Take something with guaranteed media attention, like a premature death of a celebrity
  1. Ludicrously shoe-horn it into your dull as ditchwater blog about small business
  1. Write an opportunistic headline (don’t forget that celebrity name now)

Voila! Link bait:

A very bad blog

This blog sucks

Alternatively, genuinely have something to say and say it in an interesting way that is easy to understand.

‘Integration is a consumer expectation’

Well it’s certainly one of mine. Actually I should have used the word ‘supporter’ rather than ‘consumer’ to be true to the quote, as this was an outcome from a marketing and fundraising workshop that I ran earlier this year with colleagues at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, but it seemed apt to a recent experience I consumed.

Along with most of twitter and the waking world, I was reading a lot about hackgate at the weekend and was interested to read Rupert Murdoch’s apology on page eight of my Guardian on Saturday (the fee was donated to charity by Guardian News and Media). At the bottom of the ad it said ‘for more information please visit newsinternatiaonaltional.co.uk’. Which I did. But the landing page did not live up to my expectations.

This did not match my expectations

Nothing about the apology, nothing about the ads in rival papers and nothing dated that day. For a website with news in the name, it was three days behind the news.

A topical reminder that when someone reads your print ad, they develop expectations about their online experience. If you don’t deliver on those expectations, you could be letting people down and your organisation could be missing out.

Don’t forget your *real* networks

Twitter and other social networks are so useful because they mimic real life to some extent. You can introduce people, catch up, have a cup of tea…sort of. But don’t forget to leverage your real, face to face social networks. Is that volunteer sitting behind you happily cracking on with some admin a volunteering legend waiting to help you and you don’t even know it?

This post is somewhat self serving – it’s to remind me to not forget the *real* networks. I had an email forwarded to me from Laura in our volunteer fundraising team; someone had spotted an issue with our site in Firefox. And they quite rightly pointed out that Internet Explorer is not the only browser, just the most popular. My analytics are telling me about 15% of traffic is viewed in Firefox so I was quick to check this out, I went back to the guy to find out what version he was using as I could not replicate the issue (Firefox 3 as it turns out)

The reply was a bit of a shock, as it consisted of this:

I have just checked and the issue no longer appears to be a problem in my version of Firefox

 I also just checked the following with no issues:

Ø      Google Chrome version 12.0.742.112

Ø      Internet Explorer version 9.0.8112.16421

Ø      RockMelt version 0.9.58.494

Ø      Safari version 5.0.5 (7533.21.1)

 However I have just launched Launascape6 and the same problem appears as below for:

Ø      Trident engine (IE)

 Not a problem for:

Ø      Gecko engine (FF)

Ø      WebKit engine

I got this, along with a very kind offer to do some free (the magic word!) testing on our site. Which I duly arranged for some up and coming areas of development. I love this kind of volunteering, where a professional with specialist skills nonchalantly offers to do work you could never really afford with your lean and mean project budget. So a real win for Laura’s face to face network with her volunteers, which I have duly exploited! And a reminder to me, to pay more attention to each new face in the office, they might be itching to help make our website better.

I look forward to getting Chris involved more with our site, having some face to face real world fun and some tweeting and stuff. Because I still love that social network to.

Sort out the measurement, focus on your story

Some thoughts following the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention

Bear with me as I learn to blog and try to think about what I want to focus on after the IOF National Convention earlier this week. Lots of things stuck in my mind but two themes are where I’m focussing.

1. Focus on your story

And don’t forget it is your story – own it. Easy to say, or tweet, but hard to do sometimes. That’s what I’m taking away from AJ Leon’s IOFNC presentation. He’s a guy that can own a story. Even if he did finish in half the time (It may have been a third, then up to the halfway with questions), it really didn’t matter.  AJ conveyed the right amount of information and, more importantly, he was passionate and, I thought, inspiring. He owned his story warts and all. I thought the timing issue showed some refreshing openness of character. I liked it when, on stage, AJ reminded himself “that’s why I should always listen to my wife!” I think he practices what he preaches and I look forward to the hour of video conference I bagged after his gig.

2. Sort out the measurement

If I want to successfully focus on telling the Muscular Dystrophy’s Campaign’s and Bexley Moorings Project’s story this year and beyond, I don’t want to be worrying about metrics. Lots of presentations exhibited, used or preached about measurement – ‘measure everything’ I was told. Nailing those KPIs down – when I need to deliver what and when – at the beginning of the year, or planning process, is like putting my shoes on in the morning. They help me get where I’m going but I’m not thinking about them all the time, because I’m focussing on my story.

That’s if for now, a short first attempt at blogging but I think I’ll get better.