Listening 101: How To Enter the Social Media Conversation


takomabibelot
takomabibelot

Flickr User TakaMabiblot

Who are the most influential bloggers writing about your topic or industry? Who should you read and begin a conversation with?


1.) Identify your list of keywords

What would people type into a search engine to find your site or blog?

Have no idea? Try this:

  • If you are using an analytics software program like Google Analytics, run a search engine referral report and see what words people are actually typing into search engines to find your site.
  • Use the Goolge Adwords Keyword tool

2.) Use this spreadsheet to organize your research


3.)
Search on Technorati

Here's what to do

  • Use the advanced search option
  • Scroll down and type in your key words one by one into the Blog Directory Search
  • Sort by authority, sort by freshness
  • No blogs turn up? Or only low authority?
  • Try exact phrase in keyword

Should you add it to your list?

  • Who's the author?
  • Is the blog updated often?
  • How long have they been blogging?
  • How many community affiliations? (Flickr, widgets, blogrools, badges, etc)
  • Are there lots of comments?
  • Is the writing good?
  • If you decide to add it to your list, check the side bar (or blog roll) for other similar blogs

What to put in your spread sheet

  • Add the names, urls, and technorati authority ranking to your spreadsheet

Definition of Authority: Technorati Authority is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.



authority.jpg


4.) Find more bloggers using Google Blog Search

Before your search, do a little brainstorming. You can use a spreadsheet, Google Doc, or paper. Whatever works.

Keyword
Why Interested?
What do you want to know?
RSS Reader
Be more efficient in reading feeds
What is the best way or organize my feeds?
Tips







Search on Google Blog Search

1. Type in key words (example for above)
2. Scan results, filter by publishing date
3. Click through to blogs and evaluate
4. Add blogs that might be useful to your beat to your reader
5. Add RSS feed of the search to your reader (last 12 hours)

5.) Identify the Google Page Rank

What is PageRank?
How to find out a site's Page Rank? Install Google Toolbar
How to use the Google Toolbar?

6.) Identify the monthly visitation stats

Go to compete.com and find out what the monthly visitation stats are.
Add them to your spreadsheet.

7.) Add the RSS subscriptions to the blogs to your RSS reader and monitor

If you end up with a list that is huge and need some way to prioritize, the page rank, authority, and monthly visitation stats give you a method.


How To Read Blogs: RSS Reader


RSS: What is it?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit. It takes time to visit those sites and find the text you want to read. RSS is a way for you to visit all those sites in one place and instantly find the new information. You need to use a free piece of web software called a RSS reader. Bloglines is one reader I'm going to show you how to use.

Any blog reader will do, of course. The best blog reader for those new to RSS readers is bloglines. Bloglines uses a folder and hierarchical structure that is comfortable to many beginner bloggers (who are not 17). If participants are already using a reader, they can continue to use what they are already comfortable using.

  • How to set up bloglines
  • How to add the subscribe bookmarklet to their browser
  • How to subscribe to a blog
  • How to organize and reorganize folders


Screencast: RSS Reader - Bloglines

Step-by-Step Instructions for Bloglines by Preetamrai
10 Steps to Using Bloglines
YouTube Video Showing how to Add Feeds

A few RSS Readers:
Bloglines
Netvibes
Newsgater
GoogleReader

Reflection Questions:

What is the best way for you to organize your feeds for reading and blogging?


Some readings:

Organize by Work Flow or Value
Sink or Swim: Managing RSS Feeds With Better Groups
Organizing Feeds Yet Again
12 Filtering Tips for Better Information in Half the Time: RSS and Bookmarks
RSS Feeds Productivity Tips

Good RSS Reading Habits


  • Set up aside a small block of time to read your feeds everyday
  • Clean house often, RSS subscriptions tend to pile up
  • Don't feel like you have to read every post on every blog, use the "Mark Read" option

How To Find More Blogs To Read


Do this first ...
  • Check out the blogrolls of blogs you are reading and add good ones to your reader
  • Follow the links to other blogs from the blogs you are reading and add good ones to your reader
  • Follow the links to other blogs from people who comment on the blogs you are reading and add good ones to your reader

Which ones to add to your reader?

  • Who's the author?
  • Is the blog updated often?
  • How long have they been blogging?
  • How many community affiliations? (Flickr, widgets, blogrools, badges, etc)
  • Are there lots of comments?
  • Is the writing good? Accurate? Authentic?
  • Is there content that you might incorporate into a blog post?
  • If you decide to add it to your reader, check the side bar (or blog roll) for other similar blogs


Commenting on Blogs


  • Commenting is the life blood of blogging and key to building a community
  • They’re a way to get more minds into the story.
  • They’re a way to annotate someone’s thoughts such that the ideas can take on another dimension.

Screencast: How to have a conversation
Read someone's blog post and start a conversation:
Before you leave a comment, ask yourself:

  • What did they say well?
  • What did they miss?
  • Answer questions
  • What are other people saying
  • How does it apply to you
  • Look forward
  • Look backward
  • Ask what if?

Source: How To Add Blogging Conversations by Darren Rowse
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/02/22/how-to-add-to-blogging-conversations-and-eliminate-the-echo-chamber/

Resource: Pro Blogger:
Resources
How to Comment Like King or Queen by Coolcat Teacher Blog
Strategic Blog Commenting A Screencast by Amy Gahran
Strategic Blog Commenting: Blog Post by Amy Gahran
Commenting by Alan Levine
Power of Comments by Chris Brogan