#BlogActionDay 2012: The Power of We – Crowd-Sourced Funding

When you think about organizations receiving funding from a large number of people, some of whom donate very small amounts, you typically think of two scenarios – political parties and large charities.

 

And certainly, those two types of organizations have greatly benefited from the advent of social media, where they can solicit donations from targeted groups of individuals where they congregate online. Individual donation pages set up by everyone from walkers in support of breast cancer research to triathletes training to compete on behalf of blood cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

 

Donations

Donations (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

 

. My daughter Kate, a public school teacher in inner-city Philadelphia twice leveraged DonorsChoose.org to fund first basic equipment (and when I say basic I mean bats, gloves and even the bases) for a girl’s softball team she had volunteered to coach at her school which lacked its own means to support, and again to take her students to see the documentary ‘The Bully Project – 1 Million Kids’ in hopes of bettering their lives today and building better citizens for tomorrow  Social Media now has Kickstarter.com, a way to invest in new start-up companies. I even helped fund getting clean water in Africa via CharityWater.org and co-funded the recent Broadway revival of ‘Godspell’.

 

So the ‘”Power of We” is strong, wide-ranging, and helps bring things to life for philanthropy and for-profit projects alike.

 

Give a little to the project of your choice — you know you should.

 

Blog Action Day 2011 – Food, For Thought

Refugees in EthiopiaToday, October 16, 2011, is global Blog Action Day where bloggers from all over the world blog about a singular topic and this year, falling on World Food Day, it’s food (or lack thereof). (Ed. note: 2011 participation: 2,710 bloggers located in  109 countries).

As I write this entry, one of my daughters, Adriane, is flying to Ethiopia as part of a United Nations Foundation global health observation team. Situated between the Sudan to the west and Somalia to the east, I hope she has a safe, informational and inspirational journey.

Ethiopia has the dual distinction of being both besieged by famine, poverty, health crises (TB, Malaria; HIV/AIDS), the worst drought in 60 years as well as the added burden of refugees arriving daily from its neighbors.

The United Nations defines famine as a region or country where:
• At least 20 percent of households face extreme food shortages
• Acute malnutrition affects more than 30 percent of the population
Malnutrition leads to at least two deaths per 10,000 people every day

Ethiopia easily qualifies. There, as elsewhere in the famine-torn  Horn of Africa, foreign aid is essential to bringing relief to this humanitarian crisis.

What YOU can do to help
Contribute to a reputable disaster relief organization. The American Institute of Philanthropy rates a list of charities that best help East Africans. So, the next time you push yourself away from the dinner table, complaining that you “ate too much,”pick one, donate and think of those who suffer hunger everyday.

Until then, chew on this for a while

Click here for more Global Blog Day 2011 entries. On Twitter search #bad2011

You got the OK to author the company blog. Now what?

Good news! You got the OK to author the company’s blog. Now what?

Heidi Cohen, writing for the  Content Marketing Institute, lists 9 Must-Have Elements for Company Blogs, specifically:

  1. Determine your blog’s business objectives
  2. Define target readers
  3. Develop your blog’s voice
  4. Outline creative elements
  5. Compile a list of regular features and columns
  6. Determine who will write the posts
  7. Create an editorial function
  8. Develop your editorial calendar
  9. Set metrics to assess blog contribution

A good start, do you have any others?

Determine your blog’s business objectives

Your objectives have an impact on just about every aspect of the blog. Among the top business blog goals are to:

  • Build the brand by providing content to support your offering. This information should engage prospective customers.
  • Expand reach by offering prospective buyers solutions to their product needs though a variety of content forms such as checklists and how-to videos.
  • Support sales by giving potential buyers useful information. The specifics depend on your products. It can be a 360-degree video to show clothing details and fit or a list of technology specifications.
  • Position senior executive(s) by spotlighting their thought leadership. This can be important for firms that are strongly associated with their founders. It requires buy-in and commitment from executives to actively post.

Define target readers

Your readers should be in line with your blog’s goals. When describing potential readers, it’s a good idea to characterize them in terms of demographics, psychographics and past behaviors. Also, consider how this segment behaves on social media: are they people who create content, comment on content or just read content (aka lurk)?

Develop your blog’s voice

Since company blogs often include work from a group of contributors, it’s important to define various post attributes to ensure consistency across different writers. For instance, here are some characteristics I suggest bloggers consider:

  • Have a personality
  • Tell a story
  • Be contextually relevant
  • Sound like a real person
  • Have a point of view
  • Avoid sanitized corporate-speak.

Selecting your blog’s theme is part of this process since it drives how your content will be rendered.

Outline creative elements

Set guidelines around branding. How will you integrate your brand into your blog presentation?  Include:

  • Color scheme
  • Typography
  • Post length
  • Use of other media.

These factors should be in line with your overall branding and brand presentation since you want your blog to reinforce your message on other platforms.

Compile a list of regular features and columns

Decide what major content categories you want to include regularly, either weekly or every other week. Within these topics, develop specific columns and describe the focus. The aim here is to ensure your content is in line with your business goals and target reader’s needs. Think in terms of creating regular columns around frequent posts, topics or categories. As part of this process, determine how often you will post new columns to your blog because these elements will become the basis for your editorial calendar (see below). When selecting which features to include, decide on post frequency and how many bloggers you will need (or will have) since good content takes time to create.

Determine who will write the posts

Instead of assigning blogging as another to-do to staff members, ask for volunteers from across your organization. Get the HR department involved so that you can incorporate this work into people’s on-going jobs rather than making it yet another thing to do. Be sure to highlight how writing blog posts is career-enhancing and profile-building.  Wherever possible, recognize participants’ contributions. Your goal is to make corporate blogging alluring.

Among the business areas to check for potential bloggers are: product, marketing/PR/communications, senior executives, buyers, creative department, customer service and/or volunteers. Bear in mind that employees may be reticent to write for a public audience. Assure potential bloggers that they will receive editorial assistance. Remember, once members of your staff are actively involved, it’s important to develop guidelines for social media participation to define what employees should and shouldn’t do.

Create an editorial function

Ensure the blog has one consistent voice and posts have been edited for basic grammar. An employee or an outside freelance editor can fill this position. An additional benefit is that this can help mitigate writers’ concerns about the quality of their posts. The blog should be written so that it sounds like real people talking, not corporate speak.

Develop your editorial calendar

Coordinate your regular features and columns with your on-going editorial calendar. The goal is to ensure that your blog is synchronized with your marketing, PR initiatives and other corporate communications. Where appropriate, incorporate a call-to-action and promotion code to your marketing. While not foolproof, this can help get some traction with monitoring your results.

Set metrics to assess blog contribution

Blog Action Day 2010 – Drink Up!

From charitywater.org

Life happens, and occasionally when it does your attention gets divided and some things, like blogging, fall by the wayside in favor of other things like micro-blogging (Twitter to you and me) and before you know it the earth has circled the sun once again (and then some).

So, what can spur one to resume the art of the blog? A good reason, for a good cause. Today, October 15, 2010, is global Blog Action Day where bloggers from all over the world blog about a singular topic and this year it’s water (or lack thereof). (Ed. note: 2010 participation: 5,716 bloggers located in 143 countries)

Read more of this post

Everyone Thinks They Know Social Media, But…

Great post. One of the problems I’ve observed while discussing this topic with industry types is that companies often have several people, some in high leadership positions, who all believe that they “know” social media simply because they have a Web page, or a Facebook account or have participated in an online discussion here or there . That’s like saying you know how to design a new car simply because you’ve driven one.

Companies looking to connect with their customers where they increasingly live — online — not only need a social media department, they need to hire social media professionals to run them.

Originally posted as a comment by roncasalotti on Jacob Morgan on Social Media, Technology, Marketing, and Life using Disqus.

Thanks for the Meme-ories

My first meme (of this iteration!) I’d like to blame this on someone, perhaps fellow bloggers (“Ich bin ein blogger!”) Erin, Maria or Suzie, but the truth is I lifted it from them.

This mosaic of twelve photos represents me, or so says this meme:

1. My first name.
2. My favorite style of food.
3. My high school.
4. My favorite color.
5. My celebrity crush.
6. Favorite drink.
7. Dream vacation.
8. Favorite dessert.
9. What I want to be when I grow up.
10. What I love most in life.
11. One word to describe me.
12. My Grandmother’s first name.

For you graphically challenged, the answers are:

1. The sign the girl’s holding is a Weealeyian “I’m with Ron”; 2. Italian (of course); 3. Archbishop Molloy (that’s really it); 4. Gray (everything’s a shade of it); 5. Keira Knightley (and daily, too); 6. Rum & Coke; 7. Paris (France, not Texas); 8. Ice cream! (the chocolate souflee is a bonus); 9. A flawed superhero (I’m halfway there); 10. The fam, of course; 11. Crazy. (o/~…you know we’re never gonna survive… unles.. we get a little crazy…o/~); 12. May (maypole, get it?)

Your turn!

(From Erin)

  • Enter your answers into Flickr search.
  • Paste the URLs into this nifty mosaic maker.
  • Discover thyself in images.

To Blog, or Not to Blog

To Blog or Not TO BLog So maybe you’re thinking, “Why is this guy starting up this blog again, here?” Good question. You see, I was part of the team that launched AOL Journals — AOL’s version of blogs — and so had an active one for a while. Like many of us, I kind of let it lapse, only jumping back in to mark the tragic passing of a former co-worker. And then I walked away once more. But I didn’t really walk away from blogs — just blogging. Let me explain. So many of my friends had blogs (both on AOL and elsewhere) and I spent many hours reading them on a daily basis. Frequently, I left the clever comment behind in my wake. And that’s my second evolution of blogging — commenting. I used to joke that I was part of a new section of blogger — the blogmenter — the person who made you all feel good that somebody was out there, cared about what you had written, and helped the conversation along. Then one day someone I followed asked the question, “Are you a blogger?” I felt that I was and so I explained my theory about the blogmenter and its value, and so I said that yeah, I’m a blogger. “Myth!”, came the retort. “You are not a blogger if you don’t have your own active blog!” And so here I am. Writing to right the wrongs so righteously flung my way. “Ich bin ein blogger!”

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