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#PR: Are My Blogs Effective?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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With the rise of social media, there are more opportunities for a flack to promote a brand or product for external or internal clients. With those opportunities also come more challenges, and sometimes, more questions.

It almost goes without comment that a well-written blog is necessary for any successful PR or marketing communications campaign. This invites a question of “How Can I Tell if My Blogs Are Effective or More Actionable?”

Matthew Schwartz, who authors columns for PR News for Smart Communicators, recently took a look at the topic. In a post published digitally (click here) on July 14, he said flacks and marketing communicators need to ask the following six very important questions (which I quote from his column and which he quotes courtesy of Tim Haran, senior manager of social media at USANA):

> What is the purpose of my blog?
Connect it to business goals. Everything you do has to come back around to your overall strategic mission. Your blog should be a centerpiece for driving the content that furthers your business goals.

> What makes my content interesting?
Find a voice and topics that set you apart. Every industry or product has something that makes it unique. Find your niche and use it to differentiate yourself from the competition.

> How do I obtain evangelists for my blog?
Interact regularly with readers and remember to take the good with the bad. Responding to all comments, regardless of their sentiment, will show readers and potential evangelists that you're in it for the long haul.

> How can I be authentic in my blogging?
Value honesty and transparency above all else. A blog offers unique capabilities when it comes to digital communications. This is the place to offer your readers foundational knowledge and information that comes in units larger than 120 characters. Use your blog to offer this important service in an honest and transparent way and your readers will reward you.
> What is the best way to spend extra time on headlines?
Write several potential headlines and weigh each against each. If available, look at your past headlines and evaluate which were the most successful, then try headlines mimicking that format. Also, try out the EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) Headline Analyzer.

> How can I create easily absorbable content?
Always keep your sentences short. Distill your information down by using common language and avoiding jargon where possible. It is especially important for blogs to incorporate eye-catching images that can serve as a focal point to a post.

Sounds like good and actionable advice to me. What do you think?

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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