We can debate influencers, journalists, bloggers and the like endlessly. But at the end of the day if you’re not out telling your story in public, somebody will do it for you. And regardless of how you define it, when you let somebody else tell your story for you, you can’t control that message. And that’s not very good PR.

We all do it. We sit down to make a press list for a project. We start by putting our friends and family on the list then we set out looking for “influencers.” But how do you know who they are?

In the new era of blogs and social media, our influencers no longer sit behind the desk at a major metro daily or behind an anchor desk. So, what makes an influencer in today’s media landscape? Simple: An influencer is somebody who people listen to.

What’s worth more to your client, a mention on the business page of a newspaper with a large circulation and possible syndication or mentions on the blogs, twitter accounts and facebook profiles of several lifestyle bloggers that frequently do product reviews and have a robust community?

The task for you as a PR person is to find the right influencers and get your client in front of them.

Sometimes life flies by so fast you look around and it’s been more than a month since you’ve posted a blog post. Well, maybe it’s just me.

But as a PR person and marketer, I know that fresh content is essential to staying top of mind with those that you want to be thinking about you. So how does one get back on the wagon?

Back on the pony, err, horse

Like Nike says, “Just do it.” Reemerging from the blogging black hole is as simple as opening your content management system and adding a new post. Now, I know this is over-simplifying things, but as a writer, it is your job to, well, to write. So start typing and hit publish.

One from the vault

We’ve all started a post, hit save and then forgot about it. Perhaps you just didn’t like how it sounded. Perhaps you called somebody out and your brain/keyboard filter engaged. Perhaps you thought you might be wrong with your perspective.

If you’ve hit a blogging wall, open your drafts folder and pick one to post. Take a risk and put yourself out there. After all, this is the Internet. Everybody’s right on the Internet.

I’m going to put my blog where my mouth is this week to back this up.

Short but sweet

I love writing short posts because they’re, well, they’re short. Write a quick post with no more than a link to something and three sentences with your opinions. We spend so much time worrying about if we’re right or if we’re in line with popular thought. If you think a campaign is dumb, say so. If you think a cohort’s blog post is nothing but genius, then say so. By keeping it short, you can turn the discussion to your commenters and get something off your chest.

Make a list

My Top 5 Reasons I haven’t Blogged Lately:

  1. Busy
  2. Working
  3. Busy
  4. Nothing to say
  5. Busy

In all seriousness, a Top X List post is about as cliché as they come, but they just work. They get you back in the flow of creating content and are easy to post.

Betting back on the blogging horse is difficult. I’ve had several lapses in blogging and each time I resolve to get back into it. What’s the longest you’ve gone without posting? How did you get out of your slump?

Having your blog or Web site rank high in search engine is essentially a guaranteed way to convert sales. But as a PR person, how can you help your clients achieve number-one ranking nirvana?

While at the recent BlogWorld Expo, I sat in on a session that proposed the creation of a network of blogs with content specific to the various products or services your client sells. Relevant key words in the blogs’ titles and content will help it rank so that it does not dilute the keywords in other articles.  The strategic use of keyword specific anchor text and linking structures will help as well.

Now, I’m not an SEO expert, but as a PR person, I see the many benefits to this. But there’s a side of me that asks, “Is this genuine?” There’s two sides to this. One of them is black, the other is white. So, I think it’s a gray hat strategy.

The Black Hat

From what I understand, the bad side of this comes in how the blogs are presented. If a network of blogs all have different designs, branding/names, domain registrations and IP addressees, then the assumption is that they are not related. But if all links and referrals point back to a single vendor, this is blatant link farming and search engines look at this extremely unfavorably.

This is a disingenuous method of boosting your page rank. And it does a dis-service to your readers. This will also, if identified by the search engines, end up hurting your ranking and site more as a result of being viewed as manipulative of the search engine results page.

The White Hat

Creating quality content is never a bad thing. But there’s a right way to do this. The theory is sound, but the practice needs to be executed properly.

If you keep the branding and disclose who runs the sites, then the benefits should still come. The underlying premise here is that the content is valuable. Provide information that helps guide a purchasing decision and that will help convert the traffic to revenue.

Technically, there’s more to good content than the words on a page. Ensuring that your site (or sites) is properly optimized with the appropriate links and anchor text, page structure (tagging, linking structure, focused keywords, etc.) and linking out to other quality content are just as important to helping your client’s blogs rank.

Sharing your content is where a different side of blogger outreach comes in to play. Spend time cultivating relationships with other bloggers and sites for content distribution and linking purposes, rather than develop this network artificially yourself. Develop authoritative sites that are on topic and link out to more sites than just your own.

So, in the end, it all comes back to “write quality content.” What do you think of this model, is it unethical? How would you improve upon this model?

~ Extra special thanks to Kristy Bolsinger for her help w/this post. Always good to have a fact checker 😉