The Bitch Slap: Information I Can USE, Please

@WebProNews: I can haz fixed UR blog nows

I’m a huge fan of SitePro News. It serves my geek side and there’s always a wide variety of content on everything from social media to other online trends.

What I’m not a huge fan of is reading a blog title, being enticed to click and then reading an article that gave me jack shit. This happened recently with SitePro News.

I got a snazzy email (which I always open) and saw the OMFG awesome topic: 5 Best Practices of Content Distribution. I clicked on that shit faster than an offer to win an iPad. And I was disappointed. Guest blogger Bradley Haas took 1277 words to give WebPro News readers absolutely ZERO actionable items.

So today, I’m giving one of my favorite blogs a Bitch Slap and finishing their blog post for them as well as dispelling some absolutely crap advice. And hey, WebPro news – I’d be delighted to be a guest blogger sometime. I won’t even drop the f-bomb.

Blogger Connections: Bradley recommends “using services that will connect you with other bloggers. These are great for not only getting your content posted elsewhere but also for getting guest bloggers on your blog.”  What he didn’t share is now to do this. In July, Kikolani published an indispensable list of resources for bloggers, including some useful community-driven tools like Scribnia, Technorati and Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop. I’d also like to add Blog Catalog to that list.

What Bradley also forgot to mention is that becoming an active reader and commenter on your favorite blogs is a great way to build community. If you don’t read, you have no business writing. And if you’re not reading other blogs, why will anyone read yours?

Publishing on Reputable Websites: Next, Bradley shares that there are “numerous well-established article databases and other content-based websites where you can submit your content. “ Alas, no list – but never fear. I’ve made one for you:

Demand Studios: If you’re a beginning writer looking for pocket cash, you can write for Demand Studios on a variety of topics. I’ve personally made thousands with them and while I no longer write for them, they have strict editorial guidelines to ensure your content submitted is top-notch. You can click here to submit your resume – they’re always looking for writers and give every writer a bio (great for bringing traffic back to you). By the way, Demand Studios provides the content for top sites like Overstock.com, Livestrong, eHow and more.

eZineArticles: Admittedly, half the content on this site is total crap, but you can’t ignore their top-notch Google page rank. They do have an editorial review process and WILL reject articles. It’s a great place for you to submit content that’s been previously published on your blog, republish special reports and develop new article marketing pieces that establish your authority on a subject. If you’re a WordPress blogger, there’s an eZineArticles plugin that makes cross-publishing even easier (but I don’t recommend the simultaneous publishing option – always publish to your blog FIRST and then to eZines a week later).

3. Keep Track of Published Content: “When syndicating your blog posts and submitting them for inclusion on several different websites, you will want to make sure that you are keeping track of each place they have been submitted to and published. Part of building your credibility is that the content that you write is applicable to more than just your immediate readers. Make sure that you are keeping track of where your content has been published in order to write more content that appeals to those particular audiences.”

Yes, Bradley. But how do I do that? Well, you can check out applications like Lijit (my favorite) and the Apture toolbar (Shelly Kramer has one installed on her blog and RedheadWriting will have one next week! Just scroll and watch the top of the page). Both of these applications can be fully integrated with self-hosted WordPress installations and email you weekly stats on top content, shares and more. What I love about Lijit? You can see if your fans are searching for something you haven’t written about and voila! – proceed to write about it.

You should also install Google Analytics on your blog along with the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin to track top content. Oh, and bonus: don’t forget to install the XML Sitemap plugin, too. Makes sure that the search engines are notified when you publish new content! (and with that, we’ll move on to #4)

4. Publish Press Releases: “When an article, blog post, or video is being syndicated, it is completely appropriate to submit a press release. This doesn’t need to be an incredibly formal, pricey press release. There are many free press release publication services that will allow you to post as many press releases as you wish. Having your content syndicated is big news, make sure that you are reporting it!”

OMFG – absolutely not. If I catch a single one of you issuing a press release about having published a blog, I’ll kick you in the nuts. “Syndicated” means you established an RSS feed. Christ, any monkey can have an RSS feed. THIS IS NOT NEWS and remains a major issue in the media community. If you issue a press release with absolutely NO NEWS IN IT (“Hi! I just published a new blog! WOO!”), you’re killing your chances to get press when you actually DO have news (“Company XYZ who issued a crap press release three months ago just acquired $12m in venture funding”).

Publish a press release when you have news to share. Don’t be a douchebag and think everything going on over on your blog is newsworthy. Writing is not revolutionary.

Online press release distribution engines have tons of benefits for SEO purposes, however. Here’s a simple primer from WebHostingGeeks.

5. Tweet and Digg About Published Content: Tweets and diggs are like mini, severely informal press releases. If you don’t have the time to sit down and write a press release the moment you find that one of your posts or articles has been published, make sure that you are at least tweeting about it. All of your twitter followers will immediately be aware of your content being published and if they haven’t already had a chance to read it they will be more inclined to do so.

OK, first and foremost, Twitter and Digg are brand names and should always be capitalized. Secondly, no – social media channels are NOT places for “mini press releases.” They’re communities. And again, if you’re writing a press release about having just published a new blog, I will kick you in the nuts. If you’re not going to take the time to build a community, get out of my pool and stop peeing in it.

Using tools like Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages to share links to your content with your community is a killer tactic, but don’t forget about the power of social bookmarking. Sites like StumbleUpon, Mixx, Propeller, Pitch Engine (only for press releases – REAL ONES, dammit!) and Delicious offer multiple opportunities to share published content with audiences looking for the same type of content. They’re also great traffic generation tools (23% of RedheadWriting web traffic comes from StumbleUpon, by the way).

***

So, that’s it. I hope you found the resources useful and an improvement over the original blog over on WebPro News. And if you have any tricks up your sleeve you’d like to share, leave a comment. We all get better through sharing (and bitch slapping).

And by the way, if you enjoyed this post, you might also like Screw the Duplicate Content Penalty: Three Easy Ways to Repurpose Content.

39 comments
The Redhead
The Redhead

And that, kind sir, is why it's called The Bitch Slap, not "A Kumbayah Moment with The Redhead." ;-)

John
John

Another good article, albeit harsh. The reality though is, that this advice is good and comes from someone who knows their shit (following the vernacular flow), and you even finished it with great links.Many of our clients are small one owner businesses who don't necessarily have time to blog, or write press releases, so we promote the use of what we call "The Social Media Circle" toolkit. This is simply 3 tools that, when used over and over again - "rinse and repeat" - i like to say, will provide some great Google Juice: Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube.Twitter is the handshake in a room full of people, Facebook is the event creation/invitation tool where one promotes the event, writes about the event, and invites attendees, and YouTube is the visual tool used to show the wildly attended, hugely successful event, with the ability to write a description, and add relevant keywords. Emphasis on the word relevant.@willisetech on Twitter

The Redhead
The Redhead

There's too much time to be wasted in this life to waste it on bad blogs. Glad you found value in mine :)

Alison West
Alison West

and I thought it was just me who hated articles with no real "actionable" items. I always think, "WTF I could have written that! Anyone with cursory knowledge could write stupid articles." Good grief. But thank goodness for your Bitch Slapping. On the web, it seems that people are too polite when they shouldn't be and not polite when they should be. Love that you're lifting the veil off the bad stuff.

The Redhead
The Redhead

'Tis my pleasure, Cherry. Always love a well-received slapping :)

Cherry Woodburn
Cherry Woodburn

Thanks for the help and actionable items Reds. I'm still a neophyte with this and appreciate the help...and it adds some spice that it's part of a Bitch Slap.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, heavens - don't feel bad for a blogger who took the easy way out. :) And thanks for a great idea about creating a post that covers StumbleUpon.

Sara Lancaster
Sara Lancaster

I feel a little bad for Bradley, but also grateful because I learned a few things. And wow, 23% of your traffic from StumbleUpon! I hope you'll write a post about how you use/reference Stumble.

The JackB
The JackB

Demand Studios is a crap shoot at times. Been writing for them for a while and sometimes they are less than forthcoming with constructive criticism. 97& of my submissions were accepted, but the few that weren't didn't come back with a reason why they were rejected. That is just unprofessional.But that aside I love how you stress community. Community is what will make or break you in social media. If you can't figure out a way to be a part of one than what is the point of playing the game.

J. Bridget Fisher
J. Bridget Fisher

Bravo! Bravo! I'm still a newb and I get what you're saying sister! My fiance does SEO and other internet marketing presence and branding stuff and the knowledge I gain from him by watching him work, and getting the awesome tools that you list (and so graciously share your knowledge with your readers consistently in your blog) to actually help generate traffic are far more valuable than what this " Blogging for idiots savant-not" was providing. I like that you share your knowledge with your readers, and you desire to develop a quality community and in doing so you have developed an each one teach one approach. I dig it. That writer left us guessing and essentially gave homework .... to go tackle the web and spend otherwise valuable time digging up what he was talking about, when he simply could share the damn answers and/or links!! Thanks for nothing you greedy lil turd!! He doesn't deserve to swim in the pool, unless he gets a humility check or a take a good kick in the nuts! :) Thanks for the slap and shakin things up, I love when it hurts sooooo good!!!! You go girl!

Jim Raffel
Jim Raffel

There's so much I could say, but OMG I loved this piece. Instead just bitching that it was a bad piece you "finished" it for them with amazing ideas and suggestions. So many people just bitch and complain and yet offer no solutions. Thank you!

Alana Morales
Alana Morales

Fantastic - I loved how you tore it apart and fixed it! Very informative and extremely helpful - as usual! Thanks for all the info you dish out time and time again!

Vernacular Ninja
Vernacular Ninja

Agreed on all counts, and thank you for once again raising another valid point re: buzzwords. I'm actually working on a preliminary blog topic/idea that touches on that very subject matter (on my yet-to-launch-but-really-fucking-needs-to blog)In fact, buzzwords only serve to hand feed the predators their prey, set transparent expectations and quite frankly not teach anyone a damn thing. Buzzwords, like labels, only spoil us and make it easy to sell nothing more than a concept with no meat or substance.Ok ... sorry for the soapbox diatribe. Moving on to our regularly-scheduled program.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yes - what Doyle said. My work here is done.

Doyle Albee
Doyle Albee

About press releases: first, "press," IMHO, is an antiquated term. I prefer the term "news release." Not only is news carried by more than just the "press" these days, it serves to remind us about what should be in a release. News.It's not called a "look at me" release or a "another place to hit the Interwebz for SEO reasons" release. It's called a news release because it should contain some news.To be clear, it doesn't have to be some big "Doyle stopped the BP Oil Leak" kind of news—but it needs to be more than "Look! I wrote a blog post." We often post releases on these free services, as they're good for SEO, but the content should be something worthy of being called news. Perhaps you've been asked to be a presenter at a conference or you got a new client. Those are perfectly acceptable topics for releases. "Doyle wrote a blog post about how much he hates United Airlines" is not.Also, a release every time you post? Um, no. More is not better. But don't take my word for it, let's look at a company that makes quite a bit of news: Apple. It's August 13 and his Steve-ness has not issued a release yet this month. Something tells me that the world's most valuable technology company does more newsworthy things in a 13-day span than most bloggers.Also, news releases should be written in news style. If you don't own and know how to use an AP Stylebook, you really don't have any business writing a news release. News writing—like ad writing or script writing or any other kind of writing—is a special skill. While all writing shares some foundational building blocks, the styles also require a knowledge of the formats and nomenclatures. Bottom line: press/news releases can be good for SEO, but that's not the only reason to issue one. Make sure that the add-on benefit (SEO) doesn't overtake the primary purpose (issuing news).

The Redhead
The Redhead

"Why do it right when you can do it hard and fast ..." Well, I stopped writing THAT column ;-) But thanks for a meaty comment. If I can't get something actionable, I take blogs out of my reader. It's that simple. I want ideas, things to do, not "overarching concepts." And on that note, I hate the word "overarching." #suckitstupidbuzzword

Vernacular Ninja
Vernacular Ninja

Wow, Amen X100.It's amazing to me that writing and content syndication are still conveyed as either some kind of Web Rubix Cube, or worse (as in this case) extremely oversimplified.The most depressing aspect of that particular blog post is the shitty expectations it sets, hence why I'm not the least bit surprised when people place a low priority level on quality content. Why do it right when you can do it hard and fast ... (vomit in mouth)?Hell, if you're looking for advice on producing content and the majority of what you have to sift through is essentially a wet blanket of static, who's really learning?Thanks for offering something concrete, real, no bullshit and of utmost importance, value. Nice to know I'm not fighting an avalanche of crappy content advice all by myself. P.S. Please bitch slap the next Tweet (and its source) that offers "Why you should hire a business or copywriter to write for your business to make money." #lamenosubstance

The Redhead
The Redhead

That's a great compliment - thanks for stopping by!

Schmittastic
Schmittastic

I have learned so much from this one post. Thank you so much for this. I feel like my blog is already better for it.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Jessica - you're welcome and thanks for the additional perspective from a PR pro.

AcctMgr Jessica
AcctMgr Jessica

Thanks for calling out #4! As a PR person nothing ticks me off more than people who think it's appropriate to send out a press release for every meaningless thing. Love the hole article. Thanks for actually sharing the "hows". ;)

The Redhead
The Redhead

I am here to make your life funnier and easier - thanks for reading!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Well, thanks, Tammy! I'm delighted to educate, inspire AND entertain!

Tammy
Tammy

As always you are informative, funny and well totally taking my inspiration to get back to work on my own stuff from you. Thank you!

christina mccarthy
christina mccarthy

I know Jessica Gottlieb is completely against telling strangers (strange people?) this, but I think i love you :-D

parkridgedds
parkridgedds

...and THIS is exactly why I love you....so much to learn....so little time

The Redhead
The Redhead

Nothing. But. Love. Thanks for reading and poking your head in today!

Denver SEO Solutions
Denver SEO Solutions

Read a lot of your writings, don't comment much, have no other reason than I'm like my offline personality, "laid back", but I just had to let you know I love what you do and how you do it :-} I read, don't always comment, but don't hold it against me, it's all love.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Why thank you, Claire. And I appreciate the backup on the PR side of things, too!

Claire
Claire

Thank you for filling in the blanks or stopping the madness, as in #4. Imagine publishing a press release about my little blog. I've been an agency PR director (didn't like it), so I know better, but a lot of bloggers have no idea. Once again, you are there to slap some sense into us.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks, lovey...Ohhh, my head hurts just thinking about that.

KatFrench
KatFrench

LOL... I knew I liked you, girl. And not just because you were one of the few ladies who could keep up with me drinking bourbon at BlogWorldExpo last year after the infamous @jasonfalls Mall Bar Party. Excellent post. :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks for stopping by today, Chris!

Marjorie S.
Marjorie S.

How refreshing to hear that syndicating press releases about nothing is, contrary to popular belief, a BAD practice. Thanks for the wonderful resources, too.I always love learning something NEW when clicking on scintillating titles. :)