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November 7, 2007

Creating a Powerblogging Toolset

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While my battery is dying, Marshall Kirkpatrick and Tris Hussey are here to talk about a Poweblogging Toolset. Toolset? Like the SEOToolSet? No? Never mind.

Marshall Kirkpatrick starts things off by introducing himself.

Powerblogging Basics

Tris says that these are the core tools you must be using. If you’re not, start now.

  • Web Browser: Firefox or Flock
  • RSS Reader: Bloglines, Google Reader or FeedDemon

Marshall joins in to talk about RSS, and according to him (or at least his slide), RSS feeds the need. He lists some of his favs:

  • Google Reader/Mobile
  • NewNewsWire (Mac)/FeedDemon (Win)
  • Netvibes/Pageflakes
  • Zaptxt
  • Gmail Webclips
  • Use feed consolidators to give you hot news
    • aideRSS
    • FeedHub

Every opportunity you have to see a headline increases the likelihood that you’ll clickthrough and won’t miss stuff.

Tris expands on the stuff Marshall listed. A must have add-on are the new feed aggregators like aideRSS and FeedHub. You export your feed list and it analyzes the content from all those feeds and tells you what the rest of the Internet is talking about. These aggregators help focus where your eyes can go. I have no idea what Tris is talking about but I’m definitely going to look into that when I get back to my hotel later tonight.

Marshall doesn’t use the kind of aggregators Tris talked about. He’s okay with leaving RSS feeds unread and declaring feed bankruptcy.

Building Relationships

Twitter is paying my rent – Marshall Kirkpatrick

He wrote a post a few weeks ago titled "Twitter is paying my rent" after noticing that he’s gotten 45 percent of his stories from stuff he’s picked up in Twitter. It was real high value stuff. He had 6 posts on the front page of Digg. Similarly, on Friday, he threw up a post on RWW about a conversation he had with an old man in a coffee shop who mentioned something he read in the paper, which Marshall then blogged and got a huge amount of traffic from. Grow your circle.

Blogging is about relationships in many, many ways. Your comments and your links to other blogs go a long way. When someone links to you, comment and say thank you. When you read something that you like, link to it. It forges a connection between you and someone else. That’s how you get stories, that’s how you get feedback, how you get Diggs, Stumbles, etc. That stuff all feeds into itself and gives you a rich blogging experience.

Marshall talks about the emails you get from people proposing to do a link exchange with your site. That’s cute, but there’s a better way to exchange links. It’s by linking to people you like. This helps your readers and puts you on other people’s radar.

Another set of resources he finds essential are the right search engines. He uses Ask’s Blog Search (w00t!) because they have the lowest amount of spam. They only index feeds that have a certain number of subscribers. (Really? Do they only index certain blogs? Interesting.)

Other search engines to monitor: Technorati, Google Blog Search, Google Custom Search Engine, and IceRocket. All of these searches have RSS feeds. Use them!

If you can organize your RSS feeds, make those your quick hits so you can flow through them quickly.

Other stuff to add to your blogging toolset: A Flickr account for photos and a microphone for recording. Pictures, video and audio make for richer blog posts.

Toolset Intangibles

There’s also that other stuff that helps your blogging like your speed and thoroughness, adding value, opinion, being sincere, and having passion and integrity.

If you’re not first, you can be the smartest.

Tris says one of things that bugs people the most about TechMeme is that when a big story breaks there’s 30 different posts but no one is saying anything new. If you can’t add any value to a discussion, don’t even bother commenting on it. Your readers can read that anywhere. Your readers what to know that Apple said this and this is why you care about it. They’re looking for the opinion.

For full throttle problogging use Paint.net or The Gimp for imaging editing and use offline blog editors like Windows Live Writer (Tris’ favorite), Ecto, Mars Edit, ScribeFire and Flock.

Wrap Up & Question and Answer

  • Read, Read, Read
  • Write, Write, Write
  • Link, Link, Link
  • Comment
  • Blogging is still about passion and relationships; successful power bloggers keep feeding these.

Snitter is the best Twitter app out there.

How many blog entries should you post a day?

Tris says to do no more than 3-5 posts a day, unless it’s a real breaking news item that you have to publish. Beyond that people will just skip over your posts. You can watch your stats to see how people are interacting with your blog depending on how many posts you published. You can schedule your blog entries so that they’re published at regular intervals and readers don’t feel bombarded.

The final lesson from the boys: Scotch and blogging do mix.

We are definitely in Vegas, Toto.

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One response to “Creating a Powerblogging Toolset”

  1. Stephan Miller writes:

    I find that use a separate feed reader causes issues. I use the feed ticker addon for Firefox. It gives me a constant stream of headlines from the sites I subscribe to. And since it is only headlines, I am also learning to come up with better ones on my own blog. I can see what makes me click, at least. Another good place to subscribe is sites like PRweb. Sometimes you can catch things before they hit the meme machines.



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