Saturday, July 21, 2007

We've Moved!

Verve in Bloom has moved to Wordpress.

From now on, you'll find us at:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How to Reach Bloggers with Your Story

There are more than 70 million blogs around the world and more are being created every second. Blogs are the new kid on the media relations block – So how do they fit in?

Bloggers are extremely influential in the niche they focus on and their reach is worldwide. More and more, companies are relying on bloggers as a cornerstone of their media relations strategy. For example, CBS recently invited several influential mom bloggers to a bloggers-only press conference to release the new start time of The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Rohit Bhargava, of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, has put together a list of seven tips to help incorporate bloggers into media relations strategies:

1. Before you pitch them, read their blog; don’t pitch a story about pet care to a blogger who writes about technology.

2. Track backs and comments are signs of how visible a blogger is – does your pitch help increase either?

3. Bloggers are experts in their niche.

4. Bloggers are writing what they are interested in and are not bound to write about what you may deem newsworthy.

5. Giving them free-stuff is okay; just don’t expect to control what they write about it.

6. Know who else is talking about you – bloggers network and often communicate with each other.

7. Traditional media relations still apply; bloggers want timely, accurate, and interesting material.

- from Devon Ashbridge, Verve Northwest Summer Intern

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summertime & the Livin' is Eas(ier)

Apologies all around for being a bit slow with the posts so far this month. I think with the rise in temperatures comes an stymied ability to multi-task effectively. And for some reason, that meant In Bloom fell off a bit.

Part of our summertime activities include revamping the Verve Web site. As such, I've been thinking about design and content and navigation and how to maximize our use of cyber real estate.

I will bring more discussion about how we make these decisions and maybe even some sneak peeks as we move through the process. If you have any ideas, speak up!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Making Decisions About Web 2.0 Tools

Solidariti, a blog by Priscilla Brice-Weller and based in Australia, has a terrific post called "Does Effort = Effect." Priscilla has developed a very simple (even I'm not afraid of it) formula for determining which social media applications make the most sense for an organization to participate in.

The "effort" score is made up of the amount of time required to develop the took, the amount of money needed to get going and to maintain and the amount of "in-house geekiness" (technical know-how) required. Rate each on a scale of 1 to 5, resulting in a total max score of 15.

Effect score is much more subjective. Think about the potential effect of each tool for your organization and rank it on a 1 to 5 scale.

The result, a graph that gives you four quadrants:
Yellow: Must Haves (low effort, big effect)
Green: Should Haves (greater effort, big effect - probably worth the time/money investment)
White: Can Have (if you don't spend much time, the effect could be worth it)
Blue: Stay Away! (too much effort, too little effect)

This graph was created for ANTaR, but you can easily do the same for your organization.

A couple of definitions:
Demographic refers to Web sites that appeal to a core demographic and allow nonprofits to participate by having their own page and connecting with potential volunteers, donors, etc.

I have no idea what Bespoke it (up in the corner) and I'm not sure what Priscilla means by maps. Maybe she'll come by and leave a comment...

Great tool! I plan to use it in the near future. I'll try to post the results.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Toe-In-The-Water Strategy for Social Media

Social media means marketing departments, public relations people and CEOs have to let go. They have to let go of control. They have to let the conversation develop and dialogue take place.

And that. is. hard.

If your organization is not ready to open itself up to the world, but wants to dip its toe in the social media water, a couple of things will get your started.

Start monitoring conversation about your organization, key people, trends and issues. The two primary places for monitoring are Technorati and Google Blog Search.

Both services allow you to subscribe via RSS to a feed. I highly recommend Bloglines to manage your feeds. Lots of people would be just as adamant about Google Reader. The benefit to a feed reader is that you can view all your searches and commonly read blogs in one place, keeping your "favorites" folder more manageable.

Start an internal blog. You can define what "internal" means. In a pure sense it would mean internal to your organization. But you can also have an "internal" blog for members only or for your staff and board of directors.

Most blogging platforms allow you to let in or keep out who you want. Wordpress is quickly becoming the Internet standard and has lots of great options for privacy. The Intranet Journal offers this how-to on creating an Intranet via Wordpress.

The clear benefit to an internal blog is that there's still a great deal of control, but you can test systems for posting, monitoring and responding with relative security. You can also foster a blog-friendly culture that will be more open to creating an external blog when the time is right.

CIO Magazine has seven reasons to create an internal blog here.

Understanding blogging culture and social media is an important part of getting started. You'll find some great tips here at Marketing Profs (one of my favorite resources!). And Kami Huyse at Communication Overtones has two excellent posts to which I refer frequently on corporate blogging - here and here.

Need more toe-in-the-water strategies? Media Orchard offers a few additional tips here.

Take your time and be deliberate. It may be an instant medium, but when you're participating on behalf of your organization, it's important to have all your systems, policies and strategies in place before you dive in.

- Kelli

"Toes" via Flickr by Crawford 721.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It Was a Great Workshop!

Thanks to the participants at our first-ever social media workshop this morning: Verve in Bloom.

I'd love to hear what you thought!

In the meantime, here are some links to today's resources:

View the presentations here. (
Find more resources here. (

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Best Web Tools We're Using Right Now

Thank you, Web 2.0! We've found some terrific free and low priced resources to make working virtually around here work better.

Huddle: A file-sharing, to-do list making, message-leaving, approval-asking collaboration tool. My favorite part is that you can ask someone on your team for approval. If that person edits your document, you can track the edits, as well as ensure that you get the approval (from your supervisor or even a client) that you need. You can give it a whirl for 30 days to see if it works before you sign on for a small per-month charge.

Highrise: Share contact info, track when/where/how an individual was last contacted and if/when/how a follow up should occur. Really ideal for PR folks - the best contact sharing system I found. Those folks over at 37 signals are smart.

Finally, Good Widgets is a super simple and very cool photo widget. Choose from eight different styles and you can upload photos from flickr or webshots or photobucket automatically.

For more great Web 2.0 tools, check out Go2Web2.0.