Wednesday, May 31, 2006

PR Tools and Bag of Tricks

Okay, a lot of times I get people asking me what are the super-secret tools in my blogging/PR bag of tricks.

I usually refuse to tell them, because it is about me and my tools and my skill set. It is not about making the industry better, but about pushing myself forward as the numero uno dude.

Oh, wait, that is not how I work. Damn. Well, if it was, I would totally beat down people. Totally.

Okay, really, I work with the interns here and try to teach them the best tools that I have found on monitoring the blogosphere. Why? So they have the skills here, so I can send them work to begin, and then when they go off to their career, they will be able to use some of the tools I taught them here, and then pass on the knowledge to other PR people. It's all about learning.

So, what do I use to find appropriate blogs? Easy: Blogpulse, Technorati, PubSub. Those three are great free tools to monitor and find information on blogs. Yes, they are not perfect, but they have been perfectly good tools to do what I need to do when finding and tracking and monitoring - they get the job done, for free.

And, there are other tools that I love to use, such as Biz360 and Buzzlogic. I got a demo of Buzzlogic, and think it is a great tool for PR and marketing folks to follow the conversation thread in blogs.

Because, that is what it is about - the conversation. The conversation can start anywhere - a bike messenger board, a low-readership blog, in the real world - and it can steamroll. That is the whole point with new media - that it is the conversation that starts, and can take a full whole new life on other blogs with trackbacks, which are easily monitored.

But, that is just half the conversation. The deeper conversations are taking place in comments, and beyond the ego-fulfillment to see if someone has responded to your comment, you want to be able to monitor comments merely to see what people are saying and because now too much happens within comments. And not much works well there so far.

So last night, I met up with Assaf Arkin who founded Co.mments. We had a long discussion on everything Web 2.0, dotcom boom and bust, surviving the bubble (and surviving the next bubble burst), and Co.mments.

And that is the interesting part. He tracks the conversations through the comments submitted through his service. Instead of looking at the full ginormous blogosphere, he is able to look at the conversations that his users are finding important. Think about that: he's getting a magnifying glass view of the blogosphere, through the comments.

But beyond ego-tracking, the tool is a necessary tool for PR people. It's in my bag of tricks, because it is not just enough to track blogs, but you need to track conversations. Well, baby steps for PR firms and clients - first let us at least track the conversation. Then we will get to the next step on tracking the conversations within the conversations.
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