Newsblogging – How to Get Readers and Google to Love Your Blog

The New News

Do you think Google should help people find articles and posts from the news companies that are suing them over copyright issues? The search giant has no choice but to send traffic to people who are willing to make their content available on generous terms, and to avoid indexing content that others claim copyright to. This has always been a factor driving online citizen journalism. It turns out that corporations, nonprofit organizations, religious groups, and political campaigns can also be journalists, and that their journalism can have just as much influence as citizen journalists or media moguls if it’s well researched and well produced.

The Origins of Newsblogging

“Newsblogging” is a term I more or less invented to describe a style of blogging we stumbled onto in 2007, and then refined at the online PR firm, Patron Saint Productions. Our process was innovative and our results were extraordinary, so I spun the service off into a separate company in 2010. I partnered with a former employee, David Reich, to create SixEstate Communications. I believe that newsblogging will rapidly spread in the coming years and we’ll see an increasing proportion of news stories produced by private organizations, not media outlets. Let me explain why this is happening.

No Time to Blog

We came up with newsblogging when we found ourselves between a rock and a hard place with the new technology. The rock is blogging. It enables “principals” — CEOs, celebrities, spokespersons, political leaders, etc. — to communicate directly with their constituents. The thing is, those constituents no longer want to hear from me, the PR guy, the intermediary. They want to hear from the Big Kahuna herself or himself. The hard place, however, is that the Big Kahunas don’t have the time or journalism skills to blog effectively. The Big Kahunas are supposed to manage people, make appearances and run companies, for the most part, not write. They don’t have the two hours of concentration required each day to research and write a post worth reading.

Ghost Blogging Gets No Respect

The answer some PR firms and marketing departments came up with was to hire ghost bloggers; but ghost blogging defeats the whole point of blogging, because readers want to hear from the Big Kahuna directly. If you don’t disclose that you’re using a ghost blogger, you violate all kinds of ethical guidelines regarding transparency, authenticity and disclosure. You risk breaking securities laws. And you risk being outed in a potentially embarrassing way. If you do disclose you’re using a ghost blogger, people lose respect for the credibility of the blog. While people are comfortable with the idea of politicians using speech writers, they’re uncomfortable with the idea of blogs using ghost bloggers, even when this fact is disclosed.

Blogging’s Increasing Importance in Marketing

For my firm, the biggest problem became that blogging is too important to leave to the principals. If the Internet is going to be how people discover and learn about your organization, and the main way of navigating the Internet is via search engines, and those search engines display a strong preference for content on blogs, well then you’d better be blogging, whether the CEO’s good at it or not, because otherwise you will become invisible over time. It’s not that blogging is a good idea; it’s blog or disappear. We found a way out of this tight jam with newsblogging.

Enter Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson. Kaiser is one of the largest HMOs in the U.S. and Halvorson is the company’s outspoken leader. In 2006, he put together an outline of what he thought was a compelling plan for health care reform, published it in a book called Health Care Reform Now!, and pushed it to the center of the health care debate as U.S. presidential candidates took their stands leading to the 2008 election. We were hired to push this agenda online.

Goldman Sachs and Blog Tours

I had stopped doing blog tours after a fiasco with Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Robert Hormats. If folks think there’s no civility at town hall meetings, they should see the comment streams when controversial figures do blog tours. The ugliest side of America is revealed in the anonymous nastiness that passes for “discussion” on the Internet. There is no way I would recommend a top CEO try to engage in an open debate on the Internet on a subject as supercharged as health care reform. The conversation becomes dominated by rude and profane people who chase the intelligent commenters away.

Newsblogging is Born

For Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, we suggested a compromise. We would produce a blog, but instead of it being ghost-written by someone pretending to be George Halvorson, we would hire a journalist to blog the news, and Halvorson would add the “color commentary” when he had time or when the news begged for it. At the time, I had George “Loki” Williams on my payroll. George runs the blog SocialGumbo — a top social media blog — and has a long history of investigative journalism at the local level. So I put him on the health care beat.

“Riding the News”

Every day, Loki would ride the news feeds for the biggest stories in health care reform, then write them up on the blog. His job was to find good journalism on the issue, summarize it and point to it on the newsblog. Rather than adding one more voice, the blog was a survey of other voices, and as such it became quite successful. How successful? The screen capture below shows the Google Blog Search results. We were the number-one “related blog” on Google for the phrase “health care reform” 30 days after we launched the blog.

The CEO Stayed Hands-Off

In 30 days, we had a top-five health care reform blog. We didn’t lose that position for a year, and only then because we stopped blogging. Our original contract was to produce the newsblog for 90 days. That became six months, then a year. In all that time, Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, never added commentary to the blog. There was no need to. In 2007, our experiment was over, and a whole new way of blogging was born: newsblogging.

It’s Not About YOU!

The way we newsblog, we don’t cover news about the company. Our focus wasn’t reporting on Kaiser Permanente. Our focus was to report on health care reform and generate awareness for Halvorson’s prescription for change. By hiring a journalist, we could be sure to get a daily post up on the blog, which is essential for search-engine visibility, but is difficult for principals to commit to. Every newsblog post contains:

1. Copyright-Permissible Image
2. Optimized Headline
3. Transparent Byline
4. News Post
5. Quote from Respected Source
6. News Citation
7. Image Citation

It’s About The News

To give an example, Loki would set up a Google Alert for “electronic medical records” to see who’s covering that issue. Electronic medical records, or EMRs, are a major part of Halvorson’s platform and have been adopted as a major plank in virtually every health care reform proposal, in part because of Halvorson’s compelling evidence about the efficiencies and improved care they generate. If Loki found someone at a credible news source who has written something about EMRs, then he’d cite him or her on the newsblog. Loki would often add quotes from George Halvorson’s writings to his posts, integrating the client’s views with the current debate online.

Optimizing a Blog Post

What makes this a complete process for us is when we hook the hired journalist in with the rest of the team. Loki suffers from spellus atrocious, which not only results in typos but also in an aversion to spell-checkers. So prior to being published, his posts were passed to an editor, the amazing Rachelle Matherne, owner of FiveByFivePR firm. Rachelle wouldn’t just fix the spelling, though. She’d fact-check, link-check, grammar-check, then optimize paragraph length, sentence length and keywords, categories, and tags. Finally, she’d tweak the headline and schedule the post for release. We got so used to Rachelle’s treatment that none of us blogs without a net anymore — it’s too dangerous.

Images That Won’t Get You Sued!

Then there’s the art department. We decided right away that every post had to have a piece of artwork that somehow went with the story, and that we had to have permission to use the art. We quickly expanded the definition of artwork to include images, video embeds, slideshows, or any other visual component. Most of the art we found through Flickr using CreativeCommons.org, but we now have several sources, both paid and free, that we draw from. We also created rules for artwork credits and citations. It’s still stunning to me to see how many blogs use copyrighted artwork without permission or citation. They are begging for trouble.

Good Content is the Best SEO

As time went on, we’ve refined the formula based on watching the stats. Every post had to have a news citation from a credible news source and a link to that source. We found that mentioning celebrities caused traffic to spike, then drop back down. It’s very seductive to analyze traffic results and engineer blog posts that pop in the Google Alerts, but the focus has to stay on good journalism. One of the main benefits of a newsblog is that it gets your viewpoint across to the media. If a journalist visits your blog and sees the posts are nothing but a bunch of keyword-laden references to celebrity news stories, it doesn’t advance your cause even though it brings traffic.

A Visibility Machine

At one point, I stepped back and looked at the beast I had created: the newsblog. What amateur blogger could compete against a professional journalist, proofreaders, copy editors, optimizers, and traffic analysts? Some amateurs can compete with pure passion. But there are only five top spots for any keyword or phrase. You have to manage several blogs to afford the overhead of a blog-polishing department, but the rewards are worth it. If you run a top-five blog, you’re not only at the top of the blog search results for your term, but you also make the Google Alerts for that term, which are sent via email to other people watching those terms.

The Power of Google Alerts

The reach of a top-five blog is stunning. You don’t only make the alerts for your target keyphrases. Because you’re a “top blog” you make the alerts for almost anything you say. If you mention a healthy restaurant on your health care blog, you might hit the alerts for the restaurant’s name because you’re a “top blog.” Your reach is also magnified by RSS, which makes it easy to parse your content. Anyone who was following the term “health care reform” using Google Alerts would see top blog posts from Kaiser Permanente’s newsblog in their daily alerts. That’s why blogging is too important to leave to chance. Blogging is the road to online visibility — if you blog effectively, your content gets visibility in numerous search engines and alerts engines.

Adding Social Networking to Newsblogging

Does this newsblogging thing sound like a juggernaut to you yet? Let’s add gasoline to fire: hook the newsblog up to Twitter, Facebook, and the other social networks. The newsblog we’ve created for the radio industry, Radio 2020, was our next big experiment. The following image shows the blog traffic graph when we added the social networking hookups at the end of 2008. When you hook the blog up to your social networks, you can blog in one place and have it appear throughout the network, as a tweet or status update, or a post.

Credible, Reliable, Transparent

If you’re like me, your head is spinning right now. How could this be possible? How could corporate journalism outscore conventional journalism? Where’s the credibility? The reliability? The transparency? In newsblogging, they’re all there. We don’t originate stories as much as call attention to them. That turns out to be a very valuable service. In fact, that’s what a good news anchor does, isn’t it? — guiding us through stories rather than being the story. Our journalism wins out because it’s better produced, more accurate, more “fair” than conventional journalism because we can’t take a stand. We’re hired guns. Our news doesn’t have the slant of the pundits or the authority of the CEOs. It’s just the news. Told well. From an organization’s perspective, transparently revealed.

Is Corporate Journalism Legitimate?

Is newsblogging good journalism? Why is Rupert Murdoch’s journalism any better than, say, the United Auto Workers’ journalism, when it comes to covering the auto industry? Both publishers have an agenda. Ratings is an agenda. The question is whether or not the agenda is revealed and whether or not the news is well reported. After seeing what passes for journalism these days — video news releases provided by corporations who pay to have them inserted as stories in newscasts, sometimes even without disclosure — newsblogging adheres to a higher standard. If your reporting is good and you’re transparent, there’s no reason your news shouldn’t have market share just because it’s produced by your organization.

Why Search Engines Love Newsblogs

Going one step further, I would add that search engines prefer news made this way to news made the old-fashioned way, with gatekeepers to stories who charge a price for admission. Search engines want to point people to the best, most authoritative matches for their searches, but if they’re prohibited from scanning the contents of your news, it makes it difficult for them to know what you have and send readers your way. On the other hand, if you produce your content on a blog, essentially copyright-free, the search engines can see it, index it, and point to it. Search engines like and reward those news providers with meaningful information and targeted traffic.

Newsblogging and PR

Newsblogging gives organizations the PR opportunity they’ve always dreamed of: the ability to tell the news your way. NewsCorp gets their say on Fox News, in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Post. Even Comedy Central gets to tell the news its way, through The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Newsblogging allows you to tell the news your way, with a professional journalist and supporting editors and optimizers. As long as your news is well researched and well produced, and the process is transparent, you have as much credibility as the news produced by these corporations. And you’ll be rewarded with a premiere position in the search results for your target keywords.

Auto Title Loans Fit With Good Debt Or Bad Debt?

Would you use an auto title loan to pay off good or bad debt? Is there a difference between kinds of debt? Is there anything to help either of them?

What is debt? Debt is money that you are obligated to pay back. When you borrow money from a third party there is usually some contract involved as well as a fee for using their money. This fee is most often interpreted as interest payments towards the remaining balance. The interest will continue to be applied to outstanding balances until the debt is paid off in full. In the contract, there will be a payment schedule set up to define the amount which will be paid at the end of each cycle. Long-term debt will expect small payments over a long period of time. The interest for this debt is usually lower as compared to short-term debt. With small payments over a long period of time, there will be plenty of interest to for the lender to warn as payment for loaning the money. Short-term debt tends to have higher interest for the reason that there are limited payment terms in order to collect a fee for their services.

Good debt is when a person uses third party money for something which continues to give personal or financial benefits beyond the terms in the contract. A home or vehicles are examples of good debt. These items continue to have value even after the years it took to pay off the lender.

Bad debt is when money is borrowed and there are no long term benefits from it. The item depreciates over time so much that there is no value or the item no longer exists while you continue to make payments on the loan. Bad debt is often created from people spending beyond their means. Buying designer jeans or shoes without the paycheck to pay them off crowds credit card balances for years. Overspending for a child’s birthday party and then taking many months to pay it off. Not only are you paying off the initial purchase, but you are also continuing to pay fees for the borrowed money. Interest only stops when the balance is paid off.

Bad debt has created situations for many people and ends up limiting their options when it hurts their credit score. Emergency credit is limited and a borrower’s choices for lenders shrink as well. Auto title loans ten to be an end result for many of these borrowers. They need fast money but have no other avenue remaining in order to obtain financial help.

Auto title loans are secured loans so in order to obtain one, a borrower will need to own the pink slip to their vehicle. many people choose the payday loan or cash advance route, but these funds are limited to smaller amounts. No pink slip? These people are now looking to get multiple payday loans and leaning towards aggressive lender who does not follow the best practices for their service.

Financial chaos is not a proactive way to run a budget. Take care of the good debt, and do what you can to relieve the bad debt and prevent it from piling up.

Brakes – Auto Repair – What You Need to Know

Everybody knows that brakes are a very important part in a car. They are the parts in a car through which it can be slowed, or brought to a halt as the need arises. Consequently, driving a car with faulty brakes is dangerous and can only be termed as suicidal. Yet as any experienced car owner will tell you, brakes are also among the car parts that are most prone to frequently develop faults; hence the need for brakes auto repair services.

Traditionally, these auto repair services centering on the brakes have been offered by ‘generalist’ mechanics, as a part of their regular car repair and maintenance work. We have, however, seen a trend in recent days where mechanics who specialize wholly in auto repair that centers on brakes have emerged.

Whatever the way one opts to go about their car brakes repair, it is important to take note that this is a delicate undertaking; one which in addition to all the other things, also has safety implications. The very least you can do, before starting shopping for professionals to repair your car brakes is to undertake a bit of research. In addition to getting general knowledge about brakes auto repair, such research should also be aimed at identifying who the best service providers to take your car to. In your choice of a service provider, you should focus more on getting a ‘quality provider’ (one with the right mix of knowledge and experience), rather than on getting the cheapest provider; whose shoddy services could leave you badly exposed.

As far as gaining a basic understanding of car brakes repair, there are lots of guidebooks written on the subject; in addition to the tons of technical blogs whose commentary revolves around this topic. While these will not give you enough knowledge to safely undertake brakes auto repair on your own, they can at the very least give you enough insight into the common faults you will be facing as far as your car’s brakes go – so that you do not look so ignorant when explaining them to your mechanic. With this insight, you may also be empowered to identify situations where your mechanic could be fleecing you. Further still, with this insight, you will find yourself empowered to take better care of your car’s brakes, so that they do not wear out too fast or, God forbid, fail you in your moment of need.

Who Are Auto Title Lenders Competing With?

Auto title lending has become quite popular lately with the rise in consumers turning to lenders offering fast, convenient, and simple loans. With the economy calling for consumers to “reach out” in an effort to supplement their paychecks, take care of past-due bills, or deal with financial emergencies that aren’t covered by some sort of savings account, auto tile loans have become more common than ever.

But if these types of loans have only recently (1990′s) become a widely traveled avenue for those looking to put themselves back in the “financial driver’s seat”, where were people turning to before to close the gap between financial freedom and budget bedlam. Those lenders who use to gain the business of harried borrowers have now become competition for the title lenders giving consumers more options but less room to breathe in the approval process.

U.S. banks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp still offer conventional loans like they always have but they have also jumped in on the short-term, high-risk lending game in an effort to recoup revenue lost from debit-card and overdraft fees. Banks, along with auto title loan and payday lenders are being scrutinized for the use of these short-term loans that offer high interest rates but may not be held accountable to state laws that are subject to interest-rate caps. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have taken moves to investigate these bank loans that don’t use the word “payday” but instead titles like Ready Advance and Direct Deposit Advance.

While auto title lenders base the amount of your loan on the value and equity of your car, short-term bank loans are based solely on the borrower’s income and job history. Auto title lenders use the equity in the consumer’s car or truck to make a decision on loan eligibility and amount which means no credit check is needed when a person applies for these types of loans. Most auto title lenders will not report to credit bureaus in the event the consumer is late on payments or doesn’t pay back the loan at all. Banks, on the other hand, may choose to let credit agencies know that the consumer has defaulted on the loan as well as having the option to close the borrower’s account should the loan not be paid back. This alone makes auto title loans attractive to people who have bad credit or little to no credit at all.

On the other hand, borrowers of auto title loans will not gain credit worthiness when they make good on their loan payments while payday loans from traditional lending institutions will allow consumers to “create a credit record that will enable them to graduate to more mainstream credit products, whether with us or with another reputable institution.” says Jeffrey Lee, executive vice president of Regions Bank.

The big draw to auto title loans may be the big amount borrowers can actually take out against the equity of their vehicle. While the average payday loan amount anywhere from $250-$1000 based on state lending caps, auto title loans can put up to $5000 in the borrower’s bank account because they are based on the value of the consumer’s car or truck. Keep in mind the lender requires the title or “pink slip” to the vehicle before they hand over the cash and in the event that the borrower does not repay the loan? The lender can repossess the vehicle.

Top Tips to Quickly Generate Auto Dealer Leads

Many car dealers spend sleepless nights thinking how easily and fast they can generate new leads without spending excess resources. In this age of stiff competition, it often becomes very difficult for a majority of dealerships to produce the required number of auto dealer leads to successfully meet targets on a periodic basis.

Dealers invest their hard-earned money to accelerate auto lead generation in quick time. However, because of a tough competition and lack of knowledge and awareness to use the latest marketing techniques and strategies, many dealers fail to get a maximum number of new sale opportunities. To prevent this from happening again in the future, a rising number of auto dealers are taking the assistance of authorized lead generation companies. These companies have the supreme knowledge and skills for producing high-quality leads within a short span of time.

Why will you hire a professional lead generator?

1. Continue getting quality leads – These companies are established for the purpose of supplying fresh car leads to different clients as per their demand.

2. Reduce the number of ineffective leads – The number of ineffective leads can be greatly reduced since a professional lead generating company will filter out the bad leads to keep only the good ones.

3. Apply latest online marketing modes – The professionals spend all their time exploring the new ways of online promoting a dealer’s business. For that matter, they open accounts on various social media sites, send promotional emails to the target audience, and indulge in all other forms of advertising to increase a brand’s visibility and online presence.

4. Create a website and blogs – Multiple websites and blogs can be created for the purpose of increasing the flow of online visitors to the same. These people are the ones who want to buy a car but have some queries. They visit a lead site to post their queries online along with providing their basic personal information. A lead generating company answer the queries and follow-up with the person to turn him into a potential customer quickly.

Auto lead generation companies know the correct procedures to generate effective leads that have high chances of turning into new sales. There are critics who accuse these lead generators saying they supply the same prospect names list to multiple dealers. It is important to remember that the best of such companies never send the same names list to more than one client dealer since their own reputation is dependent on such activities.

While searching for an auto lead generating company online, try to read as many reviews about a specific company as possible before making the final choice of hiring one. Your business should not be damaged by hiring a bad company that has no credibility in the market. A careful choice can go a long way to strengthen your retail automotive business and increase the sale of new plus used cars.

The car leads generation companies also spend quality time targeting the mobile users. Mobile devices such as tablets, Smartphones, etc. are increasingly used by millions of people across the world to search for any kind of information about a product, service or for visiting the different car sites for online shopping purpose. Professional lead generators can target the mobile audience to attract them towards their website to turn them into conversion.