The Good, The Blog, the Ugly
Although Blogging (short for Web log) has been around since 1994, the majority of users were UberGeeks who published and read on Usenet groups, webrings, and personal home pages.
Jason Hurwitz will speak about his experience with his blog.
It wasn't until 2001, with the advent of online tools such as Xanga, Blogger, and WordPress where blogging entered into mass consumption and soon it seemed as if everyone was running thier own blog. Hence instead of the internet, we entered the "blogosphere."
Anatomy of a blog entry
A blog entry typically consists of the following:
Title, the main title, or headline, of the post.
Body, main content of the post.
Permalink, the URL of the full, individual article.
Post Date, date and time the post was published.
A blog entry optionally includes the following:
Categories (or tags) - subjects that the entry discusses
Trackback and or pingback - links to other sites that refer to the entry
Blogging for your Arts Group
There are many ways to do a successful blog. What it really comes down to is offering readers a unique perspective and commentary, providing links to unique resources and news and updating daily or close to it. Add your own spin and commentary on arts in your city, your arts organization, or productions… it doesn't have to be long, just interesting.
It is essential that your blog bring the reader more than just facts and links. Remember, the value-add for the reader is your analysis. If you can relate some personal experiences along the way, all the better. To keep readers coming back, connecting with the reader is very important. Simply listing information such as the date and time of your event is not worthy of a blog entry--I can find that information on your site.
Good blog articles take the reader deeper into the arts process. Speak about problems with rehearsal, a funny antedote with a patron, even the internal process of dealing with finances. Your blog is not about facts and figures, it is about an insider's opinion on those facts and figures.
How Visitors Find You
Plan on linking to a lot of other blogs and news sites. Your links to them will in time foster an environment that encourages them to link to you. That's how it works in the blog eat blog world. If you see a link to a news story in another blog, link and reference that blog along with your link to the article. Never ask for a link, just know that those who give will receive.
You should also submit your new blog to all of the blog search engines. Engines such as Daypop and Technorati crawl blogs with incredible speed, often spidering for new info hourly. More content will also make you more noticeable in these search engines.
Maintain a prominent "blog roll" of your favorite blogs. This is common with most blogs and fosters good will with other blogs.
Why Blog For PR?
According to a report at the Web 2.0 conference there are now over "4.1 million blogs around the world with a new blog created every 7.4 seconds". However, at last count, there are only about 50 arts organization blogs. That leaves a lot of room for you to stake your niche and gain valuable exposure.
An article in BusinessWeek highlighting blogs new importance to companies states, "Blogs or websites with content management systems are changing the model for companies, we really now have to engage customers on a one on one level".
In addition, a rapidly growing number of journalists and editors are reading blogs on a daily basis. It's becoming imperative that an Arts Group start a blog to keep up with that trend.
Ask for Comments
Why are arts groups so afraid of feedback? Why do we only say that certain "critics" may review our shows, but nobody in our paying audience. If you are going to have a blog for your arts group, you must realize that it cannot be a 1-way conversation. you must ask for comments, reply to those comments, and get the conversation started.