Reaping the Rewards of your Blogging Efforts

6 July, 2009 | | 3 Comments

You’ve been valiantly foraging through the social media wilderness, publishing blog posts and Tweeting your heart out. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the fruits of your labor? Here are a few tools I use to track blog success. I started using these methods for our Corporate Social Media efforts but they work for personal blogs and Tweets, as well. Don’t forget: the key social media metrics are sentiment and level of engagement (e.g., number of blog post comments, trackbacks.) Or are you simply wondering “why do I need a Web site, a blog, and a Twitter account?

Tracking “Micro-Metrics” for Blogs

1. Feedburner allows me to see how many subscribers I have, enable blog subscription via email, and add the “share this” feature for each post. They provide a snippet of code for me to insert into the blog template, and instructions for Moveable Type and WordPress.

2. Google Analytics offers a myriad of data, but I usually focus on the following data points:

  • Percentage of readers arriving through search. If it’s below 30% we need to better optimize the blogs for search: I remind bloggers to focus on the keywords in the post title and body, leverage the “categories.”
  • Keywords bringing people to the blogs. This data usually provides a nice ego boost for our bloggers, since the primary keywords bringing traffic to each blog are usually the bloggers’ names. Ideally the top keywords would be industry / product terms. Or simply “VeriSign.”
  • Time spent reading posts. Less than a minute means the user found little value in the content. I like to see readers spending at least 2 minutes on each post. One blogger had readers spending about 6 minutes on each post, which I shared with all of our bloggers. Another blogger (jealously?) pointed out “his posts are really long.”
  • Referring sites. Is there some site helping you out that you did not know about? Where are users coming from? This will help you tailor your content to appeal to those folks.
  • Bounce Rate and Exit rate. A high bounce rate means the content on the page the user landed on was not interesting to them. They came, they saw, they left your domain. Conversely, the exit rate is the measure of how many people left a page, and then went elsewhere on your site – that particular page was not too exciting, but they were interested enough to look further. You should worry about a consistently high bounce rate and consider how to make that landing page a little juicer. This is why it helps to know what keywords people are searching on, and what the referring sites are. There is a nice explanation of these terms on

Coming soon… “Capturing Sales Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter”

Making sense of the social media landscape…

5 May, 2009 | | No Comment

In February, a friend who is an excellent personal trainer asked me how she could use social media to improve her business and attract clients. “What’s the difference between a Web site, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter?” she asked me. She already had a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. I remembered an anecdote I heard at a conference, a clothing analogy for some of the social networking tools:

LinkedIn is like your “business attire” for your professional contacts. Twitter is your “business casual” wear. For example, you can use it to make informal connections with colleagues you meet at conferences to get to know them better. And Facebook is “weekend wear” — flip flops and shorts, meant for your friends and family.

“Well why do I need a Web page?” She asked. I had to think about this one. Did she really need to register a domain name and set up a site, with all these tools at her disposal? The answer is a definite “yes.” I judge a business by the quality of their Web site. Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, with my roots in Web content development, but I usually choose the restaurant or a hotel with a higher quality Web site unless I have a strong reason to do otherwise. I don’t think I’m alone in this. So I explained to her that as a solo practitioner, she needed to establish her professional presence with a Web site. I even suggested “” which she loved.

Then she asked, “why do I need a blog?” So I gave her another analogy. “Your Web site is like your office building, it’s your home base. Your blog is like the landscaping / garden out front that shows that this building is occupied and cared for.” And then, the final question:

“Why do I need Twitter?”
“Twitter serves as a way to meet new prospects and attract them to your manicured blog and professional Web site.”
“Got it.”

That was two months ago, and since then Jessica has created her own Web site, complete with a blog and Twitter feed. She even found some new communities to join, hosted on Ning. I am amazed at how much she learned on her own, and she is already attracting new clients who are finding her Web site via Twitter and Google, and complimenting her on “how professional it looks.”

Jessica is obviously a very smart, ambitious lady, but the fact of the matter is that in a Web 2.0 world, ANYONE can self publish and have a voice on the Web. All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to spend some time doing it.

Help Cookie and Coco stay Together!

19 February, 2009 | | 13 Comments

UPDATE! It appears that Cookie and Coco are actually in CA, not in VA as I had originally thought. They have found a home TOGETHER through lab rescue. My college roommate saw my post on Facebook and gave me this info. I see on my comments from Liz that she saw the same email, but thought these dogs were in Vermont. I think we have a bit of a viral urban legend going on here — not surprising since this story touches all of us who worry about those who are suffering from the bad economy. But these dogs are for real and they have found a real home, so all doggie lovers, rejoice!

And for you Lab lovers who are looking for a furry friend, why not check your local Lab Rescue?


Two young adorable female labs – age 3. Well cared for. Family losing home.
It’s a sad story that’s probably all too common these days. A Northern Virginia family is losing their home and the family dogs aren’t welcome at the new apartment.

Already housebroken, trained, love kids, neutered, up to date on shots. Must stay together!
Contact: Katherine at: kjmorris74[at]yahoo[dot]com

Here is a letter from the owner:
“As many of you know, we are moving in just 2 weeks Unfortunately, I have still not been able to find a good home for Cookie and Coco. We’re not able to take our beloved doggies with us and I’ve been desperately trying to find a home for both of them ‘together’. They were raised together and pine without each other. The Lab rescue have already said that they would probably separate them, so this is my last resort.

Recently I tried to take Coco out in my car alone and she TOTALLY refused to even get into the car without Cookie…..!!!! She absolutely pulled back on her haunches until Cookie was by her side. Both doggies are in great health, have been spayed and have ID chips implanted under the skin.

Cookie turned 3 December 10th and Cookie is my mellow-yellow, and just loves her tummy rubbed. Coco is adorably funny and lives for her “ball”. She also loves the water….. Cookie loves lots of attention.
Both doggies are loyal and love to walk. They have been raised with my 3 kids running around all over the place, and have survived Sammy’s constant hugging and love of ‘dress-up’, so they are fantastic family dogs. This is by far one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but under the circumstances I have no choice.

Please, Please forward these pics to all you know and help me find a great home for these fabulous doggies. They are just adorable and it’s heartbreaking to let them go. In a perfect world, I hope that we could find someone local so that we can still keep in touch and visit them.

I pray that someone somewhere can help us keep Cookie and Coco together, and love them just as much as we do. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

3 February, 2009 | | 1 Comment

It took something exceptional to snap me out of my several-month blogging slump. I found this on twitter from @marshallk Iran: A Nation of Bloggers a powerful 2 minute video.

Half of Iran’s population is under 25 and they are not happy with the oppressive regime. They blog about it, most anonymously for fear of imprisonment, but some are bold enough to speak out. I did not realize that Iran is the third largest blogger nation.

Check out this video.

Good stuff! Let Social media bring democracy to the masses, Obama style!

Nortel uses their PR Blog to Discuss Financials

25 November, 2008 | | No Comment

I think it is interesting how more and more companies are turning to their blogs to communicate “serious” financial news.

Nortel’s PR Blogger Weighs in On Negative Financial Coverage
PRWeek (11/17/08) Daniels, Chris

One day after Nortel announced a massive third-quarter loss and layoffs of 1,300 employees, new media manager Bo Gowan listed on his Nov. 11 blog links of news articles that, in his opinion, presented “a little more in-depth analysis and commentary that provided some differentiation [from] the typical straight coverage” regarding Nortel’s quarter financials. The Nortel Buzzword blog was introduced earlier in 2008, and Gowan informed PRWeek that Nortel’s business communications team made a deliberate decision to discuss financials, in spite of heightened concerns about disclosure. He noted that 90 percent of the media coverage regarding Nortel’s third quarter concentrated on the numbers, and, with his recent blog post, explained that the telecommunications firm is offering a service to analysts and other interested entities who are seeking different viewpoints. Traffic to Nortel Buzzword supports Gowan’s point, as the amount of visits to the blog rose to unprecedented high! s recently. “If we are going to have an effective blog and have a conversation with people, you have to have that conversation in good times and bad,” Gowan said. “It is very similar to traditional PR: If you talk in the good times, but say no to interviews in the bad times, you lose a little credibility.” He added that this is much more the case with blogs, because they are “such a conscious stream of information.”

Web Link | Return to Headlines

Know Your Meme: “Fail”

18 November, 2008 | | 1 Comment

The game-related history of “FAIL!” Answers the question, when does a “Standard Fail” become an “Epic Fail?”

Social Media Rockstar Event in D.C.

14 November, 2008 | | 1 Comment

Last night, my husband and I attended a really fun event held by the DC New Media Tech (Web / Video), which is run by its dedicated leader, Paul Worsham . Kady (I did not catch her last name!) organized this particular event. She did a great job and I plan to find out more about her work as a social media contractor for Booz.

Just some quick highlights from the presentations:

Justin Thorpe who is the Developer Community manager at Clearspring. He described his job: “as a Community Manager I get paid to make friends”

Jared Goralnick of Awayfind offered some pragmatic advice: be nice to people and make friends *before* you need them!

But the most memorable presentation was from Chris Melissinos, Chief Gaming Officer, at Sun Microsystems. His presentation was like a study of the cultural anthropology of gaming. I’ll never forget some points he made, like: “for the first time in history, we have gamers raising gamers” and how today’s youth are very “thumb oriented” (I can’t do his presentation justice here, you have to hear him tell the tale!) Chris is a dynamic, engaging presenter — If you ever see him on the agenda at an event, you have to go! He is a MUST SEE!

How Social Media swayed me to vote for Obama

5 November, 2008 | | 1 Comment

I heard a word on TV last night that I don’t think I have ever heard on TV before. “LAYAWAY.” It’s certainly not a new concept — I’ve just never heard it on a TV ad. K-Mart is advertising to “start your holiday shopping early, put it on layaway and you’ll have it in time for Christmas.”

My husband’s parents amassed a small fortune despite having a modest income and raising 9 children. Whenever I asked Dave how they did it, he said “they grew up during the Great Depression.” For the first time in my life I actually understand this mentality. I am very fortunate I don’t have to make any tough choices (yet) but I chat with the security guard at our office who had to stop taking his law school night classes because the cost of gas.

Younger Americans are going to be affected by the economy. The cost of college is skyrocketing, and recent Business School grads will find that there are no jobs available.

I was planning to vote for McCain until about a month ago. The choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was disappointing, but I am strongly opposed to big government because I have had experience working with unmotivated, uninspired Federal workers. They are not rewarded for taking risks, only punished when things go wrong. I worked for a Federal contractor and I saw how they stretch out a project — the longer it takes, the more money they get. This is why I want my tax dollars to stay local; I am suspicious of “big government.”

But I was swayed by the passion and enthusiasm I see in the user-generated content on YouTube — GenY LOVES Obama. I also saw the fanatical support on my Facebook network (Gen X), and through the people I follow on Twitter. Several of my good friends (Fay Mark, Karen Henke and Mary-Dixie Carter) were rabid Obama supporters from the start. The social network “” helped them reach out to people like me.

Times are tough, and we’re probably only seeing the beginning. When people are losing their homes, their savings, and the promise of a prosperous future, the only thing that is going to keep them going is hope. This is why I voted for Obama. But I might not have really seen the passion people have for Obama if it weren’t for my online social networks.

I got inspired to write this blog post when I read this article from Wired: Propelled by Internet, Barack Obama Wins Presidency

Help create believers in Social Media!

31 October, 2008 | | 4 Comments

Help me show how effective social media can be as a recruiting tool! I’ve already spammed my networks on LinkedIn, but now I’m casting a wider net by posting this on my blog. I’d love to raise some eyebrows and impress my colleagues here at VeriSign with the effectiveness of online social networks.

Help me find qualified candidates for these jobs which are in Dulles, VA; Mountain View, CA and New York, NY. I figure that at this point all of us know *someone* who is looking for a job. And, as the self-crowned “social media queen” of VeriSign it behooves me to create a real-world case study for Twitter and Blogging. (full disclosure: I’ll get a referral bonus if someone gets hired – but that’s not what is motivating me here, ok? REALLY!)

Jobs in Mountain View, CA and New York City

Jobs in Dulles, VA

A Social Media Case Study from Radian6

30 October, 2008 | | 1 Comment

Since June I’ve been bugging social media experts like Amy Paquette of Cisco, Gia Lyons of Jive Software, Steve Mann of SAP, Tac Anderson of HP, and Jeff Moriarty and Kelly Feller of Intel. I’ve been looking for the “Holy Grail of Social Media” – namely, case studies and ROI. So I’m pleased to tell you that VeriSign is now featured in a new case study from the brilliant Social Media Monitoring company, Radian6. Now I finally have something to give back to all of these folks who have been so generous with their time.

What Radian6 does is amazing. With all those “Google Alerts” and other info available, it can get tough to figure out what’s worth paying attention to. Radian6 is a blogosphere monitoring tool that helps cut through the noise and understand:

Who is talking about your brand?
What’s the level of engagement around any particular post?
What’s the overall influence of the blogger?

The tool takes a little training, since it is a bit complex. You create your own customized “River of News” which is an apt analogy, because without this tool you’re drowning in data. Radian6 (and Mike Manuel and Ryan Lack of Voce) have helped VeriSign stay on top of current trends, and much more…read the case study!

VeriSign and Voce Communications: A Radian6 Case Study