The end of a podcasting era

Here in Sweden, podcasts are getting more and more popular each day. Some of the most popular ones may have a hundred thousand listeners per episode or more. I’m not at all a heavy user but I discovered podcasts already 10 years ago and the one I started to listen to was For Immediate Release, The Hobson and Holtz Report by PR practitioners Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz.

FIR-Banner-design-2010

This podcast has been a tremendous resource on topics related to PR, social media and technology and I have been a regular listener since day one, with the exception of the last six months when I have not been as frequent.

Since the start they have produced an impressive 824 episodes of the highest quality. But this is the end of a podcasting era since Neville Hobson, which I have had the pleasure of meeting in person, has decided to call it a day to focus on other projects.

Shel Holtz will continue to run the podcast in a slightly new format on this new site. I would like to thank them both for the incredible amount of work they have put into this podcast over the years and best of luck for the future.

I will continue to follow FIR and I do recommend that you give it a try. To subscribe, just visit the subscribe page here.

How to find your most engaging tweets

like

You can learn a lot from looking at statistics and that’s why it may be a good idea to take a look at your Twitter Analytics page now and then. I looked at my stats from September 2014 to May 2015 and learned a few things like:

  • Average engagement rate is decreasing
  • I have been tweeting a lot less in the last five months compared to last fall
  • I get a lot less link clicks now than in 2014
  • The number of monthly retweets vary a lot from month to month
  • Although I tweet less and engagement rate is decreasing, the average daily reach is actually increasing

I can now use this knowledge to improve my Twitter presence by trying to increase the number of tweets, improve the content so that it engages more people, include more links to increase link clicks for example. That is, if you think these are important numbers. The reason daily reach continues to increase is probably an effect of a continuous increase in followers.

The tweets with highest reach per month
Other interesting things that you can find in Twitter Analytics are for example the tweets with highest reach for the last few months. Some of my top tweets are in Swedish which is not surprising since about 80% of my followers are from Sweden.

May 2015: Instagram photo
Reach 12,100

April 2015: News article
Reach 1,500

March 2015: Blog post
Reach 14,200

Feb 2015: Blog post
Reach 2,800

Jan 2015: News article
Reach 4,400

Dec 2014: News article
Reach 19,100

Nov 2014: Blog post
Reach 18,300

Conclusions
There are a few conclusions to be made from looking at these tweets.

  • Inspiring images help your tweets get noticed and shared, but you may also reach out without images
  • Getting retweeted by an influencer increases reach a lot
  • Twitter cards for your blog posts or for news articles may increase engagement
  • If the link you are sharing doesn’t use Twitter cards, it helps to add an image manually
  • Hashtags on trending topics also help in getting reach
  • Blog posts and news articles create a lot of engagement

Now take a look at your Twitter Analytics, you may learn a few things that could help you reach out to more people on Twitter.

10 things I learned from blogging for 10 years

10 kronor

Today is a very special day, today this blog turns 10 years. I can’t believe I have been blogging for a decade already. Back then in 2004 blogging had not yet become mainstream. This was the first Swedish PR blog and I have this blog to thank for a lot of things. So to celebrate a decade of blogging I decided to list 10 things that I have learned from blogging:

1. Bloggers are generous
It didn’t take more than a few weeks of blogging before I realized that the blogosphere was populated with people who were willing to help you and share knowledge without demanding anything in return. It was a liberating feeling, you had a problem and all you needed to do was ask. I had no idea how I could active the RSS feed but out of nowhere I got the advice that solved the problem.

2. Blogging is fun
I have noticed that I like to express myself through my blog. I also enjoy the hunt for new stories to share and there is never a shortage of topics to blog about. This is my little corner on the web and I can fill it with anything I want. Today that may be something we take for granted, but back in the early days it enabled a lot of people to express their opinions online for the first time, without deep technical knowledge.

3. Blogging takes time
For me, blogging just don’t happen. I don’t write about my daily life or other “routine” topics. Most posts are the result of research, fact checking and carefully crafted texts. Not that all posts are extremely long, but it takes some work, especially since I write in a second language which sometimes is a chore. It’s a labour of love, but it doesn’t happen if I don’t set some time aside now and then to write a post.

4. Blogging is networking
In 2004, there were more PR blogs in Iran than in Sweden. It was fantastic to be able to network with likeminded people across the world, even in countries where you might think that public relations as a concept barely exists (clearly it did). In fact, you may have more in common with someone on the other side of the planet than with your neighbour. Since I started this blog I have made acquaintances, mainly here in Sweden but also from other countries, that I later have met in person. Having  a blog is a great way to network.

5. Blogging is brand building
Without this blog, I probably would never have had the opportunity to work as a freelance consultant for more than three years and I wouldn’t have my current position as Social Media Manager at  a large Swedish company.

I have been quoted in tens if not hundreds of articles in media such as BBC, CNN, Toronto Star, the Wall Street Journal, Boing Boing and Tech Crunch. I have been on Swedish radio and tv several times as well, all thanks to my blog which have let me position myself as someone who knows a bit about digital PR and social media.

I have also been on the cover of Swedish Internetworld twice (headline: “Hans Kullin knows how to succeed in social media”).

6. Blogging is rewarding
Every time someone shares a post, comments or just simply reads what I write, it is a positive signal that I have created something of interest to another person and that is a positive feeling. Knowing that others can see my blog as a resource is rewarding in itself. My blog has never been one with many comments and nowadays I rarely even get any trackbacks from other blogs. So blogging has changed in that aspect that the reward now comes in form of a tweet or a share/like on Facebook.

7. Blogging is learning
I have learned a lot, not only about blogging, but about the topics I write about. Speaking out publicly forces me to do research, fact check and read conflicting opinions on topics I write about. It is said that you remember a higher percentage of what you write down than what you read or see, so the just the fact that I write stuff down makes me remember more. The blog also becomes a resource that I can go back to because I know I’ve written about something before.

8. Blogging still has a place online
I am active on many social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and so on. Still, there is no other platform that fills the same purpose for me as the blog. This is still in my view the best platform for long form content that includes text, image and/or video. One difference now from the first years is that back then all you needed to do to be read was to get your posts out in the RSS feed. Now, I can have the most brilliant scoop ever and nobody would know about it until I push the post out in my other networks where people can discover it. Nobody finds my blog without Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or other such sites. And Google of course.

9. Blogging is about details
I never liked dealing with html code, plugins or WordPress templates. That’s why I haven’t changed this blog at all in several years. But to get noticed and get your content out to readers you still need to know a miminum of how stuff works online, like how to install plugins, how to tag content, how SEO works and so on. You can do a lot without any coding knowledge but to get real effects it helps to be a geek 😉

10. Blogging is not dead
Even if I don’t blog as frequently as I used to, I still like to try out new things. It is quite fascinating that after 10 years, the most read post ever was actually the post I wrote just before this one. I tried to apply a bit of the Upworthy formula to a post in
order to see if I could make it at least go slightly viral. And it did. The post about how Sweden is unique was shared or liked more than 5,000 times on Facebook and sent tens of thousands of visitors my way. Blogging is still alive and kicking and will continue to be for a long time. It just needs some new ideas now and then.

Thank you all for being a part of my network all this time.

 

 

Celebrating 9 years of blogging

Box nine.

I started blogging nine years ago and the first public post that remained online is from February 17, 2004.

Back then we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, so it has become increasingly hard to find the time to post longer texts. I still enjoy blogging as much as I used to and I wish I could blog more. I now have two blogs, the second one is about social media and is in Swedish.

The post during the last 12 months with most views was the one titled “Fake photo of hurricane Sandy goes viral on Facebook” with close to 8,000 views to date. Also worth noting is that a blog post from January 2009 about chosing Twitter handle, still attracts so many views that it was one of the top ten posts of the last year.

Other than that, posts about Instagram and Cinemagram are among the topics that are most viewed on this blog.

With that said, I am starting the countdown to the next anniversary which will mean a full decade of blogging. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.

Image by gak on Flickr.

Swedish bloggers commit to posting 50,000 blog posts in 100 days

Fredrik Wass Foto Johanna Hanno

The blogosphere may have reached its pinnacle some years ago, but some are doing their best to reignite their blogs. My friend Fredrik Wass last year decided to post every day for 100 days in a row in an effort to keep his blog more active. This year he is repeating the challenge, with one big difference. A lot of bloggers are accepting the challenge too, more than 500 Swedish bloggers have now decided to post 100 blog posts each for 100 days. In total, if all succeed, that would amount to 50,000 blog posts.

Fredrik explains the challenge with #blogg100.

“#Blogg100 is a blog challenge started by me, a Swedish tech and business journalist and blogger. It’s about finding your inner blogger voice again. By having to publish at least one post every day, 100 subsequent days in a row, hopefully you’ll end up with a number of great blog posts in the end. Facebook and Twitter have kept us busy posting short messages. This blog challenge is about getting back to that old familiar feeling of running your blog, interacting with your visitors and creating community. #Blogg100 was first arranged in 2012. This year there are about 520 Swedish blogs participating in the challenge. Blogging is time invested in your own platform, not someone else’s meeting space. There’s also an opportunity to reflect upon freedom of speech and the notion that we’re all able to speak our minds in a free and democratic society.”

I decided to ask Fredrik about the challenge.

Why did you decide to blog each day for a hundred days (last year)?
It was just a thing I came up with trying to find my old blog spirit again. Occupied with “short social media” like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve been blogging less the last couple of years. I knew putting myself up to the challenge of blogging everyday for 100 days in a row would be beneficial not only for traffic volume, comments and feeback, but also to inspire me and make me learn new stuff.

What did you learn about blogging the last time you blogged a hundred days in a row?
That it’s a mindset, and also that I really had missed the sense of community and engagement that blogging really is, especially when you’re not blogging for business or pr, just for your own pleasure. I got a lot more comments on my posts and also I felt more up to date with what was going on within my field of interest.

How many blogs are participating this year?
Last time I checked there were 521 blogs that are registered for the challenge.

Why do you think so many are willing to participate?
I think that many people have made the same conclusion that I did. They have been blogging for a while but are now realizing that they are publishing less content on their blogs but more shorter updates on Facebook and Twitter. In another interview I said that blogging is time invested in your own platform, not someone else’s meeting space, and I still think that it’s a valid thought. There’s also an opportunity to reflect upon freedom of speech and the notion that we’re all able to speak our minds in a free and democratic society.

Do you think this initiative will have any long term effects on the blogs that participate or on the Swedish blogosphere in general?
Well, if everyone finishes the challenge there will be 50 000 blog posts published at the end of it. So I guess that’s one big footprint that we would make. But I think the greatest effect from Blogg100 is the sense of community amongst fellow bloggers. I almost feel like I’m back in the good old days when there was about 300 blogs in Sweden in total and you could pretty much keep track on every blogger out there. Now there’s of course hundreds of thousands of blogs, in Sweden. I’ve started a Facebook group for all the bloggers in the challenge and the discussions are really active and intense. One can feel the engagement that a lot of us have for blog related questions and issues. It’s beautiful.

Any other interesting aspects of this project worth mentioning?
At the end of Blogg100 I’m planning to arrange some sort of meetup. I think it would be interesting to talk about blogging today compared to 6-7 years ago when it really hit big in Sweden. Blogging today is much more integrated in other services and platforms. For instance, a Facebook status update could be described as a blog post I guess. It would also be interesting to talk about the blog as a tool for change in societies, and how it could be used for activism.

I decided early on that I would not participate myself. I realized that I would most certainly fail after a few days due to lack of time, but I salute all the bloggers that dare to take on such a massive challenge. Good luck everyone.

Here’s a list of all participating bloggers (in Swedish): http://bisonblog.se/2013/01/vi-som-ar-med-i-blogg100/

Footnote: Blog is “blogg” in Swedish.

Photo: Johanna Hanno

Cinemagram – an Instagram for animated images

Popular photo app Instagram does many things really well, but one thing it does not handle is the ability to upload and share videos. Enter Cinemagram, a social networking app for sharing short videos that are actually made into animated GIFs. It includes Instagram-like features such as the ability to add filters to your videos, but the twist with Cinemagram is that each video can be edited so that only a portion of the frame is animated and the rest is in form of a still shot. The effects can be hilarious.

The app is fairly new and was initially $1.99 in Appstore, but it is currently free. It is too soon to tell if this app will become successful, but one thing I noticed immediately is that creative uploads have the possibility to get a lot of attention. I had only just downloaded the app and had almost no followers, still my third video has got almost 500 likes during the first 24 hours since upload. You can see it below. The quality is quite poor but it looks a lot better on the iPhone.

60 m

Created with cinemagr.am

One of the reasons that content may “go viral” within the app is that each time you “like” a video, it is re-posted by you in the app, sort of like a retweet on Twitter, so the content gets a lot of exposure. On top of that the videos with the most likes are displayed in one of the tabs in the app.

Cinemagram doesn’t have a very good web presence, but if you manage to find your profile page and/or the page of one of your animated images, you can find the embed code so that you can paste it easily to your blog for example. The page for the image above is: http://cinemagr.am/showSingle/3502979 and my “profile page” is here: http://cinemagr.am/web/user/827705

Check out and download Cinemagram here.