If size matters to you, here’s a way to grow your Technorati rankings. I guarantee it!

This post is for bloggers who worry about the shrinking size of their Technorati. If that includes you, I have the magic potion that will boost your “authority” almost overnight. It works every time. I guarantee it.

technorati-fav.pngTeach blogging

Yep. It’s that simple. Become an evangelist for blogging, and convince others to do it regularly. But you must do more than coax people into blogging. You must make them do it — you know — my way or the highway.

That’s what we do at Kent State. Students blog or they fail. We know it’s coercion, but we don’t care. In fact, we’re damned proud our “blog or die” policy. It gets results.

Don’t want to blog? No problem. Kent State has over 300 other majors from which you can choose. But if you want a public relations degree, we insist that you develop an in-depth knowledge of social media and that you put your work out there for all the world to see and to critique.

Can you understand social media by simply studying them? I suppose you can. But you won’t grasp the “zen” of Web 2.0 until you become one with the medium. Social media are part of public relations practice, and we want our students to experience them beyond the superficial worlds of Facebook or MySpace. In the process, they learn about the blogosphere, and they learn how to write for an online audience.

Many students find their “voice” for the first time as bloggers in JMC 48003. All of them grow as writers.

At least half of the students in any given semester don’t like the blogging, and it shows. The other half seem downright giddy about it. Powered by ego or maybe just youthful enthusiasm, they post weekly (some more often), and in the process they build another element for their professional portfolios.

And you know me — I nail ‘em for every error in grammar and punctuation. Because careful writing matters here at Kent State, even if it doesn’t in the blogosphere. This is part of the portfolio, after all.

So what does this have to do with the size of your Technorati?

Everything.

When you teach people to blog, most are so grateful that they add you to their blogrolls. I don’t require that students link to ToughSledding, but so far this semester, 11 of the 16 have done so. And that is, in part, why my Technorati “authority” has increased 20% this past one month. I tell you, it’s better than yohimbe.

Check ‘em out. You’ll find links to our student bloggers in a new box I added just yesterday. Most on the “Student Bloggers Spring ’08” are seniors or second-year grad students, and many will soon be looking for jobs! They all have email links on their blogs, so contact them if you have an opening.

Here are my favorite students posts from the past week:

  • At “Green PRactices,” Desiree tells us about the “greening” of the booze business — and she ain’t talkin’ about St. Patrick’s Day. Seems that even the brewers and distillers are getting in on the “green” movement.
  • At PRVitamins, Julie reminisces about a youth-targeted PR campaign that changed her life. It’s a great lesson in public relations and how it can positively affect the lives of children.
  • At the “PR Affair,” Arielle discusses the lack of diversity in the business of high fashion. She got me thinking about the role PR must play in promoting diversity in every business we represent.
  • And speaking of fashion, Patti’s sports-focused blog “Penalty Flag Down!” commends the NBA for cleaning up its image by insisting that players dress the part.

Alumni Bloggers. I’ve also added a blogroll with links to PRKent alumni. Only 3 of the six discovered blogging in our classrooms. The others took up this deranged hobby of their own accord!

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9 Responses to If size matters to you, here’s a way to grow your Technorati rankings. I guarantee it!

  1. Ike says:

    Bill — that only works if you want your site to be about blogging.

    Within the American Red Cross, I have a tutorial that takes newbies through blogging step-by-step. The first two week’s lessons are by e-mail… the rest on at my WordPress site: http://ikepigott.wordpress.com

    Alas — it’s harder to get people motivated to finish when they’re not dependent on a course grade.

  2. Jeff Davis says:

    Here’s proof that coercion or being a great teacher aren’t the only ways to build blogroll links and Technorati rankings! We recently moved our two-year-old ‘PR Buzzsaw’ blog from an obscure provider to WordPress, and the first two blogroll entries were Tough Sledding and Todd Defren’s blog. We’ll add more, but you were there first because as long-time readers we know your posts are consistently on target, entertaining and useful. Also, thought you’d like to know I studied journalism under your Kent State colleague Jeff Fruit while at Ohio Wesleyan University (more than a few years ago) and now consider Tough Sledding a valuable continuation of my learning experience.

  3. shodge says:

    In my business, a smaller PR/marketing firm, we started an internal blog last year just to grow everyone’s familiarity/comfort with blogging. The rule was that everyone had to post something at least once a week. Oh, my Lord, I couldn’t believe the whining. “I can’t think of anything to write about…” and “Do I have to?” Your rationale is spot on: You can’t grasp the Zen of new/social media unless you actually jump in feet first. Unfortunately, in my shop and too many others, a lot of people just don’t want to work that hard.

    So now we have an external blog. ( I, for one, have discovered I love this voice as much as I love more traditional journalism-style writing.) But with this blog, anyone on staff who decides they want to write for it has to earn the right.

    I will, btw, be keeping an eye on your grads. I think they’re going to be increasingly in demand as more shops of all sizes finally get that they’re going to go the way of the dinosaurs if they don’t advance on the Web 2.0 learning curve and add these tactics to their bag of tricks.

  4. Bill Sledzik says:

    I’m feeling a little guilty about the headline and approach to this post. This is an essay about introducing students to blogging, and it really has little to do with Technorati or “size.” My cutesy hook and headline may diminish the importance of the topic, which is bringing the tools of Web 2.0 into the classroom and into the workplace. It’s about experimentation, testing the waters

    I’m happy you’ll be watching our grads, Sally. Other employers are as well. We’ve even seen our interns elevated to “social media expert” thanks to their experiences at Kent State. No, they are NOT experts, but they have a good deal more experience with SM (thanks to our class and their own work on Facebook and MySpace) than the average PR pro out there.

    I cajoled an audience in Cleveland on Friday to just get in and do it. “What will Facebook do for us?” one asked. While not all that many business folks are networking on FB just yet, the real value of being there is to observe and experiment. The ROI will come if you take it seriously.

    If you have clients and friends who are clinging to a one-way messaging philosophy, send them to Tony Quin’s commentary in today’s OMMA (free subscription required). Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve heard it before.

  5. teachingpr says:

    Bill, don’t feel bad about your headline. My “Friendly” numbers are +14 this month. It’s not the reason for making students blog (in my case, it’s a Word-of-Mouth class and how could they NOT blog?), but it is a byproduct.

    I’ve gone back and forth with Constantin Basturea and others on the usefulness of “making” students blog, but I also have to “make” them write news releases and media alerts, and I don’t see any difference (especially because if they’re really worried I allow them to blog anonymously, so there are no “online portfolio” issues).

  6. Bill Sledzik says:

    Karen,

    I worried for about two seconds that forced blogging might turn someone off for life — you know, like having to eat your spinach when you were 5. I can see the argument, but our program at Kent State is a hands-on learning laboratory that prepares students for jobs in the real world. If you don’t do it, you don’t learn it.

    I’m going to resist the anonymous blogging approach, too, as I want students to get used to their working being reviewed and criticized. Since we reside in a journalism school, this isn’t a new concept. Our students put their work “out there” every day in the Daily Kent Stater, TV2, the Burr Magazine, etc. I don’t see a difference. In fact, the blogs have a far smaller audience by comparison. The process of “doing” builds confidence and offers an incentive to produce good work. And while it can be stressful, what learning process isn’t?

  7. Kait says:

    Hi Bill…
    While 48003 didn’t exist when I was at KSU, I still find it justifiable to hold you responsible for my deranged blogging hobby. And for being titled the Gestapo of the Red Pen at the office. (No, seriously.)

    Aaaah…it’s good to graduate PRKent.
    :)

    -Kait

  8. [...] the Sandwich Chronicles that sparked a few thoughts about PR and the “Heidi Cee” fiasco. So as suggested by Bill Sledzik over at Tough Sledding (GO there too!), I’m sharing the wealth and linking to it, [...]

  9. [...] to wake up. These folks are out there, too. Bill Sledzik, who teaches PR at Kent State writes about making his students blog – or they fail. “You won’t grasp the ‘zen’ of Web 2.0 until you become one with the [...]

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