Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Interacting with Bloggers 101: Permalinks, Product Info, and Personality

I made some comments today during Steve Rubel's Gnomedex session. Steve asked, what are PR and marketing professionals doing right and wrong? What do people who blog want/need from such departments?

After much arm waving I got Steve to notice me, and I answered with three P's.

  1. Permalinks: folks, this is such a simple one. Don't make your press release page be "press.php" and old news be "archive.php". Have a single, unique link for each press release, news story, product, or (*gasp*) blog post you make. This means not trying to make me figure out a crazy javascript or Flash navigation system, but simply having a clear, single link I can use to directly get to information. URL schemes like /news/2006/07/01/bigstory or /products/coolproduct/model-vw83 are some good examples.
  2. Product Info: I like product info. I like permalinks to direct product info. I like tech specs, and I like easily grab-able (and even better, friendly licensed) product photos. Heck, encourage me to hotlink images from your corporate server. Include copy/paste code that includes the permalink and a caption that I can drop into any system that groks HTML. For bonus points, make a little Flash/Javascript/rotating GIF widget that I can put into a post.
  3. Personality: yes, I want personality. This one is last, because a lot of corporates just can't get past legal, or want the community to bring in the personality. If you're not going to blog, perhaps upgrade your press release writer to someone with a little more human in their blood, or give me a contact that I can talk to/interview to get more of a human face to the information you're presenting.

It seems so simple. But I know how difficult this can be. Many marketing and PR departments rely on a chain of consultants, contractors, or other folks to manage their web presence somewhere down the line. PR types need to become actively vocal about the needs they have. The three P's might be a good place to start.

[cross posted to my Bryght blog]