Session 3: Building Your Blogosphere Radar

Learning Goals:
  • Interacting With Your Readers
  • Ego and Persistent Search Feeds
  • Conversation Tracking
  • Using Tags To Find People and Resources

1. What is a Blogosphere Radar?

It's how you find conversations, people, topics, and resources. It’s the tools you need to scan your beat and zero in on people and information that can deepened your authority, spread the word about your blog and encourage them to join the conversation on your blog. .

2. Interacting with readers

Encouraging Comments: How You End Your Post

Pro Bloggers Advice
Writing Techniques for Encourage Commenting

1. Invite Comments
2. Ask Questions
3. Be Open Ended
4. Interact with comments left
5. Set Boundaries
6. Be humble
7. Be gracious
8. Be controversial?
9. ‘Reward’ Comments
10. Make it Easy to Comment

How to respond to comments.

  • Be honest and to the point.
  • Respond quickly.
  • Reply to every (rational) question.
  • If a commenter corrects you, thank them and update your post.

Facilitating Conversation

How To Facilitate

Tracking Your Comments

Commentful is a service that watches comments on blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr galleries, and many other types of content. When ever there is a new comment, Commentful notifies you.

You can select how you want to be noticed:

-subscribe to an RSS feed
-FireFox Browser extension

How To Use Commentful

A. Watch the Screencasts

#1: Register, How To Add Blog Posts To Watchlists
#2: How To Add Commentful Feed to Your Bloglines, Using the Bookmarklets to Add New Posts

B. Go here to register

Commentful FAQ

Extension for Firefox

There are other tools with more features, but not as easy to use.

Reflection question: What will be your regular routine for monitoring comments on your blog?

3. Ego Searches and Persistent Search Feeds

You will be setting up a series of "ego searches" based on your name and the site's name in the different blog search engines. Why all three? While there is a some overlap, each search engine works slightly differently and provides slightly different results. It is your choice as to how comprehensive you want to be.

You need to set up separate searches on each search engine - one to search by URL and the other search for your name (as an "exact phrase"). The reason you need to do this is because some people will link to your blog but they may not use your name as the linking text. Still others may mention you by name, but not put in a link. By setting up these two different searches, you are sure to catch most of the bloggers who may be "talking about you or your writing."

The process of setting up Ego Searches and Persistent Searches is the same, only the key words or URL will change. In the examples below, I gave you a demonstration of how you may need to look at the feedback you get from the search results and tweak your keywords accordingly. You may also need to try exact phrase or all the words as well. The idea is to get something that will give you some results, add it as an RSS feed into your reader and scan the results on a regular basis. After about a week or two, you will have an idea of how to tweak the search terms further to get what you want.

Ego Searches

Screencast: How To Set Up Ego Feed
1. Click on "Advanced Search"
2. Type in your name in exact phrase or use URL search for blog url
3. On the results page, click on the orange RSS icon and add it to your RSS Reader feeds

Google Blog Search
Screencast: How To Set Up Ego Feed
1. Click on "Advanced Search"
2. Type in your name in the exact phrase field or the blog url
3. On the results page, click on the link to RSS or ATOM and add it to your RSS Reader feeds

Screencast: How to Set Up Ego Feed
1. Type your name (do another search with URL) into the search field
2. Click Search
3. Click on the "Results RSS" to subscribe

Persistent Search for Keywords on Your Beat

Screencast: How to Set Up A Keyword Search for "my elderly mother died"

Google Blog Search
Screencast: How To Set Up A Keyword Search for "my elderly mother's funeral"

Screencast: How to Set Up A Keyword Search for "my elderly dad passed away"

4. Conversation Tracking

Technorati This Bookmarklet

Screencast: How to Install the Bookmarklet and Use It
With one click you can see who else is writing about the blog or topic.

Why You Should Use Technorati This Bookmark (and Google Blog Search)

Screencast: How to Use Blog Pulse to Track Conversations
You want to be the "Track Conversations" periodically. This tool does not have an email or RSS notification option. So, you'll have to visit the web site to do your search.

5. Tagging

Tags are keywords that describe digital objects – web pages, photos, etc.

Social bookmarking sites use tags to organize web resources. A social bookmarking site let's you bookmark web resource into a web site and share them with other people. You can follow tags in your RSS reader and this can be a valuable resources.

Screencast: How to Subscribe to Tag Stream

1. Go to this url:
2. In the browser window, type in your key word
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the RSS button
4. Add the tag stream to your RSS Reader

Screencast: How To Find Tune Your Tag Feeds

1. Go to this url:
2. Type in your first keyword
3. Add the +
4. Type in Your Second Keyword