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Coop Minder’s Child

February 5, 2010
Heidi and Alexis

Heidi and Alexis at the Prather Meat Co. Stand, Marin Farmers Market

Every day since the last post, Alexis and I have been noodling news, calendaring events, meeting at the Farmer’s Market, and addressing a few PR surprises discussed later in this post. Needless to say, The Social Coop quickly turned into, well, The Coop minder’s child.  There’s so much to write about, but, caution: there’s a word limit. That’s the first thing: my rule for word limit is 400 words give or take, though a challenging topic might require a little more, a quick update could take less. The rest is best left to links (like the one I just used for “word limit”), which are what one of my advisors calls “journalists’ porn.” Second announcement: I’ll be blogging more frequently than promised, though recent progress probably raises lots of skepticism. Because there are so many teaching moments in this experiment, it’s just not possible to put them all in a 400-word weekly post. Third: This IS a teaching blog. People facing a new social media adventure get to witness the flotsam, fluidity, and sometimes frenzy of the process, which, by the way, is normal. Repeat: normal. In the old days, PR – mostly media relations – was a linear process. When I was doing high tech PR at a small shop in Silicon Valley back in the 90s, we nailed high-efficiency systems that worked in lock-step the same in all campaigns. We could; it was the process. In social media communications, it all sort of clusters around your to-do list and has to be managed with Medusa-like skill. And it’s different for every business. The idea here is to get comfortable with the process, do what you can, stay flexible, and don’t compare your social media to others.

Two Words About WordPress: In my first post, I talked a little about how important it is to learn WordPress. I took the easy way out initially by using a simple, flexible template. I’ll build out as I need to. See? Flexible. I picked this template because it allowed me to place “Recent Comments” at the top right. This experiment aims to bring in suggestions, ideas, criticisms, and questions from all levels of social media expertise, so I wanted others’ input to be quick and easy to access. They also offer a template that works a lot like Twitter, which would give an even better sense of community contribution, but I didn’t want to limit comments to 140 characters. So all this gets back to “it’s different for everyone.” My unique goals dictated the template choice. Another great way to use WordPress without having to master a thing is key word searches. If you’re stumped about what key words will boost your traffic, log into WordPress, search for a blog that you know relates to your topic. Look at the tag cloud on the right. Voila! Key words.

More about planning (with a few doozies about Twitter), press releases, and other blogging strategies in the post after next. Starting Sunday night, you can come back to The Coop to meet the advisory board. As for that PR surprise? I was dining at Chez Panisse at the end of last month to experience Chef Jerome’s menu featuring all fresh Soul Food Farm products. Alexis walked in unexpectedly, looking too glamorous to be a farmer, and whispered in my ear: “CNN left me a voice mail today. Call me.” Social media, what? Once in PR, always in PR, and little can get our hearts fluttering like those three letters.

P.S. I broke the word count rule. See? Flow.

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