Lisa Skube, principal of Creaturekind Communications; Jeff Lennan, chief operating officer of Winning Mark; and Karl Pearson-Cater with MinnPost.com spoke about the technologies that can be used to strengthen state FOI coalitions. Here are the notes from their session at the 2009 NFOIC Summit:
- The most fundamental technology to get higher visibility is syndication. RSS feeds will allow your content to be rebroadcast. Most free blogging tools already have these built in.
- Make your RSS feed link visible on your Web site.
- Free blogging tools include: WordPress, TypePad ($5 per month), LiveJournal, Blogger.
- The key is getting people to link to your content. In that way, those people become your sales force.
- Set up your feeds so that they are automatically posted on Facebook and Twitter.
- When creating blogs, re-package information. If it's a story with a lot of jargon, simplify it. Localize it. Mention the location in the headline or first sentence. People are searching for information relevant to their area. Tag your location as well.
- Headline writing is crucial. Sometimes Google News will pick up your headline, exclude the summary you wrote and use a picture from another site. Therefore, our headlines should be clear and straightforward. Avoid cute heads that refer to the first paragraph or the photo.
- Post consistently.
- Sign up on Alltop.com. This is an aggregator of RSS feeds. Freedom of Information has a channel: http://freedom-of-information.alltop.com/
- Create a presence for your coalition on LinkedIn. It's a site that's easy to use but often overlooked.
- Choose one or two technologies to get your feet wet.
- Using these technologies no longer requires a Webmaster. However, try to get a Web services person on your board or heavily involved. That person will know about all the latest, free tools and can point you in the right direction.
- Get a Twitter account in your coalition's name.
- Drive content back to your main site or blog. You want to inform using different technologies, but you don't want to lose visibility that this is your organization.
- Sign up for Google analytics to find out what people are looking at online. Do more of what works.
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