Re-published with permission from the International Risk Management Institute. This article is published by them in their Personal Line Pilot newsletter…
The Internet is a fascinating place that is opening up new forms of social interaction, activities, and organization of information. Social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are creating revolutionary ways to interact with people all over the world. In addition, websites such as Amazon, Yelp, and Angie’s List allow people to post online reviews of businesses of all types. The explosive growth in these types of activities in the last few years is truly amazing.
These undertakings, however, have a dangerous element. Blogs and postings of a negative nature (even if they are true) can result in unpleasant and costly lawsuits against the author. Note that it may still take time before there is a good body of caselaw to support freedom of speech online in blogs, forums, and social media publishing sites. And remember that freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything you want anywhere. Freedom of speech implies responsibility; its use should generally be for the benefit of the greater good. So the following are some risk management tips to consider before posting or blogging negative comments on the Internet.
- Check your facts carefully and thoroughly document your sources. Truth is a complete defense in a libel case, although you still may run into expensive legal bills defending yourself. If you find that your facts are incorrect, remove the inaccurate content and consider issuing a correction or retraction.
- If you purchase a product online and have an unpleasant experience with the seller, it might be wise not to post a negative comment or rating on the website. If you do post an adverse comment, be sure that it is objectively written, based on solid facts concerning your own direct experience, and not written in an inflammatory manner.
- If you are a blog master and someone is posting false and incendiary statements on your site, remember that you may be held liable for these remarks since you are the “publisher.”
- Seek protection for your rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, has a mission to safeguard the rights of those who use digital media and to provide legal guides to bloggers both large and small. It also offers helpful ideas to those bloggers and online posters to avoid libel suits.
- Make certain your homeowners policy includes a personal injury endorsement to cover libel and slander suits. Most standard insurance company policy forms do not provide this automatically, and it can be added for a small additional premium. Also, consider buying a personal umbrella policy, which generally provides broader personal injury coverage.
- If your blog is a money-maker, look into business liability coverage since the typical homeowners policy contains numerous business-related exclusions and restrictions. If you operate a small home-based business in conjunction with your blog or online business, consider requesting that a home-based business endorsement be added to your homeowners policy.
Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.
A terrific article from Dan Janal, owner of PR Leads…
How to bond with your clients with blogs and newsletters
Consultants and coaches spend countless hours thinking of new ideas to write for their newsletters and blogs. They all want to create a new idea and hop on a new trend. After all, we all want to be thought of as smart and helpful.
But did you know that the best way to bond with your readers is to show them that you are human?
I’ve been writing on the web for nearly 15 years and the times I get a flood of emails is when I reveal something personal about myself, not when I write a great article or explain a new tactic.
Relax, I’m not talking about baring your soul, opening your emotional closet or revealing your deepest fantasies. I’m talking about when you do no rmal things.
From my own experience and those of others, I’ve found the greatest feedback when writing about:
- my cats
- my vacations
- my gardening
- my attempts at playing the guitar
- my training for a 5K race
I also get a lot of comments if a link doesn’t work or if there’s an extra space between words or if there’s a typo. I’m sure that’s because people want to help.
If you put more personality into your writing, people will want to know more about you and will bond with you.
I know one guy who writes about his skydiving. Another person gives the play by play details of his upcoming wedding planning. Another person prints jokes about dogs. Another person writes abou t his horrible experiences at restaurants.
Let’s face it. Most of the information we write about can be written by anyone. There are only so many ways to say “to lose weight, eat less and exercise more.” Or the equivalents for getting a job, overcoming procrastination, asking for a raise, leading your employees or making money on the Internet. The thing that’s going to help you stand out is your personality.
When you show personality, you bond with your readers and you’ll have a better chance to build trust so you can make a sale.
Dan Janal is a very successful entrepreneur, professional speaker and marketing coach who helps clients build their businesses by improving their strategy for using publicity, marketing, Internet marketing, e-commerce and sales. For more information, go to http://www.prleadsplus.com
This article has been re-printed with permission.
© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I’ve recently started the practice of using testimonials as blog posts. You should, too! Here are three reasons why…
- Prospective clients see what outcomes and results you provide to your current clients.
- Prospective clients trust the words of others more than what you say about yourself. You do it when you are looking for value. Why wouldn’t they?
- It’s part of promoting your value to those who need it. If they don’t know it’s available, how can you help them and improve their condition?
Here’s an example of a recent testimonial related to my monthly e-newsletter:
“Dan – just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletters, I read every one and find them always interesting
and often really applicable to me personally – like today’s – my home office is a mess! Now I’m going to take heart and get it cleaned up – another
way you’ve inspired me!”
Regards Steve Kersten, Bainbridge Island
You can gain the same type of traction with your testimonials, too. Just stay in the moment and make sure you ask for permission and then use it.
© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I was a guest speaker for the North Mason Chamber of Commerce this morning. The topic was how to create, write, and leverage the marketing gravity for a blog.
One of the great things about blogs are that they can build credibility globally. One lady in the audience is an interior designer that also specializes in “staging” homes for sale. I asked the question, “What does she gain by having a global blog?” Here are a few answers:
- She can use it as credibility in the marketplace to gain publishing opportunities – books, e-books, articles, columns, syndication, etc.
- She can become a speaker for national conferences for realtors, architects, construction, interior designers, etc.
- She can gain opportunities to be used as a source for interviews in national publications.
That’s just 3 things. What about you? What marketing gravity can you gain from your expertise? It can all start with a provocative, value-laden blog.
© 2010. Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I just realized I have become lazy with my blogging. Why? Well, all I can do is point the finger at me and say it’s a lack of discipline. Yes, we all get busy with year-end things, both personal and business. Between two business trips, my daughter coming home from Austria, several new clients, etc., I’ve found my blog posting getting pushed to the back burner with both this blog and my insurance consulting blog.
Enough is enough!
It’s back to work on being a consistent blogger. The bottom line is that for my readers like you (thank you), my mission is to provide value to your business and personal life by improving your presentation and communication skills. Tough to do that when I’m not consistent.
What about you? Have you found some important areas in your business and personal life that’s been thrown to the back burner or even off the stove? I hope I’m not alone!
Join me in making an early resolution. Get back to doing what is good for your clients, prospects, readers, family, et al. Let’s renew our discipline as we kick out 2008 and build momentum heading into 2009!
See you in the funny papers!