Well, the LOML has been using Zemanta for her blog for a while. It started life as a WordPress plug-in for use with FireFox, but they created a plug-in for Windows Live Writer and Internet Explorer as well.
What it does is go out to the web – when you tell it to, which is nice, but does of course require a live Internet connection, which defeats the purpose of an offline blogging client like Windows Live Writer – and gathers things related to your topic. It’s a great way to help you generate hits, because it will automatically insert related links, which builds authority on sites like Technorati, and generates traffic via search engine entanglements.
This is my first post trying it. Zemanta’s process works by looking at the first 300 characters of your post and figuring out what the heck you’re writing about; it gets a list of related links to insert – which you can pick and choose – and a gallery of related images.
For example, at this point in my post, Zemanta realizes I’m writing about it, has updated the links, related article assortment and gallery, and is ready to update again (as of this point) in 111 characters. Periodically it’ll go get more stuff. As long as you’re writing about the same thing, the process can become more precise and keep building up an arsenal of links, articles and images related to the topic.
If you’re a drifting, meandering kind of blogger, this may not be of benefit to you. Professional bloggers, serious topical bloggers and online journalists and those who think they are (whether that’s true is subject to debate in most cases) will probably benefit greatly from Zemanta’s help. If nothing else, it’ll give you a lot of cross-reference material you can use as resources, even if you don’t directly link to them.
In 63 more characters from the start of this paragraph, it’s going to update. And it just did. Heh.
The image I’ve placed in this post is the primary, first-choice image Zemanta offered me for this topic (go figure). However, when I select the image, it puts it at the top of the post, in front of all my text, rather than at the point I’ve selected it in the post. That’s probably not an issue, but I had to manually drag it to where I wanted it, and when I did, the image was removed. So I re-added it and just left it at the top. (Since when I blog at home I don’t use the WP editor, and when I blog elsewhere I generally don’t use images, this isn’t a problem for me, but YMMV.)
There’s a bunch of articles I could link back to, and all I have to do is click on them. It’ll put the list of them at the bottom of the post I’m writing, but it won’t insert them in place. That’s … okay, I guess. The links feature, I suppose, is what does that.
So this is a brief overview and sample. I’ll play with more over time, I’m sure, and it’s bound to help with things like posting about cooking, football, and writing topics.
For everyday, ordinary blogging about life, probably not so useful. But for specific or pro blogging, EXTREMELY useful.
Give it a shot. A deeper review will have to wait until I’ve given it a fair shake.
PS – Related articles are below. Interested in Zemanta? Check them out and see for yourself, and there’s a features tour on their web site.
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