Monday, January 30, 2006

Advertising Is Not Blogging. Blogging Is Not Advertising.

The distinction needs to be made. And understood.

If you plan to use your blog to "advertise", you'll be dissapointed. People will see through it. If you're going to "sell" anything, sell your ideas. Make your case well and people will respond. It will reflect well on you. If you're really good, then the future is probably bright for you.

An article in The Hindustan Times asks some questions that relate to this point. The writer talks about being a "thought leader", or a recognized leader in a field. Now, I don't agree that "thought leaders" are necessarily recognized leaders in their fields. What about thought leaders who are just a little too far ahead of the curve? They're still leaders, it's just that their ideas have not been embraced on a large scale yet. History is replete with examples.

Believe it or not corporate communication has moved into a much evolved slot in this age and time. To blog or not to blog isn't a question any longer. The question is how to use the corporate blog to effectively deliver the message.

According to, as the size, scope and influence of weblogs continue to proliferate, business managers are faced with an increasingly important question: how to make your voice heard above the crowd?

According to a research project conducted by Pew, there will be 34 million weblogs -- or blogs, as they known for short -- by the end of 2005. These blogs range from the completely ignorable to the regularly consumed and widely trusted.

According to Elise Bauer of, trust is built on reputation and reputation is generally not built on advertising. It is built on what others say about you. Become a thought leader in your field and it won't matter as much how big you are. Companies will look to you for insight and vision. Journalists will quote you, analysts will call you, websites will link to you.
If that doesn't get you excited, then we need to talk. The future is yours to grab!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fear Of The Known?

It's true, I believe.

People, especially those who have a lot to lose - say, business owners - are generally a squeamish bunch. Trying new things is generally not in their genetic makeup. Trying something new if they have nothing to lose is one thing. Risking something established or valuable is generally avoided. Usually change is embraced only when it is forced on them.

The status quo is preferred. President Ronald Reagan once quipped, "Status quo is Latin for 'the mess we're in.'"

So what's the fear of the known? Well as it relates to the 'blogosphere', I think business types see that blogs are largely personal rants of a political or social nature. A way to hammer back at opposing individuals or ideologies. And they're right. But really, blogs of these kind are merely the loudest voices in the blogosphere. There is so much more.

The business community tends to see blogs through the lens of controversy. Unfortunately they short change themselves, their businesses and their employees.

When they begin to see blogging as a way to repeatedly reinforce their message, with a quick response capability, and web traffic enhancement, the voices of controversy will be overcome by the voices of commerce. I truly believe that.

So in one case it's true. People do fear the known. Just like people my age will always only see actor Max Baer as "Jethro" on The Beverly Hillbillies. But your business already has it's identity. Reinforcing it through an affordable, professional, creative blog makes superb business sense. I'll explain it in more detail:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fear Of The Unknown?

The 'blogosphere' is an amazing phenomenon.

I remember watching it from the sidelines years ago and thinking, "What's all the fuss?". I think most people are like that in the beginning. Then, it happens. Out of the blue, you come across a blog that hits your hot button. Maybe it's a favorite personality. Maybe an ideological viewpoint. Whatever. But life in front of the keyboard is never the same.

Some of it is scary. Some of it is degrading. Some of it is instantly forgettable. But some of it is just exactly what you need.

So wade through it, sometimes at your own peril, and find what you need. And while you're looking, just know that as a business person, someone who needs what you offer is treading water just looking for a lifeline.

Let's throw them a line. Together:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Targeting Your Message

One of the greatest things I like about blogging for my business is the ability to hone or target my communications to a person, company, industry, or event.

If I know I'm going to be calling on ABC Company in the Auto aftermarket industry, I could, say post information, thoughts, or research relating to them. I could do a series of posts. Then when I do contact them, I can refer them to my blog to show them my work. It's timely, specifically targeted to issues they may be having, and it shows answers (or at least hints at them) that I can provide. It's like a constantly updating resume.

Companies could do a pre-roll out of a product by initially raising questions on their blog that they know their market is asking, and then when the time is right, voila! the answers to all those questions are answered by their new product or service.

To me it's all about business agility. Corporate blogging or ghostblogging to me is like shooting fish in a rain barrel - provided you can commit the time and resources to do it right.

I can! My inbox is waiting:

Now, off to see ABC Company!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Don't Feel So Bad Now

I try to keep on top of what the blogging community at-large is thinking and doing. I do a variety of searches to see who's saying what. What I've found is that a significant number of search results dealing with blogging or ghostblogging are, in internet years, prehistoric. Posts from as far back as early 2004 routinely show up on search first pages. Looking at some of those posts and blogs shows me that there are quite a few folks who have simply given up the ghost. If they've picked up another blog, then their focus has changed.

All that really does is reinforce my view that blogging for the long term is extremely difficult. Easy to start, but incredibly hard to sustain. Humans generally have short attention spans. Especially if there are no tangible results. Now imagine a business that doesn't see a real return on their investment. Can you say "bye, bye blog"?

With all the research on the number of blogs and trends, I'd love for someone to present some analytics that show just how many blogs are inactive, or infrequently posted to. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.

Blogging (or ghostblogging) for business can't afford to be short-sighted. Let's talk about that:

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Something For Nothing?

A couple of thoughts as I peruse the web for other's thoughts on blogging.

I'm seeing tons of requests for bloggers and ghostbloggers by website owners. What amazes me is that people (apparantly trying to pass themselves off as professionals) are advertising for volunteers, or paying people $1 per 200 - 400 word posts! What I'm curious to find out is who is taking them up on their "offer"? Maybe college students with lots of time, living on their parent's dime. Or Joe Blow with a keyboard.

Certainly not professionals.

OK, before you brand me as an elitist blogging snob (which I might be...), there is some good news.

Anyone can start a cheap website. Anyone can start a blog for free. In one sense that's not good news. But for those of us who offer a professional product, it's only a minor inconvenience. Sure, we have to work harder to communicate to prospective clients that the plethora of gawd awful blogs have a short shelf life. It's also very easy to see the difference between the pros and the wannabes. What better way to showcase your work. Tell prospective clients to perform their due diligence and look for themselves. Case closed.

If you'd like to find out more about my elitist blogging views, ...errr, credentials, just write:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's Good For The Goose...

If you're not familiar with the rest of that saying, it ends with " good for the Gander". Or, careful what you say (or write) or you might find yourself eating your words. Kind of like what happened with this blog.

I got busy, and since this blog is not a large revenue generator for me, my attention was diverted to other things. FYI, this post took me the better part of 30 minutes to do the research, write the commentary, edit, spellcheck, and post it. 1 post a day is a committment of nearly 3 hours each week. Not easy if you're doing it in addition to your regular work load, or in your "spare" time.

Here's a great article by Steven Warren about problems that some corporate blogs are experiencing. Here's a snippet:

A typical scenario would then follow this pattern... A savvy marketing department sees the opportunity presented in blogging. They immediately create a Web site capable of hosting blogs, and begin blogging about their company. It is a huge hit for several months. Upper-level management, mid-management, and employees begin blogging like crazy. The writing is very passionate and the free publicity heats up sales.

But just like any new fad, interest wanes and less people blog until the blogging becomes almost nonexistent. Now marketing is left scratching their heads because they have a built an infrastructure and spent a good deal of money and now they are in desperate need of content. This is where I introduce to you the ghost blogger and the ghost blogger service -- passionate writing and informed content for hire.

"Informed content for hire". Catchy.

So, here I am, six-gun at the ready (in the shape of a keyboard), armed and ready to power your corporate or organizational blogging strategy for the long haul. Let's talk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Realities Of Blogging

The reality is: I/you can come and go as we please. There are plusses and minuses to that.

Plusses? Well one for sure is that your thoughts are always on display for people to look at. Plus, it's the ultimate in personal control. Look at me. I used this blog to promote my business to prospective clients. Then I couldn't handle any more and still provide excellent work, so I disappeared for a while. Probably not the best thing in the world, but hey, I'm back. And my clients are happy.

Minuses. People come to expect your input/feedback/updates/rants. Go away, and you let some of them down. Like I may have. My apologies.

But in the blogosphere, all's forgiven. Kind of.

So here I am. I've come in out of the downpour of clients to a more reasonable season. Just in time to start cleaning up my golf clubs...

I love blogging. That passion can be yours if you want: