Monday, February 27, 2006

The Dangers Of Business Blogging

Don't mean to scare you, but beware of blogging if:

You're doing it because it seems cool.
You're doing it because other people in your industry are doing it.
You're doing it because you want to impress your business contemporaries.
You're doing it because you want an instant increase in web site traffic.
You're doing it because you think it will immediately increase your on-line sales.
You're doing it because it's a cheap way to market your business.
You're doing it because you want to be the first in your industry to do it.
You're doing it because your Marketing Department says you should.

There are more, but this should be enough to get you thinking. I'll follow up each of these in more detail later. In the meantime, do some ruminating!

Have a question that just can't wait, ask.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Corporate Blogs: The Art Of Storytelling

It's really not that complicated.

Just about everyone on the planet reads things that interest them, or that pique their interest. In the world of blogs, it's the same. So the first and foremost job of the business blog writer is to tell an interesting story. But it's my contention that few people can do that well. Blog writers need to be great storytellers. For instance:

"Marketers" generally don't make good bloggers because they only write about things that research says their market is interested in. Anything outside of that is extraneous. "Marketing" blogs are generally just a recitation of "appropriate" facts.

"Advertisers" generally make the worst bloggers because you and everyone else know they're trying to sell you something. They talk about "features and benefits", and try to build a complex smokescreen to hide the fact that what you're reading is a sales pitch. "Advertising" blogs are the easiest to flag as insincere. And that's death in the blogosphere.

"Lawyers"...well, without making this sound too much like a lawyer joke, let's just say that a blog written by a lawyer would be heavy on content, but essentially not say a thing. Lawyers are risk-adverse, so honest, open communication with company stakeholders would be impossible. Carefully crafted entries designed to eliminate liability would be the mainstay. The blogosphere would ridicule it into submission.

"Competitive" blogs simply designed to mirror competitors efforts will be seen in short order to be insincere. There will not be the necessary corporate "will" to see the blog through any challenging times. It will most likely be "ignored" to death.

"Short-sighted" blogs are usually focused around the bottom line. Management will get behind it with sometimes amazing enthusiasm. Money, personnel and technology will be plentiful. The initial send-off will be breathtaking. But, in no time, meetings and memos will become more terse and threatening. "Where is our ROI?" "I thought you said we'd have x times more website traffic?" "Why aren't our on-line sales increasing?" It's kind of like the lottery mentality. Management thought they'd capture lightning in a bottle, and when it ends up being work just like everything else, the blush will come off in a hurry.

Obviously this is just an overview based on my experience and the experiences of others, but it's also based on what many of us are already observing in the blogosphere. There is much more, but as an overview, this is a good "satellite view" of things. Your experience may vary (Lawyer blog disclaimer?).

Just tell your story well. And be in it for the long haul.

Let's talk about this more.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Business Blogs: The World Is Watching...And Blogging

Not that it's much of a surprise, but the whole world is picking up on the value of business blogs. That value can be seen from halfway around the world, yet some business owners still can't seem to see past the end of their noses.

In an article on, author Priyanka Jayashankar points out:

GM isn't the only one. More businesses worldwide are launching corporate blogs to zero in on clients' woes. "Since both customer retention and acquisition are extremely expensive, companies can ill-afford to ignore bloggers," says Meenakshi Sachdev Varma, CEO and Managing Director of Good Relations India Pvt Ltd, a public relations firm.
That's a critical issue. Getting and keeping customers commands a great deal of a business's resources, no matter the company size. In all my years in Marketing and Advertising, I've seen unbelievable amounts of money spent on client retention and acquisition, on nothing more than a whim ("Well, we've got to do something."). I contend that your ROI on a business blog is far more measurable than traditional media because, "We've always done it that way."
Some companies have realised how blogs can make or break a brand and they have
tried to reach out to online groups through corporate blogs. "Skillful blogging can boost your company's credibility and help it connect with customers," says Preeti Desai, President, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

It's a myth that a corporate blog is just a place for customers and college students with too much time on their hands to go to complain. It's a place to build your identity.
PR agency Good Relations has designed blogs for clients in the HR, knowledge management and manufacturing sectors. "A growing number of brand strategists see blogs as a primary source of consumer feedback, research and communication," says its MD, Meenakshi Sachdev Varma.

Customers too can interact directly with the company and get an immediate response to their feedback through blogs. "Instead of spamming with so-called
product news and consumer updates, companies and executives can use blogs as a
platform to talk informally to customers, vendors and employers," says MSN's

Informally does not mean unprofessionally. It has more to do with honest interaction. In this day and age where companies are almost assumed to be cheating customers to their own ends, honest communication is nearly a novelty.

Your business blog can help develop brand loyalty that would make your competitors jealous. And that's never a bad thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blogging And Measurable ROI

This is from an article by Jan Norman in the Orange County Register, reprinted in the Hartford Courant.
About 37 percent of people on the Internet read blogs, often without realizing they are blogs, Zimmer said. That provides wider marketing opportunities than ever before.

Although blogs are text usually read on computers, the technology has quickly expanded to mobile phones - called moblogs - to video and photos to cellphones, MP3 players and personal computers - called vblogs - and audio for computers and MP3 players - called podcasts. Video podcasts are coming.

So not only does it look like blogs are here to stay, it looks like they're becoming more pervasive. Here's more:
"I'm a small-business person like you," Zimmer told the PCE members.

"Heather Green, who writes a column for Business Week Online, posted a question on her blog. I responded, and 20 minutes later she called me and then quoted me in her column. What are the odds I would get into Business Week?"

When discussing ROI, would being quoted in a major news publication be trumpeted? Probably not. But would anyone in their right mind say this had no value. Of course not. A corporate blog can help position you as a "thought leader" in your industry.
Blogs exist on virtually every topic, and those communities can be tapped to help a business, said Genevieve Anton, president of Anton Communications in Tustin, Calif. She worked on an account in which the product was criticized, resulting in a lawsuit. She was able to find a blog for people who were fans of the product. They came immediately and vigorously to the company's defense.

"We could never have mobilized that reaction with traditional public relations," she said.

The value of blogs, in my mind anyway, cannot be disputed anymore. The only question remaining is whether you're going to grasp this new communication tool and put it to work for your business.

If you want to, we can help you do it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Blogging Basics For Business Blogging

Sorry for the uber-alliteration. I couldn't help myself. Here are some blog basics from Nancy Vonk, co-chief creative officer of Ogilvy Toronto, in an article on This is a nice overview, in a kind of Q & A style.
Aren't blogs written by a bunch of losers with nothing better to do than criticise everything and anyone? Why should I waste my time trolling the blogosphere?

Yes, yes, yes, millions of blogs are tragic, but many others are hugely worthwhile.

Who are the blog experts? What are their rules for a good blog?

Blogs are so new there aren't any gurus yet. The "rules" are being stumbled upon through all the mistakes and lessons learned, particularly when it comes to corporate blogs.

Looking at successful blogs from companies such as Microsoft and IBM, should all my clients be starting their own blogs?

For most, not yet. It may be a while before most companies are prepared to do what it takes to make a blog really work for them.

Do the best bloggers have incredible writing skills?

You don't have to be a phenomenal writer to be a successful blogger.

The good ones write spontaneously; their words aren't meticulously thought
through. In a context where speed and authenticity really count, this kind of under-thinking is a plus.

How will traditional, rule-bound marketers cope with approaching this powerful communications tool that cannot be controlled?

Blogs have much in common with traditional media. Without great stopping power as they are skimmed - much like a newspaper ad - people won't linger for more than a few seconds.

If there isn't immediate relevance, they'll move on. If it's delivered in an unappealing voice, they'll move on. Without a focused, single-minded message and consistent voice, they won't be remembered.

These are just a few tidbits. The whole article is well worth reading.

Now, you might be thinking that I'm giving away trade secrets here, but I don't think so. Understanding this new media opportunity and developing a strategy that makes sense for your company is one thing. Implementing and maintaining it is another. That's where I come in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Corporate Blogging Adds Another Auto Maker

Add another business to the blogosphere.
The 2TalkAbout site will provide a trusted community-based environment for users with similar interests and tastes to share unbiased information. Honda is the first major brand to commit to the project.

Visitors to 2TalkAbout can publish their views, respond to what other people are saying on the community and gain unbiased opinion and information about particular products and services.The Honda-sponsored site ( is aimed at anyone with an interest in Honda cars - particularly the new Civic. Although the content will be completely independent from Honda, engineers will regularly log-on to contribute and respond to feedback, providing users with direct access to the brand.

"We like people talking about our cars," says John Goodbody, Website Manager at Honda (UK). "And now there's a blog site where you can discuss your Honda experiences with others or get a useful insight into Honda ownership. We encourage our customers to interact, and this is a great medium for doing just that."
If public companies, who are as "risk adverse" as they come, are boldly embracing the new media of blogging, why not you? The sooner you do, the sooner you can see the benefits of business blogging.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Business Blogging and WOMM

In an article on, Leah Woolford, CEO of talks about word-of-mouth-marketing. How'd you like to help shape what people say about your company?

For the past couple of years, marketers have embraced hot topics such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or eCRM-- how to best manage customer
relationships through marketing. Today and tomorrow, however, the number one topic of conversation will prove to be word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM),
especially as it gains traction across all demographics, extends reach and response across audiences and develops into one of the most effective ways to build brand equity online. As marketers become more educated on how emerging channels can support their consumer -- or even corporate-facing -- strategies, we will begin to see how sometimes going “beyond the browser” will deliver the greatest marketing or advertising results.

The power of blogs and bloggers

Take blogs (Weblogs) for example. A big debate is currently underway regarding the usefulness of blogs as advertising vehicles. I believe that they are a very important channel through which to reach our audience and one of the primary new ways we can effectively communicate brand messages in a genuine way to very specific groups of people who have hundreds of online acquaintances with those same specific interests.

Understand this: If the 'blogosphere' thinks you're just spinning them by trying to co-opt their beloved new communication medium, they'll turn on you. If they feel like you're honestly trying to engage them in a conversation about your product or services, you'll at least earn their respect. Even if that doesn't directly result in sales, it beats the alternative.


Friday, February 17, 2006

The Downside Of Business Blogging

Now, you would think - being an unabashed evangelist for business blogs - that I would never admit to there being a downside to blogging. You would be wrong. But by saying that, I'm proving my point about the value of blogging. I'm being honest with you and trying to engage you in an honest conversation about this important issue. And that's the point.

In fact, let me again ask you to let me know what you think. Feel free to add a comment to this.

There is a downside. One of the horrible downsides is that your communication is very public. And public in a forum where people love to talk. If you say something stupid, well... It's one thing to be stupid in front of the water cooler.

Another is that if your organizational strategy is short-sighted, your blog will most likely suck. It will probably be nothing more than a scrolling e-newsletter or a cheap marketing trick, and the blogosphere will hammer you. Or worse: ignore you. If you're just looking for another way to package your product, stay away from blogging for your business.

For you bean counters, ROI is king, I know. If you see blogging as purely a cheap revenue generator though, you'll be disappointed. A business blog is there to serve your business community. Like good customer service at a brick and mortar location, a business blog may not bring in short term measurable results, but it will get you loyalty that will help you weather the inevitable storms of the marketplace.

So, here's a few thoughts from the article by Tom Taulli in Forbes Magazine I mentioned yesterday:
To get noticed by bloggers, companies should appoint internal bloggers and start them blogging," said Wyman. "Of course, the blogs must be authentic. Also, companies can sponsor blogging events and meet the bloggers themselves to see
what makes them tick."

Shel Israel, the co-author of Naked Conversations, agrees. "We see Microsoft and Sun--with well over 1,000 bloggers each--moving the perception needle into the positive column," said Israel. "Other companies, like Google and Apple, have cultures that seem to an outsider to discourage open, transparent dialogue with customers, users and prospects. This is impacting how people perceive these companies. We see a day when companies will be regarded suspiciously because their employees do not blog."

Business blogs will probably become as commonplace as websites, and businesses that don't have one will probably look foolish. But just because they seem easy, don't be fooled. There are plenty of bad examples cluttering up cyberspace to learn from.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Upside To Business Blogging

Sorry I'm a little slow out of the blocks (wait, that's the Summer Olympics), but I missed what Forbes Magazine had to say about businesses and blogging a couple of weeks ago. Here's a sample of what Tom Taulli wrote:
According to Dan Burstein, the author of BLOG! and a venture capitalist at Millennium Technology Ventures, there are more than 50 million blogs worldwide.
"Blogs are a concrete new form of media and communications, as well as a new
business opportunity," said Burstein.

"Over the next few years, businesses will figure out how to use blogs to develop whole new relationships between businesses and their customers and partners."

Just what works best for your business might keep you up at night, but in the end it will be worth it. Here's one way:

Influential bloggers tend to specialize on narrow topics. To get their attention, you need to provide them with stories that have not already hit the mainstream media. This has been a big part of the success for the Sunbelt Blog. The blogger, Alex Eckelberry, is the president of Sunbelt Software, a provider of antispyware, antispam and security software. No doubt this is a crowded market, and Eckelberry wanted to find ways to give his firm more visibility.

So he set up a blog on security. It was not a means to promote his products. Rather, he wanted to provide useful information for the security community. He broke several major industry stories, including a massive identity-theft ring and a critical WMF Windows error that has since been fixed by Microsoft.

OK, so the liklihood that Bill Gates will send you a Christmas Card is probably slim, the fact is you can drive the conversation about your business. It doesn't really matter if your customers are spread all over the planet, or neatly arranged in small communities.

Ride the wave, don't be pushed around by it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Internal Corporate Blogs Are The First Step

There may not be very many corporate blogs, but businesses are beginning to see the value of blogging platforms. Some are even replacing their intranets with blogs. They're cheaper and easier to maintain.

Here's a snippet from an article by Stephen Baker on titled "The Inside Story on Company Blogs":
The first corporate blogger at McDonald's was Chief Operating Officer Michael Roberts, who launched his internal blog last fall. He used it to spread information through the company's global operations and receive feedback. Now, according to Weick, McDonald's is distributing blog access to thousands of employees, who will use them to report on operations at restaurants worldwide.

The question at McDonald's and Cannondale is whether they'll extend blogs outside the company, to their customers. Already, newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle are building communities of bloggers, which provide new sources of
information -- and new advertising platforms.

Robin Hopper, CEO of iUpload, the Toronto-based outfit that hosts the McDonald's and Cannondale blogs, predicts that growing numbers of companies will distribute blogs in an effort to build social networks around their brands and products. "It's a whole new way to market," he says. "People willingly provide all sorts of demographic information on blogs." Companies can then use that to target them with customized services and advertisements.

So, the corporate community is sticking their toes in the water. That means they're thinking out it. You still have time to get ahead of the game.

Monday, February 13, 2006

How Should Your Business Blog?

Is there some sort of recognized "10 Commandments of Blogging"? Not really, but as this relatively new tool for business communication continues to mature, themes are beginning to develop.

This I found by Julie Moran Alterio on
Creating a theme blog is smart because customers are more likely to enjoy reading about a topic important to them than an overt sales pitch, said marketing strategist Steve Rubel, a senior vice president at CooperKatz & Co. in New York and author of the Micro Persuasion blog.

"The secret to a good corporate blog is that it has to be high interest, and if your subject matter isn't, you have to figure out a way to connect with subjects that are," he said.

By Scott Yaw from Deskey in Cincinnatti, writing on, comes this:
Develop a business plan for the blog that spells out objectives and responsibilities and insist on CEO signoff. Without this step, huge disappointment will surely follow. Companies should think of their blog as a vehicle to form a responsive dialog with employees, customers and suppliers. An effective blog site has a lead author who takes responsibility of content. Therefore, it's critical for companies to appoint the right person to manage it.

As hard as this is for controlling organizations to accept, corporate blogs should first reflect the writer's personality, not just the self-serving interests of the company. Don't make the mistake of turning the blog into a "selling tool" to push products. If it's not honest, authentic and engaging to visitors, it won't be read by anyone you want to reach out to.
The voices coming from the blogging experts are all starting to sing from the same piece of music. We may not all be singing the same part, but then, that's called harmony.

Let me explain our 'part'.

The Simple Truth About Corporate Blogging

I came across this article on by By Diane Kuehn, President and CEO of VisionPoint Marketing. The entire article is worth reading, but her last paragraph is a great summation:
The most compelling reason to have a corporate blog is to establish direct communications with your customers, building trust and respect that cannot be faked. Tackle your blog openly, honestly and ethically. The truth can sometimes hurt in the short run, but hardly ever in the long run. Blogging is here to stay and smart corporations are taking advantage of this new medium.

And if I might add, really smart corporations are hiring blogging consultants to oversee their online content and their blogging strategy. I mean, you hire an agency to oversee your marketing efforts, while still maintaining ultimate control. It's much the same with your blog. Do what you do best, and let the blogging experts do what they do best. You'll win in the long run.

We'd love to talk when you have a minute:

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Business Blogs Reshaping Business Marketing

I'm hoping that articles like this will help take some of the fear out of word "blog" and inspire businesses of all sizes to utilize this online marketing tool for their betterment. I continue from an article from The Journal News. Christopher Barger was an executive speechwriter for IBM when he first started his own blog.

Even though he had never blogged about IBM, Barger wasn't sure how managers would feel about his extracurricular activity. But instead of getting disciplined, Barger got promoted.

Today, he is IBM's "blogger in chief," and he is helping lead the computer giant's efforts to make everyone in the company familiar with blogs. "My hobby became my job," Barger said.

Blogs — regularly updated online journals that mix commentary with links to news on the Web — are in the sights of such corporations as IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, General Motors and Boeing as they multiply.

Technorati, a search engine for blogs, reports that 70,000 new blogs a day join the 23.7 million already in existence.

Corporations are joining the "blogosphere" to take part in the online debates that involve their brands, products and industries.

"Blogger In Chief". I like that.

Now to my thinking, when monolithic enterprises like giant corporations - the epicenter of the 'playing it safe' mentality - embrace technical innovation, small business should sit up and take notice. Especially since this innovation is so darn affordable. Get off the sidelines!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Business Blogging Embraced By Corporations

I caught this article by Christopher Carfi on You can find the whole article by Julie Alterio at The Journal News . Here's a peek at the future from IBM.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM's VP of technical strategy and innovation is quoted as saying: "We absolutely recognize that blogging, just like the Internet, World
Wide Web, Linux and open source, is a major initiative in the marketplace that we should be part of. This best way to be part of it is not to observe it passively but to do it actively."
You know it's getting serious when corporate America starts embracing it! Let's talk about getting your feet wet!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Two Views Of The Corporate Blogging Universe, Pt. 2

Referencing my previous post, here's the more optimistic side from the same article.

Steven Hyde, president and chief executive officer of Go Clothing Inc., which has hosted its online store,, for over four years with Yahoo, is already convinced.

Hyde and his team are evaluating the Six Apart and WordPress services and have concrete plans to add a blogging section to the site in the near future. He envisions it as a place for Go Clothing customers, clients and suppliers to share ideas and feedback.

"We didn’t really conceive it for the site until Yahoo announced [the WordPress and Six Apart deals], but the more I think about it, it makes a lot of sense," Hyde said.

So it seems like the genie is already out of the bottle. What's next?

I think it could be as simple as "player" or "spectator". My understanding of the business world, is that it's generally not a good idea to sit idly by.

Just ask Apple!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Two Views Of The Corporate Blogging Universe, Pt.1

This isn't complex. From an article on by Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service:

One client needing convincing is Simon Lloyd, director of business development at Springwater Woodcraft Inc., a maker of wood furnishings that has hosted its Web site ( with Yahoo for about three years.

"If I'm going to take the time to do it, it has to be profitable in some way, maybe not directly, but I haven't seen that yet," Lloyd said. If he sees how a blog would spur sales or enhance customer service, he'd take the plunge and add one to the site, he said.

Seems reasonable. But I still wonder how much money businesses spread around to inefficient marketing outlets. I gotta believe there's enough "fat" that could be trimmed that could easily fund a blog strategy. Happy day! ROI remains intact.

Love to talk strategy with you!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Resistance Is Futile

Richard Edelman, President and CEO of the world's largest PR firm has written in his blog:

How can companies embrace this future of empowered stakeholders? Speak from the inside out, telling your employees and customers what is happening so they can
spread the word for you. Be transparent, revealing what you know when you know it while committing to updating as you learn more. Be willing to yield control of the message in favor of a rich dialogue, in which you learn by listening. Recognize the importance of repetition of the story in multiple venues, because nobody believes something he or she hears or sees for the first time. Embrace new technologies, from employee blogs to podcasts, because audiences are becoming ever more segmented.

I believe with all my heart that change is happening, and businesses - both small and large, public and private, consumer and business, need to embrace it. Ostriches simply will not survive the coming shift in the business climate. Edelman continues:

The traditional approach to corporate communications envisages a controlled process of scripted messages delivered by the chief executive, first to investors, then to other opinion-formers, and only later to the mass audiences of employees and consumers. In the past five years, this pyramid-of influence model has been gradually supplanted by a peer-to-peer, horizontal discussion among multiple stakeholders. The employee is the new credible source for information about a company, giving insight from the front lines. The consumer has become a co-creator, demanding transparency on decisions from sourcing to new-product positioning.

The handwriting is on the wall. The remarkable thing to me is that getting "in the game" is so easy and cost-effective, and still there is reticence. Break free.

The Slippery Slope

Usually that phrase is heard in conjunction with negative trends in culture, science or as it relates to societal issues. I think it has application elsewhere. Here again is David Kline on

The consumer today is in open rebellion.

He doesn't listen to advertising anymore. He no longer trusts corporate spokespeople or their messages. In fact, according to the 7th Annual Edelman Trust survey released just last week, people now say their most credible source of information about a company and its products is “a person like me” -- a trust level in peers that has skyrocketed from only 20 percent three years ago to 68 percent today (versus a trust level for corporate CEOs that has now plummeted to only 28 percent).

This lack of trust, of course, has major bottom-line consequences. More than 80 percent of people surveyed say they would refuse to buy goods or services from a company they do not trust. And new research also shows that negative consumer comments on blogs have a direct impact on corporate brands, earnings and share prices.

In science it can be called "critical mass". Some might say it's simply the point of no return. When change happens, it won't be a slow process. It will happen almost overnight. Those who are ready for it will capitalize on their readiness, and be rewarded handsomely for it. Those who take a "wait and see" attitude, will be scrambling to keep up, and most will be left behind. Kline continues:

Indeed, the consumer now demands more of business -- and thanks to blogs and other new consumer-empowering technology and media, he can now get it. companies who meet these new expectations are rewarded. Those that don't, see their businesses punished as never before.

Can you afford that? I don't think so. Let's get ready.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The "Me-Too" Syndrome?

A recent commenter to David Kline's blog makes a rather obvious, but important point:
Another thing that is holding back corporate blogging is the same thing that could accelerate its adoption: Whomever breaks rank and scores a big win will open the floodgates. As noted, because large corporates are risk-averse, they're not going to move unless they see proof that blogging provides a competitive advantage. So, if a shower soap manufacturer develops a new soap based on blog conversations and gets an amazing launch based upon that same conversation - it will get all other soap manufacturers' attention. It's the natural order of things in the business world.

It's the way of the world, but it's about as inevitable as anything in life. Wait 'til things take off, then jump on the bandwagon, and say you were behind it all the way.

Everyone will be taking credit for it's success! Why wait?

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Brave New World?

Trying to convince business leaders that blogging is the wave of the future is not easy. Never-the-less, I'm committed to doing it. And it will happen.

David Kline in his Blog Revolt blog makes the assertion:

The number of Fortune 500 companies with strategic public blogging initiatives, after all, is still quite small -- somewhere between 3-4%, depending on how you figure it.

Staff writer for, David A. Utter talks about more of these issues.

Beyond the issues cited by Kline et al, there's an even simpler reason why blogging probably won't happen at the executive levels, again tech companies like Sun and its president Jonathan Schwartz notwithstanding: writing every day is not easy.

Blogging isn't just typing a memo, because memos don't type back at their creators. Blogs do. They demand constant care and attention, and a nigh-continuous stream of new content. Believe it or not, writing is work, and blogging can be very hard work on top of an executive's duties.

Now, even though this is geared towards blogging by Executives, these points still hold much wisdom.

Again, I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but content is still the primary issue. Time and creative issues will be the biggest hurdles business bloggers will have to overcome. We can help you overcome them.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coming Back For Seconds

In case you missed the last post (or didn't have time to read the whole thing), let me just offer up another quick snippet from this great article on

A shift is taking place in corporate communications, one that promises to alter marketing strategies well into the future. Marketing has always been about balancing company interest with customer interest, but now it is becoming more about opening dialogue and building trust. Blogs, after having gained widespread notoriety during the 2004 presidential election, have moved beyond individual
ranting and into the corporate world, enhancing typical marketing techniques by allowing companies to talk to their customers directly--and by allowing companies to listen to what customers are saying.

Chris Kenton, senior vice president of the CMO Council and blog writer, says, "The whole game is changing. The traditional paradigm is that marketers are predators who line 100 ducks on a fence and hope they have enough marketing power to shoot down 1.5 of them. Smart companies are trying to take them off the fence and catalyze and cultivate a community with that group, inviting [community members] into a dialogue without being [intrusive]. One way to have access to the market is to build it around you. It's all about access, insight, and influence."

I continue to make the case that having a "ghostblogger" in charge of your blog content is a great, affordable way to present your company's story. They're close enough to the company to understand the message and the market, yet far enough away to be able to retain some necessary objectivity.

The future is here and it's within your company's grasp. Want to know how close?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sink Your Teeth Into This

Oooh, I just found an article I really like! Of course, the reason I like it is that it agrees with so much of what I already believe. Shallow, I know.

I found it on a website, The article is entitled, A New Marketing Medium. If you don't know what CRM is, I can't bring you up to speed here, but it's critical to business success. A lot of the focus of CRM is on technology or platforms to improve processes. My thinking is if your process are perfect, but your message is not, you're wasting a lot of hard earned money. Here's a sample:

Although many companies are starting to recognize corporate blogs as a new marketing medium, few are engaging in the practice. Less than 5 percent of the Fortune 1,000 is using blogs strategically, but that percentage will triple in the next two years, according to Ray Valdes, a Gartner analyst. He points out, however, that even companies that are using blogs are not necessarily using them efficiently at this point--although they recognize that blogs are a significant communication tool. A lack of knowledge and a fear of the risks and repercussions are stopping companies from developing a blogging policy.

Technology companies like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have product developers, middle managers, and engineers blogging, Valdes says, "[but] the vast majority are still saying, 'What is this? My teenage daughter is doing this, but what are the risks?' It's like the early days of email. They see all the downside and no upside. You worry your employees will spill their guts, but at the same time you allow them to get on a plane and spill their guts to the guy next to them."

My honest pitch to businesses is to place appropriately skilled people in charge of the implementation of your company blog. Technical people understand the processes. Might I suggest a wordsmith or "storyteller" to tell your story and interact with the people who drive your business. Your customers.

Toot. Toot.

That was the sound of my horn.