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The Business Blogging Field Guide

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Information about The Business Blogging Field Guide

Published on August 17, 2007

Author: christophercarfi

Source: slideshare.net

Description

The definitive overview of business blogging for an executive-level audience, including examples of the six types of business blogs.
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The Business Blogging Field Guide

Agenda Introduction What are web logs, or blogs? Guided Tour: The Business Blogging Field Guide The Tour Guide The Recommender The Maven The Customer Advocate The Do- er The CEO Blog

Introduction

What are web logs, or blogs?

Guided Tour: The Business Blogging Field Guide

The Tour Guide

The Recommender

The Maven

The Customer Advocate

The Do- er

The CEO Blog

What are web logs, or blogs?

What are web logs, or blogs?

What is a Blog? A weblog (usually shortened to blog , but occasionally spelled web log ) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles, normally in reverse chronological order. (source: Wikipedia) The first blogs date back to 1997, and historically focused on personal musings, political discussions, and myriad other “non-business” topics 2005 will be remembered as the year that business blogs hit the radar

A weblog (usually shortened to blog , but occasionally spelled web log ) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles, normally in reverse chronological order. (source: Wikipedia)

The first blogs date back to 1997, and historically focused on personal musings, political discussions, and myriad other “non-business” topics

2005 will be remembered as the year that business blogs hit the radar

How popular are blogs? Estimates of the number of blogs vary from a few million to 70million+. (Some analysts estimate only one-third of blogs are regularly updated.) Between 12 and 14 million Americans (10-11 percent of Internet users) regularly use blogs. Users access blogs via Web sites and email newsletters. 34 percent of blog users have posted material to the blogs they visit. Each of these metrics grows daily. Sources: iMedia Connection, Perseus White Papers, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Technorati

Estimates of the number of blogs vary from a few million to 70million+. (Some analysts estimate only one-third of blogs are regularly updated.)

Between 12 and 14 million Americans (10-11 percent of Internet users) regularly use blogs.

Users access blogs via Web sites and email newsletters.

34 percent of blog users have posted material to the blogs they visit.

Each of these metrics grows daily.

Common Traits Of Blogs Frequently updated Presented in reverse chronological order Authored by a “person,” not a “company Authentic voice, not “corporate-speak” Many outbound links, even outside the organization Example: GM’s Fastlane Blog, authored by Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and others ( http:// fastlane . gmblogs .com )

Frequently updated

Presented in reverse chronological order

Authored by a “person,” not a “company

Authentic voice, not “corporate-speak”

Many outbound links, even outside the organization

Example: GM’s Fastlane Blog, authored by Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and others ( http:// fastlane . gmblogs .com )

Who reads blogs? Reliable demographic data on typical blog users portray a desirable, literary, professional, cutting-edge audience. This audience is: Better educated and better paid than the average Web user; often younger too. Information-hungry: Blog readers consume more magazines, radio, movies and books than other Americans, online and off. Uses the Internet as their news, entertainment and communication medium of choice. Spends more money online than the average Web user. Sources: Pew Internet & American Life Project, Quris

Reliable demographic data on typical blog users portray a desirable, literary, professional, cutting-edge audience.

This audience is:

Better educated and better paid than the average Web user; often younger too.

Information-hungry: Blog readers consume more magazines, radio, movies and books than other Americans, online and off.

Uses the Internet as their news, entertainment and communication medium of choice.

Spends more money online than the average Web user.

Demographics: Web users v. blog users Source: Quris/Bruner, “View from the Inbox” research, n=1,691 Web users, July 2003. Corroborated by Pew’s “Content Creation Online”

Corporations Blogging Boeing Craigslist Edelman GM Google HP IBM Macromedia Microsoft Mobius Venture Capital RedHat SAP SUN Yahoo! … and many, many others

Boeing

Craigslist

Edelman

GM

Google

HP

IBM

Macromedia

Microsoft

Mobius Venture Capital

RedHat

SAP

SUN

Yahoo!

… and many, many others

Characteristics of successful blogs Successful blogs include: Daily updates to a blog consisting of a single Web page of entries organized chronologically. The most successful blogs often update >1x/day and include an archive. Example: Most visits to University of Tennessee Law Prof. Glenn Reynolds’ site, Instapundit.com, generate one pageview. His site draws 100,000+ unique visitors each day. Strong relationships within the “blogosphere” or blog network of related links. Most blogs link primarily to other blogs and non-traditional sources of news and information. Example: One study found that only 9.9 percent of active blogs had a current post that linked to one of 2,875 traditional news sites. Example: Technorati.com tracks over 55,000,000 blogs that generated over 1.2 billion links around the Web.

Successful blogs include:

Daily updates to a blog consisting of a single Web page of entries organized chronologically.

The most successful blogs often update >1x/day and include an archive.

Example: Most visits to University of Tennessee Law Prof. Glenn Reynolds’ site, Instapundit.com, generate one pageview. His site draws 100,000+ unique visitors each day.

Strong relationships within the “blogosphere” or blog network of related links. Most blogs link primarily to other blogs and non-traditional sources of news and information.

Example: One study found that only 9.9 percent of active blogs had a current post that linked to one of 2,875 traditional news sites.

Example: Technorati.com tracks over 55,000,000 blogs that generated over 1.2 billion links around the Web.

Why Do Companies Have Business Blogs?

Why Companies Blog – Customer Facing Reasons Customer connection Visibility Networking Real-time feedback Differentiation

Customer connection

Visibility

Networking

Real-time feedback

Differentiation

Why Companies Blog – Unique Internet Traits Search engine notice Brand visibility Blogs are the “anti-spam” Persistence Timeliness Extended audience reach through syndication Not just to talk…but to listen .

Search engine notice

Brand visibility

Blogs are the “anti-spam”

Persistence

Timeliness

Extended audience reach through syndication

Not just to talk…but to listen .

Why Companies Blog – Linking and PageRank Google says: “ PageRank performs an objective measurement of the importance of web pages. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank then assesses a page's importance by the number of votes it receives.” “ PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results.”

Google says:

“ PageRank performs an objective measurement of the importance of web pages. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank then assesses a page's importance by the number of votes it receives.”

“ PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results.”

What Kind Of Opportunity Do Blogs Represent For Your Company?

An Opportunity To Provide More Value To Customers Blogs give an immediate venue for feedback and dialogue Opportunity to learn about company updates, strategy Provides opportunity to find others working on similar problems Grants insight into the individuals behind the corporate veneer Photo credit: http://wiki.elearning.ubc.ca/WhySocial

Blogs give an immediate venue for feedback and dialogue

Opportunity to learn about company updates, strategy

Provides opportunity to find others working on similar problems

Grants insight into the individuals behind the corporate veneer

An Opportunity To Provide More Value To The Organization Company value Real-time feedback from customers on current offerings Unfiltered feedback from customers on current offerings Low-risk environment to get feedback on future company direction Infrastructure “in place” when a timely even breaks Opportunity to build a daily addiction Competitive edge Can develop real relationships “ Integrity is our scam” Expanded visibility Provide an injection of voice, tone, personality and stickiness to the current web site Can also solve the “last mile” issue that can thwart the development of daily content audiences by providing users the optional service of receiving blog(s) via email

Company value

Real-time feedback from customers on current offerings

Unfiltered feedback from customers on current offerings

Low-risk environment to get feedback on future company direction

Infrastructure “in place” when a timely even breaks

Opportunity to build a daily addiction

Competitive edge

Can develop real relationships

“ Integrity is our scam”

Expanded visibility

Provide an injection of voice, tone, personality and stickiness to the current web site

Can also solve the “last mile” issue that can thwart the development of daily content audiences by providing users the optional service of receiving blog(s) via email

An Opportunity To Better Understand Customers Identify “hot button” items (both positive and negative) in real-time Identify influencers, advocates (and detractors) Site metrics Measurable Trend tracking Referrals

Identify “hot button” items (both positive and negative) in real-time

Identify influencers, advocates (and detractors)

Site metrics

Measurable

Trend tracking

Referrals

Guided Tour: The Business Blogging Field Guide

Guided Tour:

The Business Blogging Field Guide

The Business Blogging Field Guide Business blogs have the opportunity to uniquely connect with customers and prospects Many different ways business blogs can be used to create relationships The Business Blogging Field Guide The Tour Guide The Recommender The Maven The Customer Advocate The Do- er The CEO Blog

Business blogs have the opportunity to uniquely connect with customers and prospects

Many different ways business blogs can be used to create relationships

The Business Blogging Field Guide

The Tour Guide

The Recommender

The Maven

The Customer Advocate

The Do- er

The CEO Blog

The Business Blogging Field Guide: Tour Guide Blogs Tour Guide Blogs Tour Guide" blogs give a glimpse into the company. Not unlike an actual physical plant tour, this type of blog gives a "behind the scenes" glimpse into the goings-on of the corporate machinery. Sometimes they cover current events at the organization, introduce the reader to some of the members of the company, or highlight particular products or items of note. "Tour Guide" example Blogger: Noah Acres Role: Director of Sales and Marketing Company: Bigha Blog Location: http://www.bigha.com/blog/archives/000059.php

Tour Guide Blogs

Tour Guide" blogs give a glimpse into the company. Not unlike an actual physical plant tour, this type of blog gives a "behind the scenes" glimpse into the goings-on of the corporate machinery. Sometimes they cover current events at the organization, introduce the reader to some of the members of the company, or highlight particular products or items of note.

The Business Blogging Field Guide: Recommender Blogs Recommender Blogs "Recommender" blogs (commonly known as "link blogs") are not designed to be a destination in and of themselves, but are instead a resource for readers of a particular business blogger. One can almost think of these types of blogs as reviews or, as the name suggests, recommendations of items that the blogger believes will be of interest to his or her readers. In contrast to almost all of the other types of business blogs, Recommender blogs oftentimes do not contain commentary on or visibility into the company for which the blogger works. Rather, the blogger becomes a resource for his or her readership and, as a side effect, brings more attention to the organization for which the blogger works. “ Recommender" examples Blogger: Jeremy Zawodny Role: Platform Engineering Company: Yahoo! Blog Location: http:// jeremy . zawodny .com/ linkblog Blogger: Robert Scoble Role: Technical Evangelist Company: Microsoft (now PodTech) Blog Location: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/14480565058256660224

Recommender Blogs

"Recommender" blogs (commonly known as "link blogs") are not designed to be a destination in and of themselves, but are instead a resource for readers of a particular business blogger. One can almost think of these types of blogs as reviews or, as the name suggests, recommendations of items that the blogger believes will be of interest to his or her readers.

In contrast to almost all of the other types of business blogs, Recommender blogs oftentimes do not contain commentary on or visibility into the company for which the blogger works. Rather, the blogger becomes a resource for his or her readership and, as a side effect, brings more attention to the organization for which the blogger works.

The Business Blogging Field Guide: Maven Blogs Maven Blogs "Maven" blogs (the maven moniker shamelessly stolen from the Malcolm Gladwell book The Tipping Point ) are business blogs that highlight an individual's expertise in a particular area. Contrast these to the "Tour Guide" blogs. Where the tour guides are showing an inside view of the company, the mavens are putting their expertise out there for readers to discover. The most interesting thing about the maven business bloggers is that, typically, the blogs are centered around a business area or concept, and are not focused on the blogger's employer or associated organization. “ Maven" examples Blogger: Carolyn Elefant Area of Expertise: Solos and small law firms Company: The Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant Blog Location: http://www. myshingle .com Blogger: Ross Mayfield Area of Expertise: Wikis and collaborative technologies Company: SocialText Blog Location: http:// ross . typepad .com

Maven Blogs

"Maven" blogs (the maven moniker shamelessly stolen from the Malcolm Gladwell book The Tipping Point ) are business blogs that highlight an individual's expertise in a particular area.

Contrast these to the "Tour Guide" blogs. Where the tour guides are showing an inside view of the company, the mavens are putting their expertise out there for readers to discover.

The most interesting thing about the maven business bloggers is that, typically, the blogs are centered around a business area or concept, and are not focused on the blogger's employer or associated organization.

The Business Blogging Field Guide: The Customer Advocate Customer Advocate Blogs Customer advocate blogs (or advocate-styled posts within a larger, more general blog) are those that expressly engage directly with the customer, solicit feedback, answer direct customer questions, and generally reach out and act as a bridge between customers, their concerns and suggestions, and the organization. When done well, customer advocate blogs will communicate full-circle, and follow the following steps: 1) Engage the conversation 2) Distill and group the feedback 3) Prioritize the feedback 4) Report back 5) Get to closure “ Customer Advocate” examples Blogger: John Dowdell Role: Customer Support Company: Macromedia Blog Location: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd/archives/2005/01/real_jumps_shar.cfm Blogger: Robert Scoble Role: Technical Evangelist Company: Microsoft (now PodTech) Blog Location: http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2005/01/06.html

Customer Advocate Blogs

Customer advocate blogs (or advocate-styled posts within a larger, more general blog) are those that expressly engage directly with the customer, solicit feedback, answer direct customer questions, and generally reach out and act as a bridge between customers, their concerns and suggestions, and the organization.

When done well, customer advocate blogs will communicate full-circle, and follow the following steps:

1) Engage the conversation

2) Distill and group the feedback

3) Prioritize the feedback

4) Report back

5) Get to closure

The Business Blogging Field Guide: “Do-er” Blogs “ Do-er” Blogs Whereas the Maven business blogs typically are written at a high level, cover a broad industry, and oftentimes do not overly associate the business blogger with the organization they are with, the "Do-er" blogs dive to a deeper level. In some ways, these types of business blogs could be thought of as a more narrowcast version of the Maven blog, concentrating on a particular area of expertise within a particular organization. It is extremely important to note, however, that Do-er blogs in particular are not restricted to the high-tech industry. In fact, some of the most interesting stories and insight from down in the trenches comes from areas outside of high-tech. “ Do-er” examples Blogger: Bryan Cantrill (middle) Role: Solaris Kernel Development Company: Sun Blog Location: http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/bmc/20050125 Blogger: Archie Reed Role: Secure Identity Management Company: HP Blog Location: http://h20325.www2.hp.com/blogs/reed

“ Do-er” Blogs

Whereas the Maven business blogs typically are written at a high level, cover a broad industry, and oftentimes do not overly associate the business blogger with the organization they are with, the "Do-er" blogs dive to a deeper level. In some ways, these types of business blogs could be thought of as a more narrowcast version of the Maven blog, concentrating on a particular area of expertise within a particular organization.

It is extremely important to note, however, that Do-er blogs in particular are not restricted to the high-tech industry. In fact, some of the most interesting stories and insight from down in the trenches comes from areas outside of high-tech.

The Business Blogging Field Guide: CEO Blogs CEO Blogs Although commonly called a "CEO Blog," the name itself is a bit of a misnomer. Although a CEO Blog is oftentimes written by the chief executive of an organization, the name has been co-opted a bit and now commonly refers to a business blog that is written by any high-level executive of an organization. BusinessWeek gets it right: "Execs are finding blogs useful for plugging not just their products, but their points of view." The real power of the CEO Blog, however, is that it can be a strong -- and perhaps the supreme -- means of differentiation for an organization. Ultimately, products commoditize and best practices can be copied. The only real differentiators that are sustainable are the connections that form between members of an organization and customers. “ CEO Blog” examples Blogger: Bob Lutz Role: Vice Chairman Company: General Motors Blog Location: http:// fastlane . gmblogs .com Blogger: Bob Parsons Role: Founder and President Company: GoDaddy Blog Location: http://www. bobparsons .com

CEO Blogs

Although commonly called a "CEO Blog," the name itself is a bit of a misnomer. Although a CEO Blog is oftentimes written by the chief executive of an organization, the name has been co-opted a bit and now commonly refers to a business blog that is written by any high-level executive of an organization. BusinessWeek gets it right: "Execs are finding blogs useful for plugging not just their products, but their points of view."

The real power of the CEO Blog, however, is that it can be a strong -- and perhaps the supreme -- means of differentiation for an organization. Ultimately, products commoditize and best practices can be copied. The only real differentiators that are sustainable are the connections that form between members of an organization and customers.

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