I read the book Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel: How blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers.
Scoble started his blog in 2000 and has accumulated over 3 million readers since his began. During his years at Microsoft, he delivered honest opinions and criticism for the company. He made himself extremely accessible and available through his blog, making himself a “spokesblogger” for the company. This earned him some controversy but mostly great success among the Internet world. He has gained praise in magazines such as Fortune and the Economist.
Shel Israel is also the author of the social media book, Twitterville. He speaks frequently on different websites and conferences about how small businesses can thrive in our economy. He has also helped create and improve technologies such as FileMaker and PowerPoint.
The authors go into detail talking about Channel 9, the only official company blog of Microsoft that is user-friendly and built to help customers by initiating real conversations between the organization and its people. It was the first corporate video blog and has been successful and not only relating Microsoft to the community, but shifting perceptions of the company from negative to positive in a short amount of time. Blogs are important for any business because they make companies more human and real to their customers.
The two main advantages of having a personal or business blog are stated by the authors on (p.44). Find and join the conversation. Search engines such as Technorati and PubSub allow the user to track down comments or topics that they are interested in and looking for. There is a whole online world of conversation going on about any topic under the sun and it is your job to explore and embrace it. Feed the network- giving your input, good or bad, will only contribute to the field you are working in and broaden the horizons on what is possible. Blogging can prove to attract lots of attention and is less expensive than advertising, especially on television, etc.
I don’t know how many times I have been told “word of mouth” is the most affective form of advertising. If there is an online equivalent of telling others how you feel, it is clearly a blog! Although you may have to search around to get your word out, it nonetheless will do a great job once the message is delivered to the right people. According to authors, blogging is like steroids, but in a good sense. It builds “credibility, enthusiasm, and customer evangelism.” (p.45) Online programs such as AIM and Skype have made it possible for people to connect for free to millions of people they desire. These programs have been successful because they offer a unique program that they cannot receive through other channels. People tell others about these programs and voila! They are popular.
One of the most interesting things I learned in this book was about the “Six Pillars of Blogging.” The authors talk about how there are six distinct characteristics of blogging that no other form of communication has (p. 28) Publishable- anyone can post a blog, quick and easily, for anyone in the world to read. They are easy to update and usually free. Findable- the more you post, comment, and tag your blog, the more of a chance people will have to search and find it. Social- the online “blogosphere” is essentially one big conversation that is linked to different posts worldwide and creates friendships and relationships through common interests. Viral- News can spread extremely fast through blogs, and no form of viral marketing can keep up with the speed of a blog. Syndicatable- RSS allows you to know when a blog is updated, which is easier than the old ways of having to search pages at a time to see changes. Linkable- You can essentially link your blog to any in the world you want, which makes blogging so accessible and neat.
These are some tips given from successful business bloggers. (p.78-79) Talk, don’t try and sell a product or idea to someone. This is not what kind of environment or purpose blogs were created for. Readers will just want to read your opinions, not listen to a sales pitch. Post often and be interesting- this is just common sense. No one wants to read a boring, repetitive, and irrelevant blog. Write on issues you know and care about. Have passion! Enjoy what you write about. Blogging saves money but costs time. If a blog is good enough, it may eliminate the need for some advertising and PR tactics. It will also take time to become a well-known blogger and this is also the main reason many people give up on their blogging dreams. And make sure to LISTEN to what people tell you! Have an open mind and take criticism in a positive way in order to improve your writing skills and blog style.
The term FUD was created by Gene Amdahl in 1975, which stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” (p.140) This is a phrase often used when discussing change among corporate systems. As with any new system, there comes pros and cons. Some negative criticism about blogs has been floating around. Negative comments- People, especially businesses, do not like bad comments. Especially on such a viewable page like a blog. Disclosing confidential info- Financial matters and personnel information are sometimes things that companies do not want known to all. It is easy to spill the beans online, and a blog makes this extremely easy to find. No ROI- this is a big one. Many companies do not want to waste time on creating and updating blogs because there is no immediate return of money on the time invested. Loss of Message Control- bloggers can obviously create the conversations online, but this doesn’t mean the conversation in return will go in the intended direction. Competitive disadvantage- Businesses are concerned that the more they post about themselves online, the more information their competitiors can have access to and potentially use to their own advantage. Too much time- yes, maintaining a strong blog will take time, and many are fearful and opposed to this. And just because they create one, does not necessarily mean they will have a strong following after. Employee misbehavior- employees are not always smart in what they post on various social media outlets, and blogs are no exception.
The authors give some great tips for creating and maintaining the best blog possible. (p.169)
Naked Conversations Review
NAKED CONVERSATIONS BY ROBERT SCOBLE & SHEL ISRAEL Presentation by Lauren Parr PRCA 3030
ABOUT THE AUTHORS.. <ul><li>Robert Scoble gained popularity during his career at Microsoft, working with innovative technology and wrirting about in his blog, Scobleizer . </li></ul>
ABOUT THE AUTHORS <ul><li>Shel Israel is well-known speaker and writer of social media topics. He also wrote Twitterville and is host of the blog, Global Neighbourhoods: Following Social Media Wherever It Leads . </li></ul>
WHY SHOULD COMPANIES BLOG? <ul><li>According to Tony Perkins, “…the referral power of the blogosphere is also exploding, and marketing and PR executives must embrace this reality or risk losing control of their messages,” (p. 13) </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs must be conversational in order to be successful! </li></ul>
WORD OF MOUTH…ON STEROIDS! <ul><li>“ While word of mouth has always been the most credible way to expand awareness and adoption, blogging fits into all this as the most powerful word-of-mouth delivery mechanism to date,” (p.43) </li></ul><ul><li>Allows people to express their true </li></ul><ul><li>feelings and spread the word to </li></ul><ul><li>millions of people who are willing </li></ul><ul><li>to read your ideas. </li></ul>
THE SIX PILLARS OF BLOGGING <ul><li>Publishable </li></ul><ul><li>Findable </li></ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul><ul><li>Viral </li></ul><ul><li>Syndicatable </li></ul><ul><li>Linkable </li></ul>
THE FUD BARRIER <ul><li>Negative Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosing Confidential Information </li></ul><ul><li>No ROI (return on investment) </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of Message Control </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Disadvantage </li></ul><ul><li>Too Much Time- So Few in the Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Employee Misbehavior </li></ul>
DOING IT RIGHT! TIPS FOR CREATING YOUR BEST BLOG <ul><li>Optimize search engine results with your name </li></ul><ul><li>Read a bunch of blogs before you start </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple, keep it focused </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate passion </li></ul><ul><li>Show your authority </li></ul><ul><li>Add comments </li></ul><ul><li>Be accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Tell a story </li></ul><ul><li>Be “linky” </li></ul><ul><li>Get out into the real world </li></ul><ul><li>Use your referrer log </li></ul>
IN THE END… <ul><li>By reading this book, I learned that blogs are an essential tool for anyone that wants to expand their horizons and reach out to people for personal or business reasons. Although they take time, the reward for online connections can prove to be very valuable over time. I was unaware of how many companies already blog and connect on a personal level with customers. “Naked Conversations” made me want to improve my own blog and start writing about things I am passionate about. I would recommend this book to anyone that is confused about what blogs are and wants to know why they should start blogging today! </li></ul>