How Level3 Communications Took the "Blah" Out of Corporate Blogging, presented by Ben Bacon

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Having an engaging blog is key for keeping customers coming back for more, so the pressure's on for big companies (especially BtoB) to post great content. …

Having an engaging blog is key for keeping customers coming back for more, so the pressure's on for big companies (especially BtoB) to post great content.

In this presentation from Level3 Digital & Social Media Manager Ben Bacon, you'll learn how they built their blog from scratch and tips for creating awesome (and relevant) content.

A few big ideas Ben covers:

1. How to get to know your customers by listening to their interests and learning how they speak

2. How to determine the appropriate tone and style of your content

3. How to find, train, and empower employees to contribute to the blog

More in: Business , Technology
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Transcript

  • 1. How Level3 Communications Took the “Blah”WE TEACH WORD OFMOUTH MARKETING Out of Corporate Blogging Ben Bacon More ideas!www.wordofmouth.org
  • 2. @level3 @benjaminbacon blog.level3.comHow We Took the “Blah” Out of Corporate BloggingBlogWell Dallas – January 24th, 2012© Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Level 3, Level 3 Communications and the Level 3 Communications Logo are either registered service marks or service marks of Level 3 Communications, LLC and/or one ofits Affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. Level 3 services are provided by wholly owned subsidiaries of Level 3 Communications, Inc. Any other service names, product names, company names or logos includedherein are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
  • 3. Starting social media from scratch January 2011 What are we going to say? What tone should we say it in? Where should we say it?  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 3
  • 4. Step #1 – Look at our business and how we compete  What do we do?  B2B Telecom  Internet access, VPNs, phone service to companies  How do we compete?  Intimate customer experience  Collaborate/2-way dialogue  Challenge the status quo  Enjoyable to do business with  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 4
  • 5. Step #2 – Listen to customers and how they speak  Who do we sell to?  Network engineers  Telecom managers  Solution architects  IT organizations  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 5
  • 6. Step #2 – Listen to customers and how they speak  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 6
  • 7. Step #2 – Listen to customers and how they speak  Who do we sell to?  Network engineers  Telecom managers  Solution architects  IT organizations  What are they like?  Mostly male  Self-identified “geeks”  Eclectic, super opinionated  Contrarian viewpoints  Great BS detectors  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 7
  • 8. Step #3: Let the sum of those things set your tone andcontent  How do we compete?  Intimate customer experience Human  Collaborate/2-way dialogue Not “Telecomplicated”  Challenge the status quo Approachable/Inquisitive  Enjoyable to do business with Friendly/Humorous  What are they like?  Mostly male Quirky  Self-identified “geeks” Self-Deprecating  Eclectic, super opinionated Edgy  Contrarian viewpoints Transparent  Great BS detectors  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 8
  • 9. Step #4: Find employees that embody that tone and cancreate that content  Search for storytellers not titles  Go way beyond product…who talks to customers and who does what our customers do  Look for long articulate emails, people that tell great stories at happy hours  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 9
  • 10. Step #5: Help train and empower them to do it  We had engineers…not bloggers  Blogging not a skillset, weekly emails with tips on how to write blog content  Long leadup time – Jan to June to find and train folks  Leverage listening tool, twitter feed, VOC research to find potential stories  Avoid brochure speak like the plague  Short, punchy > long, technical  Would someone share this?  They write…then we do the rest - titles, punch it up, legal approval and post on their behalf  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 10
  • 11. Beyond Bandwidth – blog.level3.com Launched June 2011 ~100 posts ~20 writers ~20 categories  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 11
  • 12. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Analogies – How can we help engineers communicate XYZ solution?  Network = lawnmowing, teenage girls, learning languages, kitchen renovations  Uncomplicating telecom  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 12
  • 13. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Global Events/Current News  Overpopulation, Borders closing, cord cutting, Arab Spring  You can’t have thought leadership without readership  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 13
  • 14. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Group Posts  # Things That Take You Beyond Bandwidth  Showcases our diverse thinking, easy to assemble  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 14
  • 15. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Nostalgia/Company History  Help customers build an emotional/personal connection to Level 3  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 15
  • 16. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Look in the Mirror Posts  How can we be as transparent as possible?  What have we done wrong? Can we pass those learnings to customers?  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 16
  • 17. Things that have worked for us in blogging  Talk about the Taboo  Death, taxes…fiber cuts; How can we educate our customers on outages?  Single tweet picked up by Telecom News…then GigaOm and Gizmodo…then Yahoo News and The Atlantic…the Der Spiegel, etc etc. • This article rocks. I’m the guy that says “well, according to the traceroute, it’s the ISP’s sh*t.” Thoroughly enjoyed it. • Dude. I fricking love you. Level3 is my world. Everything I use, I know where the pingtrace runs. Without level3, I have no internet. Level3 is the sh*t.  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 17
  • 18. Fun has spread across all social media  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 18
  • 19. Light content, serious results  Blog Traffic  100,000 page views by 3rd month  Readers from 178 different countries  YouTube  #1 organic result for “Data Center Networking”  Top 3 for “Unified Communications”  Top 5 for “SIP Trunking”  Twitter  From 0 to 8,000 followers  Klout score – from 0 to 50+ • Influential in Broadband, Video, Cloud Computing, etc.  Google – 3,000 different keyword combos driving blog visits  CDN architecture, why Ethernet better, concurrent call paths, culture at Level 3  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 19
  • 20. Blog management tips  Monthly recaps in the form of a blog  Assignments – not editorial calendars  Find self-motivated bloggers  Get up, walk around the office and always carry a camera phone  Don’t be afraid of the red pen, especially on the title and first 2 paragraphs  Roll up your sleeves and write some yourself  Everyone thinks a.) their job is boring and b.) they’d be awful bloggers - you need to get people out of their comfort zones  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 20
  • 21. Come see us in Colorado!  Ben Bacon - @benjaminbacon  Ben.Bacon@level3.com  Twitter - @level3  Facebook.com/level3  Blog.level3.com  Level 3 Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 21