Blog Basics: Business and Consumer Blogs


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Overview of blog basics, types of blogs and the future of blogging

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  • What is a blog? Originally known as a weblog, now shortened to blog It’s a bundle of personal thoughts posted online Anybody can create one because it is cheap and easy to use It is maintained by an individual Key is that you need to maintain the blog  update/change material constantly It has many uses Can be used to post comments, link to other sites, and engage in dialogue with readers Advantages It is an open medium of communication Blogs “can be collaborative and encourage participation” (Journal of Business Strategy, 2008) Allow you to reach beyond your social networks Syndication allows aggregation of hundreds of blogs Creates a network of mutual reference and endorsements Also, it is faster then newsletters and bulletins Update/change material instantly
  • Purpose: Reach organizational goals Window to company cultural More informal than traditional press releases Advantages Usability: Posts and comments easy to reach and follow Credibility: Window to company culture Informal, timely  Transparent Disadvantages Negative responses hurt credibility Uses Internal: Collaborative tool Enhance corporate communication / culture Empowers employees to voice opinion and share expertise Place where company employees/teams/spokespeople share views with public External: Marketing, branding or public relations tool Enable knowledgeable people to talk about org/product/services Real-time communication with key stakeholders  Engages with customers  Facilitate interactive communication, encourage feedback This knowledgeable communication develop trust around products and services
  • Identify benefits What do you expect to get out of the blog? Don’t expect too much – it’s only a tool. Create guidelines Follow blogging guidelines based on both internal and external purpose Make a clear statement about what is allowed and what is not Determine requirements 1) Knowledge Knowing the industry and the company culture is key to creating quality content with interesting insights 2) Transparency Be critical of credibility and validity of content Zero-tolerance for lies 3) Time Long-term challenge, make a commitment Update frequently to build your reputation, stay in touch with readers 4) Dialogue Must be willing to engage in dialogue with customer base Understand the audience - talk about topics that interest them Post sincere responses 5) Writing style Skill: Does not have to be completely formal and professional Must have a way with words and be creative
  • There are four main types of business blogs – broken down by author and focus 1.) CEO Blog: Written by the company leader or another high level executive. It talks about his/her vision or strategy for the company. It is used to increase the CEO’s profile. 2.) Company Blog – It is maintained by multiple employees with various backgrounds. Its content ranges from the latest product to the recent company party. It is a good place for outsiders to get the best picture of the company. 3) Expert Blog – It is driven by the employee who is an expert on a certain area and wants to increase his/her personal profile. 4.) Topic blog – It is about a single subject such as a product or a field of expertise but maintained by multiple employees. It usually has lots of information and complete source of news for a specific topic. Make sure you know what type of blog you need
  • Represents the voice of the organization  Used to establish transparency and character (Company driven, written by one person) Guidelines  Tell the truth (knowledge)  Acknowledge/correct mistakes Open forum: Positive and negative can be posted. Do not delete comments unless they are spam. Reply promptly Link: to reference and materials directly Jeremiah Owyang, Web Strategy, top ranked industry blog – Special considerations Writing : Often written by PR people Not Authentic ( Dialogue) : written by the blogging team instead of the real CEO  People like blogs for authenticity Legal Scrutiny : careful in what they say, and avoid giving strong opinions because the potential of saying something may cause serious legal problems. Boring: Carefully written, edited, or reviewed  lack humanness Time : limited amount of time that a CEO can contribute to blogging will result in the ineffective communication such as incomplete dialog, or careless reading responses. Should be doing other things? : questioned about this legitimacy: “Shouldn’t CEO be running the company” Long term commitment  Abandonment : left unattended Examples: Different styles - Corporate leaders. Schwarts = fancy videos, etc. Ragsdale = very informal Edelman : Voice (knowledgeable)  Truth (own opinion, client transparency)  Makes corrections  Forum: Comment  Link: Trackback  Well written, bullets, standardized  Time = Approx. once a week
  • Note: Make sure to connect to 5 themes (slide 4) and discuss special consideration/pitfalls and persuasiveness Company driven, written for many people Raises concerns on liability and proprietary information Good for feedback, ideas, and employee engagement Important points Be transparent about client mention Respond to comments in a timely manner Generate original material, don’t just comment Only link to relevant blog sites Clarify that the blog represents your view, not client IBM guidelines 1- Online discourse is individual interaction, not corporate What you write is lasting 2- Identify yourself, position, org. You are not speaking for org. 3- If posting relates to org. or position, use a disclaimer 4- Respect copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws 5- Ask permission to publish private/internal information 6- Don’t cite clients without approval 7- Respect your audience. No slurs or objectionable topics 8- Find out who else is blogging on the topic, cite them 9- Don’t pick fights, correct mistakes 10- Add value, provide worthwhile information/perspective
  • Expert Blogs Can be employee blogs Identify yourself: Disclaimer/permission as necessary Add value via information/perspective Linked In Transparency: Make sure you say who you are Value: New perspectives on job hunt Google Format: Long copy Value: Explains new products Adobe Format: Headlines and a blurb Pull you in to read the expert opinion (branching, nonlinear) Value: Teaches you: Images, key words, links
  • Purpose: Influences both corporations and the general public on marketing strategy or consumer buying behaviors. Benefit Shares personal perceptions of products, services, and brands of corporate organizations. Word of mouth promotion by users is the strongest advertising. Nielsen Buzzmetrics: “Great brand and product experiences…power today’s consumer-driven environment. Advocacy convinces consumers to visit your Web site, write positive things about you in the Web’s public arena, try your products or services and tell others about your experience.” Types Two biggest: Hosted by businesses, collaborative Limitless specialty types: Political, education, etc. Writing style: Defined by purpose and goal
  • Whole Food: tomato recipe MTV: Brad Pitt+ Angelina Jolie Delta: baseball game in NYC Nike: running post pregnancy & adjusting to altitude Intel: social responsibility (Intel Campus) Symantec: updating Microsoft windows patch releases, virus alerts
  • What are they? Collaborative: Many contributors  Usernames and password Format: Lots of images, white-space, links Content: Issues the average consumer cares about Style: Informal, funny, entertaining The Consumerist Purpose : Created to address issues consumers find most frustrating. Experiences and issues with companies and corporations. Entries from reader tips and complaints (You can see how it is defined by that purpose and goal of sharing information) Features : Morning Deals, Great Moments in Commercial History, Above and Beyond: Corporations that do something right, Worst Company in America contest “ Sale of Consumerist” What doesn't change – Can see what they value
  • Political blogs Goal: Influence opinions on current news, government regulations, pending legislation, social issues, etc. Writing: Depends on the writer's gender, educational background, experiences, political views, religion, etc. Education blogs: New trend in blogging Weblogg-ed Goal: Provide teachers/student with writing space – instant publishing without HTML Writing: A bit long, lots of quotes  designed for writers View website Tab “Ed Blogs”: Note Table of Contents Specific blogs for: Classroom, Teacher, Students Note: NJ = new curriculum standard
  • Writing tips Write tight: Brevity - the reader has a limited attention span, short entries Spelling and grammar count Humanity: Engaging voice, authenticity, transparency Blogging tips Archive: Keep old content accessible Attribute: Link to related entries, blogs – Make it easy to share List: Technorati, Digg, etc. – Build traffic, help readers find you Syndicate: Use RSS or XML feeds Tools Update: Write every day, steady stream of content (or loss of followers)
  • Trends Businesses More than 12% of Fortune 500 companies blog externally Consumers (Media Metrix) Blogs: 77.7 million unique visitors Facebook: 41.0 million visitors MySpace: 75.1 million visitors Public Relations Very necessary, cheap, efficient, useful form of social media Media Bistro blog list: Can help you professionally Pitfalls Rogue websites: Monitor for early detection of problems Blogstorm: Pens can pick Kryptonite locks  Video link Org must monitor/respond to posting on other blog sites See what they are saying Retain a monitoring firm if necessary Detect tip of problem before it hits mainstream media Recognize opinions – treat them like journalists There are very influential bloggers Identify yourself, never respond as a customer FINAL COMMENT: While there are some pitfalls, it is a rapidly growing form of social media Low cost, ease of use, and popularity  Have to use them Just remember to identify your audience and purpose, write tight, and monitor
  • Blog Basics: Business and Consumer Blogs

    1. 1. Business and Consumer Blogs By Chi-Chi Millaway and Verna Hsu
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Blog basics </li></ul><ul><li>Business blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer blogs </li></ul><ul><li>How to write for blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Future of blogs: Trends and pitfalls </li></ul>“ Blogs are radically changing the face of communication”
    3. 3. Blog Basics <ul><li>What is a blog? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weblog: Bundle of personal thoughts posted online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintained by an individual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used to post, link, and dialogue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open medium of communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reach beyond your social networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faster then newsletters or bulletins </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Business Blogs <ul><li>Purpose: To reach organizational goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Window to company cultural </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More informal than traditional press releases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Uses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal: Collaborative tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External: Marketing, branding or public relations tool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative responses </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Before You Start Writing <ul><li>Identify benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you expect to get out of the blog? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Understand requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1) Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) Transparency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3) Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4) Dialogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5) Writing style </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Types of Business Blogs Business value of blogging, 2007, Whitepaper by Lewis PR
    7. 7. CEO Blogs <ul><li>Voice of the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell the truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledge/correct mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an open forum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Special considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing ability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate leaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Edelman </li></ul></ul>Chi-Chi
    8. 8. Company Blog <ul><li>Window of the organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product, service, vision, internal organization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Guidelines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respond to comments in a timely manner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generate original materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide relevant links </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Special considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright, fair use, financial disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask permission before publish internal/private information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t cite clients/partners without approval </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oracle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coca-cola </li></ul></ul>Verna
    9. 9. Subject Driven Blogs <ul><li>Expert Blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LinkedIn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google (Top 5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adobe (Top 5) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Topic Blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Cut : New York Magazine’s Fashion Blog (Corporate) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Sartorialist (Individual) </li></ul></ul>Chi-Chi Verna
    10. 10. Consumer Blogs <ul><li>Purpose: Influences marketing strategy and consumer buying behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shares personal perceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Word of mouth promotion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Types </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two biggest: Hosted by businesses, collaborative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limitless specialty blogs: Political, education, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writing style </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defined by purpose and goal </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Consumer Hosted by Business <ul><li>Consumer blogs are trendier and entertaining. </li></ul><ul><li>Travel, games, foods, celebrities, sports, fashion, environment, social responsibility, customer service… </li></ul>Verna
    12. 12. Collaborative Consumer <ul><li>What are they? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many contributors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format: Lots of images, white-space, links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content: For average consumer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Style: Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Consumerist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose: Address most frustrating issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Morning Deals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Great Moments in Commercial History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Above and Beyond </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Worst Company in America Contest </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Sale of Consumerist ” </li></ul></ul>Chi-Chi
    13. 13. Specialty Blogs <ul><li>Political </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authority/Proof/Commitment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: Influence opinions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing: Depends on the writer's background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Al Gore </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sarah Palin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Education blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New trend in blogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weblogg-ed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: Publishing space </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Writing: Long copy, many quotes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NJ curriculum standard </li></ul></ul>Verna Chi-Chi
    14. 14. How to write for Blogs <ul><li>Writing tips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write tight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spelling and grammar count </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humanity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blogging tips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Archive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attribute: Link </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List: Technorati, Digg </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndicate: RSS, XML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Update </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Future of Blogging <ul><li>Trends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Businesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More than 12% of Fortune 500 companies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs: 77.7 million unique visitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook: 41.0 million visitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MySpace: 75.1 million visitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Relations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pitfalls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogstorm: Kryptonite locks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rogue websites: Monitor </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Questions?