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The Business Blogging Field Guide


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

Published in: Business, Technology

The Business Blogging Field Guide

  1. 1. The Business Blogging Field Guide
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are web logs, or blogs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guided Tour: The Business Blogging Field Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Tour Guide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Recommender </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Maven </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Customer Advocate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Do- er </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The CEO Blog </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>What are web logs, or blogs? </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is a Blog? <ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>The first blogs date back to 1997, and historically focused on personal musings, political discussions, and myriad other “non-business” topics </li></ul><ul><li>2005 will be remembered as the year that business blogs hit the radar </li></ul>
  5. 5. How popular are blogs? <ul><li>Estimates of the number of blogs vary from a few million to 70million+. (Some analysts estimate only one-third of blogs are regularly updated.) </li></ul><ul><li>Between 12 and 14 million Americans (10-11 percent of Internet users) regularly use blogs. </li></ul><ul><li>Users access blogs via Web sites and email newsletters. </li></ul><ul><li>34 percent of blog users have posted material to the blogs they visit. </li></ul><ul><li>Each of these metrics grows daily. </li></ul>Sources: iMedia Connection, Perseus White Papers, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Technorati
  6. 6. Common Traits Of Blogs <ul><li>Frequently updated </li></ul><ul><li>Presented in reverse chronological order </li></ul><ul><li>Authored by a “person,” not a “company </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic voice, not “corporate-speak” </li></ul><ul><li>Many outbound links, even outside the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Example: GM’s Fastlane Blog, authored by Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and others ( http:// fastlane . gmblogs .com ) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Who reads blogs? <ul><li>Reliable demographic data on typical blog users portray a desirable, literary, professional, cutting-edge audience. </li></ul><ul><li>This audience is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Better educated and better paid than the average Web user; often younger too. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information-hungry: Blog readers consume more magazines, radio, movies and books than other Americans, online and off. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses the Internet as their news, entertainment and communication medium of choice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spends more money online than the average Web user. </li></ul></ul>Sources: Pew Internet & American Life Project, Quris
  8. 8. 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”
  9. 9. Corporations Blogging <ul><li>Boeing </li></ul><ul><li>Craigslist </li></ul><ul><li>Edelman </li></ul><ul><li>GM </li></ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>HP </li></ul><ul><li>IBM </li></ul><ul><li>Macromedia </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft </li></ul><ul><li>Mobius Venture Capital </li></ul><ul><li>RedHat </li></ul><ul><li>SAP </li></ul><ul><li>SUN </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo! </li></ul><ul><li>… and many, many others </li></ul>
  10. 10. Characteristics of successful blogs <ul><li>Successful blogs include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily updates to a blog consisting of a single Web page of entries organized chronologically. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The most successful blogs often update >1x/day and include an archive. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Most visits to University of Tennessee Law Prof. Glenn Reynolds’ site,, generate one pageview. His site draws 100,000+ unique visitors each day. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: tracks over 55,000,000 blogs that generated over 1.2 billion links around the Web. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Why Do Companies Have Business Blogs?
  12. 12. Why Companies Blog – Customer Facing Reasons <ul><li>Customer connection </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Real-time feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiation </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why Companies Blog – Unique Internet Traits <ul><li>Search engine notice </li></ul><ul><li>Brand visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs are the “anti-spam” </li></ul><ul><li>Persistence </li></ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul><ul><li>Extended audience reach through syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Not just to talk…but to listen . </li></ul>
  14. 14. Why Companies Blog – Linking and PageRank <ul><li>Google says: </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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.” </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What Kind Of Opportunity Do Blogs Represent For Your Company?
  16. 16. An Opportunity To Provide More Value To Customers <ul><li>Blogs give an immediate venue for feedback and dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to learn about company updates, strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Provides opportunity to find others working on similar problems </li></ul><ul><li>Grants insight into the individuals behind the corporate veneer </li></ul>Photo credit:
  17. 17. An Opportunity To Provide More Value To The Organization <ul><li>Company value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-time feedback from customers on current offerings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfiltered feedback from customers on current offerings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low-risk environment to get feedback on future company direction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructure “in place” when a timely even breaks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity to build a daily addiction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competitive edge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can develop real relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Integrity is our scam” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expanded visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide an injection of voice, tone, personality and stickiness to the current web site </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>
  18. 18. An Opportunity To Better Understand Customers <ul><li>Identify “hot button” items (both positive and negative) in real-time </li></ul><ul><li>Identify influencers, advocates (and detractors) </li></ul><ul><li>Site metrics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Measurable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trend tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Referrals </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Guided Tour: </li></ul><ul><li>The Business Blogging Field Guide </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Business Blogging Field Guide <ul><li>Business blogs have the opportunity to uniquely connect with customers and prospects </li></ul><ul><li>Many different ways business blogs can be used to create relationships </li></ul><ul><li>The Business Blogging Field Guide </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Tour Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Recommender </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Maven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Customer Advocate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Do- er </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The CEO Blog </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. The Business Blogging Field Guide: Tour Guide Blogs <ul><li>Tour Guide Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Tour Guide&quot; blogs give a glimpse into the company. Not unlike an actual physical plant tour, this type of blog gives a &quot;behind the scenes&quot; 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. </li></ul>&quot;Tour Guide&quot; example Blogger: Noah Acres Role: Director of Sales and Marketing Company: Bigha Blog Location:
  22. 22. The Business Blogging Field Guide: Recommender Blogs <ul><li>Recommender Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Recommender&quot; blogs (commonly known as &quot;link blogs&quot;) 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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>“ Recommender&quot; 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:
  23. 23. The Business Blogging Field Guide: Maven Blogs <ul><li>Maven Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Maven&quot; 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. </li></ul><ul><li>Contrast these to the &quot;Tour Guide&quot; 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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>“ Maven&quot; 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
  24. 24. The Business Blogging Field Guide: The Customer Advocate <ul><li>Customer Advocate Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>When done well, customer advocate blogs will communicate full-circle, and follow the following steps: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Engage the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>2) Distill and group the feedback </li></ul><ul><li>3) Prioritize the feedback </li></ul><ul><li>4) Report back </li></ul><ul><li>5) Get to closure </li></ul>“ Customer Advocate” examples Blogger: John Dowdell Role: Customer Support Company: Macromedia Blog Location: Blogger: Robert Scoble Role: Technical Evangelist Company: Microsoft (now PodTech) Blog Location:
  25. 25. The Business Blogging Field Guide: “Do-er” Blogs <ul><li>“ Do-er” Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>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 &quot;Do-er&quot; 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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>“ Do-er” examples Blogger: Bryan Cantrill (middle) Role: Solaris Kernel Development Company: Sun Blog Location: Blogger: Archie Reed Role: Secure Identity Management Company: HP Blog Location:
  26. 26. The Business Blogging Field Guide: CEO Blogs <ul><li>CEO Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Although commonly called a &quot;CEO Blog,&quot; 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: &quot;Execs are finding blogs useful for plugging not just their products, but their points of view.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>“ 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