DevonInspiration Ltd.www.devoninspiration.com
The most explosive                 outbreak in the               information world                     since the          ...
Table of Contents           BACKGROUND           5     Blogs defined           7     Who’s blogging?           8     Why d...
Background© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited   Page 4
Blogs defined           A blog, short for web log, has traditionally           been defined as an online diary or         ...
Most major news organizations have           established blogs about breaking news, blogs           about specific topic a...
Who’s blogging?           •     Demographics:                  – 57% of blog readers are male 2                  – 52% of ...
Why do people blog?           Bloggers have a sense of community; they           connect with others who have a passion fo...
Evolution as a news source           During The Gulf War in the U.S., many           people for the first time turned to C...
ten searches were for                        Technology enables           transport updates, eye-                       ci...
Political blogs           Blogs are already playing a role in politics.           Politicians, their spouses and campaign ...
Creative Outlet           Blogs can be used as a creative outlet. For           instance, Google’s blogging site Blogger.c...
The blog boom        •     In 2004, Websters made "blog" its word of              the year.6        •     As previously me...
Blogs and                              business© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited   Page 14
How can businesses use blogs?           Businesses are just learning how to utilize           blogs. In the early days of ...
Research           Business should periodically monitor what is           being said about them in blogs. However,        ...
customers. Companies can ask customers           what they think about the latest product, ad           campaign, or what ...
Advertising & marketing           Ad placement           Businesses can cost effectively reach highly-           targeted ...
revenue as advertisers bypass publishers           and pay bloggers directly for their           audiences.4           Pro...
Brand building           Creating a human element:           Disney, MSN and Sun Microsystems are           among the many...
The new brand advocacy           Bloggers are beginning to obtain sponsorship           from products and brands. However,...
Agencies and other service providers can           establish themselves as experts in their field           by posting the...
Communications           Opt-in Communications           Blogs are the next step in opt-in           communications. Using...
E-mail collection           Blogs can be used as part of an e-mail           collection and lead-generation strategy.     ...
Internal communications                          Communicate                                                              ...
Public Relations           Blogs can be used to communicate with the           press. Using RSS updates, companies can    ...
Thought leadership           CEOs and other business leaders who blog           can claim their stake in thought leadershi...
Search engine optimization           “Blog” is becoming an acronym for “Better           Listing on Google”. Because of th...
What to blog about?          •     Company news          •     Behind the scenes information on how the                com...
Risks and                            mistakes© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited   Page 30
Risks           Negative feedback           Blogs foster open communication, so there is           the opportunity for neg...
many sites as possible. Anti-spam tools can           help combat this.           Lack of direction                       ...
Mistakes to avoid           Stagnating           Blogs need to be updated frequently to           establish and maintain a...
Excessive linking           Bloggers have become                          Potential mistakes           very savvy at achie...
Emerging                           technology© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited   Page 35
What’s new in blogging?           Mobile blogging           Depending on the provider’s capabilities, a           blog can...
Video blogging (vlogging)           Citizen Journalists are taking blogging one           step further by having a video e...
How technical is it?          •     Publishing blogs                  – Using a standard template from a free             ...
•     Updating blogs                  – Once a blog is set up, it takes only                    minutes to post a new entr...
Additional                            thoughts© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited   Page 40
Recommendations          Business blogs versus other blogs          Below I have illustrated where I think          corpor...
Businesses should avoid blog overload from          having too many blogs. This can confuse,          rather than reinforc...
address collection strategy) to build a          subscriber base now, in order to secure space          in customers’ news...
Final thoughts          • While there are millions of blogs, no one has          quantified the number of active blogs or ...
Footnotes           1       Business Week Online, 2 May 2005           2       Pew Internet & American Life Project,      ...
For more information contact info@devoninspiration.com.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited              ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Entering the Blogosphere

921 views

Published on

I just dug up this white paper I wrote back in 2005 - back when people were using the term "blogosphere", when there were only 13.9 million blogs (explosive growth from only 100k two-and-a-half years earlier), "citizen journalism" was emerging, and only really early adopter companies had set up a blog. It's interesting to see how much is still relevant - I had a couple of misses, too!

Published in: Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
921
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
7
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Entering the Blogosphere

  1. 1. DevonInspiration Ltd.www.devoninspiration.com
  2. 2. The most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. – Business Week Online1© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 2
  3. 3. Table of Contents BACKGROUND 5 Blogs defined 7 Who’s blogging? 8 Why do people blog? 13 The blog boom BLOGS AND BUSINESS 16 Research 18 Advertising and marketing 20 Brand building 23 Communications 26 Public Relations 27 Thought leadership 28 Search engine optimization 29 What to blog about? RISKS AND MISTAKES 31 Risks 33 Mistakes to avoid EMERGING TECHNOLOGY 36 What’s new in blogging? 38 How technical is it? ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS 40 Recommendations 44 Final thoughts© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 3
  4. 4. Background© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 4
  5. 5. Blogs defined A blog, short for web log, has traditionally been defined as an online diary or chronological log of the author’s thoughts. As blogs evolve, this definition is quickly becoming outdated. Increasingly, a “blog” refers to a site’s architecture: a simple web site which is easy to read, use and update. Blogs are essentially content management systems which show posts in reverse chronological order and generally allow reader interaction through “comments” links. Blogs are emerging as an online medium for everything from traditional diaries, to in-depth product reviews, to news reporting and analysis. Blogs are evolving down three distinct paths: • News blogs • Personal blogs • Corporate blogs© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 5
  6. 6. Most major news organizations have established blogs about breaking news, blogs about specific topic areas or blogs by columnists from their print format. Personal blogs make up the majority of blogs. I group anything blogs where the author is writing his/her personal opinions and musings into this category. Finally, corporate blogs are emerging. While some early-adopter corporations already have blogs, the next 12 months will be a defining period in the way that businesses use blogs. Sample blog from a newspaper: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/online/© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 6
  7. 7. Who’s blogging? • Demographics: – 57% of blog readers are male 2 – 52% of blog readers are over 30 years old2 – 42% of bloggers live in households earning more than $50,000 (£26,106) annually2 – 1.7% of blog readers are CEOs3 • Online behavior: – 86% of blog readers purchase music online3 – 70% of bloggers have broadband/ high-speed Internet access at home2 – 27% of Internet users (14 million people) read blogs1 • 11% of Internet users are habitual blog readers4 – 12% of Internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs 2© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 7
  8. 8. Why do people blog? Bloggers have a sense of community; they connect with others who have a passion for the blog’s topic. Blogs combine immediacy with a personal approach in a way that is unmatched by other outlets. News blogs What are people blogging about? Bloggers are becoming “citizen journalists” in 1. Personal subjects increasing numbers. 2. Politics & Government Anyone can write a blog 3. Arts & Entertainment 4. Lifestyle about any topic; there 5. Humor are no gatekeepers or 6. Business editors who control britblog.com, 21 Mar 2005 content. Therefore there has been a transference of informational power from the few to the many. In a recent speech to American editors, media mogul Rupert Murdoch admitted that he underestimated the influence of the Internet (and bloggers), noting that people want more control over the media, instead of being controlled by it.5© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 8
  9. 9. Evolution as a news source During The Gulf War in the U.S., many people for the first time turned to CNN for up- to-the-minute reports; indeed the network’s ratings during that period far exceeded their previous records. After 9/11, the use of the Internet as the primary information source for breaking news became mainstream. Several events in the recent past have shown that people are now increasingly turning to blogs rather than or in addition to traditional media for the latest information. In December 2004, thousands of blog reporters posted pictures, video footage and first-hand reports immediately following the Asian tsunami – before the first accredited journalists arrived on the scene.1 After the London bombings on 7 July, blog search engine Technorati reported a 30% increase in blogging activity. Nine of their top Evolution of blogs as a news source TV Cable Internet Blogs© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 9
  10. 10. ten searches were for Technology enables transport updates, eye- citizen journalism witness accounts, → Free, easy-to-use missing persons blogging sites emerge information and news → Camera phones updates. capture on-the-scene images As further testimony to → Blogging sites the movement, MSNBC enable users to has opened a citizen update blogs via text messages or e-mail journalists web page, complete with an → Compatible audio and video technology “assignment desk”. allows posting of clips on blogs Enabling technology → RSS feeds on blogs Other technological instantly update advances have subscribers facilitated the citizen journalist movement. Many mobile phones now come with built-in cameras, enabling people at the scene to take pictures and e-mail the post not only to news sources but directly to their own blogs. Additionally, many blog platforms allow users to send an e-mail or a text or voice message which is automatically posted to the blog.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 10
  11. 11. Political blogs Blogs are already playing a role in politics. Politicians, their spouses and campaign staff are creating blogs in the run-up to elections to build support and to help control their message. www.labour.org.uk/tonyblair www.gop.com/blog Bloggers with every political leaning bring a new level of scrutiny to incumbent politicians and challengers alike. Many political bloggers have built up a community who trust their opinion. Bloggers were even granted press credentials to the party conventions during the last U.S. presidential elections.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 11
  12. 12. Creative Outlet Blogs can be used as a creative outlet. For instance, Google’s blogging site Blogger.com encouraged would-be authors to finish a novel and post it during U.S. National Novel Writing Month. Celebrity Blogs Celebrities as diverse as Pamela Anderson and Barbara Streisand are also getting in on the blogging action to promote their latest projects, connect with fans or express their political views. http://barbrastreisand.com/statements.html http://pamelaanderson.blogs.friendster.com/© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 12
  13. 13. The blog boom • In 2004, Websters made "blog" its word of the year.6 • As previously mentioned, about 27% of Internet users read blogs.1 • The number of blogs has increased from 100 thousand to 13.9 million in about two and a half years.7 • In a role reversal, traditional news media are now reporting on what the bloggers are saying; London’s The Guardian newspaper reported bloggers’ views on the UK’s general election this May. Blogs (in millions) 16 July, 2005, 14 13.9 12 May, 2005, 10 9.0 8 Dec, 2004, 6 4.8 4 2 Dec, 2002, 0.1 0© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 13
  14. 14. Blogs and business© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 14
  15. 15. How can businesses use blogs? Businesses are just learning how to utilize blogs. In the early days of the Internet, many companies simply used their web site as an online “brochure”. There was a recognition that they should be involved in the medium, but it took some time before a clear under- standing of how to use the medium emerged. Business blogging is in its infancy; however blogging in general has reached a tipping point. Customers are increasingly familiar with blogs. Now is the time for early movers to make their mark in the “blogosphere” not only to gain new customers and increase customer loyalty, but to shape the way that businesses use blogs to interact with customers. On the following pages, some areas of business blogging are explored: • Research • Advertising & Marketing • Brand Building • Communications • Public Relations • Thought leadership© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 15
  16. 16. Research Business should periodically monitor what is being said about them in blogs. However, navigating through the blogosphere to gain insights can be a time-consuming process. This task can be outsourced to blog- monitoring services that use text-analysis techniques and natural-language-analysis software to evaluate blog and other online content. What to research  Information on Competitive research competitors Because blogs are  Public opinion constantly being updated, about your brand they are a great source for  Find out what’s missing from your competitive information. product offerings Consumer-generated  Determine gaps in media such as chat consumer understanding of groups, message boards your products and blogs can be less  Look for biased than focus groups. misinformation about your Market research company or its Blogs encourage direct products so that you can rectify it and instant feedback from© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 16
  17. 17. customers. Companies can ask customers what they think about the latest product, ad campaign, or what they would like to see in the company’s offerings. U.S. Cellular recently used blog research to create a new calling plan targeted at teens. Blogs revealed that teens were concerned about exceeding their minutes, because their parents would make them pay for the extra charges. To address this concern, U.S. Cellular offered free incoming calls to teens. 8 Polaroid’s blog research alerted them to the fact that customers are concerned with photo longevity and archiving. They now have the opportunity to develop a product which meets these needs.8 Blogs by and for brand or product advocates are an excellent tool http://blogs.myrtlebeachonline.com/biker_blog for market Example of a blog by a product advocate: Biker Blog promotes Harley Davidson. research.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 17
  18. 18. Advertising & marketing Ad placement Businesses can cost effectively reach highly- targeted blog audiences by placing ads on relevant sites. Advantages of Ads can be placed directly blog advertising or through a third party  Reach highly- such as Googles AdSense targeted audiences which finds germane blogs  Only pay for based on key words within customers who click through to the blog’s content. For this your site type of ad, advertisers  Outsource the ad generally pay on a per placement function click-through basis. to third-parties such as Google Henry Copeland, founder AdSense of media-buying firm  Earn revenue from BlogAds, expects blog ads on your own blog site authors to earn increasing Example ads from Google AdSense: www.fivewordreviews.blogspot.com© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 18
  19. 19. revenue as advertisers bypass publishers and pay bloggers directly for their audiences.4 Product launches Bloggers can generate a buzz for new products. Microsoft hired 20 bloggers to promote the next generation of its Windows operating system.4 Example of Microsoft employee blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/embedded/ Sales Blogs can include links to sell items online. Because they are updated frequently, they are more likely to drive traffic than a static web site. In addition it is perceived as a soft- sell approach.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 19
  20. 20. Brand building Creating a human element: Disney, MSN and Sun Microsystems are among the many companies that let their employees blog about their products. www.blogs.sun.com According to Nick Barley, business and marketing officer of Microsoft UK, blogging allows Microsoft “to show a human face and engage with people on a one-to-one basis. Theres immediate feedback and it demonstrates that we listen”.9 Employees can be the best advertising channel, according to Pete Blackshaw, CMO at Intelliseek, because they they speak with authority, passion and credibility. 9© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 20
  21. 21. The new brand advocacy Bloggers are beginning to obtain sponsorship from products and brands. However, full disclosure is the custom in the blogosphere, as savvy blog readers will Building brands quickly pick up on with blogs  Put a human face marketing speak and this on your corporation may in turn have a  Let your employees negative impact on show their the brand. expertise and interact with best The good news is that customers customer evangelists are  Hire bloggers to already blogging about promote your brand brands for free. A  Interact with customer company representative evangelists on their can respond to posts or blogs questions about their  Establish your brand directly on the company’s expertise by blogger’s site. posting collaborative Establishing expertise reports in blog form Blogs are the new White  Become an Papers. A single expert or information a team can collaborate to resource create an authoritative report in blog form.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 21
  22. 22. Agencies and other service providers can establish themselves as experts in their field by posting their own articles and linking to relevant industry-news items. Agenda Inc. posts articles from other sources: http://news.agendainc.com Nike hires corporate bloggers: www.gawker.com/artofspeed© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 22
  23. 23. Communications Opt-in Communications Blogs are the next step in opt-in communications. Using a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed, customers can be notified every time their favourite web site has been updated. RSS has been around for a number of years, but it is coming into the limelight with blogs. Customers subscribe to an RSS aggregator which either sends them an e-mail (through a compatible program such as Outlook), or compiles the posts on a web page such as My Yahoo!. Each time a blog or other site with RSS is updated, the customer will have instant access to the information. Currently 5% of Internet users (approximately 2.5 million people) use a form of RSS aggregator.2 Example graphics for RSS feeds:© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 23
  24. 24. E-mail collection Blogs can be used as part of an e-mail collection and lead-generation strategy. Identify who is visiting your blog for research purposes (i.e. before making a buying decision) and who is visiting because they are an existing customer seeking additional information. This information can be used to send future targeted e-mail to these groups. Viral marketing Blog posts can be e-mailed, forwarded and linked to. “Permalinks” create a unique page for each post so that as the site is updated links to older posts won’t become outdated. “Trackbacks”, another blog feature, allow blog readers to comment on your blog within their own blog and create a direct link to your original post. Crisis management Even faster than sending e-mail, a blog can keep your best customers informed in the event of a crisis. Blog architecture allows for quick web updates, and RSS feeds disseminate the information immediately.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 24
  25. 25. Internal communications Communicate with blogs Blogs can also be used for  Use Really Simple internal communications, Syndication (RSS) either to distribute feeds to inform customers of blog information from one-to- updates many (e.g. replacing a  Collect data from company newsletter or visitors to your blog e-mail) or for two-way to send future communication. targeted communications Blogs can be used in work  Encourage groups to collaborate on a forwarding and linking to blog project and share posts learnings. Because of their  Communicate simple architecture, blogs quickly during are an excellent crises alternative to content  Share information with internal management systems and departments knowledge management  Keep partners and software. Their flexibility suppliers updated allows for postings of various lengths, with different types of content, e.g. photos, links, audio or video clips and text. Finally, blogs can keep partners and suppliers updated.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 25
  26. 26. Public Relations Blogs can be used to communicate with the press. Using RSS updates, companies can regain some control in disseminating their information. However, it is not advisable to simply post press releases in this format. Instead create a feed of helpful information on your company. Having the company CEO, senior management or company spokesperson (e.g. head of a new product launch) maintain a blog can generate P.R. To capitalize on pre-existing blogs, identify blogs that are most likely to comment on or report on your product. Offer them advance or exclusive information in order to generate good will and created positive word-of-mouth.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 26
  27. 27. Thought leadership CEOs and other business leaders who blog can claim their stake in thought leadership for their industry. They can state their opinions on current industry events as they happen, and cut through media clutter. Blogs allow top-level managers to have more conversations with customers than is feasible in person. GM’s Vice Chairman interacts with consumers on his blog: http://fastlane.gmblogs.com Creating a buzz through blogs can also lead to speaker opportunities for small- to medium-sized business owners.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 27
  28. 28. Search engine optimization “Blog” is becoming an acronym for “Better Listing on Google”. Because of the way search engine spider technology works, blogs with many pages and links will benefit from higher listings in search engine results. This translates to higher click-through rates than static web sites. Frequently updated blogs, with lots of content, pages, comments and links generally receive the highest rankings. Each time a blogger posts a new entry, a new web page is created, which is an opportunity to increase the frequency of key words – again resulting in higher search engine rankings. As the medium evolves, customer demand for less cluttered search results may well precede a change to the way that search engines operate. In fact, Google is already beta testing “Google Scholar” to help academics achieve more relevant results.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 28
  29. 29. What to blog about? • Company news • Behind the scenes information on how the company is run • Case studies about previous work • Comments on your industry • Create a resource for industry issues • Ask customers what they think about new products or product ideas and other innovations • Have employees blog about the product or service, e.g. have the product manager or technical expert provide additional insights • Most importantly, create a forum for open dialogue with customers and address issues raised by readers.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 29
  30. 30. Risks and mistakes© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 30
  31. 31. Risks Negative feedback Blogs foster open communication, so there is the opportunity for negative customer feedback. However, the format allows companies to respond back to customers directly. The medium encourages full transparency and customers respond to a company that is honest about its pros and cons. Competitive interference While negative feedback generated by competitors is a risk, IP addresses are tracked, so it is possible to find out if your competition is responsible for any negative feedback. Spam Trackbacks allow other users to link to your blog within their own blog. This can lead to spam with some bloggers trying to increase their search engine results by linking to as© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 31
  32. 32. many sites as possible. Anti-spam tools can help combat this. Lack of direction Risk assessment Be sure to have a clear  Are you able to aim and direction for the respond to blog. Have a plan to negative feedback? create awareness and  Are you equipped to handle drive traffic. comments from competitors? In addition, have  Can you implement guidelines for employees spam filters if who blog. It would be necessary? wise to make this clear  Do you have a even if your company clear plan for your does not have an blog?  Do employees officially-sanctioned blog, know what they so that employees know can and can’t what information can be disclose on a blog? shared publicly.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 32
  33. 33. Mistakes to avoid Stagnating Blogs need to be updated frequently to establish and maintain an ongoing dialogue with best customers. In addition, be prepared to be responsive to reader comments, or the one-to-one connection will be lost. Fiction Blog readers are savvy and will not spend time reading a blog that looks like pure advertising. At this time in the development of blogs, customers are not responding to blogs created by fictional characters such as a company’s mascot. Copy Just as copy needs to be adapted from the written page to an e-mail, blog copy has a unique tone and style and should not be a repurposing of already-written content. Copy must be honest and authentic. Avoid P.R.- speak and over selling.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 33
  34. 34. Excessive linking Bloggers have become Potential mistakes very savvy at achieving × Not updating the high search engine blog often enough rankings by including × Creating a fictional many links on their blog. blogger However, the tactics they × Repurposing other copy use are not all advisable × Too many links for businesses. Too many links within text hinders readability. Another blogging term “blogroll” refers to the list of external links on a blog’s home page. These links are often traded (i.e. I’ll link to your site if you link to mine) to benefit both bloggers. Businesses should limit their external links to sites that provide helpful and complementary information and resources – ideally ones that do not link to competitor sites.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 34
  35. 35. Emerging technology© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 35
  36. 36. What’s new in blogging? Mobile blogging Depending on the provider’s capabilities, a blog can be updated online, via e-mail or now by simply sending a text message. The Guardian recently sent a reporter to New York City to visit sites reviewed by bloggers, and to post reports exclusively via mobile blogging.10 The San Francisco Chronicle offers podcasts on its blog: http://www.sfgate.com/blogs/podcasts Podcasting and blogging Bloggers can post MP3 files which can be downloaded by the reader and played on a computer, iPod or other MP3 device. This phenomenon got a recent boost when Apple’s iTunes included free podcasts in their music store.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 36
  37. 37. Video blogging (vlogging) Citizen Journalists are taking blogging one step further by having a video entry accompanying their report. Would-be talk show presenters are also posting their own content using video blogging software. PlayStation’s latest marketing campaign has become the UK’s first major consumer brand to incorporate video blogging. playstationfreedom.co.uk© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 37
  38. 38. How technical is it? • Publishing blogs – Using a standard template from a free or low-cost provider, setting up a blog is very simple and can be done in a few hours. – Any customization of a template will require some tinkering with HTML code, using the site provider’s help menu as a guide. – Add-on features such as a web site counter, photos and password protection may require customization. Certain features will require bespoke blog design. – Adding an RSS feed to let users know when your sight is updated can be done by cutting and pasting code into your blog’s template.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 38
  39. 39. • Updating blogs – Once a blog is set up, it takes only minutes to post a new entry. – Blogs with a lot of content will take slightly longer for the post to be published. • Reading blogs – This is just as simple as reading other web pages, i.e. generally no password or sign in is required. • Interacting with existing blogs – Some sites will let anybody post a comment to them, i.e. you don’t need to be registered with the site. – Others require registration with the site’s provider or the blog owner. This generally involves simply setting up a user name and password.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 39
  40. 40. Additional thoughts© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 40
  41. 41. Recommendations Business blogs versus other blogs Below I have illustrated where I think corporate blogs should fit into several categories, as compared with news and personal blogs. While corporate blogs should be updated consistently, they should not be updated as frequently as news or personal blogs which may be updated several times per day. Corporate News Blogs Personal Blogs Blogs Updates Frequent, timely Frequent Less frequent 1 for most Number of businesses; 1-6 1-3 blogs each 1-3 for technical businesses Many, relevant Few, relevant, Links Many, relevant and irrelevant selective Ongoing or event Ongoing or event Longevity of Ongoing specific (e.g. specific (e.g. blog wedding, travel) product launch) Ads Fewer Most Least Adopting new Second to market Early adopters Wait and see technologies Podcasts on Yes Yes Rarely blogs Video Rarely and with No Yes blogging caution© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 41
  42. 42. Businesses should avoid blog overload from having too many blogs. This can confuse, rather than reinforce, brand messaging as the company will have several “voices”. As previously mentioned, businesses should avoid the temptation to include an excessive number of links in order to increase search engine rankings. Ads on business blogs should be specific and strategically placed. Finally, new technologies should be used with caution. Customer interaction Before launching a blog, businesses should know what level of interaction they desire from their customers. On the next page, I have ranked various blog-related activities by customer interest and level of interaction with the blog. Businesses should focus on attracting their best customers to become “active”, or more specifically, getting customers to subscribe to their blog. Blogs are the next step in opt-in communications. Forward-thinking companies should formulate a plan (similar to an e-mail© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 42
  43. 43. address collection strategy) to build a subscriber base now, in order to secure space in customers’ news aggregators. As these aggregators, such as My Yahoo!, become more widely used, businesses will be competing for space. Bear in mind that customers who aren’t technologically savvy may need to be educated as to how to use the medium. This should be done with both online and offline communications. A secondary strategy should focus on converting “passive” and “interested” customers to “engaged” customers. Write a Subscribe to related blog blog(s) Level of interaction Leave Leave many comment on comments Find blog a blog on blog(s) through blog- specific Read a Regularly Find blog search blog read multiple through engine, e.g. blogs search Technorati engine, e.g. Google Passive Interested Engaged Active Passionate© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 43
  44. 44. Final thoughts • While there are millions of blogs, no one has quantified the number of active blogs or the number of unique blog writers; many bloggers maintain more than one site. So while there has been an explosion in the number of blogs, the increase in the actual number of people creating blogs is probably much less. • Blogs are an emerging technology that will continue to evolve. News blogs will lead the way in increasing consumer awareness of blogs and comfort level with blogs. • Blogs are cheap and easy to implement, but it is important to have a strategy in place before embarking into “the blogosphere”. Although there are many excellent blogs in existence, the majority of blogs today are poorly executed personal blogs with a narrow appeal. This leaves the door wide open for industry leaders to make their mark in the blogosphere. • At some point the increase in blogs will level off, but blogs are here to stay: as long as there is an Internet, there will be blogs.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 44
  45. 45. Footnotes 1 Business Week Online, 2 May 2005 2 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Brand Strategy, 10 May 2005 3 Blogads.com, 12 Mar 2005 4 Business Week Online, 13 Dec 2004 5 The Guardian, 15 April 2005 6 Financial Times, 4 Jan 2005 7 Technorati.com, 25 July 2005 8 The Wall Street Journal Online, 23 June 2005 9 Brand Strategy, 10 May 2005 10 The Guardian, 7 May 2005© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 45
  46. 46. For more information contact info@devoninspiration.com.© 2005, DevonInspiration Ltd. Reproduction Prohibited Page 46

×