re:publica 1 April09 "My career as a corporate blogger"


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Ed Brill is one of the voices of IBM and the Lotus brand. His personal blog is very well known in the Enterprise 2.0 and Notes world. Ed will join us by video conference and will speak about his personal experiences and career at IBM as a Corporate blogger. His speech and the discussion afterwards will be in English.

Contains experiences, results, and recommendations for social media success.

Published in: Technology, Business
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re:publica 1 April09 "My career as a corporate blogger"

  1. 1. “My career as a corporate blogger” Ed Brill Director, Product Management IBM
  2. 2. IBM Software Group | Lotus software Ed Brill •Director of Product Management, IBM Lotus Notes •15 years at IBM Lotus •20 years in IT industry •Academic study in business/ marketing •Loves travel, photography •Never in my job description to author a blog •Not a celebrity
  3. 3. IBM Software Group | Lotus software Overview of my blog –  Started in December, 2002  3,700+ blog entries...average of 1+ per day  40,000+ valid comments (with a near-flawless anti-spam filter)  Typical visits = 2,000 per business day  Typical pageviews = 2,500/day  Peak visits/pageviews = 10,000+  Estimated RSS traffic = 10,000+ subscribers  Sources: – One-third each: Referrers / Direct traffic / Search engines
  4. 4. IBM Software Group | Lotus software Visitor map --  Majority reach in English-speaking countries, plus Germany and France  Japan = 10% of my product's market, <1% of blog visits  Lesson learned: Blogging can only be one source of input
  5. 5. IBM Software Group | Lotus software Blogging motivators Why I started blogging Why I still blog today  As an outlet for creative  To share timely information writing with my customers, partners, industry, and IBM colleagues  To share information with my – and counter bad information customers  To aid in decision-making – and counter bad information  To build relationships,  To influence the marketplace network, and connect with  To build and strengthen people while working from a relationships home office – but this is now also  Some ego happening on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  No sense of pioneering, it just happened  To learn about the world
  6. 6. Last year consultant Sara Radicati published a negative report about IBM's Making headlines Notes e-mail product. That led to organized outrage from bloggers who, it turns out, are consultants who make money installing Notes. She says her firm, the Radicati Group in Palo Alto, Calif., was deluged with obscene phone calls and e-mails, a common element when blogs go negative. quot;They were trying to disable my business,quot; she says. quot;It was obscene, vile, abusive, offensive stuff. These are a bunch of sickos.quot; The anti-Radicati bloggers got an endorsement of sorts from an executive at IBM. Ed Brill, an IBMer who works on Notes marketing and publishes his own blog (, responded on July 23 last year to Radicati's bearish Notes report. He questioned whether she had ties to Microsoft and referred readers to two other blogs with far blunter assertions. Within days bloggers had posted quot;investigativequot; articles quot;exposingquot; her as corrupt and unethical, claiming she was a quot;shillquot;who took bribes from Microsoft.One blogger said she was doing something shady by operating a group that helps small companies find venture funding. Bloggers linked to one another's sites and posted on Brill's blog and elsewhere, creating an echo chamber in which, through repetition, the scandal began to seem genuine. Six days after the attacks began, a Notes consultant in the U.K. gloated on Brill's blog:quot;The Radicati Group?Their analysis is now meaningless …. Their name has been blackened, their reputation in tatters.quot; Radicati fought back by responding on her own Web site, but the smear job hovers online, appearing when you Google her name or start with Brill's mostly diplomatic site and then work your way through its links. One step away is IBM itself, which has a Notes site that once linked into Brill's. That link has since been taken down. Radicati says IBMignored her pleas to stop Brill from linking to the hate sites. IBM says it has nothing to do with Brill's blog. A week after that flap IBMer Brill fired up the swarm again, issuing a call to arms against research firm Meta Group for similar sins. quot;Y'all did such a good job on the last report … quot; his blog entry began. Sure enough, soon Meta was being quot;investigatedquot; by bloggers and quot;exposedquot; as Radicati was. Gartner, which now owns Meta, declined to comment. No wonder companies now live in fear of blogs. © 2009 IBM Corporation
  7. 7. What readers have learned about me  Travels – business and professional  When I got married  When my daughter was conceived (!)  What gadgets / cameras / mobile phones I use  How my emotions play out in the context of my job and decision-making  And all of this matters because a major aspect of blogging success is authentic voice © 2009 IBM Corporation
  8. 8. Corporate blogging the wrong way © 2009 IBM Corporation
  9. 9. Corporate blogging the right way © 2009 IBM Corporation
  10. 10. IBM Software Group | Lotus software What has been the impact of blogging @  Business success: – At the time I started blogging, Lotus Notes was in a challenging period, both from a business and mind-share perspective – Over the last four years, the Notes business has grown significantly (>10% per year). Blogging is not at all the whole story, but it has been been a contributor: • Customer quote: “ has helped decrease the distance between IBM and me” – My competitors have been forced to completely change their tactics  Personal success: – My career at IBM has clearly benefitted – However, for a while, I was typecast as the public face for my product (though again, it was never my “job”) – And many IBMers know me as a blogger first, despite my successful career and other contributions to the business
  11. 11. Community – the real success © 2009 IBM Corporation
  12. 12. IBM Lotus Technical Forum © 2006 IBM Corporation
  13. 13. Bringing customers into the community © 2009 IBM Corporation
  14. 14. Changing tools: Twitter © 2009 IBM Corporation
  15. 15. Changing tools: Facebook © 2009 IBM Corporation
  16. 16. Changing tools: LinkedIn © 2009 IBM Corporation
  17. 17. IBM Software Group | Lotus software Keys to social media success  Successful engagement cannot look/feel/read “corporate” – Authentic voice  Interactivity is key – Participate in the interaction  Regular updates required  Be an authoritative information source  Don't be afraid to admit mistakes publicly  Don't expect praise – Humans are more apt to criticize than to compliment – Accept and engage a point  Demonstrate responsiveness – reader impact  Link to others  Provide ways to contact offline
  18. 18. Thank You Twitter: @edbrill