Blogads are the ultimate niche advertising vehicle...almost
Henry posted this graphic of the republican vs. democrat bloggers. What's it mean? Simple - niche, hive mentality, lots of cross linking amongst the bloggers. Want to reach someone in this community. Advertise here.
Tech gremlins getting the best of us
For reasons beyond what we can logically explain, every technical difficulty you can fathom has befallen us today. Why now? Why us?
At least this TypePad blog thing still works...
What is RSS?
RSS is Santa Claus, your Mailman and your Remote Control! [from Bill Flitter @ Pheedo]
Ben's got something to say about this hallmark of simplicity.
The running list of questions...
The best part of these seminars is the conversation that comes as a result of the questions. Here are a few that have been brought up today. We'll do our best to post an FAQ during and afterwards to address this running (and growing list).
Will blogs ever replace webinars?
Is there a service that ranks aggregators? Any place that reviews them?
Why is blogger giving away their service for free?
Will there ever be a vertical market classification system for blogs? Tags are still user editable, do we need something
like DMOZ, the human edited directory?
What are your feelings about monitoring blogs? Where do you draw the line between drawing the line for community info and
opening the forum for competitive scraping. (relating to comments)
Do you always have to have comments open on your blog?
Besides Pingomatic, what are other vehicles to promote your RSS feed?
What does RSS look like?
How do you explain RSS to a client?
How can you use RSS to syndicate content between websites?
Many times, the best blogging starts grassroots
Shel puts down the clicker, backs away from the PowerPoint, and tells a fascinating story of grassroots blogging at Microsoft. The company is greater than the sum of its parts, especially when it starts to have thousands and thousands of networked conversations with customers.
It's the natural interactions of internal associates amonst each other and with customers that can change the perception of the company. This is what's happened to Microsoft. They've had a slight net positive improvement in corporate culture, market perception, and a shift from the "Microsoft is evil" mantra.
Where's the pride in PR & marketing?
Traditional marketing, as a general rule, is an unwanted and undesirable facet of everyday life, according to Shel. I am betting that you (well, as a consumer, not as a marketer) would concur. In fact, everyone in the audience concurs. Guess that's why they're here...
Folks, where's the pride here? Are marketers proud of the anti-corporate stance that most customers have, largely as a result of shoddy marketing practices. Are we proud of what marketing communications has become? Hell, I hope not.
Then the Internet happended...
Shel just called us all "marketeers"...haven't heard that since college.
Shel Israel takes the stage - Blog or Die
Blog or Die can be translated to "Blog and Die" in certain geographies. Who knew?
Shel, the recovering PR and marketing consultant had a couple of salient points right off the bat that he learned after working with Regis McKenna (rel
- Dial & Smile is dead (former PR person's strategy)
- Have ongoing dialogue with the technology community
One of Shel's theories is that we're really returning to marketing as it started. Work of mouth, or conversations with our customers and our customers' conversations with other potential customers. What failed? WOM doesn't scale well. Blogging scales.
Broadcast news and marketing came in because WOM could no longer reach. If 98% of the audience didn't care about the message, so what, you hit a group that would respond and that was efficient, at least in those days (this brings up a point of marketing accountability...more on that later)
Ben McConnell taken with a Nokia Sidekick
Ben at home in front of a crowd doing what Ben does best!
If Business Week says it, it must be true...
Blogs are forcing a mindset change from "we are company, here is message, you will consume" to "we are company (much more humble), here is start of conversation, please (please?) respond"
Ben McConnell's Blogging 101 presentation really sets the stage for where blogs are at in our corporate universe. They've more than scratched the surface. They're digging deep in certain, niche areas. Ubuiquity is not for the blog, for the blog does not seek ubiquity. Deep and meaningful conversations with unique niches of consumers are the hallmark of the blog.
One of things that Ben's hit on in every session is the need for an About section on your blog. And I don't mean the corporate about statement that rings as hollow as a 1980's mission statement, I mean a real ABOUT WHY I/WE/THIS COMPANY WROTE THIS BLOG FOR YOU, OUR CUSTOMER. Ok, enough shouting. Really, when I read a corporate blog, I want to know why they want to talk to me. That's but one of the questions that the About section of your blog should answer
For those that have not yet read the Business Week article on blogging, I urge you to print it out and put it on your "must read this week" pile. And, when you're done with that, you have to read Henry Copeland's counter to the Business Week article here. You be the judge.
Negative comments still strike fear into corporate marketers
It only took a half-hour before someone brought up a negative factor of blogging in the corporate realm - the topic of negative comments on corporate weblogs and how to handle them. I won't post the whole discussion here, but at the end of the day there's this mentality that negative comments about us can only hurt us. However, if we're transparent in our communication, honest in our information and act with integrity, we've got a firmer platform than if we were coming off of a stricly 'marketing speak' play.
A good dialogue, something that we hope to espouse with a blog, starts with an open and honest exchange between the author and the audience. This will not always be a primrose path, but rather is a winding road with plenty of ups and downs along the way.
For those of you that are Jack Welch fans, in his latest book "Winning" Jack addresses the topic of crisis communication head on (which is the mode that most companies typically fall into when they see a negative comment on their blog). If you've not read, it's worth a read for the simplicity in his strategy. Excellent examples from GE and Johnson & Johnson provide a backdrop for a strategy that any corporate blogger could adapt and experience success.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to accountability, integrity, humility, transparency, honesty and a genuine deep concern for your customer. If yours is a company that can stomach blogging, these are traits that you've likely got somewhere in your corporate culture.