Shameless Pat on the Back

We love feedback!  Here's just some of the feedback that's come out of the Chicago event.  Stay tuned.  We're not done touring around yet...

"It's great to be immersed with such dynamic, passionate people. The seminar is great, and the Marketing Wonk dinner is a must."

"Extremely useful, relevant and actionable. The best marketing conference I've attended in years."

"Markets are conversations," and marketers need this workshop to get up to speed on how to join the conversation through blogging. A solid program."


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Chicago HotTopic Recap

Toby did a splendid job of recapping some of the burning questions that came up at the Chicago event.   I urge you to have a look at the Diva Marketing blog for a full recap.  Here are some of the highlights:

-Convincing senior management that the benefits of a marketing/business blog out weigh the risks.

-Is a company liable for comments placed by 3rd parties on their blog?
-What is the extend of the resources (time) needed to monitor comments?
Sidebar: Read Charles Smith's post on Reasonable Man about who owns comments. Charles also presented at the AMA HotTopic - he gave the best 5-minute summary of the legal issues facing bloggers and would-be bloggers anyone could ever imagine.  Bravo Charles!

How To Say Goodbye
-Does closing a corporate blog impact a company's image/goodwill?
-If a corporate blog just isn't cutting the mustard, what's the best exit strategy?

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If anyone wants to ask us a question about blogging, please post in the comments and we'll get to it during the day, give you some props, and post a response!

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Wayne Pelletier from 360i

Wayne's been blogging, or writing a personal journal the hard way since 1996.  Awesome. 

As a search marketing expert, Wayne brings a much needed perspective to the room because there have been so many questions about blogging and search all day.

This is something interesting.  When connecting blogs to search, I don't know why we've not connected these two dots before, but there are words that you think your customers use to talk about you and find you in the engines, and there are words that they actually use.  Most marketing materials are filled with marketing speak (yawn...) but your customers have no idea why you wrote in such a manner, do you?

Anyway, at the end of the day, the weblog gets you beyond the "talk to the hand" approach to the average contact page and allows you to connect with the company.

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Scott Rafer from Feedster

Scott Rafer is on stage at the moment.  The communication flow of information in the blogsphere is backwards from the typical broadcast medium.

Broadcast is:
What (channel) - Whom - Effects - Who....whereas the blogosphere is backwards.  You start the blog way before the what.  Pre launch blogs are key here.

A year from now we'll be following blog advertising licenses, that will allow us to generate a more consistent revenue stream.

Scott's made some pretty bold statements here.  Those in tech PR will tell you that the Press Release as we know it will be history in the course of the next few years.  As we become more and more sales and goal oriented, the objective of the press release is changing, and RSS is facilitating that change.  Press releases have just entered into the flow. 

The agencies are ahead on this one, but the rest of the market (their clients) are operting off of the circa 1960's Kotler marketing 101 stuff that we're all working off of.  As a complete aside, there was as study released recently on how older doctors are less effective at prescribing the latest treatments due to the fact that they are so far away from the most current education on the topics at hand.  Scary stuff...for PR too.

The PR piece will be come the defacto marketing tool - Cost Per Acquistion on the Press Release.

Interesting anecdote.  The press release for the Ask Jeeves/Bloglines story was delivered on a Tuesday.  The blogosphere had the story in hand on the Friday before.  CNET had a story 24 hours in advance of the release.  The power of the Blogosphere reigns again.

Identify your offsite audience
- Bloggers
- Commenters
- Readers

Become part of the audience

Be the center of an ecology

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Bill Flitter on Stage

Bill Flitter of Pheedo is on stage at the moment discussing whether or not RSS is the marketer's next big thing.  Bill's taking a slight departure from his presentation and has polled the audience for what they need to know on RSS.  Here are some of the topics we'll be covering.  More soon!

What is RSS? - Right Spam Control, time save, control, automatic & direct distribution of content. Truly 100% opt-in channel - you have to take a physical action to subscribe to an RSS feed.

Business Models for RSS Aggregators
Living in harmony with paid advertising
Coypright issues
Bandwidth issues
How to syndicate
Leverage RSS to share content within site & externally
Canibalization of site visits due to RSS
Ad Performance
Creative limitations

One point of clarification that you might find interesting.  From the recent PEW internet study on who's blogging & who's using RSS, they 5% of the internet base that they said was using RSS only represents the 5% who KNOW they are using RSS.  This says nothing for the MyYahoo! users who have been consuming RSS for some time and don't even know that they're part of the trend.

So, what's the diff between bookmarking everything & RSS Aggregators.  Simple.  Aggregation.  Count how many clicks it takes to get to a website via your bookmarks - many.  How many clicks did it take to read via your RSS aggregator - 1.

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Ben Covers Screen Casting

I love learning.  I hadn't heard about "screencasting" (didn't know that Camtasia created videos could be considered 'casts')

Screencasting is simply recording your desktop computer movements, such as walking through a piece of software, and publishing as a movie file via your weblog.

From Gadgetopia:

In the software world, we spend a lot of time describing how things work. To echo Michael Kinsley's lament about music and film, why should those descriptions use only text, possibly augmented with screenshots? Why don't we present, and quote from, live experiences?

But anyway, if your blog is a great customer service tool that you provide tutorials on, get a copy of TechSmith's Camtasia Studio & get screencasting.

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Burning Questions on Blogs

Ben started out his presentation with airing some of the big rock questions that the audience had about blogs.

Some of the recurring questions:
- What are the ethics of ghost blogging?
- How do I deal with negative comments?
- What are the editorial requirements for blogs? 
- Isn't this just grown-up IM'ing?
- How do I make money?  Can I sell stuff on blogs?
- The ethics & logistics of selling blog ads & advertising on weblogs
- When will be the blog buzz end?
- What are the staffing requirements on blogs?  How many people is it going to take to do this?

* Have a question?  Ask us via comments - we'll address it during the presenation...

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Wharton's MBA Admissions 'Blog Portal'

Toby references the Wharton MBA Admissions 'Blog Portal' in her presentation.  This is a first rate example of how academia is getting into blogging. 

Speaking of Academia, during out dinner last night with some of the speakers, it became apparent that the academics are largely behind the curve on the blogging trend.  Politicians, Corporate America, Entrepreneurs and 14 year olds are on board.  Why aren't the academics on board?  At least write a few conference papers about blogs or something...

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A-List of Attendees

If you come to an event like this, you can't help but want to network like mad with the attendees.  Jackie Huba & Ben McConnell are here. Stephan Spencer of NetConcepts is here.  Pat Goodrich, Sr. Director for programs at the AMA is here and there are lots of fortune 100 folks here.

Another reason to attend - SCHWAG.  Paul Chaney, who's involved in Bloggerwear, has donated a couple of cool T-Shirts.


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