Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

This article was inspired by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's Naked Conversations . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How Blogs Changed Producer and Consumer Interaction

“Blogs humanize companies, or at least the people who work inside of them.”

In the wake of an economic crisis and numerous corporate scandals, large companies appear more unfeeling in the consumer’s mind than ever before. For example, Microsoft has come across as a callous, monopolistic superpower. In 2000, Joshua Allen, one of the software giant’s employees, started an unauthorized blog. Though his supervisors and fellow employees were upset with him, Joshua had demonstrated that people wanted information from a human within the Microsoft Corporation.

Latching onto this idea, Lenn Pryor developed Channel 9—the authorized Microsoft blog. Microsoft realized the benefits of a company blog, as 2.5 million people logged on to Channel 9 within its first six months.

Six aspects of a blog separate it from other forms of corporate communication:

  1. “Publishable” – Blogs can reach many people, yet setting one up is easy and cost effective.
  2. “Findable” – Post new blog entries regularly and use keywords that will direct traffic your way.
  3. “Social” – Posts, links, comments and responses make a blog a unique form of customer interaction.
  4. “Viral” – Unlike other forms of marketing, blogs take the most advantage of the word-of-mouth strategy.
  5. “Syndicatable” – Downloading free “RSS” software, you can see which blogs have updated their content.
  6. “Linkable” – Links direct readers to other blogs and keep users in the “blogosphere.”

Abstain from using “interruption marketing,” where pop up ads continually cut off reading. Read other blogs and leave links to your own content.

Some companies use internal blogs to communicate with employees, but this comes with some issues. An entry from Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s blog, which he uses to communicate with 86,000 workers, was leaked onto the Internet. However, this only happened once, demonstrating that proper blog management can prevent unwanted information leaks.

To create a highly trafficked blog, follow these follow these five recommendations:

  1. “Talk, don’t sell” – Humanize your business through your entries. Don’t write posts that sound like press releases.
  2. “Post often and be interesting” – Search engines will find your blog more easily if you post frequently. Daily postings are best.
  3. “Write on issues you know and care about” – You should address topic that you are passionate about and that will help readers in some way.
  4. “Blogging saves money, but costs time” – Though they are cheaper and great forms of marketing, blogs take time. You should be willing to devote time out of every day to your blog.
  5. “You are smarter by listening to what people tell you” – Listen to both positive and negative feedback from your customers. You can improve you company and its products this way.

Get permission from your company before you blog, if such activity has legal ramifications. Negative comments on your blog shouldn’t worry you too much, after all, such statements could be made anywhere on the Internet. Irrelevant comments can also be removed by the blogger, creating an excellent marketing tool.

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