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Apr26
It's A Great Day For Blogtipping
In the spirit of appreciating and encouraging three of my favorite bloggers, I've decided to go blogtipping today.  (It's simple: just pick three bloggers you know and give each one three compliments and one tip.)

Jeremiah Owyang:
1 - I admire the speed at which you learn and adapt to change.
2 - You're great at holding my interest all the way to the end of each post.
3 - Your blog is simple, yet sophisticated in terms of both its design and its content.
Tip - Maybe you could put a "recent comments" list in the right-hand column, to go along with the "last posts" list.

Liz Strauss:
1 - Your blog is a super repository of blogging wisdom.
2 -  I like all the addictive links in your left-hand column.
3 - Love the SOB phenomenon.
Tip - Could you call me an SOB too :)?  I just want to hear you say it!

Trevor Cook:
1 - Your linkposts are always rich in high-caliber links
2 - You're not afraid of Amanda Chapel
3 - You provide a great window to the Australian blogosphere
Tip - Maybe post a tad more frequently - I only say so because I love to read what you have to say!

Happy blogtipping!  Pass it on if you're in the mood!

Apr25
Corporate Blog Review: GM FYI Blog
pixoh_r7nj6d3f5.jpgHere's my quick and dirty review of General Motors' newest corporate blog, the FYI Blog:

What It Is: The FYI Blog is supposed to help people get to know the GM company culture better, by discussing corporate events.  The blog's authors are its employees of all ranks.

Why It Matters: Because GM is a giant company and many other companies are watching to see how successful its second corporate blog will be (the first GM corporate blog available to the public was the FastLane Blog).

Post Frequency: Judging from the FYI blog archives so far, it's about once every day or two (it's got six entries and it's about a week old).  With so many thousands of employees, GM should consider starting many more company blogs, or at least helping its employees post more often.

Blog Design: I'm not an expert, but it looks nice to me.  Nothing scary or flashy.  Offers permalinks, timestamps, comments and trackbacks.  The syndication (feed and email subscription) options are very basic, but they are there.  You wouldn't guess that this was a blog by one of the world's biggest companies, and maybe that's intentional.  There's a simple, straightforward blogroll.

Kudos: I really like that the categories have little icons associated with them.  It just makes the blog more comfortable and intuitive to visit and navigate.  The posts are friendly and the authors respond to visitor comments.

Suggestions: I wish you could easily contact the author of each post.  Right now, all you can see is the post author's name and position at GM.  Also, it just feels very bare - I wish there were a big GM employee blog network of sorts where you could see what employees all over the place were working on and talk to them online about their progress.

Bottom Line: I've only started to really examine the GM FYI Blog, but I think it has lots of promise, even though it's only a week old and has just six entries.  It'll be neat to see if anyone from GM is listening well enough to respond to this post - if you're there, I'd love to talk to you about your blog!  (Take me to your blogger - the one behind the curtain!)

What do you think of the General Motors FYI Blog?  What do you like or dislike about it?
Apr24
3 Ways To Keep Your Business Blog From Turning Evil
Angel Praying.jpgPlease read yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer article by Jonathan Last on blogging.  Last states:

"The New Media in general, and blogs in particular, are concerned primarily with the meta (that is, commenting on commentary), which makes the blogosphere occasionally useful, often harmful, and ultimately pointless" (source).

Last defends the "Old Media" well by discounting the argument that blogging represents an evolutionary step forward in journalism and information dissemination.  His article also unwittingly contains some excellent advice for business bloggers.  Thanks for the inspiration, Jonathan!  Behold:

Three Ways To Keep Your Business Blog From Turning Evil

1. Blog more about your business than about your business blog.  Maybe your corporate blog is state-of-the-art.  That's great!  But most visitors won't care.  Keep the focus of the conversation on your business offerings.  An evil business blog talks about the blog more than about the business.

2. Learn to balance posting quality with quantity.  Strive to offer your readers the greatest amount and variety of information possible without skipping the fact-checking, spell-checking and ego-checking.  For most business blogs, I recommend at least two or three posts a week.  I say, if the posts are excellent, the more the merrier.  An evil business blog has too few relevant, informative posts - but there is no such thing as "too many."

3. Don't kill the conversation.  Offer comments and trackbacks, spam notwithstanding.  Ask your readers questions.  Make them feel important.  Respond to their comments.  Talk about them and their needs and wishes.  An evil business blog ignores people who care about the business.

There you have it!  Follow these three tips to corporate blogging sainthood.  Add your own tips for angelic business blog behavior below.
Apr21
The Prague Post On The Impact Of Business Blogging
The Prague Post has a fine article by Katya Zapletnyuk on April 19 called "Blogs are Changing Corporate Communication."

The article mentions the blogging success of Ivo Lukačovič, founder of the Czech search engine Seznam.  Zapletnyuk correctly opines that a major part of corporate blogging's success comes from business bloggers adopting a less stiff, more open (and even sometimes downright informal) tone.

I don't know if I would say a good corporate blog has to be "gossipy," but certainly it should encourage multi-directional communication - between the blogger(s) and readers, and among the readers themselves.  That's where the beauty of collaborative communication really emerges.
Apr11
How To Preach The Gospel Of Business Blogging
Diane Ensey over at AListReview (a new KMM blog covering hot topics in the blogosphere) mentions four ways business leaders might oppose the idea of business blogging.  Here's how I would preach the Gospel of Business Blogging to counter each one of these criticisms:

1. I don't have time to read them.  Yes you do.  With the right tools, you can read blogs amazingly quickly.  Thanks to feeds and a good feedreader, you can easily read dozens of articles from a variety of blogs in just a few minutes.

You know how the same comic strip can appear in many different newspapers?  That comic strip is automatically fed to each paper every day.  It's a feed.  A feedreader is like your personal digital newspaper, where you can pull feeds to you of anything you want.  And since you choose what blog feeds appear in your reader, you won't have to waste any time sorting through topics that are unrelated to your business.

2. I don't have time to write one.  Yes you do.  How long does it take to send an email?  Publishing a blog entry is as easy as sending an email.

3. I don't like the idea of a personal journal at work.  But would your clientele, actual and potential, like it?  Perhaps so.  Maybe they'd like that even more than the idea of not knowing what you are up to at work.  Now of course you don't need to be cheesy or give away company secrets.  But you can easily use a blog to make you more personal, more approachable, and more appealing to your present and future customers.

And who ever said a blog had to sound like a journal?  You don't have to write "Boss's Log, Stardate Whatever" at the top of each entry.  You can say whatever you want.  Just think - what would people like to know about your business?  What would help people find and use your business?

4. It will just give people the opportunity to flame me/my company.  With the negative comes the positive.  A business blog simply moves the discussion to a public forum.  People will say bad things about your business no matter what.  They'll also say good tyhings no matter what.  The point of having a blog isn't just to put a forced positive spin on your company - at least, if you try to do that you're likely to have a hard time of it.  A blog is extremely conducive to reader input.  So you can more easily talk with those who have opinions of any kind about your products or services.  You can preach your own gospel to the naysayers and make new preachers out of your biggest fans.  And the gospel shall roll forth from your own business blog more quickly and cheaply than you can probably imagine.

I'm sure that you can think of more fears business people have about blogging.  Please let Diane or me know how you would counter those fears - we've got a lot of businesses to convert!

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