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Ted Demopoulos: The Four Types of Business Blogs
Note by Easton: Special thanks to Ted Demopoulos for this guest post on business blogs. It's part of the continuing Know More Media Guest Blogger Week.

It's extremely important to plan a business blog instead of just "starting" it. Part of the planning must include what type of blog is being started. I break business blogs into four basic types depending on their primary purpose:

1) Internal blogs: Internal blogs are used for internal company or project communications, and are not available on the Internet.

Often they replace a lot of emails, and serve as a repository of information, avoiding the "who should I cc:?," "where is that email?," and " who followed up on the email?" type worries.

2) Problogs: I call blogs started primarily to make money, for example through advertising and affiliate programs, problogs. A problog can be on ANY topic that people are interested in, for example handbags or cameras.

Blogs in blog networks are often in this category, for example this one. I think of them as the blog equivalent of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV shows.

3) Company Blogs: These are blogs started to help support an existing company or product. These blogs help companies by communicating with customers and getting feedback, increasing traffic to the companies website, generally getting the word out about the company, increasing potential customer's comfort level with the company, etc. There are many different types of company blogs, for example product blogs, industry blogs, etc. A great post on this subject is Mark Nash: Business Blog Taxonomy 101.

Examples include GM's FastLane Blog and my The Ted Rap Blog.

4) Independent professional blogs: These are similar to company blogs, but are written – and owned – by individuals. These people are usually passionate about their work and blog about it.

Examples include Steve Rubel's Micro Persuasion and Bob Cargill's A New Marketing Commentator. Both gentlemen recently switched employers, but since their blogs are their own property, their blogging has continued on uninterrupted.

Do all business blogs fit neatly into these categories – no, of course not, but I find this a useful categorization at least for myself, and for my clients when planning a business blog.

By Ted Demopoulos

Mark Nash: Business Blog Taxonomy 101
Mark Nash at the GiftDock blog wrote up a great little business blogging taxonomy.

Here are the types of business blogs Mark identifies (my notes in parentheses):

1. The Executive Blog (CEO, Prez, Head Honcho - uncommon)
2. The Branding Blog (News about Brand XYZ - lose the PR-speak)
3. The Project Blog (The Latest on Product ABC - build that buzz!)
4. The Industry Blog (All about Widget-Making - give an insider's view)
5. The Media Blog (Pick Your Target Audience - and meet their needs)

I'll throw an extra log on Mark's pile:

6. The Humanity Blog - to show your customers that you're human.  Here's where you talk less about your business and more about people and experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Can you think of other types of business blogs?
Feb 4
My Thoughts On Stowe Boyd's Blog Conversational Index
Stowe, very novel idea.  I agree that there ought to be some way whereby blog search engines measure much more than just the number of links to a given blog.  And I agree that the amount of conversation (comments, trackbacks) going on at a blog relative to its number of posts is an important characteristic.  Your post may lead to lots of new forms of measuring blogs.

But I think we need to take into account a few other things.  I'd love to get some feedback from you and anyone else.  Just some half-baked thoughts to fuel the conversation.

1. Comment quality varies.  Some blog posts have a long line of very short, congratulatory (or derogatory, or spam) comments, for example, while others might have just a few really thoughtful comments.  I'm not sure how to really measure the *quality* of a comment, but I think there's more to it than saying, "Well, Blog X has twice as many comments per post on it as Blog Blog Y does, so Blog X is getting more conversation."

2. Many blogs start out conversation-poor and gradually pick up speed as they gain a consistent following.  What if one could see if Blog X's CI (conversational index) was increasing at a faster rate than Blog Y's?  Perhaps that in itself would be an interesting statistic: the daily rate of increase or decrease in the CI over a given period of time.  (Ten points for anyone who gives this a sexy name.)  So, say on January 1st I have 50 posts, 20 comments and 5 trackbacks at my widget blog: CI = 2.  If by January 11th I have 60 posts, 40 comments and 20 trackbacks, my CI = 1.  (I like Don Dodge's higher-is-better idea - maybe we ought to reverse the formula.)  So over 10 days, my CI has "doubled" (halved).  I'm getting twice as much "conversation" as I was ten days ago.  If my friend's blog on widgets has gone from 20/20/0 to 40/20/0 in those ten days, his CI has *decreased* from 1 to 2.  So someone searching the web for blogs about widgets could readily see that mine has improved in terms of conversation relative to my friend's.  Of course, there could be a default time period for the calculation of this simple growth/stagnation metric - say, one month - but the search tool should allow the user to specify a different time period, like one year or one week.

3. What about the author's comments at her own blog, or trackbacks she sends back to her older entries?  Should those count the same?

4. Could this statistic be meshed with a particular individual's CI?  That is, if I have five blogs, could we somehow calculate my average CI (using the totals from all of my blogs)?

5. Is a comment always equal to a trackback?  Or are trackbacks more important because they are more rare or indicate a foreign post, which typically includes more info than a comment?  (What if I had posted this information at your blog instead of mine, for example?)

6. What about the number of commenters on or trackbackers to a blog?  For example, sometimes we see blogs with hundreds of comments from just a very few faithful, while other blogs have fewer comments, but from a larger number of people.  So maybe the formula should be expanded to reflect the number of commenters/trackbackers, like so:
CI = P / [(C + T) / U].  (P = posts, C = comments, T = trackbacks, U = unique commenters and trackbackers.  Example:

Blog A:
P = 50
C = 20 including author's comments
T = 5 including author's trackbacks
U = 5 including author

CI = 50 / [(20 + 5) / 5] = 50 / 5 = 10.

Blog B:
P = 50
C = 20 including author's comments
T = 5 including author's trackbacks
U = 25 including author

CI = 50 / [(20 + 5) / 25] = 50 / 1 = 50.

Blog A: CI = 10.
Blog B: CI = 50.

Although both blogs have the exact same number of posts, comments and trackbacks, Blog B's conversational index is much higher because it has enjoyed conversational input from a much higher number of people.

7. My head hurts.  I feel like a geek.

Anyway, I hope this gets some more thoughts flowing.  Maybe someone can go all mathematical and sabermetricky on this.  (Somewhere out there is a diehard baseball fan waiting to morph into a bona fide blog statistician!)  I look forward to hearing what you have to say about this.
Professional Blog Copyright Tips
At her guide to blogging, Sheila Ann Manuel Coggins offers basic copyright advice and a few great links to help you understand the legal issues surrounding blogging and copyright.  This is a good resource for businesss bloggers.  (Sheila also has published a related article that you should check out; it gives 14 copyright tips for bloggers.)  Knowing the legalities of copyrights will help you form a great corporate blogging policy and overcome blogging problems.

My top three points on copyrights and blogging:

1.  Always ask permission.  Ask someone if it's okay with them if you copy their stuff (images, text, video, etc.) - BEFORE you do it!  (Unless a huge neon sign tells you in boldface letters that it's okay.  Even then, you should probably ask, just to be safe.)

2. Always say thanks.  Whenever you post an image on your corporate blog that you got from somewhere else on the Web, you should provide an acknowledgement linking to the source or author of that image.  For example, "Photo courtesy of Joe Spivey," with a link to John's website.  Same goes for text or any other material.

3. Don't be stupid.  I'm sorry, but we all need this basic principle affixed to the walls of our minds.  Don't secretly copy a competitor's logo and mock it on your company blog.  Don't copy entire articles from another website without acknowledging the source.  Don't wear black and brown together.

Excellent blogging/copyright links:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation publishes tons of great information about bloggers' rights.  Get up, stand up!

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is the result of a collaborative effort by several excellent law schools and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to report on the silencing effects that many "stop or we'll shoot" legal threats have on business bloggers.  You can learn about your real rights thanks to the CEC.

Bonus link: On its "about" page, the CEC offers seeral more great blogging law links.
What Is A Business Blog?
"Business blog" can refer to at least four kinds of blogs:

1. Official corporate blogs for big businesses like Microsoft or Cisco
2. Official company blogs for small businesses like Clip-n-Seal or the old candy store down the street
3. Work-related blogs by company employees
4. Blogs that make money by themselves through advertising, sales or donations (like or

I currently use the terms "company blog," "corporate blog" and "business blog" interchangeably for the first three kinds of blogs listed above, but I prefer to use "professional blogs" or perhaps "business blogs" for the fourth kind.

What do you think the term "business blog" means?  How should it be used?  I welcome your thoughts.

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