Jeremy has a good post over at InsideBlogging answering the question – ‘what does a Blog Consulting Company do?‘ which is well worth the read if you’re thinking about engaging a blog consultant or if you’re interested in becoming one.
Steve’s got a good article on The Rise of Business Blogging which ends with three good solid pieces of advice for those wanting to get into business blogging:
‘Step One – Listen: The best way to become acquainted with the power of blogs is to read them and see what they’re talking about. Using tools like Google, PubSub and Feedster, you can find easily blogs that are already discussing your company/brand and its industry. Also be sure to check out sites like BusinessBlogConsulting.com and Adrants.com, which include examples of blogs done right and wrong.
Step Two – Reach Out: Once you have identified influential blogs, reach out to them by carefully posting comments on their sites. Let them know you’re listening. Some may invite you to sponsor their blog, which also can often offer a high ROI. Blogs can help your company build awareness among influencers who will talk about you to others. Marqui, a telecommunications company, recently began experimenting paying bloggers $800 per week if they mentioned their product. While the results aren’t known, blog advertising is certainly going to become a lot more prevalent in the years ahead.
Step Three – Launch Your Own Blogs: Finally, once you feel you have a firm grasp on the medium, roll your own weblogs. This can range from everything from a CEO blog to a product team site and more. Figure out first who you’re trying to reach, who will have the most time and what people in your organization are willing to be the most transparent. ‘
I really appreciate Steve’s advice – whilst a couple of posts back I advised the ‘just do it’ method of researching a new blog topic – I was writing more for the experienced blogger wanting to start new entrepreneurial blogs. There is a danger when blogging of rushing into a niche topic without really thinking ahead. I know that if I’d just spent a little more time thinking about some of the blogs that I’ve started that I would have done one or two of them quite differently. I needed to spend a bit more time in the ‘Listen’ phase. Of course there is only so much listening that one should do – there comes a time when you have to move past that and actually bite the bullet and start that blog you’ve always wondered about.
Looks like voting is open in the The 2005 Business Blogging Awards and I’m surprised to find ProBlogger in the Best overall Blog category. i wasn’t sure what their definition of a ‘Business Blog’ was but perhaps I’m one after all. Anyway you can go here to vote and to surf through some excellent examples of business blogging a wide variety of topics. If you’re looking for the category we’re nominated in start scrolling and don’t stop til you stop. The best ‘overall’ blog is ‘underall’ the others….sorry – I couldn’t resist.
Update: Voting has been suspended due to some irregularities with the system – seems that votes were accumulating very quickly (ie one vote sometimes came up as multiple votes). Thanks for the 11,000 people who voted for me (joking). System should be back up again shortly.
The Social Customer Manifesto has a great series going at the moment titled The Business Blogging Field Guide which goes beyond the usual ‘what is a business blog?’ question and describes six different types of business bloggers – giving examples of each:
Over at the Blogathon last week the guys at Inside Blogging generously commissioned me to come up with a list of as many ‘Business Blogs‘ as I could find. I thought I’d post the list here also as its relevant to this blog. See below the list for my struggle to define ‘business blog’ which will partially explain the odd collection I’ve assembled here so far which includes numerous businesses that blog but also a few blogs about business (if you get my distinction. I’ve tried to keep the more pure ones (ie businesses that blog) in the top end of the list.
Is anyone else feeling they are missing something by not being able to get to the Blog Business Summit?
One of the things I love so much about blogging is that it is such a global medium and so accessible to such a large proportion of the world*. This particularly appealed to me as an Australian who loves to communicate and network with other fellow enthusiasts in my fields of interest from around the world – but who finds himself with a limited capacity to travel regularly. In most cases blogging has crossed the borders brilliantly but on occasions it unfortunately does not.
Conferences such as the Blog Business Summit are one time when I feel the isolation the most. There has been talk of a couple of Aussie blogging conferences in the next few months but I’d really love to get to Seattle this year to put faces, voices, handshakes to the names and ramblings of a few of my favorite blogs. There is nothing like those face to face encounters to take your online friendship and working relationships to the next level.
I was hoping that there might have been some sort of audio or even video feeds from the event but at this point it doesn’t seem like there is any. I’ll have to live vicariously through blogs themselves or the IRC channel that Robert Scoble has put up.
Anyway – enough of my whining – I’ll be keeping up to date with the latest through some of these blogs no doubt:
*I know that it doesn’t really cross all economic divides as its still a pretty middle and upper class thing with it being essential that you live in a location that has access to the internet and a computer – however there are now bloggers in most (if not all) countries in the world.
Also in the Enterprise Blogging article was this gem of a paragraph which sparked my imagination – it’s about one of the barriers to blogging for ‘top down’ cultured companies and the ‘bottom up’ nature of blogging.
‘A potential problem is that blogging does not fit with the corporate culture of many organisations. If an enterprise values a “top down” approach, then blogging, with its emphasis on freedom and open access, may not be a useful tool: “bottom-up organizations use blogs” says Jay Cross; for him, “… blogs are the leading edge of the social software movement that’s propelling the bottom-up, self-organizing reformation of versatile businesses. A bottom-up organization values the collective work of individuals over top-down authority; it supports cooperation and co-evolution in lieu of command and control. Instead of telling people what to do, it provides the networks that enable them to do what they want to do”’
Free Pint’s feature article this issue is on Enterprise Blogging. They look at the different ways that blogging could be and is being commercialized and suggest the following enterprising applications for blogging:
- ‘Blogs can be useful sources of information for business’
- ‘Blogs can be used for communication’
- ‘Blogging can be a tool for project management’
- ‘Blogs can be used as a competitive intelligence tool’
- ‘Blogs can be used for marketing’
- ‘Blogs have been promoted as a tool for knowledge management and knowledge sharing’
- ‘Customer service is an area in which the potential of blogging is being explored.’
- ‘A blog can be used as a newsletter’
It is a good list for businesses to consider.
Read more of this article at FreePint Newsletter 174 – Business Information, Enterprise Blogging
Electronic Business has a good article introducing some of the concepts around Business Blogs (and Wikis), especially highlighting some of the internal ways that blogs can be used to communicate within a business.
‘Forget about all the hype you’ve heard about blogs (a.k.a. Web logs) as the latest outlet for personal journalism. It turns out they also have a remarkable ability to aid communication in business, whether within internal workgroups or among external chains of suppliers and partners. For an industry such as electronics—where relationships are far-flung and time-to-market pressures require fast communications—blogs can bring a new agility to the workforce….
Gomes suggests, blogs work best internally as a knowledge management tool, because information can be made so easily accessible.’