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Best argument yet for posting less. Blogs keep challenging old thinking.

Are the rules of business changing?

Business Blog Survey

Hi everyone, I’ve been asked to see if I can get feedback on these questions by anyone who is involved with business blogging for a magazine article on business and blogging (as inspired by this article) – so I thought I’d throw these out as a Friday survey (yes, it’s Friday here in NZ and Australia!).

  1. What is the name and address of your business blog?
  2. What is the business it relates to? Are you the owner or an employee?
  3. Why and when did you start your blog? Did you model it on anyone else’s?
  4. What’s the payoff in doing it?
  5. How often do you post to your blog?
  6. Is the content strictly business, or do you let a little of your personal life in?
  7. Does the content focus on your business itself, or on issues of interest for the business sector you’re in?
  8. How do you relate to your fellow bloggers?
  9. Is it important to present as a real human being, rather than simply a company name?
  10. Who are your readers? How many of them are there? Do you communicate with them by any other means apart from the blog itself?
  11. Any other thoughts about business blogging? Is it important? Should more people be doing it?

Should be interesting to us all too!

Why Do You Write, Read, and Comment on Blogs?

Last week, Bob Bly asked a simple question on his blog – …why not just read books, periodicals, and Web sites? Why do you read blogs … and bother writing posts on them?

Here was the comment I left in response to his question:

I own a few of the books you’ve written. I like them. One in particular has helped me in my career. I thought of writing you in thanks, but never did. I always thought you were too busy or must be receiving unsolicited input all the time. In short, I always thought I’d be a bother.

Then you started to blog and as such, I had an easy means to reach you. You opened a dialogue and I can communicate with you as easy as leaving this comment. Since then, you’ve emailed me a few times in acknowledgement of comments on your blog. We even had a short conversation on the phone. All because you blog.

Why visit your blog? You are very good at offering insght and opinion – opening a conversation. Books, magazines, newsletters and such are often better thought, more informative, and better written than blogs I read…but I never “met” you until you blogged. You’re better here than in your books. You’re human, one of “us.” You lead and participate in the conversation. That’s why I read and comment on your blog.

I blog because it makes me think. I learn from what excites people, what gets them talking, and what leaves me speaking in the “dark.” I’ve met and joined in conversations with people across continents, and have learned from comments left on my blog.

Blogging makes me better at my profession – that’s why I blog.

For those of you that blog, why do you do it? For those of you that read and comment on blogs, what do you get out of it? Why participate? Why blog?

Blogs Are an Incomplete Customer Communications Tool – How Would You Make Them Better?

Blogs are interesting tools of business and business communications. There are a lot of useful things you can do with a blog. Interestingly, they’re lacking in the one benefit most touted – customer communication. Only the blogger can open the conversation, the reader can only respond.

That’s poor communication.

Readers are without doubt the most valuable part of a blog. Without the reader, the blog is nothing more than a stream of conscious pouring into an empty room. The blogger and reader need each other, otherwise his dialogue and exchange of ideas never takes place.

The reader is the one that really makes the blog.

How ironic then that it is only the reader that can’t start a conversation. Only the blogger can open a topic for discussion. The blogger decides what and when something will be discussed. That isn’t the nature of communication, that’s not how we’d communicate were we together at a party, conference, or business gathering.

Sure, a reader can always send the author an email or contact them in other ways to initiate a post or topic for discussion, but that’s not the issue. The issue is how do you make it an integrated process? For example, anyone in your neighborhood can stop at your house and say hello, but how do you make them feel welcome to do so and part of your home?

On my own blog, I started a feature called Your Turn to Speak. The concept and process is simple, a reader submits a post for publishing on my blog by filling-out a short form. The reader can now start the conversation and the rest of us can follow. While the reader could always send me an email or call me to open a topic, no one ever did so until I invited them and gave a process. It’s a new feature and too early to tell if it increases conversation. There may be a better, simpler, and more intuitive way to integrate the reader…we’ll see.

Do you believe blogs are lacking in providing two-way communication? If so, how would you better integrate the reader? What are some creative ways you can think of to better integrate the reader into the blogging experience?

Blogging Data We Can All Learn From

The BlogKits 2005 Blogging & Advertising Survey is about to close up. Here’s the best part. I’m going to release the raw data from this study on ProBlogger.net next week for anyone to download and analyze as they see fit. So if you haven’t taken the short survey yet, please do, it will benefit us all in the end. There’s some amazing data in there.

Here’s a sneak peek. 80% of bloggers agree that advertisements are ok on their own blogs. 16% of those who answered were neutral on the statement, with a measly 4% or less saying they don’t think ads should be on their blog. I know for a fact that number was probably less than 30% just two years ago.

On the same note, 76% of bloggers feel that their readers are also ok with ads on blogs. While 15% stayed neutral, only 9% or thought different. Who reads blogs? Well, a lot of bloggers read other blogs. So it’s safe to assume that bloggers are also blog readers.

Finally, one of my most favorite questions. “I am more likely to click on an ad in a blog that I enjoy reading?” 84% of the respondents agreed to this question, while 10% stayed neutral and less than 6% disagreed. Seems like common sense right? The data would concur with that statement.

Trying FeedBurner Total Stats Pro on View from the Isle

headerlogo.jpgYeah, I admit it, I’m a metrics junky.  Which is good, since I am the chief blogger for Elytics.com writing on the web metrics blog.  Regardless, I’m also a huge fan of FeedBurner.  I admit I check my FeedBurner stats throughout the day, especially when one of my articles has been picked up by several other blogs.  In spite of being a metrics junky and really wanting to know what content is popular on my blog I resisted trying Total Stats PRO–Burning Questions – The Official FeedBurner Weblog - FeedBurner – FeedBurner Total Stats PRO.  Why?  I’m cost conscious.  I really try to keep my business overhead low.  Then it hit me, as a blog consultant/pro blogger/syndicated writer I really should look into this.  I already set up all my clients with FeedBurner from day one–learning from my own mistake–and I tell my clients check your FeedBurner and other stats to figure out what content is most popular and use this to help guide your content decisions.  It makes logical sense, then, that I should try it myself and see if it’s worth $5/month.  So, over the next 15 days I’ll be checking my stats with Total Stats PRO.  I’ll probably do an initial assessment later today, then one in a few days, etc.
 
As professional bloggers our content is both our calling card and our gravy train.  It’s how we earn our money.  There’s no point in writing tons of articles on topic x if those aren’t as popular as topic y, especially if you’re writing for a client.  There will always be a certain number of articles that you write or publish, things like press releases, that aren’t glamorous and don’t get a lot of attention, but are essential regardless.  Then there are the articles which both you and your client intend to be interesting to a wider audience, those are the articles that I’m talking about.  That’s the important information that I hope FeedBurner can now provide me.  If so, $5/month could be a paltry price to pay to be able to effectively target the content published on a blog by blog basis.  Here’s hoping!
 
I will post charts, tables, etc as appropriate to give you a feel for what I’m seeing.  Because great data poorly presented, is almost as useless as not having it at all.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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Blogging Domain Name Brand Mantra

Darren asks, ‘What’s in A Blog Name?‘. He’s right, a name is a very important piece of becoming a successful blog. Think branding…it’s all about branding. Certain names and words flow off the tounge and are more memorable than others.

I’ve been reading Darren’s blog before it was ProBlogger.net. What was it? Um, something like blog.livingroom.com.au, I think. Get the point? That name sucked. Sorry Darren, I think you knew that. That’s no way to build a brand name. I think Darren can prove that his traffic and general reputation grew by leaps and bounds when he moved to ProBlogger.net. The design helped too :) Of course, it can be done, but it’s much harder.

So as a serious blogger…if you want to be serious, and taken seriously, you have to stop using those unbrandable blog domains like supercooldude.blogspot.com. The time has come to drop $8.95 at GoDaddy and get your own domain name. Or, for the sake of this shameless promotional entry, you could use one of mine below.

I’m currently looking to either sell or develop the following domain names. If you are interested in either offer, please email me at [email protected]

www.hotelblog.com
I’m looking for a writer who wants to take it and make it into a network blog about hotels. I’m willing to pay up to 75% of all revenue it generates to the right person who can make it a success. I’d host it, and provide the MT blog software and setup. I’d also do the design and any tech stuff. All this person would have to do is write, well… and often.

I also have these domains I’d like to do something with. Either sell them or develop them. Have an idea? Make an offer? Let me know.

News-blog.com
College-blog.com
Career-blog.com
Business-blog.com
Blogbucks.com
Blog-shop.com
Biz-blog.com

Blog Business Summit II Aug 17-19, San Francisco

Just announced today the Blog Business Summit will be August 17-19 in San Francisco.  I’m not sure if I will be attending–I will be at Gnomedex later this month though–but it was a great time in January.  BBS was the break out conference for me and Susie.  BBS was where both of our blogs got attention for our event blogging.  So, if nothing else for new pro bloggers, a conference like BBS, Gnomedex, or BlogHER. is the perfect place to network, meet other probloggers and, if you’re lucky, get some attention.  Oh yeah, have some fun too. ;-).
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Vespa Blogs

Vespa-1

Steve Rubel announces that Vespa will start blogging later in the year at VespaBlogs.com. They write:



‘Why is Vespa launching blogs?


Piaggio USA feels blogs are an ideal way to connect with Vespa brand loyalists and encourage them to become online evangelists. It is an extension of the scooter clubs that have existed offline for years. One reason is that U.S. scooter buyers are heavy online users. According to internal Piaggio USA research, a full 65% of prospective motor scooter buyers visited the Vespa USA Web site, while 56% visited other sites when conducting research prior to purchase. Piaggio USA hopes that by hosting a transparent peer-to-peer discussion, it will enable more individuals to embrace scootering for a wide array of daily lifestyle needs. In addition, it will enable Piaggio USA to actively listen to consumer feedback in real-time.’

This is a very smart move. Vespas are a lovemark (if you haven’t read this book can I recommend you grab a copy from your local bookstore) and the best way that you can tap into the love that owners of your products have for such a product is to provide a space for them to come together to talk, connection, obsess, rave, gush, dream, evangelize and be excited about your product. This is what might just happen with such a blog.

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