The Barnes & Noble Review
People don’t want to hear from your PR people: They want to hear from living, breathing you
. Blogs let you humanize your company and discover exactly what your customers are thinking right now. Microsoft’s Robert Scoble, arguably the world’s best-known corporate blogger, says it’s time you joined the conversation.
Scoble’s passionate about the power of corporate blogs. He thinks Microsoft’s 1,500-plus bloggers have fundamentally changed the market’s perception of his company, and he’s probably right. He has plenty of potential benefits to discuss: obvious, and less obvious, such as blogging’s benefits for staff recruitment. And he has plenty of case studies, from big companies like IBM and McDonald’s, midsize companies like Stonyfield Farms, and even neighborhood restaurants trying to fend off the mega-chains.
But he’s candid about the challenges, too: negative comments, confidentiality issues, resource commitments, trouble demonstrating ROI, and so forth. (And, whatever else you do, make sure to read his guidance on avoiding trouble with the corporate mucky-mucks. More than a few folks have gotten fired for ignoring these rules.)
You don’t need to be familiar with blogs or blogging to read this book: Scoble and coauthor Shel Israel patiently explain all the basics, tell you how to get started, and point you to the resources and tools you’ll need. Then, if you buy in, they offer dozens of dos, don’ts, and pointers. (Stay away from phony "character" blogs. Demonstrate passion and authority. Post fast and often. Tell a story. Include comments.)
Don’t let your marketing firm tell you how to blog. Learn how here. Bill Camarda, from the March 2006 Read Only
explains the why and how of blogging to business people. It helps businesses strip away the layers of corpspeak (consisting of a mixture of bull, polish, and obfuscation) that prevent businesses and customers from really getting to know each other. It shows businesses how to use blogs to have a meaningful dialog with customers and partners without layers of polish and shine that customers know obscure real meaning.
Using more than 50 interviews with people at all levels and in all sorts of businesses for case studies, it demystifies blogging, explaining why it is more efficient, credible and effective than traditional business communications tools. Naked Conversations explains the perfect storm conditions battering traditional marketing mixes of ads, PR, websites and collateral materials. Blogging did not cause the situation but represents enormous promise of fixing what's broken, and in so doing, will bring companies and their constituencies closer together while improving the bottom line.
From this book, business and marketing decision makers will learn:
- Blogging is not just another tactical communications distribution channel, but a new strategic medium that benefits both companies and customers
- Why businesses of all sizes and in all places should blog
- Why such traditional taboos such as praising competition or publicly discussing product prior to launch make sound business sense in today's new Conversational Era
- How a poor understanding of blogs is costing one small specialty manufacturer $10 million in replacement products for disgruntled customers
- How a reviled software giant is seeing a new public image ofopenness develop thanks to thousands of active employee blogs
- What an outspoken NBA owner does with his blog to connect to team fans
- What employers and employees should know about hiring and firing due to blogging and a code of ethics for blogging
For the past five years, Microsoft employee Scoble has maintained one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. Mixing personal notes with passionate, often-controversial commentary on technology and business, his blog is "naked"-i.e., not filtered through his employer's marketing or public relations department-a key part of its appeal. In this breezy book, Scoble and coauthor Israel argue that every business can benefit from smart "naked" blogging, whether the company's a smalltown plumbing operation or a multinational fashion house. "If you ignore the blogosphere... you won't know what people are saying about you," they write. "You can't learn from them, and they won't come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation." To bolster their argument, Scoble and Israel have assembled an enormous amount of information about blogging: from history and theory to comparisons among countries and industries. They also lay out the dos and don'ts of the medium and include extensive statistics, dozens of case studies and several interviews with famous bloggers. They consider the darker aspects of blogging as well-including the possibility of getting fired by an unsympathetic employer. For companies that have already embraced blogging, this book is an essential guide to best practice. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Scoble, a video blogger for Microsoft, and technology guru Israel have put together a bible for business bloggers. Drawn from their own experiences, as well as from numerous comments posted to their blog (http://redcouch.typepad.com/), they have produced a book with the conversational style of blogs. Starting with a brief history of "Word-of-Mouth" products such as the ICQ global instant messaging service and web browser Firefox, and placing blogging firmly in this context, they state that blogs are "Word-of-Mouth on Steroids." Included are interviews with company bloggers from the technology industry, of course, but also from various other businesses. Scoble and Israel outline the right and the wrong ways to blog in a business context (e.g., don't say anything you wouldn't say directly to a client or the company VP) and provide basic advice on blogging generally and on related emerging technologies. The key points of the book are that blogs are better than traditional one-way marketing because they allow instant two-way communication with customers, developing a loyalty unmatched by other marketing endeavors. In fact, if a business doesn't blog, its customers will abandon that company in favor of one that does. This book should be in all public libraries and academic business collections.-Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.