Archive for “September, 2006”

A secondary benefit of Corporate Blogging

So you’ve seen the light when it comes to corporate blogging – you know you want to use it as part of an integrated marketing strategy, to try and reach out and engage your customers, to create a sense of what we used to call “community” on your website (back in the old days of web 1.0, “community” used to be things like bulletin boards, email feedback opportunities and polls – this concept of proactive engagement is not a new one). But you’re not sure exactly who in your organization should do the blogging. Senior management is seriously time-strapped and no one really has the prolific gift of prose you need… (remember, blogging is also entertainment – if you suck as a writer, a magazine will not publish your work. Your company blog should operate on the same principles). You’re stumped – where are you going to find someone to create the content that’s at the heart of your corporate blogging strategy?

Why, you’re going to put out an APB within your organization, a “call for submissions”. Chances are you probably have a few bloggers out there, why not see if you can get their attention and have them use their powers for corporate good?

You see – the secondary benefit of corporate blogging is internal engagement. You will be engaging the employee(s) who write your blog(s), asking them to really think about what they do in a positive way, as well as the dozens or hundreds inside that also READ those blog(s). You will be re-inforcing your brand, vision and identity as a collective group of people focussed on the same goals, both externally AND internally.

Giving people the power to speak without micro-management* is empowering, and empowered employees = happy employees.

(*Of course, that’s not to say there shouldn’t be an approvals process – but that’s a topic for another post.)

About this blog

I have been blogging for a long time, but always under a nom du web – first out of paranoia about weirdos, then out of the desire to be able to speak and discuss anything and everything I wanted without worrying about who might be reading.

At the same time I was running and growing our parent firm, new sun creative. New sun has been around since 1992, but when I joined in 2001 we began diversifying both clients and products. Now we are a full-service on and offline custom publications firm – you can find out more on our website.

Which brings me to this blog. There’s not much here, eh? That’s because it’s new. I have imported some relevant posts from my “personal” blog (and there are a few) but the rest have been created relatively recently. As we turned our attention more directly to helping our clients communicate with their customers via emerging social media channels, the need for this blog became apparent, both as a way of sharing our experience and getting to know who else is out there, blog-evangelizing.

So here we are. Have a look around and come back often. I look forward to hearing from you and growing yet another blog into adulthood! (and no, I will not tell you where my personal blog is).

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

As I mentioned previously, I think we’re only a few years (maybe 2) away from every reasonably savvy small company bypassing the traditionally expensive “bespoke” website in favour of a blog-based site, whether they use it in the traditional “blog” sense of the word, or simply use the technology as basically free CMS. [Full disclosure: our parent firm, new sun creative derives about 50% of its revenue from these custom "bespoke" websites, so this change is scary for us]. It’s simply too cheap and easy to stay out of the mainstream for long. I am also assuming that at some point most of the major blog software players will provide packages that are “professional” (along the lines of Movable Type’s Enterprise and TypePad Business Class software). Don’t want to pay? All the rest need to do to force the issue is change their terms of use.

How will all this change how your Google search results page looks? Right now, blogs have the upper hand: they’re updated all the time, have lots of links in and out and therefore get great Googlejuice. But when every site is a blog, using all the SMO tricks of the trade, this advantage will be lost. I would suggest that the new art of “Social Media Optimization” (phrase coined by Rohit Bhargava) will be the new search engine optimization (SEO).

YouTube as political weapon

I noted with interest this article in today’s IAB email that campaigners in the American mid-term elections are using YouTube to run political ads. The problem? “Videos on YouTube don’t have to disclose their source or include an on-air approval from a candidate — two requirements for political TV and radio spots.” What an interesting work-around.

There are, of course, logistical issues around how regulators will deal with it, and then what about the public? There have already been a number of incidents in which fat-cat lobbyists posing as hipsters have posted content. Will the young kids of today become more savvy about the message, regardless of the medium? (Fyi, that’s my bet)

Corporate Blogging Roundtable:Media in Canada Forum

Exciting times, my friends! I have been asked to host a roundtable on corporate blogging at the Media in Canada Forum in Toronto on October 3rd.

Of course, this necessitated getting a picture and bio together, which isn’t fun at the best of times. I did notice one of the speakers used an old soccer team picture. I thought this was cute and contemplated something similar, but then I realized I would be copying. So I went with a regular headshot, which I will now commence using on this blog:

maggie_lowrez2.jpg
Anyway, back to the really exciting part – determining what we’re going to talk about! I have to say that I’m mostly interested in listening, rather than talking. And I’m not so much interested in talking to new media people, rather “old media” types and agencies – I want to know how the market is feeling about corporate blogging. I have to say that I find myself walking the line on the whole issue of “do or die!” – I think it’s a bit of a crock. There are many challenges for companies and SMEs that want to engage their customers through blogs, not the least of which is resources and the risks associated with uncontrolled, broadcasted messages. I guess you could liken blogging to the phone – no executive would ever consider not allowing employees to communicate with customers by phone. But, of course, phonecalls that go bad can’t be infinitely broadcast in the billion-channel universe that is the Internet.

Nonetheless, as traditional methods of engagement wane, new and creative alternatives will emerge – blogging’s one of them. I think it’s time to commence a thorough and complete-ish evaulation of who’s doing it well, rather than the haphazard, “Like this one so I’m gonna blogroll it,” pattern most people follow. I will post the results of my survey here. Stand by – this will evolve.