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February 27, 2006

Blogging At Search Engine Strategies On Monday

The Backbone Media team had a long day at the search engine strategies conference dealing with the set up of the SCOUT blogging booth. But we went out to a great Japanese restaurant called Sushi Den on 49th street. Good Sushi and delicious deserts. Most of the Backbone/SCOUT team when to the SES session on blogs, CGM and Buzz. Dave Balter, BuzzAgent – Boston Mass, Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, and Jim Nail, Cymfony – Watertown Mass were on the panel. The session was sold out, and about 40 people hovered outside watching the big TV screen. I did not make the session but I bumped into Jim Nail from Cymfony afterwards and we chatted about the state of the blog metrics industry.

Posted by johncass at 11:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogging Glossary Of Terms

At a recent panel discussion at the Yankee chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators the panel was asked to provide definitions of blogging terms. I thought this round up of some of the terms we discussed would be helpful. Let me know if you would like me to add anything to the list.

Archives

Archives contain links to past blog entries, such pages are ordered by month, week or day. Daily calendars also exist for archives.

Archives are extremely important to blog readers, especially when a blog reader visits a new blog for the first time. The age and size of an archive will go someway to convincing that its worthwhile maintaining a connection with a new blog.

Blogger

Someone who writes or authors a blog.

Blogroll

Lists of links to favorite bloggers on a blog, such links are usually displayed in the side navigation.

Categories

Bloggers use categories to characterize each blog post. Using keywords and phrases for categories a blogger can build a body of work around a particular theme. Bloggers find this navigational tool useful in making it easy to find past articles around a subject, and blog readers use categories to find posts of interest.

Comments

Blogs are a design of website that allow a lot of interaction between the writer of the blog, and the blogger’s audience. A comment dialog box allows a blog reader to make a comment on a blog post. Due to the increasing volume of comment spam, many bloggers moderate their comments before publishing them.

Comments are just as important to a blogger as their blog posts. Blogging is about dialogue and the opportunity to interact with your audience is paramount.

Consumer generated media

All of the electronic content generated by consumers on websites and the Internet, including email list serves and forums, such content was highlighted by the growth of blogging since the turn of the 21st century. However in 2006 the vast majority of consumer generated content exists on websites other than blogs, including forum sites.

Companies like Cymfony, Umbria and BuzzMetrics provide analysis and monitoring of Internet generated consumer generated media.

The phrase also relates to the cultural rise of consumer generated media as a contrast to traditional media in print, radio and TV, where professional journalists produce content for an audience’s consumption.

Entry

Blogs are powered by powerful content management systems that allow even non-technical people to build a web page. Once a web page is written and entered into the content management system, the blog author publishes the page onto the web. Bloggers call the process of publishing the web page ‘posting’ and the page itself is an ‘entry.’ An entry can also be called a blog post or article.

Post

What’s a post?

Blogs are powered by powerful content management systems that allow even non-technical people to build a web page. Once a web page is written and entered into the content management system, the blog author publishes the page onto the web. Bloggers call the process of publishing the web page ‘posting’ and the page itself is a ‘post.’

RSS

What Is RSS?

Today, I was asked the question what is RSS? It occurred to me that many people are not familiar with the term or understand how the technology works between websites and web visitors, so I thought I’d discuss the issue.
RSS or really simple syndication is not as you might think an example of stick man cartoons being syndicated through national newspapers but the syndication of one website’s content to another website or RSS feed reader.

As you are reading this post, a number of other visitors are reading this same post through their RSS feed reader. Bloglines.com is an example of a web based RSS feed reader.

The advantage to the visitor who is using an RSS feed reader is that you know if the content on a website or blog has been updated without actually visiting the website. RSS feed readers are designed in such a way that the visitor can review a large number of feeds all at the same time. Some people have 50, 100, or several hundred feeds in their feed reader. The design is much more efficient than email, in that typically an email user does not know when they are going to receive an email, for example a monthly newsletter, but with RSS the visitor can ask for the content when they are ready to receive the information. RSS makes the process of monitoring content updates much more efficient. An RSS feed can be used by a visitor or website to request for updates to a website on a periodic basis or when a visitor returns to their feed reader.

What’s interesting is that the demand for content from publishers increases with RSS, instead of cursing more regular email newsletters than once a month, an RSS feed reader might begin to question the same content provider’s ability to produce content when they are not writing every few days.
The marketing opportunity is that your customers will be more likely to read your content, as you can break up the content into chucks over time, and also the RSS reader is able to see more content then they could ever do before.

Trackback

How To Send A Trackback Successfully

Today I was asked how to send a trackback successfully to another blog by blogger who has not used the technology, I wrote this post to describe how she can use trackbacks in her blog.
The best way for a blogger to alert another blogger that he has mentioned his work in a blog post is to use a trackback. Trackbacks send a notification to a blog that another blogger has written a post about their blog article. To send a trackback, a blogger has to copy and paste a trackback url from a blogger’s article into the ping field of a blog content management system. Once the blog post and trackback ping is published the blog content management system notifies a ping server that the page has been updated. The ping server then notifies the blogging system of the blog from the original trackback that a trackback has been sent from another blog. A trackback link will then appear underneath the post on the original blog.

There is an increasing amount of trackback Spam from malicious blog Spammers, and so many blogging publishing systems allow bloggers to monitor trackbacks before deciding whether to publish the trackback.

Search engines give higher rankings to those websites have more links from relevant websites. Trackback Spammers send trackbacks to attain more links in order to get higher rankings on search engines and receive direct traffic. The correct etiquette in using a trackback is to reference in your post a blog post where you wish to send a trackback. Commenting in your own blog article about a blog article on another blog where you wish to send a trackback will increase the likelihood that a blogger will publish a trackback on their blog.

Successful trackbacks like successful blog marketing can only be achieved if a blogger understands that he is having a dialogue with other bloggers. Merely targeting other blogs for links will not only get your trackback deleted but may also give you a reputation for Spamming amongst your industry’s community of bloggers. Don’t send a trackback unless you wanted to comment indirectly through a trackback on a blog post, or you wish to reference some information provided by a blogger’s article on his blog. Only send a trackback if your post is relevant to the other blogger’s article. Lastly, definitely do not randomly send trackbacks to a blogger’s article when your own article does not even reference their post, or has nothing to do with the content on another blogger’s blog.

Posted by johncass at 4:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Backbone Launches New Blogging Service Called Scout At SES

Backbone Media was started by Stephen Turcotte in 1996, his goal was to help his customers reach active buyers online. As a pioneer in the search engine optimization industry ten years ago, it’s appropriate Backbone Media launch our new corporate blogging service from the floor of the Search Engine Strategies Conference today.

Called Scout, the service seeks to help companies reach their audience through blogging dialogue by providing monitoring and reporting services to clients on a daily basis. You can find out more about the service at www.scoutblogging.com, where we have both a new website for the service and a new blog for Scout.

Posted by johncass at 1:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

David Sifry Post Suggests Long Tail Conversation Strategy

David Sifry’s post, “State of the Blogosphere, February 2006 Part 2: Beyond Search,? is important because he very clearly illustrates why connecting with niche websites that don’t have a lot of traffic is just as important as connecting with the A list of blogs.

“The Magic Middle is the 155,000 or so weblogs that have garnered between 20 and 1,000 inbound links. It is a realm of topical authority and significant posting and conversation within the blogosphere.?

Any corporate blogger should focus on their topic and industry. Worry more about dialogue than attempting to enter into a conversation with an A list blogger. Focus on the quality of your content and pick conversions with those bloggers who have the best affinity with your content. One, you will develop better ideas and content over time by the interchange. I’ve discovered this over time with my own blogs. And two, the long tail of the blogosphere makes this strategy the right course to take. More of your audience is reading niche blogs in the long tail.

Posted by johncass at 7:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

What’s A Blog Post?

One of the attendees at the Boston chapter of International Association of Business Communicators meeting on consumer generated media asked the panel to slow down, and explain what exactly we meant by the term, “post.? It’s always great to go to blogging panel discussions outside the blogging world because you quickly get a reality check that you are using too much jargon and slang.

Blogs are powered by powerful content management systems that allow even non-technical people to build a web page. Once a web page is written and entered into the content management system, the blog author publishes the page onto the web. Bloggers call the process of publishing the web page ‘posting’ and the page itself is a ‘post.’

Posted by johncass at 3:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

Glaxo Launches PR Ambassador Program -- Reports AdAge.com

AdAge.com had a very interesting article today, "Glaxo drafts employees to polish industry image." (registration required) The article describes the $35.4 billion pharmaceutical company’s efforts to harness 8,000 of their sales reps to conduct a word of mouth program in communities across the US. The program calls on Glaxo sales reps to attend community events at chambers of commerce and associations to actively present Glaxo's communications message. The reps will act as "public relations ambassadors." Michael Pucci, GlaxoSmithKine's VP of external advocacy kicked off the program. Glaxo ambassadors will also talk about healthcare issues with family, friends and the business community in informal settings.

Mr. Pucci described that research has shown that customers and the public will believe information presented by family, friends and ordinary employees over and above corporate communicators.

One industry competitor voiced their misgivings about the program, "“But I’m not sure I want 8,000 people on the ground given that level of responsibility to basically speak for a company and an industry. With that many, the odds say there’s going to be a percentage of them -- however small -- that will make a mistake, or stray from the script, or whatever.?

No news on whether GlaxoSmithKline will be blogging any time soon. I’ve written on the issue of highly regulated industries and healthcare blogging before. And I personally thought it was unlikely that Pharmaceutical companies would embrace the medium anytime soon. But this development probably brings the day closer when pharmaceutical companies will blog. I’d like to hear more from Glaxo about their existing blogging and consumer generated media communications policy for all employees. If the company has 8,000 employees actively taking a public relations role, some of those employees must have a blog. How does what those sales reps say in the community translate for the web?

There are concerns about this type of word of mouth program from an ethical standpoint. Reported in AdAge.com, ‘Dr. Donna Sweet, chair of the Board of Regents for the American College of Physicians, which is on record as opposing direct-to-consumer advertising. “It’s not a bad idea if these people are acting as good citizens and telling the truth and not trying to sway people. But I have a hard time believing they’re going to be completely fair and honest in all situations.?’ If the Glaxo reps are not misrepresenting themselves, what’s the difference between a Glaxo PR professional communicating this message and the rep? Little if any, in the sense the listener will know that the speaker is representing Glaxo. But Dr. Sweet might have a point about worrying about being completely fair and honest. Glaxo will have to conduct some very good training on the reps should present information and answer questions in order to do both a good job and not misrepresent themselves.

If you have read the Cluetrain Manifesto you will know the authors describes markets as conversations and that companies have to get out of the way of customers talking directly with their employees if a company is going to be successful. Companies already trust their employees to sell products, provide customer service and generally manage their brand value on a daily basis. It makes sense that those same employees should be free to talk about PR issues directly.

Posted by johncass at 2:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Blogging Event At The Yankee IABC Chapter

I just got back from the panel discussion on blogging and the consumer generated media world at the IABC Yankee chapter here locally in Weston. The event was held at the Henderson House. Owned by Northeastern University, the house I think dates back to the early twentieth century, the house is located in the woods in Weston. Probably a great place for a retreat.

The IABC had about 30-40 people at the event. Dan York did a superb job, from compiling a list of questions for the panelists, giving the initial introduction to blogging, and lastly moderating the panel. Dan York also recorded the event for the Podcast: For Immediate Release.

Pat Fennessey from Cymfony, a consumer generated media metrics company, gave a through analysis of how to listen to the world of consumer generated media. Pat also talked about how to tell which blogs are important in the blogosphere.

Todd VanHoosear from Topaz Partners, a PR agency in Malden, talked about how to get your message into blogs.

I filled in with some points on getting your message out there and also search engine optimization issues.

What I thought was interesting were the questions from the audience. We had a lot of basic questions. From what is an RSS feed, to what is a post. I hope to answer some of these questions in subsequent posts.

Posted by johncass at 1:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 21, 2006

Googling Robert "Scoble"

Everyone has probably tried Googling his or her full name, but what does it mean when you Google your first name and you turn up on the number one spot on Google?

Conduct a search on Google for the name “Robert,? and Robert Scoble’s blog Scobleizer will pop up in the number one spot. Robert Scoble has been working hard out there in the blogosphere. Every time he posts a comment his url appears on a blogger’s website with the keywords “Robert Scoble.?

If that’s not a demonstration of the power of blogs for links, I don’t know what is.

Where do you come in the one name Google search game?

Robert Scoble Google Results.JPG

Posted by johncass at 6:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 20, 2006

Blogging Policies Still To Be Defined By 85% Of Employers

85% of employers have yet to define blogging policies for their employees, according to the Employment Law Alliance. As a fellow of the Society of New Communications Research I am participating in the best practices committee’s work on blogging policy best practices. I think these numbers show the needs of employers for blogging policy guidance.

Thanks to Son of a pitch for the article.

Posted by stephenbackbone at 5:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Onalytica Influence Index Measures Blogging Influence

Onalytica provides a helpful influence index on several themes and topics. The company provides services for indexing the web around a particular subject and then determining the most influential authority on a subject by counting the number of citations from other sites of authority.

Onalytica has a number of white papers on its blog including a list of the most influential business bloggers. Corante, a group of bloggers has the top spot.

Posted by johncass at 3:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2006

Why Corporate Blogs Provide More Overall Marketing Benefits Than Customer Forums

When comparing a customer forum to a corporate blog, a forum is more of a closed community, where member discussion occurs inside the forum between members. Occasionally members refer to outside content and websites, but typically the discussion is within. Forums are best moderated not managed; a company with a forum can direct an occasional thread.

Members run the best forums, in that the editorial control of a forum is best left to the membership. There should be some restrictions such as reducing off-topic posts and sales pitches. But its best to give a forums membership the freedom to pose and answer questions freely. Companies can then gain from customer forums by observing customers. Much can be learned from observing customer questions and ideas posted in forum thread. The large number of posts means that a forum is often not the best way to quickly get information out to customers in an informal way.

Blogs on the other hand allow a company to control the editorial content of the website. Yet similar to email and forums a company can use an informal, conversational style of writing. A few years ago I recall one blogger at Macromedia told me the reason he started his blog was because he wanted to get information out quickly about products to customers. Blogs allow companies to quickly get information out to customers compared to forums because each blog post has a higher importance than the multitude of threads in a forum

Both blogs and forums provide opportunities for product feedback. Yet companies providing metrics services from consumer generated media; Cymfony, Umbria and BuzzMetrics have all discovered there is more forum content to analyze than blog content on the web.

For product manager’s forums can provide some of the best information on customer ideas and feedback. Yet I think that a successfully run blogger relations campaign has some advantages over a forum. Here’s why. When a blogger focuses on the ideas of customer for products. A blogger can receive ideas, more links, and higher sales and turn customers into evangelists. Blogs give companies the ability to interact between other blogs in a totally different way than the closed world of a forum. Blogs give companies many tools of interaction, such as commenting and trackbacks. By setting up a company blog, a company declares their company is open to conducting an online dialogue between bloggers. A company blogger is free to comment and trackback on blogs in the community, and other bloggers are free to comment on the company blog. If a company can run a successful blogging operation, a company can gain links and the opportunity to have a dialogue with many other blog readers from the bloggers who write and refer to a company blog post. The readers of a customer blog may not be exposed to the closed world of forums.

Marketing is not just about promotion; the marketing concept is about discovering the needs and wants of a customer. Forums can help companies build better products through online discussion. Corporate blogs can also provide a mechanism for customer feedback and ideas. The editorial control of corporate blogs gives a company a unique opportunity to demonstrate brand online. Perhaps the value or promise a company can provide and keep with its customers.

Corporate blogs allow more interaction between other blogs and websites than forums. That flexibility to interact in the wider online customer community means that blogs can give companies additional benefits in the areas of higher search engine rankings and exposure to new audiences beyond forums. To me both forums and blogs play a vital role in the online design tools for interaction with customers. And even though the amount of content in blogs may be less. It’s the open nature of blogging that allows interaction between individual bloggers that gives blogs their special role in the world of products development, marketing, search engine optimization and public relations.

I was inspired to write this article today after my lengthy discussion with Scott Wilder from Intuit and our presentation on a panel together with Eric Anderson from Adobe at the Boston Product Managers Association last night. At the panel we discussed the differences between blogs and forums for product development. Yet I did not articulate my ideas about the advantages of blogs over forums yesterday, but yesterday’s discussion coalesced my thinking.

Posted by johncass at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Update On The Northeastern Blogging Project

Business Blogwire mentions the Northeastern survey, many thanks for the mention.

We have 10 bloggers signed up so far, and two on the short list. We need twenty corporate bloggers, representing a brand, with over a year's blogging experience under their belt.

Posted by johncass at 11:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Boston Product Manager's Association

Tonight I moderated a presentation for the Boston Product Manager’s association on blogging and product management. Scott Wilder from Intuit, and Eric Anderson from Adobe were the other panelists. Intuit and Adobe are two of the companies I hold up as great examples of corporate blogging companies. Though I am really pointing to Macromedia before Adobe bought the company.

We had a packed house with 40-60 people, and what struck me about the event was the number of questions people asked. I had been looking forward to this night for many months because I think Intuit and Macromedia/Adobe are two of the best examples on the web of companies who are using corporate blogging for product development. And I imagined if I could bring people from the two companies together with a group of product development people we’d have a really interesting evening, we did.

Posted by johncass at 11:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

Yankee Chapter IABC Blogging Panel Questions & Answers

The panel discussion for the IABC is next week, and the panelists just got the list of questions we need to answer in the panel discussion. I asked the moderator if I could blog them. Here’s the result.

Questions for Blog Panel

General questions about blogs:

-What criteria can you use to assess the reliability of information on blogs?

Common sense is my short answer. Don’t trust everything you print in print, see if the writer cites a source, and if they give links to sources, click through and check to determine if the sources are correct. Think critically before accepting what the writer states. Conduct some of your own research if you doubt a post.

Now if you are a regular reader, you have to trust the author to some extent, based on reactions on the blogger’s blog, and other responses in your community.

-What is the profile of people reading blogs and how do we reach bloggers who are reaching our audiences?

I approach this question from an SEO perspective. The profile of people reading blogs will depend on the content strategy of an individual blog. If you are running an Adobe blog about Cold Fusion, readers will want to read posts about that technology. If you are writing a blog about dealing with terminally ill cancer patients, readers will want to read articles related to death, cancer and enjoying life in their remaining days.

Based on the profile of the audience you can conduct some keyword research to find the keywords readers would use to find content that relates to a blog. Once you have the list of keywords conduct a search on Google, Yahoo! And MSN.com, see what pops up in terms of blogs, forums and other sites where your audience can generate content online.

One more issue for blogs, some keywords are typically only used in conversations in a blogging or conversational context. I find that targeting blogging keywords over and above keywords we might target for the major search engines is also a great idea to find those keywords and put them in RSS Feed Search engines like Technorati.com, IceRocket etc.

Tags are used to identify blog posts by bloggers. RSS Feed search engines like Technorati.com provide the ability to search by such tags. Conduct a search for posts related to those tags.

-How do you decide which blogs to stay on top of?

The relevancy of the content.
The wit of the writer.
The number of comments.
The writer’s connection with a community.
Quality of the writing.

-How can I get people to COMMENT on my blog, rather than just reading it? I've tried posing a question at the end of my blog postings.

Write a post based on someone else’s post, add something to the conversation, and send them a trackback. Write a thoughtful piece that references a number of other bloggers, be generous with your links to other posts.

-How do you monitor blogs without getting overwhelmed by the volume?

Other than hiring a buzz metrics company like Cymfony, Umria and Buzzmetrics. Dedicate some resources to monitoring blogs. You can use an RSS feed reader to monitor hundreds of blogs at the same time. Conduct searches in consumer search engines based on your targeted keywords.

Managing Risk:

-How does an organization combat negative or unauthorized blogging that can potentially be hurtful?

Set a formal blogging policy for your company. The Alaska Airlines decompression story is a great example. A passenger took pictures of a decompression that occurred on an Alaska Airlines jet, the passenger was a blogger, and he posted the pictures on his blog. The blogger received national attention and hundreds of comments; several of the comments were very negative and disparaging. The blogger discovered the comments emanated from the IP address of Alaska Airlines. Needless to say, that’s not a very good PR story for Alaska Airlines. The story illustrates the importance of educating your workforce on how to react to consumer generated media at work and maybe also at home. First set a blogging or consumer generated media policy in your workplace, and then educate your workforce on how to handle comments and posts on blogs and other websites.

If a company receives negative comments on their own blog, a company does not have to publish any content on their website that goes against their polices and standards. If the blog comment is vulgar, racist, sexist etc, deleting the comment will be readily accepted by the blogging community. However, if the comment provided constructive criticism in a thoughtful manner, I caution against deleting the comment. An alternative might be to respond to the comment, providing a point-by-point explanation of why disagree with the reader’s comment. A quick thoughtful response might win your argument and more friends than deleting the comment. You don’t want the an inappropriate deletion to become the discussion topic.

-What are the potential risks associated with having a blog in corporate communications?

A customer or competitor might comment on your blog and criticize your company and products. The customer or competitor might be right. You might have someone in your company ghostwrite your blog, and then its revealed that your senior executive is not the blogger.

Internal Use of Blogs

-How are companies using employee blogs? Are there specific case studies of successes?

IBM is one the best examples of a company blogging, IBM has 1000’s of employees blogging internally.

-How do you measure the success of a blog and whether it's worth the return on investment?

Higher traffic, higher search engine rankings, more links from other blogs. Press results. Look to the Backbone Media Corporate blogging survey for the list of results.

-For those with CEO/COO blogs, who actually writes them?

I’ve seen some studies that indicate that many CEO/COO blogs are ghost written. That’s a mistake, especially if it’s discovered that the CEO/COO does not write his or her blog. Blogging is very different from speech writing. It’s a personal conversation or dialogue between the writer and the reader. You would not have a stand-in for your CEO on a conference call or public appearance, and you should not have a stand-in on a blog. It’s okay for your team to give support to the executive, but they have to write the posts.

Posted by johncass at 8:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

Focus On Giving Value To Your Website Readers To Get Links

Scott Smigler provides a good overview of linking strategies from his Internet marketing and SEO blog. What was most interesting to me were his final words on what’s the most important tactic or strategy to use in building links to your website:

“offer something of real value on your website (something that would give other people a reason to link to you. - While active link building may help you get short-term results, it’s the passive link building that helps you get long-term results?

Scott, your right on the mark here, there is no trick to getting traffic quickly for a really successful linking program, in online marketing you have to create something of value for people to want to return to repeatedly enough to link to your site. Provide online tools and relevant content.


Posted by johncass at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Boston Product Manager's Association Blogging Presentation Update

Update to the Boston Product Manager’s Association meeting this Thursday evening, Tim Buntel cannot make the meeting, so Eric Anderson is going to take his place from Adobe. Here’s Eric’s bio:

Eric Anderson is as a product manager for Flex Enterprise Services at Adobe. Prior to his role on the Flex team, Eric worked in the Macromedia and Allaire customer care organization, running support operations for ColdFusion, JRun, Flash Lite, and Flex.

Posted by johncass at 5:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Northeastern Case Study Update

Rick Short from Indium is kind enough to blog about the Northeastern University Corporate blogging survey. We have six participants so far, and need 20 interviews with ten students.

Posted by johncass at 1:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nvidia Marketing Tactics

Christopher Carfi over at Social Customerwrites an excellent post about Nvidia’s efforts to market their company online, the post, “Is Nvidia Exploring The Dark Side Of Viral Marketing?? suggests that a few other bloggers suspect that Nvidia is using hired actors to pose as real customers on forum sites, giving the company positive comments. While Nvidia’s agency, AEG details that the company recruits volunteer enthusiasts for their client’s products. There model sounds very similar to BuzzAgent. I don’t know if AEG requires that their community participants must reveal their connection with the program however.

One quick way you can determine if the participants are actors or real customers is to review all positive comments across the forums, if the text is the same I’d be suspicious, if positive and different the agency is probably facilitating volunteer community outreach.

Note: Oh, Chris I wrote a few more articles about Nokia, if you want to check them out.

Posted by stephenbackbone at 12:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

Blogging & Search Marketing Talk At Boston University's MBA Marketing Association

I’ve been invited to give a presentation to the MBA Marketing Association at Boston University School of Management on “Internet Marketing Strategies: The power of blogging and search marketing,? on March twentieth. As part of the presentation this post is an open forum for the MBA of the Marketing Association to pose their questions about blogging and search marketing before the presentation. Please post your questions and level of knowledge about blogging and search marketing so that I can gauge the presentation to the audience.

Posted by johncass at 4:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Babson College Presentation On Blogging For Product Development

I am excited to be giving a presentation at Babson College again on the impact of blogging and information technology on new product development and marketing on April twenty-sixth. As part of the presentation this post is an open forum for the students of Dr. Zhen Zhu, assistant professor of marketing at Babson College, to pose their questions about how blogging can be used for new product development and marketing.

My suggestion for Dr. Zhu’s student’s is that you start off by reading the Backbone Media Corporate blogging survey, especially the case studies on Macromedia and Microsoft as examples of companies that are using corporate blogging for product development and customer feedback.

I’d like to get a gauge of your knowledge of blogging and the sorts of questions you have about the discipline so that when I come to the event I have some answers in my presentation. Please comment away in the comment field below.

Posted by johncass at 3:38 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Building A Successful Corporate Blog Survey With Northeastern University

Backbone Media is collaborating with Dr. Walter Carl Professor of the Department of Communications Studies for his class on advanced organizational communication department at Northeastern University on a class project for the spring semester.

Working with Dr. Carl's students we are going to develop a number of survey questions for corporate bloggers about the success of their corporate blogs. We want to determine the reasons, conditions and factors it takes to make a successful blog, and in the process help a company to determine if they should blog and how they should blog. To this goal Dr. Carl's students will interview several corporate bloggers with a view to determining how the blogger's company started blogging.

There will be some initial qualifying questions to determine if the blogger will be included in the case studies.

If you are interested in participating in the survey contact me (John Cass) at Backbone Media, my email is john AT backbonemedia DOT com. When the students have transcribed the blogger interviews, Backbone Media will analyze the student interviews and publish edited highlights for inclusion in the study results. The student's will learn new skills by conducting the interviews and also publishing posts about the interviews on the course blog. Advanced Organizational Communication.

The graphic below indicates the survey was approved by Northeastern's division of research integrity.

UPDATE: Here's Dr. Walter Carl's blog post on the study, "Calling All Successful Corporate Bloggers! Invitation to Participate in Academic-Industry Research Collaboration."

CBS_ApprovedStamp_DRI.jpg


Posted by johncass at 2:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 12, 2006

Problems With Our Content Management System

If you have been trying to comment over the last few days, you have probably been getting an error. It should be all fixed now.

Posted by johncass at 10:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 8, 2006

The Value of Blogging for Internal Communications

A PR student at Auburn University, Christina, (I could not find her last name on her blog) commented on Shel Holtz’s post, “A new employee communications blog,? about a new internal communications blog run by Ron Shewchuk.

Christina was excited about the idea of running an internal blog for communications and asked the blogosphere a question about statistics for the value of internal blogging.

“I am now excited about blogging and know for a fact that when I venture into the world of internal communications I will make it a point to implement that idea….I am interested in seeing if having a blog for employees will indeed enhance internal communication practices. If someone knows of any statistics, I am surely interested?.

Maybe Dr. Walter Carl from Northeastern has some stats on that question?


Posted by stephenbackbone at 9:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 7, 2006

CoComment

I’ve been using del.icio.us to track comments on a blog that does not offer comment email subscription. Note: this blog does offer comment email subscription.

A new service from CoComment offers tracking services for a blogger’s comments on blogs that don’t offer comment email subscription. Though, thinking about the disadvantages of using email subscription, I think I’d rather have an RSS feed to track changes to a comment on someone else’s blog anyway.

Posted by stephenbackbone at 11:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Linking Within Your Own Blog

Linking within your own blog is a way to build a body of work around a subject that helps you to build on top of your existing work. Not only is it perfectly acceptable within the blogging world to link within your own blog, the practice allows you to demonstrate expertise as an authority on a given subject.

I recently blogged about the Nokia Blogger Relations Product Review Campaign in a series of five articles, and when I wrote additional posts about the Nokia program, I referenced all or one of the previous posts. As posts are often found independently through search engines and RSS feeds, I made sure each post stood by itself by giving a brief synopsis of the previous post.

Covering the same topic in different blog posts is not only acceptable in blogging culture, but it gives a writer the ability to focus in and find the best way to convey his or her message. In fact, that’s one of the advantages of blogging; a writer can write about the same issue repeatedly. To me, a blog, even when using a blog for corporate blog marketing, is most useful when the ideas develop and evolve over time.

With corporate blog marketing, not every blog post need be unique, by linking back to previous posts within your own blog, a writer creates a body of work that can reviewed as the reader progresses backwards from post to post through each link. A blog writer can give the reader the ability to track the progress of a body of work from the initial blog post to the last by a writer sending a trackback to earlier blog posts as the writer publishes more articles on the blog.

Posted by stephenbackbone at 3:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 6, 2006

Blogging Presentations

In the next two weeks I have two presentations coming up, one as moderator for the panel discussion on blogging for the Boston Product Manager’s Association.

I am really looking forward to this meeting as I will have the opportunity to discuss the concept of blogging with product managers. From my research over the last three years in the blogging space, it appears that product builders are some of the people who can gain the most from blogging. The presentation is in Waltham.

The other presentation is with the IABC - the International Association of Business Communicators as a panelist on the topic of “the new realm of digital influencers – Navigating the web.?

Posted by johncass at 3:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 3, 2006

Thought Leadership in Blog Marketing

Great article on corporate blogging by Puneet Mehrotra on HindustanTimes.com. I really thought Puneet's four traits of successful thought leadership explained how to be a thought leader well.

Thought leadership traits

1. Ability to connect: A corporate blog is a conversation the company has with its customers. A thought leader needs the ability to connect to its customers. Remember it’s a two-way conversation and the better you connect with your customers, the better the influence.

2. Honesty: In an information world it’s easy to distinguish a pseudo from a genuine expert. Corporate blogging isn’t some cover-up exercise. It's about an honest expression, something the readers would genuinely trust and believe.

3. Individual creative signature: Thought leadership through corporate blogging is your creative expression,
your individual creative expression that distinguishes you from others, your unique signature.

4. Sharing:Thought leadership is about sharing your thoughts to guide, lead and
influence your audience. It's about a conversation where the objective is to
help others.

Posted by johncass at 9:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 2, 2006

New Cymfony knowledge Center – A Valuable Resource On Blogging

Cymfony, the Boston based blog metrics company has developed a useful resource called the knowledge center. The center provides links to articles, white papers and studies on the topics of blogs, web 2.0, consumer generated media and PR measurement. The section on blogging includes a link to Backbone Media’s Corporate Blogging Survey.

Thanks Cindy & Jim

Posted by johncass at 12:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How To Send A Trackback Successfully

Today I was asked how to send a trackback successfully to another blog by blogger who has not used the technology, I wrote this post to describe how she can use trackbacks in her blog.

The best way for a blogger to alert another blogger that he has mentioned his work in a blog post is to use a trackback. Trackbacks send a notification to a blog that another blogger has written a post about their blog article. The company Six Apart, developer of the blog publishing system Moveable Type popularized the trackback mechanism according to this wikipedia article on trackbacks.

To send a trackback, a blogger has to copy and paste a trackback url from a blogger’s article into the ping field of a blog content management system. Once the blog post and trackback ping is published the blog content management system notifies a ping server that the page has been updated. The ping server then notifies the blogging system of the blog from the original trackback that a trackback has been sent from another blog. A trackback link will then appear underneath the post on the original blog.

There is an increasing amount of trackback Spam from malicious blog Spammers, and so many blogging publishing systems allow bloggers to monitor trackbacks before deciding whether to publish the trackback.

Search engines give higher rankings to those websites have more links from relevant websites. Trackback Spammers send trackbacks to attain more links in order to get higher rankings on search engines and receive direct traffic. The correct etiquette in using a trackback is to reference in your post a blog post where you wish to send a trackback. Commenting in your own blog article about a blog article on another blog where you wish to send a trackback will increase the likelihood that a blogger will publish a trackback on their blog.

Successful trackbacks like successful blog marketing can only be achieved if a blogger understands that he is having a dialogue with other bloggers. Merely targeting other blogs for links will not only get your trackback deleted but may also give you a reputation for Spamming amongst your industry’s community of bloggers. Don’t send a trackback unless you wanted to comment indirectly through a trackback on a blog post, or you wish to reference some information provided by a blogger’s article on his blog. Only send a trackback if your post is relevant to the other blogger’s article. Lastly, definitely do not randomly send trackbacks to a blogger’s article when your own article does not even reference their post, or has nothing to do with the content on another blogger’s blog.

Posted by johncass at 12:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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