Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Welcome

Dan Karleen
Thomson Peterson's
dan.karleen@thomson.com
Syndication for Higher Ed

Agenda

  • Warm-up: What’s so great and not so great about blogs? ~ 5 minutes
  • The questions we’ll try to cover ~3 minutes
  • What’s the blog business buzz? ~ 5 minutes
  • Enhancing internal knowledge and dialog ~ 10 minutes
  • PR and Marketing ~10 minutes
  • What if I want to try it? ~ 2 minutes
  • Questions and dialogue

Questions for the Day

  • What’s the buzz about business blogging?
  • How can organizations use blogging and the complementary technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication) internally to their advantage?
  • How can public company/institution blogs be an advantage for an organization?
  • Of course you have data to support your assertions, don’t you?
  • Can we have some cool examples to go back and show our colleagues?

What's the Buzz?

PR folks are quickly figuring out blogs and podcasts. Blogging and podcasting are quickly forcing many astute IT vendors to re-evaluate fully what publishing, PR, and advertising are and mean going forward. They are publishers too, they are learning. Blogging, which was seen as a potential for runaway peril and PR chaos, has become a new major channel directly to their communities. Should they create or stifle? Build or manipulate? Both?

Dana Gardner writing for ZDNET, October 1, 2005

Implications of Corporate Blogging to IT

Corporate Blogging. This involves the use of online personal journals by corporate employees, either individually or in a group, to further company goals. It reached the peak of hype in 2004 although mainstream firms have not yet got involved. Its impact will be on projecting corporate marketing messages primarily and secondarily in competitive intelligence, customer support and recruiting.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS). RSS is a simple data format that enables web sites to inform subscribers of new content and distribute content more efficiently by bypassing the browser via RSS reader software. RSS is widely used for syndicating weblog content but its corporate use is only starting to be tapped for activities such as corporate messaging. Its simplicity makes it easy to implement and add to established software systems. Gartner predicts that RSS will be most useful for content that is 'nice to know' rather than 'need to know'.

Gartner Highlights Key Emerging Technologies, August 23, 2005

The Blog Cannot Be Defined!

There is no need to define ‘blog.’ I doubt there ever was such a call to define ‘newspaper’ or ‘television’ or ‘radio’ or ‘book’ — or, for that matter, ‘telephone’ or ‘instant messenger.’ A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list….Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘blog’ is a fool’s errand.

Jeff Jarvis, circa Sept 30, 2005


This post is deeply silly, and borders on self-parody. A “blog” is apparently so revolutionary that, unlike every other word in the English language, it completely defies definition. Anyone who even tries is on a “fool’s errand.” Blogging is a wonderful new form of communication. But many new and wonderful forms of communications have come along in the past, and we have managed to come up with perfectly good defnitions for “scroll,” “tablet,” “printing press,” “telephone,” “television,” “radio,” etc. To argue that blogs are different goes well beyond “triumphalism” — I’d call it grandiosity, or narcissism.

Anon, in response to the above assertion by Jeff Jarvis, Sept 30, 2005

I’ll tell you how I define blogs, it is a wonderous portal to unimaginable knowledge and information, opinion, editorial and education. A source of great solace in times of trouble and a sorce of great irratation when I don’t agree with the posters.

Tonynobaloney, in response the various preceding assertions and comments on Buzzmachine


Blogs Aren't for Every Company

…not to beat a dead horse, blogs aren’t for every company. Some companies seem to be launching blogs for a lack of any other PR ideas or tactics, as a stop-gap fix for a lack of original ideas.
Jeremy Pepper, Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Enhancing Internal Knowledge and Dialogue

  • Learning what others are saying about your company or institution through blog searches and setting up alerts (More about this at Collegewebeditor.com)
  • Gathering competitive information and information about the business environment
  • Internal communications
  • More open than email

Subscribing to Outside Sources

Blogs
RSS feeds
RSS-fed alerts—like email alerts but readable in your aggregator

Project Management/Team Status

Cornell University’s website redesign team uses a blog to make announcements and foster dialog about development of the new site (5 million pages).

Kogod School of Business Internal Communications

This fall, the Kogod School of Business [American University] is changing the way it communicates with students. Important announcements and information from the Dean’s Office, from Graduate Programs, from the Graduate Business Association and graduate clubs, and from your professors will be communicated via RSS streams to your desktop, laptop and Blackberry. If you want to have the latest new[s] on job opportunities, speakers, social events, club events, breaking business news, etc, you need to read the Kogod streams.

Link

Knowledge centers, e.g. manufacturing, product development

The public blog I write now for my company morphed from an internal blog focused on how RSS, podcasting, and blogging fit into product development.

Link

Facilitating organizational change

University of Queensland journalism blogs

What's wrong with the "J" school
What's right with the "J" school

Wikis--a cousin to Blogs

  • Knowledge sharing, project management, documentation
  • Many wikis offer RSS feeds so employees can receive information via RSS

Blogs in PR and Marketing

  • Open conversations with customers
  • Distribute information easily (e.g. RSS)
  • Up-sell
  • Improve a site’s search engine ranking
  • CEO’s, VP’s on down
  • Community blogs (see Microsoft, Sun)

CEO's and VP's

Mark Cuban, Blogmaverick


Vicki Warker, VP, Sprint

I met with a dozen industry analysts last week at CTIA. At one point, I just had to get something off my chest. I am tired reading reports with side comments and parentheticals that refer to Sprint just starting to roll out EVDO or that our coverage is significantly less than our competitor. I asked these analyst to check the facts....Sprint has EVDO coverage in 75 markets and 100 airports right now. By the end of the year Sprint will cover 400 airports. I call that widely available.
Link

Robert Scoble--Microsoft Geek Blogger

A recent post from The Scobleizer:

Search a ‘tough’ problem MSN’er says

Erik Selberg, a program manager on MSN's Search team, answers us back about why they don't use human editors to improve search results.

"while we used to have lots of nifty features on previous (and some still living) search engines, we still haven
't begun to tap into searching human knowledge. It's just that tough of a problem."

Here's to all the geeks who are working to bring us better search!

Link

Students Blogging and Podcasting (with RSS) on University Admissions Sites

Among the more recent:

University of Dayton
Ball State University

Proof of anything?

  • Audi Blog Marketing Campaign
  • Calls to Action Work: Ehobbies.com
  • Interacting with Customers Through Corporate Blogging
  • Capital University Student Blogs

Audi Blog Marketing Campaign

Despite their relatively low reach compared to mass media outlets, blogs and other consumer-generated media channels can be extremely cost-effective in driving Web traffic to campaign sites and creating interest….”

Audi recently ran a campaign and spent .5% of the budget on blog ads resulting in 29% of the traffic sent to the campaign’s landing page.

Media Post Publications

Calls to action work: E-Hobbies.com

The search engines are all about blogs, but turning that traffic into a selling vehicle is another story.

Not so for eHobbies.com, which says it has watched its conversion rate double from the normal 2 percent to 4 percent whenever site users visit one of its blogs. Since adding blogging to its site in May, 5 percent of the company's overall traffic comes from its main blog destination, www.ehobbies.blogs.com. In addition, 5 percent of all orders have recently tracked to a blog-based coupon.

DM News

Capital University Student Blogs

Capital has some word-of-mouth evidence that our blogs are serving our purpose. Our admission office directly asks families if they've read the blogs. The majority of families have and the majority enjoyed them.

Bob Robertson-Boyd, Web Content Coordinator, Capital University

Via private email (with permission) October 5, 2005

Capital’s new student blogs launching this fall (lower left).

Interacting With Customers through Corporate Blogging


Backbone Media discovered that to be able to market to customers who read and use blogs, companies should develop a blog content strategy that focuses on their customer’s ideas and suggestions. By asking for feedback on products customers feel more involved in the product development process and are eager to give their feedback, either in the form of comments on corporate blogs or through writing posts on their own blogs.


The results for companies were better products and more links from customer blogs; resulting in higher search engine rankings. Larger numbers of customers become evangelists, and direct traffic to websites through blogs increased.

John Cass, Backbone Media, September 19

What if I want to try it?

  • What is the goal? (Communication with students or other departments; PR for the program or university; etc.)
  • Who is the audience?
  • What are some of the topics you will cover? (I began by making a list of ~40 possible topics)
  • How will you stay in touch with what other bloggers in your space are saying?
  • Consider the effort it will take to blog once a day, once a week, etc. and be sure you can commit to your goals
  • Be prepared to consider things like search engine optimization, tagging and categorizing your posts so they will be effective in blog search engines, etc.
  • Be sure to offer an RSS feed
  • Corporate/institutional policy covering blogging?

For More Information

For more info on blogging and RSS in business and marketing:

    Thank you!

    Dan Karleen

    Thomson Peterson’s

    dan.karleen@thomson.com

    Syndication for Higher Ed