Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blogging And You - Judgment Day - Part 2

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"Beware Of The Blog" - Click Here For Theme Song...Really.
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Blogging, and the influence of the news and reviews traveling about the blogosphere are, and will continue to be a major force impacting your business. As discussed in Part 1, blogs are powerful media tools for building branding, name-recognition, thought-leadership positioning, credibility and sales. As also noted, if you embark on a blogging campaign that is improperly positioned (or which "smells" even a bit tampered with in terms of informational value and integrity of posts), you stand to be very adversely affected.

My purpose is to provide you with concepts, parameters and actionable items for you to immediately implement in order to either a) productively and profitably harness the incredibly inexpensive but efficient power of blogging, or b) exercise damage control and course correction if you've already started off with a blogging campaign which is headed in a bad direction, or if the blogosphere has already decided to attack you, for whatever reason.

Here, in no particular order of priority, is a "To-Do" (and "Not-To-Do") list to empower your growth and profitability in every aspect with blogging. As they say in the movies, "Follow these instructions to the letter and nobody gets hurt." - Douglas E Castle
Blogging Campaign Thought Points:

1) If you choose to feature company blogs, they should be of the following types:
  • Information from a variety of sources about your company's field or industry, and (perhaps) featuring your non-inflammatory comments about them. Publish at least once per week, and give credit to your sources. Make it an unbiased informational resource which is merely sponsored by your company, and not anything remotely advertorial - this paints the picture of thought-leadership, balance, integrity and credibility;
  • "Behind the Scenes"-type blogs where your employees talk about their experiences with your company through its successes and failures. Filter for profanity, but don't censor it. Permit humor, free expression, and open talk of missteps and bloopers;
  • News releases and product announcements - but again, no advertisements, and no advertorials;
  • A "forum"-style blog wherein you invite client and customer reviews, without censorship, without bias-selection, and with your responses -- non-defensive, not knocking the competition or the writer, very polite, apologetic (if appropriate) or grateful (if appropriate) - if you are taking corrective action about a customer or client complaint, say "thank you" and briefly state what you intend to do about it;
  • Published 'open' surveys and polls about your company, brand, products and services, wherein you use social media to invite candid feedback, and where you publish the results...and add some commentary about how you feel, and what actions (if any) you'd like to take. View all input as constructive. Be gracious. Be kind.
2)  Always encourage commentary (feedback from the public, clients, customers, employees, industry pundits, and even competitors) on any of your company's blog sites. Never, ever pay for a product or service review (either good or bad), and do not provide incentives for positively-framed comments or compliments -- you'll lose your credibility;

3) Encourage and invite (via email, social media, newsletters and the like) clients, customers, employees, industry experts, product and service review site owners, etc.) to write about your company, brand, products, services on their own blogs and in their social media postings. Request that they be completely candid, and do not offer incentives except the opportunity for their voices and opinions to be heard.

4) Use Google Alerts or a similar service to find out whenever someone posts a blog article or social media comment about your company. Check these frequently, and write back without combativeness, defensiveness. This is a great means of obtaining constant, useful market feedback for improvement and for reputation management. Be polite and positive. Take the moral high road.

5) Be certain that all of your blogs have RSS feeds and social media sharing and forwarding tools.

If you do it properly, consistently (you may even host a number of blogs relating to specialized subtopics within your industry), frequently, and proactively, your interaction with the blogosphere, and integration with some social media, might be one of your most powerful business development tools.

Having said this, please make no mistake about it: You must proactively engage with the blogosphere and its growingly-reliant citizenry, or you will lose opportunity while others within your space take your territory out from under you. Take action, or be acted upon.

Douglas E Castle []

Please click on the irrelevant picture below in order to see it in larger size and with higher this way, you might even be able to read the cleverly-embedded fine print. Actually, there is (remotely) some relevance here -- graphics, visual media (slideshows, videos, etc.), graphs, charts, pictures and photos tend to make your blog posts more interesting, and tend to add to your readers' engagement experience.

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