Saturday, April 02, 2005

Insights from Favorite Bloggers

inner eye peering through the veil of klesas Posted by Hello

Here are choice excerpts from some of my favorite blogs.

I plan to write a post like this once every week or two.

If you're not included in this batch, don't feel bad. Maybe next time I'll quote you.

Seth Godin (SETH'S BLOG, "Five Things To Do Today")

Make a list of the five most useful blogs you read and email the list to six clueless friends. If everyone who reads blogs daily did this, the number of clueless people might actually go down (hey, a guy can dream.)

Toby Bloomberg (DIVA MARKETING, "Give Corporate Bloggers A Voice")

Although corporate blogging guidelines will be written in a style that complements other company directives, blogging is not like other initiatives. When good bloggers blog, they give a part of themselves. No other form of marketing communication comes close to blogging in terms of establishing intimacy between blogger and reader.

Jennifer Rice (WHAT'S YOUR BRAND MANTRA? "Multiloguing")

Everyone's talking about blogs, but there's not really a word to describe the purpose. So I made one up.

People define blogs as online journals.

That definition leaves out blogs' linky nature that elevates them into a completely different arena.

Just as a web site should be more than 'brochure-ware', a blog should be more than 'journal-ware.'

I see the blog as personal, scalable conversation tool that happens to resemble an online journal. Social networks like LinkedIn, wikis and discussion forums all serve the same purpose.

We're engaging in multilogues, and using the tools at our disposal to make it easier.

Robert Scoble (THE RED COUCH, "Corporate Blog Tip #4 and #5"):

A good corporate blog is both passionate and authoritative. This tip is about how to demonstrate your passion for a topic.

How do you show your passion? Post often. How often? That'll depend on a variety of things. How much competition do you have? What kind of audience are you trying to build?

But, as we look at our lists of favorite blogs we notice a trend.

Most of the ones we look at every day post every day. Boing Boing. Slashdot. Dave Winer. Steve Rubel. Misbehaving. Gaping Void.

That doesn't mean you need to post every day, though.

It's quite possible that posting twice a week will be enough for you.

Laura Ries (THE ORIGIN OF BRANDS BLOG, "Doing Deals is Not Marketing"):

Leaders should focus on their core strengths, cut their losses and look for ways to improve upon success. The merger with Compaq did none of that. It made H-P a bloated company trying to compete against Dell on personal computers, IBM on larger systems and Accenture on consulting and out-sourcing while still tying to maintain its lion’s share of the printer business. A difficult and ultimately impossible task.

As a woman, I admire Carly for her drive and dedication. As a brand, I admire Carly for her astute use of public relations to build her brand. But as a marketing strategist, Carly leaves me cold. I do appreciate, however, her gift of another case history that demonstrates the folly of trying to be all things to all people.

Hewlett-Packard is another example of why keeping a brand and company focused is the best advice.

Amy Gahran (CONTENTIOUS, "Burns: Touchy, Touchy, Touchy! Online Vermin, Part 7")

Burns: These people routinely overreact and take nearly everything personally, in a negative way. They are as socially or emotionally sensitive as burn victims: any contact is risky.

Even the slightest touch of communication, the slightest possible hint of an insinuation, can cause them to react with pain: anger, shame, self-doubt, guilt, despair, regret, self-pity, etc. And you’ll hear about it – loudly.

Jonathan Schwartz (JONATHAN'S BLOG, "Freedom is More Powerful Than A Budget")

Web services may collapse under its own weight.

No one at the conference said this. Those are my words. I'm beginning to feel that all the disparate web service specs and fragmented standards activities are way out of control.

Want proof? Ask one of your IT folks to define web services. Ask two others. They won't match. We asked folks around the room - it was pretty grim. It's either got to be simplified, or radically rethought.

As you know, I also believe simplicity and volume always win - and that today's web services initiatives are in danger of vastly overcomplicating a very simple (really simple) solution.

John Maeda (SIMPLICITY, "More is Better")

Listening-and-watching, versus reading-and-watching, are quite different activities.

Listening-and-watching comes natural as that is how we usually perceive the world around us.

Everything we see comes with a natural soundtrack running in complete synchronization.

Watching TV with the sound off and with closed-captioning is not how we connect with the general world around us.

Imagine if when people spoke you could not hear them, and instead there was a little speaking bubble over their head like in a comic book?

In a sense, this is essentially what the world of IM-ing [Instant Messaging] is like.

And now I'm going to end this session of insights with a long quote from...

Dave Taylor (INTUITIVE LIFE BUSINESS BLOG, "Are you ready for idea-swap business web sites?")

Ideas -- memes -- can persist much longer than genes can.

Within about a half-dozen generations, my personal contribution to the gene pool will have been diluted away, but I constantly read books from people more than six generations old (anything pre-1900 would fit this category), and there are great thinkers who continue contributing to the meme pool hundreds of generations later, like Budda, Mohammed, and Jesus.

Think about the parallels.

If you read a good book, you should have a stronger urge to share it, whether through a book swap, if convenient, or by simply loaning it to someone else. Read a bad book and you're probably more likely to deliberately leave it on a bus or train or donate it to the public library.

In memetic terms, the more you're affected by the ideas the author is communicating, the more you want to continue having them enter the meme pool.

Make sense?

From a business perspective, the question then is: how can your company have a strong enough and interesting enough message to engage the quirky and transient attention of your customer base?

What ideas can you communicate that help you lift your message up from the background drone of marketing to the foreground excitement of "cool ideas" that not only engage your market segment, and not only get them sufficiently jazzed to share links with their own colleagues (yes, I'm talking "viral" here, but even "sub-viral" or "quasi-viral" is oodles better than 99% of companies experience), but good enough that your company gains credibility as a source of innovative thinking?

Blogging isn't the answer, because it's just the digital equivalent of that wooden bookshelf in the café -- a tool, not a message.

But blogging is a big step in the right direction, because to truly engage your market and share ideas worthy of floating to the top of the meme pool, you have to be engaging in a two-way (not one-way) communication.

Book swap shelves don't just start out populated with interesting books, by analogy, they have to be primed with a stack of great works.

The next time you're thinking about how your company is going to communicate its latest message to your customer and potential customer base, think about this: what are you sharing that's sufficiently compelling that they will want to keep the ideas moving in the community?

For that matter, what kind of venue are you giving your customer for leaving their own virtual paperback on the shelf, their own ideas and thoughts on the subject?

Stay tuned friends.

If you're a blogger, especially if you're on my blogroll, you may very well see your words quoted in this series.


Anonymous said...

That's cute. Is this maybe the start of your next book:

"How to get influential bloggers to visit your site when they see you've linked to them 101"?


steven edward streight said...

Relax. I pose no threat to you.

Do not fear that I will divert those influential bloggers from visiting your blog.

I wouldn't want to deprive you of the popularity and success you obviously enjoy now.

I can't wait to read your new book:

"Secrets of the Sour Bloggers: how to cleverly complain about what other bloggers are doing."

Sorry. You're not mean-spirited enough to qualify as a true flame-thrower. You rank as a mosquito.

Better luck next time.