Archive - September, 2006

Is Blogging a Marketing Tool?

Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer:  Definitely

I’m pleasantly surprised to see that this site is ranked #15 at The Viral Garden’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs. (Actually, I did a bit of an end zone celebration at first – then remembered, "Hey, this is what you get paid to do.")  Mack Collier does a great job putting the list together and I share it often with Iowa marketing pros as resource to begin their blogging.

The common thread amongst the brilliance around me is how their passion for their craft and passion for others appears in everything published.

The passion, dear present and future business blogger, is the key. If you believe that marketing – when done right – puts the product/service in a position to sell itself, then blogging is a great way to transfer the belief and passion you have for your business, your operation, your customer.

To borrow a line (paraphrasing, I’m sure) from Mike Wagner, if you’re giving a mild-mannered message to a mild-mannered crowd, you’ll end up with a mild-mannered result.

Enough with Mild-Mannered. Share your Enthusiasm!  Hit It or Quit It!

If you’re in marketing and not blogging (either talking or listening) – your next stop on the ‘Net should be Indeed.com

Thanks for the list Mack. It’s a great tool. Don’t be surprised if you see Drew McLellan up there soon.

How Blogs Make Me Smarter – Quicker

A quick example of why I read blogs:

Today, I’ll be speaking at the Iowa Rural Health Association Summit. We’ll be talking mostly about RSS Feeds, Sustained Connectivity and Synchronized Communications.

In preparation for the event, I immediately went to Know More Media’s HealthCare Vox by Fard Johnmar. Fard points to Healia and OrganizedWisdom as two resources I can share.

I also noticed a headline from reading the feed of Toby Bloomberg’s Diva Marketing about the Healthcare Blogging Summit in December. The Medical Healthcare Blog Network is one we’ll share today.

So a tip of this blog doctor’s ‘scope to Fard and Toby. Thanks for the ‘scrips. We’ll use it offline in a healthy way.

Quick Update: Did a search on Sustained Connectivity so I could link out – found the HealthNex blog.  Nice! There are no accidents.

Blogging and Conversations

True confession time.

It’s been almost four full days since writing a blog post (anywhere), reading the feeds I follow (except for a few important searches and favorite sites) and/or commented on another blog.  I’ve missed the people. (I just heard Maria got married)

So much.  …to catch up on, to share, to comment on. But where to start? With my ears and eyes.

I’ve been taking notes on the WUP all along, so I’ve plenty of blog-fodder, but I’m going to catch up on comments and feeds before I go off on a 5,000 word "Here’s what I’ve been doing" post.

And here’s the real deal on this post: When you go silent for a few days, just start typing. Make it short. Crawl back into the conversation.

Give yourself a chance to catch up. Gives your readers a chance to catch up with you. When it comes to blog debt, the rates are low, the lenders forgiving.

Globeblogging or Blogtrotting?

It’s great how networking and meeting fellow bloggers make for fantastic meetings offline.

My blogging buddy, Tim Johnson (IA) talks in a recent post about Phil Gerbyshak (WI) meeting with Liz Strauss (IL). Later this weekend, Phil is meeting up with Steve Farber (CA) and Starbucker (CT). Good stuff!

Tonight, I’ll be attending a concert of one of my favorite bloggers, Christine Kane (NC). Hopefully, Tom Vander Well (IA) can join us.

Christine will be playing tonight at the Lighthouse Cofee House in West Des Moines at 8:00 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Graceland University Shines at SIFE World Cup

Wc06paris_2 Graceland University. National Champions. From Lamoni, IA (est. pop. 2,500) to Paris, France to compete in the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) World Cup.

With 45 countries competing, the Graceland University team reached the Final Four (along with China, India and Malaysia) and finished secondin the world!

Congratulations to the Graceland team, their advisors and parents, and all of the students around the globe that worked hard to reach the World Cup. They are are future business leaders.

An Example of Handling Negative Comments

A few days ago, I posted about the Facebook situation. I’ve already used it as an example to clients. There’s another exchange I’ve been using as an example, but it’s with a small business owner and a former employee.

Back in March, I did a write-up on one of my favorite business blogs, Two Maids and a Mop. This was before the days of BlogTipping and before I knew about Small Business Blog of the Day.

At the end of July, a former employee of Two Maids commented on the post with some complaints about the operations of the company. Owner Ron Holt saw the comment and responded in kind with his side of the story – and then posted about it on his site.

Who’s right? Well, that’s not what this post is about (and besides, there‘s are three truths to every story). There are some valuable business lessons to be learned:

  1. Every business owner should know what’s being said about your company. Whether you have a blog or not. Using searches and RSS feeds is a must.
  2. When a customer/employee has something to say, acknowledge their opinion – and if you’re wrong, even partially, admit it.
  3. Currently, Two Maids does not accept comments. But it didn’t stifle the conversation. Tara found a place to speak up and did so.
  4. Ron humbly acknowledges Tara’s comments topside on the company blog.

It’s possible that both Tara and Ron have improved (and hopefully mended) because of the conversation. With much respect to Tara’s perspective, the way Ron Holt handled this exchange is an example we can learn from.

(Disclosure: Two Maids and a Mop is NOT my client, but if they were – I’d be proud of how Ron handled this exhange. I’d also encourage the use of comments.)

Giving Second Life a Second Try

A few weeks ago I gave Second Life a try to see what all the hoopla was about. It was an interesting experiment, but I walked away unimpressed. Probably because one time I got stuck in the water (shrunk my clothes and changed genders on me), and another because I couldn’t quite get the "flying" down (or is it up?)

On Thursday, September 14 (tomorrow), I’m going to give it a second effort. Kami Huyse has set up a Second Thursday at Second Life event for a PR discussion and I’ll be there. The event details from Kami’s site:

What: Second Life Second Thursday Worldwide
Where: Comms Café in Second Life
You can find the café by logging on to the Second Life client, hitting the search button, entering “Comms Café” and then teleporting there.
When: Thursday September 14, 2006 (Friday in Australia and India)
Time: 3 p.m. Central Time U.S., and 20:00 GMT (figure out what time we meet in your timezone)

My take on Second Life is simple. I’m not a fan. But it’s not about me. There are many who are big fans. I should at least try to view things from other perspectives, no? This will be a great opportunity to do so. And if I start drowning, maybe I’ll have some help this time.

There weren’t too many Italian last names to choose from, so look for Den Frye – that will be me. If you see me, just holler "Hey Den Frye" (no relation to the coach). Hope to see you there.

Who’s On for the Third?

Meetup Joseph Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis Group, has set-up two gatherings I’d love to attend. Third Mondays in Ottawa and Third Tuesdays in Toronto will be a forum for PR pros to discuss social media from a PR perspective.

Modeled after the Bay Area’s Third Thursday (345 members strong!), this event is one I hope to follow via somebody’s blog (Chris?) The initial events have some top-notch practitioners attending, including Shel Israel

Over 1,600 PR professionals have registered for Meetups around the globe…none in Iowa – yet. With three PRSA Chapters in Iowa, I look forward to seeing one start soon. However, when you Google "PRSA Iowa" – maybe we’re not quite ready to discuss social media.

There’s a small group I gather with once each month – each from various fields – and we discuss best practices, mostly  in customer acquisition, retention and service.

I’ve heard from a few business people in Iowa how they would like to gather with others in their professions and brainstorm ideas in a non-seminar setting. A ""Third Day", or even a "Second" Day could be a great way to do it.

I’ve already subscribed to the feed for Meetup events within 50 miles of here, so if you set one up – I may show up:-)

I’d be interested in hearing what you’re doing in your profession? Do you gather with local business people in your line to collaborate and brainstorm?

Who’s On for the Third? I Don’t Know:-)

Facebook: Lessons From Outside the Glass House

Dr. Delaney Kirk asks in a recent comment about my thoughts on the Facebook issue. I’ll share them out loud – so to write.

Looking at a Technorati search for Facebook, we find a lot of people talking. Much from upset customers. Changes were made without enough explanation or instructions on how to use them. Lots of questions, mostly about privacy.

Some great lessons here:

  1. Nothing you put on the Internet is ever going to be 100% private. A good lesson for young Internet users (no matter what age) to learn.
  2. Two posts from creator Mark Zuckerberg: An Open Letter… and …We Hear You are great examples of open response and crisis communication.
  3. As both company and users travel through this fire together…they’ll become stronger and more loyal. The keywords here are "both" and "together" – if it becomes "us vs. them" – all parties lose.
  4. Doing business in a glass house isn’t a bad thing. If you’ve got nothing to hide, show what you’ve got – tell it to the world.

Relationships will strengthen. Everyone grows with the experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if the biggest detractors of today become the most loyal enthusiasts in the near future.

I’ve seen this in several communities I’ve worked with. The commonality of a crisis often brings a community closer together. That’s not to say you should design a crisis, but don’t hide from one either.

When a business tells me they don’t want to open themselves up to negative comments (like they would stifle the conversation if they don’t?), I’ll look forward to sharing the outcome of this situation.

I’m confident Facebook will be better than ever – and it’s due in part by the conversations taking place.

Six Disciplines: A Playbook for Sustainable Success

It’s not just a book. It’s a playbook.

I’ve been reading the Be Excellent blog for awhile. Two weeks ago, I began reading the book, Six Disciplines for Excellence. Perfect timing with the impending launch of BIZolution. It now has a permanent place in my laptop bag.

Any business could benefit greatly by ditching their Operations Manual – if they have one – and using Six Disciplines in its place.

Sixdsic_1Loaded with worksheets, processes, workflow graphics, checklists and examples, this book brings focus, alignment and synchronization into your business operations. Each of the worksheets is available at the Six Disciplines site.

While we’re here – let me give praise to the blog site, too. The use of "The Bottom Line" a fantastic way to end a blog post.

Without a doubt – Buy It.

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