Archive - February, 2007

Hey Car – Go to the Grocery Store For Me

We’ve all done this right? We need some things at the store, we put the grocery list on the windshield wiper and tell the car to go get the groceries. 

What are you shaking your head for?  You haven’t done this?

Okay, okay…different scenario…

We want to extend our voice, improve our findability and be known as THE expert in our field. We launch a blog, telling it about the customers and eyeballs we want it to bring back. No?

Probably not this group, but that’s what a lot of businesses do. They launch a blog, copy and paste old newsletter items, post once a month, never comment or read other blogs – and then wonder why their business blog isn’t working. 

It’s not the blog that’s short in effort. It’s the blogger. And that’s okay:

  • If you don’t want to extend your reach
  • If you’re satisfied with your findability
  • If you could care less whether you have a conversation with your customers

Really – it’s okay. Just don’t blame your blog.

Hey, is that your phone ringing? Might be a customer. What? Oh yeah, you don’t talk with your customers…forgot about that.

It’s a Web Site, Silly (And Much More)

"What’s a Blog?"

We hear this question a lot, don’t we? I try to keep the answer simple as possible. Here’s one I’ve used most:

A Blog site is a Web site on vitamin juice,

  • Each is a series of web pages (remember, search engines index by page)
  • Blogs have time-stamped, archived pages (permalinks), Web site pages are often simply modified
  • Blogs should allow for some interaction (comments, sharing, trackbacks)
  • Blog software includes code for syndicating content (RSS feeds).

As blogging grows in awareness and development, companies are beginning to publish content on blogware – or at least bring their blog into their corporate site’s look and feel. A few examples:

  • City of Albuquerque – A clean design with the Mayor and the City Council blogging.
  • Iowa Dental – The complete site is on MovableType. Each page is actually a blog post. Their blog is password-protected for internal use. (disclosure: our customer)
  • C Wenger Group – Keeping the design, the corporate site was moved to blogware (Typepad). Moving parts (database, secure logins) are not served on blogware…but that’s not apparent to the user. (disclosure: our customer)
  • Drew’s Marketing Minute – Drew’s blog does not reside with his corporate web site, though the look and feel are incorporated. The company site is the brochure, the blog site is the voice. (disclosure: our customer)
  • Briggs Corporation – This site is not a blog or on blogware. Why share it? It comes oh-so-close. Time-stamped articles and Audience Participation…but no RSS feed.

Smart web developers will build company websites with blogs in mind, and often use blogware. The architecture is solid, plugins available – and when you’re customer says, "Let’s blog!" you hire me…err…you just pull the trigger.

Web (under) developers are busy trying to create their own blogware (huh?) rather than use tools that have already gone through tests, trials and fires. One prospect recently told me their (cob)web developer suggest they use Blogger for their company blog (McFly!)

Here’s today’s Workshop on BlogTalkRadio, covering this very topic:

Make sure to visit BlogTalkRadio tonight for a great chat with Wayne Hurlbert and Ed Oakley. You can listen from your computer.

Apple iPod a la Nope or It’s not a wePod

I was all set to carry on Tim Johnson’s idea about sharing a soundtrack of my life. I was all set to download 10 songs on iTunes and share it in a future post…until I read about the worm in Apple’s core.

Apple has killed iPod Mondays, a weekly event of raving iPod fans who gathered to share their playlists. This is a diverse community, bringing together fans of all ages. It was contagious. But Apple doesn’t dig Brand Hijacking.

What I’d like to do is buy Apple a copy of the books, Citizen Marketers and Word of Mouth Marketing.

Looking at Apple’s point of view, the gadget is called an iPod – not a wePod. Maybe community-builder Clint should change the name to wePod Mondays.

As for the soundtrack I plan to share, guess I’ll use Rhapsody.

Twice the BlogTalkRadio for the Price of One (It’s Free!)

We’ll be having two shows on BlogTalkRadio this week. One special show this afternoon at 2:00 pm Central (check your time) and our workshop on Thursday morning at 6:30 AM Central (check your time).

Today, we’ll be talking with two business leaders who have an abundance of special knowledge and contagious enthusiasm. Melynda DeCarlo and Tammy Rogers are the founders and of the The Meyvn Group, an Iowa-based organizational development company.

Thursday morning’s workshop is titled It’s a Web Site, Silly and we’ll discuss why and how "blogware" is becoming a preferred content management system – and why web (under)development companies will find themselves under the train if they don’t get on board.

You can listen live right here or dial in to either show at 646-915-9903

Amuse: Void of Thought?

If the definition of Atypical is the opposite of Typical (def.) – then would Amuse be the opposite of Muse (def.)?

The answer is no – at least not anymore, though maybe so in yesteryearthough and it makes for an interesting thought in light of the ongoing Did Television Cultivate Information Overload conversation below.

MobaTalk to My Blog

Two weeks after launching the MobaTalk/MyChingo voice mail widget on this site, I’m thinking it’s a keeper. Especially after hearing about the upgrades they are preparing.

I’ve found that Greg Balanko-Dickson sure asks great questions. One was how to embed these messages singularly in a post, such as this one (mp3)

Dave Kurns asked about administration of the tool (mp3). What I’ve done is subscribe to the feed of the MyChingo widget (view the feed here), which allows each item to be sent to my feed aggregator. To answer Dave’s question – yes, I can delete inappropriate messages.

This weekend, MobaSoft CEO Jeff Persch left a valuable message (Play Now to listen). They’ve got some great things planned, including video (check out the sidebar video tests on the MobaTalk blog). Soon, we’ll be able to send a message in a multitude of ways.

Apparently, they are looking for some funding. With Fred Wilson’s passion for widgets (along with Union Square’s golden touch), I’m surprised he hasn’t given this tool a test drive.

Want to give it a test drive (singing is encouraged!)   

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how different businesses could use this tool.

Why Do We Blog?

A new meme of tag is making its way around the blogosphere, Why Do I Blog? I was tagged by Valeria Maltoni and Chris Cree. That they even know of my existence is, in part, a testimony of why we blog – Connectivity.

So, the guideline is to share "5 Reasons Why I Blog," but rebel that I often am, twice tagged allows me ten (?).

Here’s What I Looked For Going In:

  • Findability – Like any business, I wanted those looking for my services to be able to find me in a search query. So, I started a blog site.
  • Extendability – The nature of the work I was doing meant I could get clients anywhere, and I wanted to extend my voice beyond Iowa. So, I started a blog site.
  • Affordability – The previous two items would be very expensive years ago. Phone book ads, banner ads, email newsletters, highway-robbery web (under)development costs…So I started a blog site.
  • Sustainability – Change is constant (except on many cob-web pages), and I wanted something that I could easily add to and modify. So, I started a blog site.
  • Trustability – Static web sites; Phone Book ads; marketing speak in general is so…plastic. Truth always bubbles up over time. So, I started a blog site.

Here’s What I Found:

  • Community – Many of the people I’ve met through or because of blogging have become friends. Whether we share interests, professions or region – we’re a community.
  • Connectivity – Bloggers are connectors. Need a <fill in the blank>? Post it on your blog and watch connections start to happen.
  • Collaboration – As a natural next step to connectivity, collaboration often begins. I’ve collaborated on projects, startups, events and even poetry.
  • Creativity – All of the above ignite the creative juices in my mind and spirit. There is so much talent out here. And put forth in so many different fashions. WOW.
  • Cumulation – I’ve become smarter, better, softer, faster…in part because of the blogs I read, the tools introduced, the people who have touched us.

Who’s Next:

Hold the phone my friendly reader – remember that rebel spirit I mentioned above? Though I’ve only tagged five above, that doesn’t mean you should stay silent. I’m tagging you now right between the i’s. If you want to share your Why I Blog – I’d love to read it (and this will be good practice to trackback here)

Did Television Cultivate Information Overload?

I just had a great discussion with a friend conducting a study ignited by some of George Gerbner’s theories.

Though I used to watch much more television as a youth than I do now (I’m at about 20-30 minutes a day – and in small chunks at that), I recognize how TV, especially dramatic TV has changed.

Bonanza. Perry Mason. Mission:Impossible. Each normally had one story per show. There was an end to the story at the end of the show.

Then we found multiple story lines in Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. More stories and characters, but once again – an end to close out the show. Even M*A*S*H would have multiple characters and stories, but usually these stories were tied up at the close.

Was it Hill Street Blues that started the trend of multiple stories and characters – often continuing for weeks? Now we have LOST, which is one (eight?) puzzle piece after another.

Speaking of puzzles, notice the fascination we have with the CSI’s and Criminal Minds. Have the MVPs in our lives become Multiple Visual Puzzles (like 2000 bloggers perhaps?).

There’s more here than meets the eye…(to be continued next week)

I Miss You!

Posts have been quick and short
My comments elsewhere, I’ve been missing
If I don’t catch up soon,
Some serious blog cabooses, I’ll be kissing.

But one of the beauties of the blogosphere;
And of the friendships that we build,
Is that your voices stay alive in head and heart
Even with planners temporarily over-filled.

Over the past week or more…
Many offline changes have taken place;
I’m beginning to see the light at the end
I’m eager to see your bloggy face.

So thanks for your passion and patience
I’ll be dropping by in a short while
Your feeds have kept me fed with much thought
Some good tips, a few yikes and a whole lotta smile.

A Blogger, a Baker and a Relationship Maker

Working with business owners looking to boost their bottom line, a lot of our conversation centers around their marketing plans and practices.

Last month, I had a new restaurant owner ask my thoughts on who he should network with. I suggested he find a cab driver, a hotel front desk clerk and a bartender. Each one of these professionals are already in the habit of sharing their opinions. Become best business friends with those folks.

That said, if you’re blogging and want to build business, create a few relationships (offline and online) with people that touch your target AND are in the habit of sharing their opinions.

If my target is retailers, I’m looking to hook up with a manufacturer, a distributor and a like-minded vendor.

If I’m a pet-sitter, find me a veterinarian, a pet store and the HR dept of the largest employer in the county.

If I sell sporting goods, team me up with athletic directors, coaches and distributors of apparel.

Think a bit outside of your target customers – on the fringe. If they blog – that’s a big plus!

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