Kathleen offers b-blog resources for business bloggers.
Last week's column on b-blogs proved one sure thing: Blogging is of great interest to ClickZ readers. You want to know more! The feedback came in fast and furiously and from all corners of the U.S. and around the globe, including England, Australia, and New Zealand. I'll address several questions and share with you some examples of and resources for Weblogs to help clarify what the nature of this beast is all about.
Great Minds Think Alike
I found out I'm not the only one out there using the term b-blog, proving business blogs are truly coming into their own. XPLANE, for instance, uses the term to describe its Weblog that provides sales, marketing, and business links to articles on leadership, project management, finance, and more. It's an excellent example of how you can build a strong brand for your company by sharing knowledge.
A Blog Is What?
For people who had not heard of Weblogs before, there's still some confusion as to what Weblogs are and how they differ from chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other communication forums. Though Weblogs started out as merely logs of interesting Web sites (much like today's column), they have evolved into an exchange of communication and information. How does a b-blog differ from a bulletin board or chat room? A b-blog will typically have an individual who acts as monitor and uses the blog as a way to communicate knowledge to colleagues, customers, partners, and other interested parties. Think of bulletin boards and chat rooms as less information sharing and more an exchange of views. Educational Applications of Weblogs has a comparison between the two different forums.
Speaking of knowledge, John Robb of UserLand uses the term "k-log," short for knowledge Weblogs. John hosts "Radio Weblog," which has the great tagline, "No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway." Apparently every employee at UserLand has a Weblog, as the Web site notes, with gives credit in this manner on the site: "People wonder how such a small company gets so much done. We use the [UserLand Weblog] tools, and refine them to make them work better in real world tasks." That, folks, is knowledge management in action!
Google and Blogs
Microcontent News Blog has an article entitled, "Google Loves Blogs: How Weblogs Influence A Billion Google Searches A Week." On this Weblog authored by John Hiler, there's an interesting discussion of how, because of Google's patented search engine algorithm, Weblogs and Google are "a match made in heaven! Google loves links, and Weblogs are all about links. Every time a blogger links to a website, its Google rank ratchets up ever so slightly." Create a blogging community. It may help your Google ranking.
Bloggers That Excite
John Lawlor, author of blogs4business, linked my article to his site and shared his thoughts on how "bloggers that excite and provide value to their readers get traffic." Lawlor cited Gizmodo, a blog about electronic gadgets that apparently is pulling 50,000-plus page views per week. Talk about getting people excited!
Read All About It
Chuck Frey also linked my article to his site, Innovation Weblog, and mentioned in his email the book, "We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs," by a group of people who were on the team that first developed Blogger, a blogging tool. There are several chapters online, including, "Using Blogs in Business."
Taking Customers Seriously
Darwinmag.com recently had an article on how the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies' Weblog of "open discussion" provided an example to "companies that want to take their customers seriously as world citizens and not just as potential revenue sources." The article points to The Shell Report, whose tagline is "protecting the environment and managing resources." There is an invitation to "email your comments & opinions or join our open forum." Kudos to Shell for empowering their customers!
Thanks to the readers here and everyone else who shared their thoughts with me. Next week, I'll get back to practical advice on b-blogs and discuss how to start one on your own.
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Kathleen Goodwin is the former CEO of IMN (formerly iMakeNews), specializing in customer acquisition and retention through permission-based e-newsletters. For nine years, she was vice president of marketing for Ziff-Davis' publishing division, where she oversaw the marketing of all print publications and their early online siblings. She also serves as an advisor to early-stage companies and has been responsible for several successful new-business launches.
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