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September 30, 2008

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Scott Clark

Every time I see a client who's considering use of social media I try to explain these points to them. Unlike "mad scientist" work such as SEO and PPC optimization, this area requires true engagement within the organization to succeed.

The chasm between the social media reality and where most corporations actually exists can be quite wide, however.

The challenge is to find the path between where they are and where they need to be - so that it satisfies the blogosphere and the boardroom as well.

Rick Smith

David. Absolutely spot on. I need to be telling more people to follow your blog. This also applies to small shops, as well.

Dana Marruffo

Excellent David; validates the counsel I have been giving clients - now if they only would listen! :)...keep it up!

mattresses

i am fairly new to blogging, i found this post to be very interesting.

Scott Hepburn

DMS...one of my frustrations with the technology we use to blog is that, in order to join in the great conversations happening on blogs all over the web, you need to constantly revisit those blogs. It's a bit like having to move from one water cooler to another all day long to stay engaged.

Have you encountered any tools that make it easier to participate in multiple on-blog discussions?

David Meerman Scott

Thanks all for you comments. Scott, RSS feeds are good for finding new posts, but you obviously know that. Many blogs have an ability to email you when new comments are posted. (Alas, I don't have this feature... yet. Anyone know how to add this in TypePad?)

However, technology can get us only so far. Like a cocktail party, you still need to mingle.

David

Adi

As Scott mentions there is often a large chasm between this ideal perception of blogging as a long-term channel for interacting with customers, and a short-term means of 'getting the message out'.

Something many marketing departments I've experienced suffer from is having to go through IT for changes to content, so having a blog that they can update themselves is obviously attractive. But there remains an inherent insecurity that ensures that they often talk solely about their own company (and certainly never about the competition) because they have to gain short-term ROI to justify the work they do on the blog.

Hopefully posts like this will reach not only those that do the blogging, but also the superiors of the bloggers, because it's them that bloggers have to justify their time and efforts to.

Rebekah Donaldson

DMS fan challenge:

Is there any other business blog with the words 'pimping' and 'crappy' in a single post?

And now, back to pimpin'.

Shaun Dakin

Good Post David. I'd add another one, and probably the biggest one, NOT ALLOCATING THE RESOURCES to get it done.

This is not about money it is about people's time and energy.

Great blogging requires 2-3 hours a day to do it right. That could be split amongst several people, but they need to do it.

EVERY DAY.

There is nothing worse than going to a blog and seeing that the last update date was months ago.

I immediately move on.

Shaun Dakin
CEO
StopPoliticalCalls.org

David Meerman Scott

Hi Shaun, While agree that you need to allocate the time, I don't think it needs to be 2-3 hours a day. For example, I'm probably doing 3-4 hours a week. Others I talk with also manage with less than you suggest. I don't want to scare people off because there is a larger perceived time suck than is actually required.

By the way, it was great to meet you in person last week.

David

jenn

Roger at USA Cares sent this to me. Thanks so much for this post. i have #1 down, but now i need to work on the other 4!!! Great information.

~jenn

Craig

Good post and I agree with most of the tips, I'm confused with other aspects. I understand that you may not like a company bragging, but at the same time the company's blog is mainly for its users first. I think including company updates and features that the users will find beneficial will inform them and should be fine.
Also I agree you need a good About page, but for a company, they already should have an About page on the site. I don't think the blog About page should be as intense as the company's one, the main information and contact should be highlighted though. What are your thoughts on separating the company's About page with their blogs About page?

Craig
www.budgetpulse.com

Colin Clark

You could not be more right-on! I write about this stuff all the time on my marketing blog. The key issue that 'bandwagon bloggers' don't understand is that BLOGGERS TAKE WHAT THEY DO SERIOUSLY! It's important to them, and when some corporate hack pops in and starts contributing crap that isn't relevant to anything, we either get pissed, or we just don't care at all. Either way, it's not a good place to be.

Lid

One thing I've noticed with corporate blogs that I don't find appealing is the requirement to register if you want to comment.

For instance, www.nowwearetalking.com.au, the blog of Australia's biggest Telco, expects you to go through a three step sign up.

While I understand they want to accumulate as many contacts as possible, surely there is a better way, because this is really off putting

David Meerman Scott

Rebekah,

Ha! Two of my favorite words. Thanks for noticing.

David

Angela M

Great post David, I have been in the blogosphere for a long time and I identified some of my own mistakes here. Thanks for always educating me to be better! When is your next book?

Chel

Such great advice and dead on to what I've been finding for myself while reaching out to people.

It's painfully obvious that our About page needs some work and I'm working on that currently trying to get some facts in about our team. I know it's important to let others get to know us better as people.

I really enjoy reading what you have to say David. Keep it up!

John P. Kreiss

David,

I have to confess that I've been guilty of some of the sins described in this post. Fortunately, I know that I'm a better blogger today thanks to the tips I've learned from you and it's appreciated.

John P. Kreiss
MorganSullivan, Inc.
http://www.johnpkreiss.com

JP

Your post is spot on, David.

So glad you wrote about the About Page, which is still the second most read post on my own blog. Your About page also helps readers decide whether or not they will return, too.

And, as you know, many companies prefer to maintain the “built it and they will come” perspective when it comes to blogging. But even if “they” do come, what matters in blogging is whether or not they’ll stay. So what are you offering to get readers to hang around?

You also mentioned a default role for IT, a department which is not really necessary to support blogging. Even so, a couple of my clients are housing their blog in IT. I would strongly recommend that companies instead house their blog in Marketing, PR, or Communications, or even the department of the subject matter expertise, but not IT.

I like your suggestion about "pimping" the blog out, too. But wondering about data to support that in terms of readership - not just with design, but also with more advanced plugins. Been digging around but haven't found any substantial data. If anyone has any leads or can point me in the right direction, I'd be obliged.

Thanks for the post!

Joe Pulizzi

Excellent David...another one would be failing to choose a niche topic. Some blogs I've checked out are all over the place - politics, marketing, stories about their kids, etc. To create a following, you need to focus on topics that are at least in the same ballpark to gain a following and start a conversation.

And congrats on the 1/2 Amazon.com punch for the book. Well done.

Kevin Behringer

David:

Great post. I especially agree with number two. Far too many companies see blogging as a new channel for an old way of advertising.

The problem is that if the "higher-ups" don't understand the concepts at play, they will disagree with the approach. While a proper tactic to use is to keep your offerings on the periphery...only raising them when it is truly a solution, the execs may not see that. They may see it as if you are not talking about your products, you're not doing it right.

Being a part of a the industry/community, rather than just shouting at the members of it, is the only true way to be successful at blogging.

Kevin

Tim Rueb

I would add another:

- Fail to start with the end in mind, define success before you submit your first post.

Jamie M.

David,
Great advice, thanks. Re. point 1: getting into blogging by reading and commenting before starting your own blog -- well, I'm taking your advice: this is my first post, and so far it feels ok.
I work in the marketing department of a big multi-national corporate in the UK, and we don't use blogs or actively monitor blogs about our company or our business.
Anyway, I plan to quit at the end of the year in order to start my own business (great time to start a business, huh?) and I intend to make my blog a cornerstone of my marketing strategy.
So thanks for all the tips. Keep up the good work, and I hope that this is first of many comments that I post on my journey to blogdom.

Dobes Vandermeer

As an alternative to commenting on other people's blogs, I would suggesting starting a personal blog somewhere and write about something of personal interest.

I think this may be better for practicing writing than commenting on other blogs, because comments often short and a reaction to something - a new post requires a bit more creativity.

David Meerman Scott

Dobes - Great idea on starting a personal blog first and I totally agree. That would be a great way to get experience. However, I still think people should comment on related business blogs to get a sense of the things they enjoy to write about in a corporate blog (like Jamie above who just submitted a first comment. Good for you Jamie).

Then person can then find an appropriate topic to write about based on what they like. And it is easier to find an appropriate niche topic (as Joe urges in his comment above).

Cheers, David

Debbie Weil

Spot on, as always. Thanks David. In my experience, the biggest challenge for companies starting a blog is finding the right voice and the right topics, the writing style and the content. Don't blog about your widgets, I tell them. Blog about what customers *using* your widgets are interested in. That's hard. I've got a chapter full of writing tips in my book... :)

Siobhan Bulfin

Hey David
Read your books and loved them, and...am travelling all the way from Wellington, New Zealand for the New Marketing Summit on social media and interactive marketing, in Boston. I look forward to seeing and hearing you in action!

Cheers
Siobhan Bulfin

David Meerman Scott

John Cass asks for an example of a great "About" page. I'd suggest looking at Mark Hinkle's http://socializedsoftware.com/about/

Yes, it is very long. But all the information is there.

David

Teresa Berger

This is a great post! We're a design build remodeling firm on the verge of starting a blog for our business, but I have not had much luck finding similar blogs (remodeling, interior design, etc). I'm sure I'm not looking hard enough, so I'm off to do my due diligence. Thanks for the advice!

Tim

My comment is similar to Shaun's, but rather than post every day, I'd say post with consistent frequency.

For example, Seth Godin posts at least once per day, so I'm checking his on a daily basis. Kristin Zhivago posts once a week, usually on Friday afternoon, so I know to check her blog only once a week, and I usually check it on Monday, after she's posted on Friday.

Having a regular frequency is helpful to people who want to follow what you have to say.

I must admit, I'm not sure how often I'm supposed to check yours, David... =)

Shannon

Great article. We started our blog at the end of last year, and we can definitely work on some of these tips you outlined. We've gotten the best response when we don't write about our company. It's hard when you're used to the "old" ways of marketing and PR, but the "new" ways are so much more effective!

Denise aka The Blog Squad

David, love this post and validates how we advise our small biz and solo professional clients. These are good blogging practices no matter the size of your company.

As for how to send comments from TypePad, you cannot send them by email but you can enable the Comment Feed function under Configure > Feeds and select comment feeds. Then your readers and use that option which will be on every post to get RSS fee with comments. I would also like to see an email comment option.

Blog on!

David Linke

David -

I would add that the difference between a "string of posts" and a "professional blog" is the desire of the writer. Who's idea is it to actually start the blog? If the Marketing Director believes that the CEO should be writing the blog, I doubt that the CEO is going to passionately embrace the idea of blogging regularly.

When I look at the blogs that I read each day, I doubt that there are many which are being written at the request of the Marketing Department. The most interesting blogs are written by people who are passionate about the think they are blogging about.

Cheers

David

Tom Lewis

David - I've experienced the "talk only about our products" problem before and it resulted in bland blogs that nobody read. Once I encouraged our engineers to write about (almost) everything they wanted to, our blog traffic added between 30-50% more visitors to our website.

We limited the corporate influence to a "powered by..." graphic and link in the masthead as well as to whatever content the engineer wanted to include. They write about their work, problems they face, discoveries they made, and show real world examples with their code (which happens to include our product). Our team is now considered a thought-leader in the space and we're finding comments to that effect on websites we've never seen or heard of - it's fantastic!

Apolinaras

I like that you mentioned "crawl, walk, run" technique and how so many people discover it is not for them.
1st there were web pages with "fancy" under construction pages and now we have landed at our next destination - countless blogs with zero value.

Again, great post!

Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius
Revolve, Inc.
Flexpertise(TM) - Business Law - Capital
http://www.revolvethis.com

Kim Cornwall Malseed

Great post David, I recently started my biz blog but only after reading tips like yours on how to do it right, (ProBlogger blog has good tips as well) subscribing to RSS feeds of my favorite blogs on similar topics and following them for awhile, and commenting on them as appropriate. I outsourced my WordPress blog design to my website designers and integrated it into my site so it matches the rest of my biz branding while still having a blog look and feel.

I agree with Kevin, getting upper management to back a "non-advertising" approach is tough as they often think if the blog doesn't constantly speak about the company it isn't useful. Back when I worked on an in-house PR/marketing team we did a test by doing 3 posts re: company announcements and 3 posts re: periphery 'how to' and 'top 10 list' info and tracked results. Periphery won hands down, and hard numbers helped convince management.

Doug

Great tips! I agree very much that it's a big turn off to read a one dimensional 'sales-pitch' blog that doesn't have any room for a two-way (or more) conversation.

neophite

im now to the blogging world and this information is more than just helpful!

Rosie from Wisconsin

Gotta get smart! Thanks for the tips..

jeff paul internet business

Your post has on internet marketing is definitely true. Internet marketing has opened new ways of attracting visitors to the website giving the webmasters a way of earning cash as well as web status. Let's see what the future holds for internet marketing.

Ricki M

Hello,
I appreciate your tips on how and when to start a corporate blog. I think I'll start first with a personal one and see if I can work in a corporate blog.
I love your book The new rules for Marketing and PR. Excellent and very helpful.

Ricki

Tobin Truog

David,

Thanks for another killer post. Right in line with the idea that the secret to marketing online is that nobody cares about your marketing message!

Thanks for backing me up on that!

Paige Henson

Yes. Take the lead from the blogs you enjoy following most: they are a combination of new info and insightful commentary, written in an engaging way.

kae williams

This blog is right on the mark - especially #2 and 3. I have been working with a company on these very issues but they can't seem to move beyond their comfort zone. I find that companies often give the responsibility of the corporate blog to a junior marketing professional who has no experience (or interest) in understanding the industry they are in or market segments that they serve. Great post.

Ambler PA Kitchen Remodeler

For us, running a company blog has been a great way to stay in touch with our website visitors and our customers. Through the blog, we are able to showcase recent jobs we have done, customer comments through a very easy interface (don't need to know any HTML, just how to operate wordpress), and useable information for homeowners who take a DIY attitude.

Theres only so much information about a company you can post in a website. A blog is a really easy way to add a human aspect to your company while keeping your website content interesting & current!

Hayley La.

Hi David,
Great advice. How do you determine what "the point" of your blog is? I am an independent consultant for lia sophia (a jewelry company). I have begun a blog with the intent of using it as a recruiting tool. However, I am a little lost at determining what to base it around that will help someone and drive a positive feedback behavior.
What do you suggest small businesses blog about? I am at a loss for how beautiful jewelry can help someone, besides by making them feel good.
Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!
~Hayley

David Meerman Scott

@Halyley - Talk with your potential customers and find out what interests them. Then make a blog about that.

Savina Billups

I absolutely think you are right about the five corporate blogging mistakes. I feel like blogs that are trying to sell a product or service are so forceful and I leave immediately. I noticed that people are a lot less personal in their "About" page. I mean you don't need to be too personal but personal enough the reader can connect with you on some level.

A.Marie

I found this post to be extremely helpful. As a young PR professional who is learning the new power of blogging in social media, these are important factors to remember to make my blogging more efficient.

Rachel

Thanks for the great post, David. I'm going to be the blogmaster at my company and have been reading marketing blogs for the last couple of months to get a well-rounded understanding how to do a blog well. I was wondering if you could reccommend a couple GOOD corporate blogs, as examples? (I did check out Jonathan Schwartz's - nice multimedia).

David Meerman Scott

@Rachel - check out some of the other posts I have written in the corporate blogging category on this blog http://www.webinknow.com/corporate_blogging/page/2/

Antonio Marsillo

Hi David,

great work.

question for you on the blogging etiquette... i am on the mailing list of several companies, etc....

Can i use some of this info as part of my blog? I should credit my source?

Ultimately, we often get news and info from various sources, just wondering if some people find it wrong if there is no mention of where they got the news from.

thanks
Antonio Marsillo

www.loudtrax.com

David Meerman Scott

@Antonio - As a rule you should credit those people whose content you use in your blog. But if there is any doubt about if you CAN use it, you should ask firs.

Polly

Hi David,

One important aspect of blogging -and indeed all public comment on the web - is the matter of personal safety. This is something that applies to everyone but is a particular concern to women. As women increasingly use the web both for social contact and business this needs to be taken seriously. Do you have any advice?

Mike Urbonas

Hi David. It's been a while since your last (great) presentation for the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA - http://www.bostonproducts.org) -- Nov. 2007 I believe--time flies!

Recently I have started my own blog on product marketing, business intelligence, and personal branding/job search. I'd like to think I met your best practices covered here, as well as those in Dan Schwabel's free ebook on blogging (as highlighted here on your blog: http://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/me-20-and-blogging-your-brand-especially-if-you-are-in-your-20s.html) which was very helpful.

I use Wordpress and love it. In addition to creating a very good masthead graphic, I would recommend Wordpress users pay the $15 to be able to modify the CSS of the Wordpress templates to eliminate the cookie-cutter identical appearance of an "as is" template. Plus, spring for your own domain name and paying $10 to map your blog to it.

Please check out my blog when you can, David (and all!) -- suggestions deeply appreciated!

Regards,
Mike Urbonas
President Emeritus, BPMA
http://www.mikeurbonas.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeu

David Meerman Scott

Hey Mike,

Excellent blog. Keep writing. Good things will happen. Thanks for sharing.

Best, David

Rebekah Donaldson

I'm re-reading this thread and am floored by all the readers pimping.
First we have consultants observing to the wide world, "you've just confirmed I give brilliant advice."
Next up: folks pimping links to their own websites.
Oh the irony... oh the egos.

David Meerman Scott

@Rebekah,

Yes indeed.

In a perverse way, when you know what is happening, it is really sort of fun. I love all the people who comment here because we can all learn from them.

People have different ways to operate in social media and I am thankful for the diversity.

David

Mike Urbonas

I refer people to this post frequently and tonight happened to read the comments myself...

It's all water under the bridge, but aside from the one goofy spam from someone linking to a discount mattress site, I think the comments here, and indeed throughout David's blog, are reasonably within the "guard rails" of good behavior, and refreshingly free of snarkiness with one very, very minor exception!

Cheers,
Mike

David Meerman Scott

Mike - thanks for jumping in with a comment. The people who interact and comment on my blog are a great bunch. I really value the input as do my readers.

I use this information to learn and to become input into new posts, books, and speeches.

Yes, I get a of spam. Tons. I try to delete them, but sometimes I can't get it all.

Thanks, David

Aaron Davis

This is great stuff! While I have been blogging, not completely aimlessly, but without sincere direction, for a while now I completely agree tht one needs to be more educated on how to blog before jumping right in. With that in mind, might analysis paralysis set in and ultimately prevent someone from ever starting? I am a firm believer in "just get started" and then tweaking along the way...

In any event, thanks for the tips and keep up the good work!

gil tabasa

I think that, these companies or individuals that takes advantage of their blog space to promote their products or services are more interested in advertising than providing value to the reader, I totally agree with Scott 100% that they should provide insights, and solutions and not promote their own products and services.

Peggy Dent

I've learned so much from your blog but there is still so much I don't understand.
Finding the right words to ask an intelligent question is part of the problem. I'm wondering who "hosts" your blog.
Do you pay for this service?
Is it part of your website?
Is it created within your website or somewhere else and attached to the website?

David Meerman Scott

Peggy I use TypePad as my blog platform. TypePad both "hosts" the blog (I use their servers) and it is the TypePad user interface (software).

I like TypePad. I hear from others who use it, that WordPress is also a good choice.

David

Adam Skiba

Great post David. I see these typical mistakes all too often with new clients. It's not that they were engaging in "bad" behavior, they were merely misinformed and uneducated. Great insight, thanks for the post!

Adam

Sithu

Nice post. I did some mistakes that you have spotted. Thanks for sharing this valuable stuff. Hope this could help for a new bie to write or comment a blog.
http://numia.biz/

Sealy Toppers

Thank you for the 5 tips I have been blogging myself since 14 years old! I have used wordpress never rally used any other type of blogging software.

Thanks again.

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