Blogging Lessons From Ken Layne

08/26/2004

Okay, I admit it…I have a viral crush on Ken Layne. Never met him, but I love his humor and writing.  Ken’s a journalist and picked up on blogging early in the game.

Way back in December 2000, Ken posted a piece about how online journalists could use web logs (way back in 2000 blogs were still called web logs). For marketers and business professionals, who are blogging, there are lessons to be learned from our journalist friends who have been working in the space since way back in 2000.

Ken Layne (KL) on blogs Q4 2000 and Lessons Learned Q3 2004
“But beyond the ease of blogging, why would anyone do it? I mean, unless somebody is paying you to write a Web log?”

1. KL - And in the scoop/gossip realm of Hard News, I imagine it would be unwise to post all your Web sources. Let the competition go through 187 Google searches like you did, right?
Lessons Learned: Links are a good thing. They provide credibility, value-added and build higher search rankings.

2.  KL - Is it dangerous for Corporate Media. To simply type what you think and post it for the world can be troublesome when dealing with management.
Lessons Learned:  Don’t attempt a corporate blog without the blessings of your boss and your boss’s boss. Actually go right to the top. CEOs hate surprises. It's a far, far better idea that your CEO is in on the game at the get go. They can look cool and in the groove telling friends and associates about the company's new blog rather than doing a little sidestep at the next cocktail party or golf tournament.   By the way, develop some guidelines and expectations before you make your pitch.
2 cents prediction: Blogging will be included in job descriptions along with goals and metrics especially designed for those review sessions.

3. KL - Those who regularly add comments via blogging will see a dramatic rise in traffic; my traffic jumped by 70 percent when I started daily entries - and it continues to rise as people spread the word or whatever.
Lessons Learned: Comments help develop the “corner grocery relationship” and build community. More goodies from comments....viral marketing of pass along eMailed links and comment links from other blogs.
New Challenge: Spam comments. Bloggers are beginning to turn-off comments. Can’t anyone control those low-life, bottom feeding &*(^%!  ?

4. KL For a free-lancer, or a syndicated columnist, a Web log can serve as a home base for loyal readers. Instead of searching through a variety of messy Web publications, the fan of Ms. Columnist can just regularly check the blog and be sent straight to the piece.
Lessons Learned: Especially for service or consulting firms, blogs are an excellent strategy to position employees (don’t forget your CEO) as industry experts. Jupiter.  Leverage several employees via a wiki (blog with multiple people). Nice way to spread the wealth and the work.  Worthwhile

5. KL - Journalists should blog to make Web logs better. Too many of these sites are poorly written, rarely updated and of no real interest to anyone but the author. Your Web log should at least amuse or educate your friends and colleagues.
Lessons Learned: Amen to that one! For business and marketing bloggers, credibility is also found in the details, as well as the data. We've learned this one from traditional websites. Stanford Web Credibility Research.

6. KL - What can you expect from a personal Web log? Beyond the aforementioned addiction problem, you shouldn't expect anything except a little fun, a better connection with readers, and maybe the chance to easily run off some ideas that may or may not deserve "official" treatment from a paying gig.
Lessons Learned: What can you expect from a business and marketing blog? How about  - an opportunity to form a stronger connection between brand and customer, reality check new product concepts, increase brand awareness - just to name a few? And indeed have a little fun!

7. KL - It's highly unlikely a Web log will earn any money; you can join an Internet advertising network, but don't expect more than a few bucks a month unless you're Matt Drudge.
Lessons Learned: TBD. What is the future of blogs? Your 2 cents predictions are as good as anyone’s. However, no matter where the adventure takes up, my 2 cents prediction is the heart and soul of blogs will remain “mentworking.”

"Blogging is the ultimate virtual mentworking tool, the phrase coined by Beverly Kaye , meaning “a process of giving and receiving by participating in relationships in which everyone is a learner and a teacher.” From an interview on Lip-sticking with Dana VanDenHeuvel
Read about Blurring the Lines - Diva Marketing.

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