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Friday Fun: Suspended For Friendship


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Today's Diva Marketing's Friday Fun post is suspended. A word of caution .. this is a messy post.

Weblogs are a messy extension of (the blogger’s) identify … links and multiple views in conversation with one another. David Weinberger

Sidebar: On 11-19-04 I wrote a post that quoted David Weinberger's C-Span speech (well worth your time). This is such a post.

This week there were dark events in the blogosphere. Tapestry_2_2 Visualize a beautiful tapestry that has been vandalized by a group of thugs. Then visualize the impact that would have on the artisans who spent days and nights of their lives designing and weaving that intricate work.

Let me say right off, this post is a risk for me. It's a risk because I've drawn a line in the sand to build my business practice helping companies use social media communications as a marketing initiative. Something that I believe in and am passionate about.   

It's a risk because this post exposes the dark side of the blogosphere to people who many think twice about the credibility of blogs, podcasts and vlogs as a marketing initiative. Marketing has changed and like it or not there is no turning back. The old world is no longer and we all need to understand the how the game has shifted .. the good, the bad and the ugly. This post is a risk worth taking.

I talk a lot about the culture of social media and the importance of being part of the community and conversation. In addition, I felt the need to join in the discussion of a critical issue in 'my industry.'  As well as, to support the people who have been caught in the crossfires and to raise my voice among many who are outraged about the a situation that goes far beyond spam, negative comments or disagreements.

Many eloquent bloggers have posted an analysis of the situation. I encourage you to read their thoughts - Lewis Green, Susan Getgood, Marianne Richmond, Mack Collier, David Armano, Shel Israel, Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort, Elana Centor, Tris Hussey, Jim Turner, Ronnie Bennett, BL Ochman

But this post is not about that. It is to give back. It is to remind us what seems to be lost this past week. Thus the title: Suspended For Friendship.

.. because although not nearly to this extent, I too found myself in the whirls of very public blogosphere flames. I launched GourmetStation's Delicious Destinations, one of the first character blogs. The situation was far more beign than what happened this week, but my experience was very real to me.

Friends supported me. People like Tris Hussey and Paul Chaney. People like Susan Getgood, who I didn't know at the time. And yes, sometimes friends did disagreed like my pal Shel Israel

This Is For - Jeanene Sessum .. You Rock. I have no doubt that you were as much a victim as Kathy Sierra or Maryam Scoble

We bloggers talk much about friendships, community and relationships that lead to deeper appreciation of the people who author blogs and the people who comment on blogs. Seems to me that in some posts and off list email this has gotten lost. We are quick to point fingers. Quick to pronounce guilt. Quick to join the crowded, emotionally raw conversation.

We who profess to forge conversations have forgotten that there are People behind these funny websites called blogs. People with feelings and families and businesses that are dependent on their online presence.

In a recent interview with Jane Gevona, author Robert L. Dilenschneider, Power and Influence: The Rules Have Changed, reinforces the concept that it is technology that has made the world of influence and power flat.

We who write blogs, tape podcasts and film vlogs, no matter how many visitors, views, downloads or comments, are part of a new influential group. Our thoughts skip through a global community with the reach of a million rain drops or in this case a million tear drops. Frequently our ideas don't remain in cyberspace but are passed along in the 'real world' and even landing in main stream media.

This week too many people lost an innocence that may never be reclaimed. Like a home that that has been violated, doors that were never locked will be .. moderator filters will be turned on, comments and trackbacks turned off. Our conversations may not be as naked.

Is social media marketing a risk worth taking? I still say yes. Why? Because the old business world has changed. The doors have been thrown open. There is no going back.

A word of caution .. this is a messy world, but working together BBF (best blogger friends -thanks to Masiguy for the phrase) I believe can create a way of doing business .. and do it even better.

Max_and_tag_2 Perhaps we should take a cue from my Westie pup Max and his friend Tab the cat.
Or the Astro Divas ~ whose post seems to dovetail into this situation.




business astrology for fun -
from The Astro Divas Paula Dare & Donna Page

Pluto turns Retrograde Sat. 3/31/07 – 9/8/07. Take this period of time to review your business. It maybe a very good time to let go of outdated modes of operation and habits that don’t serve their purpose anymore.

In addition Jupiter also turns Retrograde Thurs. 4/5/07. This ties in with your belief system. Do you still have faith and belief in yourself that you are accomplishing what you set out to do? Have you bitten off more than you can chew? If you’ve overextended yourself, you may feel overwhelmed. Take care of previous commitments before saying yes to anything else.

Mon. afternoon 4/2/07 the Full Moon falls in Libra ruling relationships. This is a good time to discover new ways of relating to one another. Try being nice to that irritating obnoxious co-worker. You know the old saying about how you get more from honey than vinegar. By being diplomatic you just may find the cooperation you desire.

This isn’t necessarily a good time to make final decisions but it’s a better time to experiment with many new ideas until you discover the one that suits your need the best.

Sailing into Social Media With A Sponsored Blog


More and more brands are taking a step into social media with blog marketing sites. Ann Handley, the diva of the community world and the driving force behind the successful Marketing Prof's Daily Fix blog recently posted that, "Last year's (blog) boom is yet another indication that blogs have gone mainstream, probably more so than many other social media platforms."

Last night AiMA had a great meeting that focused on consumer generated advertising and consumer generated branding.  Congrats to Wade Forst, Spunlogic, who brought in Tom Daly, Global Interactive Marketing, Coca-Cola and Michael Friedman, Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Smokey Bones).

SomeBruce_smith companies are dipping their toes in, not with traditional conversaional blogs, but with sponsored blogs. Darden Restaurant's Bahama Breeze is following the travels of Caribbean artist Bruce Smith and his wife Jan (who it seems is writing many  posts but is not credited) as they sail from San Diego Bay to the Caribbean.

It's an interesting and real blog read especially the post about how Bruce and Jan rescued two Haitian migrants. See the 3/2 post .. sorry no permalink.* 

I thought it would fun and a good learning to develop an informal social media marketing / blog marketing analysis of the Bruce Smith Voyage Blog.

Transparency - Darden got the bloggy transparency right with mentions on the side nav bar of sponsorship. Lessons learned from our friends at Edelman perhaps?

Interactive - The Bruce Smith Voyage Blog is linked from Bahama Breeze's home page (zero Google rank). There is a MySpace page that seems to be a space holder since there is no current content, few friends (44) or comments (5).

Viral - Posts don't have unique permalinks .. missed opportunity for viral.* With a zero Google ranking on the blog there doesn't seem to be much pick up. Speaking of pick-up and viral buzz our pals at Technorati show 13 links from 5 sailing blogs while Google Blogs shows only 2 links.

Engagement - If engagement is measured by comments, links and trackbacks the Bruce Smith Voyage Blog is missing the boat.

Lessons Learned: Even a blog with interesting content, great writing and cool travel photos won't find friends unless you tell them you are there. That might include: traditional marketing that leverages the Bahama Breeze restaurants, to a blogger relations programs, to a search engine optimization initiative.

Sidebar: Mike mentioned that Darden's marketing strategies are intended to put butts in the seats. Don't know if that was the objective of this initiative and if so if it succeeded. Or if there is significant traffic from the blog to the website that spells s-u-c-c-e-s-s. But seems to me that the sails could have gotten more winds from this campaign.

Sidebar: Yvonne DiVita's Purina sponsored blog Scratchings and Sniffings is a great example of a corporate sponsored blog. Bloggy disclaimer Purina is a client.

Social Media Strategies Are Smart Not Lame


Last week I had the best time meeting marketers who are on the social media cutting edge or are open to learning how the shift in the way people communicate, circa 2007 and beyond, is changing/has changed the marketing paradigm. I really do enjoy the teaching aspects of introducing people to the exciting world of social media marketing.

Although I admit to taking a sip or two of the kool-aid, let's get real Diva dahlings -  talking with and listening to customers is Not a new idea. No matter what some bloggers may think there were companies and marketers who cared about customers, service and doing the right thing BB (before blogs).

Technology (oh that scary geeky word!) has given us the ability to know each other again in ways that were impossible ever since we became an on-the-move global society. How many people do you know who still live in their childhood neighborhoods?

"So far away. Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore? It would be so fine to see your face at my door. Doesn't help to know you're just time away." Carol King

Blogs, wikis, mash-up communities, podcasts, vlogs, virtual communities are vehicles that can help reestablish theBakery_customers_1 corner grocery store relationship. By that I mean a time when people knew who their customers were and what was important to them. How did they know? Shopkeepers took the time to kibbutz with their customers. They intuitively understood that the relationship was the heart of a successful business. Ironically, it is these new tech tools that are the keys to opening the doors of  conversations with our customers that will to rebuild an old fashion type of relationship.

However, our world has grown complex and competition is more intense every day. Without developing goals and objectives, that support company out comes, blogs/social media marketing tactics are "me too play toys" that might be make you appear cool at your next cocktail party but little more.

Putting a structure on a social media strategy does not mean your conversation is any less real or relevant. It means you have a focus that defines success - goals & objectives - and identifies a niche … you can’t be all things to all people. To help you begin to put a strategy into place, here are -

10 Social Media Strategy Suggestions

  1. Open customer communications .. listen and learn
  2. Reinforce Branding 
  3. Improve Customer service
  4. Secure Lead generation/new business opportunities
  5. Reinforce loyalty marketing
  6. Secure customer feedback
  7. Lift search engine rankings
  8. Build community
  9. Increase awareness (viral marketing/word of mouth)
  10. Secure media attention

At BlogHer Business 07, Amy Gahran, The Right Conversation, presented an interesting concept on how to look at the value of social media. Amy's concept begins with the premise that we should consider how our customers affect us versus how we affect them through social media marketing.  Diva Amy asks, "Shouldn't we closely consider, and start accounting for, the value that people bring to us when we open up to them?"

"Each "value-add" on this list relates to existing typical business processes for which we already quantify costs, revenue, savings, or efficiency."

Value-add: ideas, creativity, and extra information or analysis
Process/Department: R&D

Value-add: Insight from diverse perspectives, including disagreement or disapproval Process/Department: Quality Assurance

Value-add: Validation and motivation, from experiencing the focused attention of others and seeing ourselves reflected in what they say and do
Process/Department: HR: compensation and benefits

Value-add: Goodwill, especially forbearance and forgiveness when we miss opportunities or screw up
Process/Department: PR and Legal

Value-add: Trust, the foundation of human society and economics. If we didn't know how to trust, we'd still be clubbing each other over the head and stealing each other's lunch. Money itself represents trust. After all, it's just tokens with numbers -- we trust that we can exchange it for value.
Process/Department: Sales

Lessons Learned: What is old is new again.

Beyond Fabulous Blogger Happy Happy Time


Girlfriend, I had a wild and wonderful marketing/business blog week that took me from Atlanta to Las Vegas to Manhattan. Between BlogHer Business and CK's beyond fabulous blogger happy happy time I was in blogger heaven. BlogHer thoughts to come soon. Right now I want to introduce you to a few amazing people and perhaps a new blog or two.

Friday night after the last BlogHer hug Elana Centor, C.B. Whittemore, Megan Garnhum, Marianne Richmond, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman and I headed off to CK's beyond fabulous blogger happy happy time.

Lori Magno, Accessory Diva,is as divine as the awesome purple diva beadsNecklace she surprised me with. In fact she brought gifts for everyone at CK's beyond fabulous blogger happy happy time!

It was wonderful to finally meet David Berkowitz, David Reich and the bella Valeria Maltoni. NYC dear bloggy friends Fard Johnmar and play-writer Alex Geana were there too .. what a treat for me.

I had a chance to talk more with Rebecca Edmonston (CK's fab actor cousin), Mark Goren and Matt Dickman at the apres dinner at Eat. Matt posted photos (bloggers seem to be camera happy people .. just ask Josh) on his Flickr account. Here is the blog link only if promise not to look at me.   Lewis Green we missed you. And you too Jane Genova!

It was a joyful celebration of friendship.Pink_boa Toss of a pink boa to CK for a perfectly beyond fabulous blogger happy happy time. In bloggy transparency I do have a regret .. I want everyone to live in lets-do-lunch-or-meet-for-drinks location. Comments, email and Skype will have to do until the next time.



business astrology for fun -
from The Astro Divas Paula Dare & Donna Page

With the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Gemini Friday was perfect to take action on all your projects that involve communication. Get the word out about what you are trying to do in your business.

If you haven’t been blogging this is a great day to begin. Mars was conjunct Neptune on Sunday; this occurrence happens every 2+ years and represents the beginning of new projects that help others. The reward comes from knowing you are making a contribution. What charity can your business align with that will be a win win situation for both?  Monday may start off slow and cranky with the Moon in Cancer and void of course but the rest of the week the energy will support high productivity.

Remi Adams On Questions To Ask Before You Blog


New York! New York! Get ready for the women bloggers. BlogHer Business convenes Wednesday night with an open happy hour. Two days of panels and keynote speakers follow 3/22-23. This is BlogHer's first entree into the business conference arena and from the speakers the BlogHer Diva's (Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone) have brought in .. seems like another BlogHer hit.

In preparing to moderate the panel "Should You Blog?", I’ve had The Best Time getting to know the amazing, and very different, women - Penelope Trunk, Remi Adams and Roxanne Darling - who will open the discussion. We call it  the “opening” since our job is to jump start the conversation opening the doors to creating dialogue with and among the people attending. 

Remi_adams_2 In the second mini interview with the panelists, Remi Adams, director of public relations for Homestead Technologies encourages you to ask a few questions before you launch a corporate blog.

Toby: We are speaking at the BlogHer Business Conference on the panel "Should You Blog?" The panel is part of the track "How Do I Get It Right the First Time?"  How can you get a corporate blog  right the first time?

Remi: Make sure that the purpose of the blog is well thought out before embarking upon it. What’s the point of the blog? Who is the audience? How will it be used? Who is writing it and in what voice? What information will be divulged and will that information need to be cleared with anyone within the company? These are just a few of the questions people should ask themselves before creating a corporate blog. Also, ask yourself a question people rarely ask of themselves: Do you have the time or resources to create content?

Toby: The blog, CEO Unplugged, is written by the Justin Kitch who is the founder and CEO of Homestead .. and your boss.  What advice would you give marketers who are considering encouraging their CEO to take a step into social media and launch a blog?

Remi: I think a good question to ask is whether or not the CEO has a clear focus, and if blogging as a medium is a good one for that person as a communicator. Some people excel at public speaking; others’ are much more interesting and persuasive as writers. Every medium does not speak to the talents of every person, and I think that since blogs are so accessible and easy to create, people don’t view them as they would any other PR or marketing opportunity. I wouldn’t encourage every CEO to act as a company spokesperson, if they wouldn’t shine in that role on behalf of their company; and the same should be true of the CEO who would like to author a corporate blog. In many cases, CEO’s divorce themselves of the corporate blog and devote their time to writing a personal blog so that they can express their personal opinion more freely.

Toby: What is your personal goal for attendees to take away from our BlogHer Business panel "conversation?"

Remi: I would like attendees to ask themselves a few personal questions before establishing their corporate blogs. There are certainly no right or wrong answers; merely questions that will help people better define their individual paths.

If you've enjoyed the interview with Remi Adams, catch the mini interview with Penelope Trunk. Penelope offers some great tips on how bloggers can create relationships with main stream media.

Party! With The Bloggers! - Hop over to CK's Blog to find out about the Happy Happy Blogger Meet-up On Friday March 23 in NYC. With CK leading this party there is sure to be more than champagne corks popping at Flutes in midtown Manhattan!

Penelope Trunk On How To Connect To Main Stream Media


Divas (and divos too!) the days are ticking down to BlogHer Business in Manhattan on March 22-23. This is the third year that I've been honored to speak at the only conference that focuses on women bloggers. I'm excited to be moderating the panel "How To Do I Get It Right The First Time?" on day two. Penelope Trunk, Remi Adams and Roxanne Darling will join me in exploring issues that business blogger face. I thought it would be fun to give you a preview of our conversation through a series of mini interviews with these savvy divas.

First up is Penelope_trunk Penelope Trunk, columnist for the Boston Globe and Yahoo! Finance. Penelope blogs at Brazen Careerist. Penelope offers us a side of blogger relations that is not frequently discussed .. how bloggers can catch the attention of main stream media. She also give some great advice on what I call the "Brand Is Me Blog" .. using blogs as a live resume.

Toby: We are speaking at the BlogHer Business Conference on the panel Should You Blog? The panel is part of the track How Do I Get It Right the First Time? In the new social media world how you can build relationships with the media right the first time?

Penelope: A very effective way to get my attention is to link to my blog or comment on my blog. There are a million bloggers in the world, and the first on the list of new blogs I'll look at will be those somehow connected to my own community. After a few blog-based interactions, I feel like I know you a little. Then, when you approach me and say, "Will you write about this? I want to get the word out?" I'm more likely to say yes.

A pitch from a blogger is more straightforward than a pitch from a publicist. A blogger usually emails and says, "Here I am!" There is no fancy pitch. This is a fine way to approach me as a blogger. However if a random publicist approached me this way, for example, to promote a book from a mainstream publisher, I'd probably think there's something wrong with the book. I expect a different pitch from someone who is not a blogger. This is probably not fair and not rational, but at least I'm being honest.

Toby: Your column in the Boston Globe focuses on career advice. Is a "brand is me" blog a good idea for someone in a job search mode? If you agree what type of content would help close the deal a little faster? If you disagree, what harm would it do?

Penelope: A blog can make the difference between a mediocre career and a get-to-do-all-the-fun-stuff career. But this means thinking about blogging and job hunting with a more contemporary bent. To blog merely to get a job strikes me as disingenuous. It's similar to calling up people in your network only when you need a job. That's not really networking, that's just asking for favors.

Blogging is about sharing ideas with a community. A successful blog has to be about connecting with a community. Someone who is blogging just to get a job probably will not engage people in a way that makes the blog relevant to a community. So maybe the person should write white papers instead, and publish them on a web site -- that's a way to get your ideas across without pretending to link into a community.

Increasingly, job hunting is a continuous process that never ends. People are changing jobs a lot more often than they used to. Young people change jobs more than every two years. At any given time 70% of workers are looking for jobs. So instead of treating a job hunt like an event, and blogging for that moment, think about maintaining a blog as something you do always, to keep your career vibrant.

A column I wrote lists all the things you can do for your career by maintaining a blog. I actually was not a blogger when I wrote this column. But this column is what made me realize I needed to start blogging in order to keep my career relevant. I also think there are career benefits to blogging periodically. But the benefits are not as big. (A  post that Penelope wrote includes more information.)

Toby: What is your personal goal for attendees to take away from our BlogHer Business panel discussion?

Penelope: I want people to know that the mainstream press is really interested in quoting bloggers. But if the journalists don't read blogs every day (which they don't), it's really hard to find bloggers to quote.

This is because there is no good way to search for blogs. For example, I was looking for a blogger to quote about the funeral industry. And the first blog that came up in my google search was someone who posted about how hard it was to find someone blogging about the funeral industry. Absurd.

Also, offline media has established ways to measure credibility. These rules do not apply to the blogsphere, so many print journalists do not know how to pick out the credible bloggers from a long list of relevant blogs.

Because of these two problems, it's very hard for a lot of mainstream journalists to quote bloggers, even thought they want to. Which means that if you approach the mainstream media as a blogger with established credibility, you will have to compete with fewer outlets in order to get quoted.

I find this is true in places like PRleads as well. I learned this the hard way. My book is coming out in May, and it's called Brazen Careerist -- the same title of my blog. I have responded to plenty of queries from journalists. I described myself as a blogger and an author, and the journalist has printed the blog name instead of the book name. Not great for my book publicity, but evidence that journalists are choosing to quote bloggers over authors.

Note: Cross posted on BlogHer

Coporate Blog Content


It's gonna be a bloggy kind of a week. From the great meet-up on with Josh Hallett and Atlanta blogs I'm heading off to Las Vegas to teach a session on social media, The Good. The Blog. The Ugly, for the American Marketing Association's Marketing Workshop and then off to NYC to talk at BlogHer Business and more happy happy blogger fun with CK and lots of awesome friends. 

Hugh_blogging_2 As part of the Marketing Workshop gig I asked the folks attending the session if they had any specific questions they wanted to discuss. Peter C. VanRysdam, 352 Media Group, posed an interesting one.

What is the relationship between corporate communication, industry news, and personal information that the employee should blog on?   

I had my ideas, however, I wondered what corporate bloggers would have to say; so I reached out to a few BBF (blogger best friends). These bloggers work with organizations ranging from healthcare, technology and consumer products to business-to-business. Their responses were insightful and I thought .. hmm .. this would be a great post.  Thanks to Peter for the terrific question and to the informal panel who agreed to share their thoughts with Diva's readers. 

Nick Jacobs, President of Windber Medical Center and the Windber Research Institute  -  Truthfully, I use Hospitalimpact.org for national and international policy issues.  I try to use windberblog.typepad.com for local issues and some diary type posts.  I use ourtownonline.biz  for humor!  So, my formula is more of that from a creative than an administrator.

Remi Adams, Director of Public Relations Homestead (CEO Unplugged Blog) - The answer to that question lies entirely within each, unique, organization; and I don’t think that there should be an “all size fits one” approach to social media within a corporate setting.

This question, however, also depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog. For Homestead, it’s thought leadership in small business and entrepreneurship, so the blog has little to do with the nuts and bolts of our core business and/or product offerings. It’s also written by a smart and savvy CEO, who is as good an information filter as they come. If you’re touching upon appropriate guidelines for employees, this should be based on individual circumstances determined by each organization.

Homestead, for example, doesn’t so much have a policy, as it has a culture that enforces or discourages certain behavior based on its values. You’re much less likely to have bloggers divulging private, internal information in unique circumstances like ours (for many reasons), then you would at a large, impersonal corporations in which employees feel disenfranchised. Blogs, in those circumstances, can be a difficult tool for corporate communications professionals, and would probably merit reasonable corporate guidelines.”

Merrill Dubrow, President M/A/R/C Research -  Not sure we have a strong position but to me opinions are opinions and don’t always represent the companies position. I wouldn’t want anyone to comment about clients, financials or strategy on a blog. My sense is every company is the same.

Christine Halvorson, Stoneyfield Farms - Since Stonyfield Farm was one of the few non-I.T. companies blogging back in 2004, we were feeling our way around and, sort of, making things up as we went along.  Once we got our rhythm in the blog world, we sort of instinctively felt we knew what to write--that corporate "messages" wouldn't really go over well with readers, that we had to tell a story, and we had to have opinions and a certain point of view in the world. 

"Industry news" is kind of tricky.  In the hands of a poor writer, it could be extremely boring.  In the hands of someone who really knows the industry and knows all the nuances, it could be a great read.  I think, at Stonyfield Farm, we felt that our readers wanted to know what we--as a company--cared about and what the broader world was saying about those issues (women's health, organic farming, global warming, saving the environment, etc.)  and so that's what I tried to focus on in the Stonyfield blogs.

As Chief Blogger trying to write and/or coordinate good content there, I also felt that nobody was really that interested in MY daily life, so blogging about it rarely happened, if at all. Instead, I offered my opinion on things relevant to the issues mentioned above. 

I don't think a person who is blogging for a company should blog about his/her personal life unless it is totally and completely relevant to the "story line" of the blog.  For example, if you are assigned to blog about the health care industry and your company's role within that industry, you need to find interesting, compelling content, yes, but that probably does not mean writing about your particular trip to the doctor last week, or your aunt's recent gall bladder surgery. Instead, write YOUR opinion about the state of health care reform today, or advocate that a certain piece of legislation be passed, or whatever.  Nobody cares about your aunt. (Okay, maybe they care, but not that much. )

On the other hand, there are certainly exceptions to this "rule" of mine. Nick's Blog is a great example of this. He writes about health care in big, general terms and in small, specific terms, and sometimes he just writes about his dog.  I think that's great! It gives him a personality and shows the person behind his medical center. 

The content of a blog really has to be tailored to the specific audience you are trying to reach. When I advise corporate blogging clients today, that's my first task with them--to have them be very, very clear about WHO they are writing to and WHY. Once they know that, the content follows rather easily.

Tim Jackson, Masi Bikes - It is my personal belief that all of those items can blend together and not confuse things too much or send the wrong message- IF done right. I blend all three and sometimes it isn't quite the right combination because I get off the target and ramble a bit. That said, I believe that has been one of the factors to the "success" (if you will) of the blog. People have developed a relationship with me through the blog, so the blend of personal, industry and corporate info seems to work.

As for other companies, it really just requires that companies define what kind of relationship they want to have with the readers of the blog. If they want to just make announcements or share news, then they shouldn't blend in personal info, as it might confuse that reader. Maybe they want to use the blog as a way to get product ideas/ feedback.

A blog is great for that too and it has been my experience that people are very willing to help you shape their experience- if you ask them and then listen to them. If they are looking for a more interactive and "personal" relationship, then I say let it all hang out! Obvious exceptions include being offensive, insulting or otherwise acting badly... but that should go without saying.
Rick Short, Indium Corporation - As far as a blogging STRATEGY, we certainly have coordinated and detailed plans and activities.  I am trying to pull them all together while the playing field changes and while our wild new ideas proliferate.  It is very fun!

Let’s establish a few of my firmly-held beliefs right up front:

  • Marcom consists of both internal and external communications.
  • Bloggers must exhibit some personality.
  • “News” is most effective when it has a personal element.

You can see where this is all heading.
“Corporate Communication” is targeted at the outside, as well as the inside, world (customers, co-suppliers, and employees). Blogging is one form of corporate communication.  There are two types of blogging: 

  • Officially on behalf of the company 
  • Personal and private
  • “News” can be targeted exclusively internally, or externally.
  • All forms of communication are USUALLY better if they contain a compelling personal element.  They simply are more engaging.
  • People are ALWAYS responsible for their content, whether they are dialoging professionally or privately.

As a company director, I can not control what people do in their personal lives. They are free to say whatever they wish, in any format or style they desire.  But I ALWAYS advise people to start their activities with a GOAL.  My exact words are, “Always begin at the end”.  Describe the following:

  • Exactly WHO
  • Did exactly WHAT
  • After receiving your message WHEN
  • Such that you are ecstatic with the results

Goals can be simple (eg: I want people to get a chuckle out of a funny personal foible that happened to me over the weekend – establishing the fact that I am but a mere mortal.)  Or, they can be complex (eg: I want to gain customer loyalty, first looks, and new opportunities for sales by helping customers consider my technical and customer support teams to be the best in the world.)  No matter what the goal is – always begin your communications with the goal put down in writing.  Then, work toward it, concisely.

Our goal is to establish our company, and our personalities, as trusted, bona fide elements of every single potential customer’s and partner’s decision process.

Happy Birthday Masiguy


Happy_birthday Happy Birthday to the King of Hugs & Socks .. BBF Tim Jackson aka The Masiguy!

Yes, you read it right .. socks. Masiguy_sock

Taking The Pulse Of Healthcare Social Media Marketing


Girlfriend, those little search spiders sure do love indexing blog posts. Yup .. with fresh content, HTML codes and those relevant inbound links blogs & search engines go together like martinis and olives (add 3 to mine please!). With over 71 million blogs (Technorati tracking statistic) it’s not a big surprise that blogs frequently rise about traditional websites like Google, Yahoo!, MSN et al.

What happens when the search is for something more serious than pet care or Anna Nicole Smith or even marketing information? What happens when you’re searching for Medical healthcare information?  Do you click on a blog or on a website? How do you determine the trustworthiness of the information?

Fard Johnmar, Envision Solutions was curious too. He wanted answers to two questions:

  • Are Americans being exposed to a substantial amount of user-generated media (through search)?
  • Do Americans trust online content because they are frequenting websites they consider well established and credible?

Using data provided by Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service, he conducted a research study, Diving Deeper Into Online Healthcare Search, that confirmed user generated media is becoming increasingly more important as a resource for consumer healthcare information. Fard’s findings indicated that:

  • Americans looking for online health content are exposed to a significant amount of user generated media. 
  • People are relying on government, corporate and non-profit produced websites for health information; however, in certain cases, blogs and wikis receive significant traffic.

A study conducted by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) complements the Diving Deeper Into Online Healthcare Search study. The ESRC research explored how health consumers decide whether or not to trust the information and advice they find online.

It may not be a surprise to marketers involved with social media but according to  Professor Pamela Briggs who conducted the study -

When searching for health advice online, consumers often reject websites with high quality medical information in favour of those with a human touch.

One thing that really put people off was advertising, so people clicked off drug company websites straight away. Generally, the medical information on drug company sites is very accurate but people question the authors' motivation and agenda. The issue of impartiality is quite crucial in building trust.

The great strength of the internet is that you can find people who have had the same problem that you have and see how they have coped with it - to forget about that, or to act as if it’s not happening, is missing the point.

But the most important advice for those trying to promote health information online is to use engaging stories about people with similar experiences."

Lessons LearnedA human touch and impartiality are keys to unlocking healthcare social media marketing. I would dare say that holds true for business-to-business, as well as business-to-consumer products/services as well.

Atlanta Blogger Meet-up 3-18-07


Question: What do bloggers do when BBF (blogger best friends - terms compliments of Masiguy) come to town?
Answer: Meetup!

Josh Hallett, Hyku is coming to Atlanta next week. Join Jeneane Sessum - Allied, George Sessum - Musick, me and other Atlanta bloggers like Carol Krishner - Driving in Traffic for a Beermicro brew with Josh at the 5 seasons brewing.  This is the same place where Robert Scoble's Atlanta meet-up was held. Nothing short of cool for Josh!

PodCamp Atlanta people are warmly welcomed! By the way, Josh is the kick-off speaker at PodCamp Atlanta.

Date: Sunday March 18th
Time: 5p to ?
Place: 5 seasons brewing
5600 Roswell Road
The Prado in Sandy Springs
Check out the 5 Living/ 5 Seasons Blog
Thanks to Ken Grisnak.

Sidebar: For you ISP people it is inside! For you OSP it's as close to out as you can get!
Graphic of the swell beer sunglasses complements of Ale Street News