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Recent Blog Posts
- Calculating ROI of Blogging is Easier than it Looks
- Bill Marriott is the latest CEO To blog
- New Edelman Study Examins Use and Effectiveness of Internal Communications Channels
- CEO Bloggers Getting Personal, When is it OK?
- A Metaphor for Blogging Etiquette
Charlene Li and her business blogging research team at Forrester Research have just released a ground breaking report titled The ROI of Blogging, The “Why ” And “How ” Of External Blogging Accountability.
The full 13 page report is literally a key for companies seeking to understand how blogging can improve their bottom line. I happen to be listed in the report as a contributor for my comments on Forrester's initial research, and my previous posts about how to calculate the Search Engine Optimization benefits when determining blogging ROI. It includes a detailed system for estimating Benefits, Costs and Risks.
To learn more visit Chalene's post titled New ROI of blogging report from Forrester. There you can find the highlights from the report such as the Benefits chart above and this full-blown Excel model showing how Charlene and her team painstakingly calculated the FastLane’s blog ROI in detail from 2005-2007. The report suggests building an ROI model like fastLane's for your own company blog and the competitor’s blog (if one exists).
The Report also includes
- sample values regarding the costs of starting and maintaining a company blog.
- A chart for showing how to risk-Adjusted for different scenarios (most likely, best-case and worst-case
Steve Rubel got an advance copy of the report. here's his summary of the report.
While we are on the subject of CEO bloggers, here's some news ... John Willard "Bill" Marriott Junior can be added to the list of high profile CEO bloggers. Check out the Marriott On the Move blog and read Neville Hobson's post, Marriott CEO blogs to engage with customers. Thanks for the news Neville!
Many complements to Jeffrey Treem and his colleagues in the Change and Employee Engagement practice of the public relations company, Edelman for releasing the third annual study of "New Frontiers in Employee Communications". This year’s study focused solely on Industry leading organizations. It’s a great report. There’s something for everyone that’s interested in how blogs, podcasts and wikies are used and perceived by leading communicators from the Fortune 500 companies and global organizations.
The 32 page PDF is loaded with graphical charts. A few of the key findings are
"Nearly One-Third of Large Companies are Blogging, More Than One-Third Podcasting"
"Sixty-four percent of corporate communicators are not sure if their companies track employee blog activity"
I particularly appreciate the What is Holding you Back section that starts on page 23 titled, Obstacles to online tools – debunking the myths. The authors list ten “myths” (listed below) and provide rational counter arguments to each.
What is Holding you Back Myth Busters
1. Inadequate resources (time and/or money)
2. Disconnected employees
3. Resistance to change
4. Desire to control communication/fear of unknown
5. Not convinced of benefits
6. Perceived lack of IT capabilities
7. Culture not accepting
8. Senior management won ’t allow it
9. Legal /governance/regulation issues
10. Would require too much training
Where should CEO bloggers or business bloggers draw the line when revealing personal information? This question recently created some “hub bub” over at the Jobster blog when CEO, Jason Goldberg wrote a post about the music on his ipod. Jason found it interesting too, so in the midst of the kafuffle, he conducted his own poll of his readres which asked "What should a CEO blog be?". The resuts showed the majority believed that a CEO blog “Should be whatever the CEO-writer wants it to be” and “Express the CEO’s personality”. There are so many cool aspects of this little situation. The first thing that I would like to point out is how savvy I think Jason is in the way he used social media to not only share conversations with his audience but engage with a quick poll to continue the discussion. In a follow-up post, Jason commented that “it’s important that a CEO's blog reflect the CEO's personality, but at same time it is also important that such a blog maintain a level of professionalism.” I definitely agree with that.
Here’s a metaphor / exercise that might be helpful in understanding how you can achieve your goal in creating deeper connections with your audience without harming your business or loosing respect from the customers and stake holders that depend on you.
I’ve never been on a cruise ship, but I watched The Love Boat enough to know that it’s customary for the captain of the ship to dine with the ships guests almost every night. It’s an honor for the guests, and an opportunity for the captain to meet and connect with the people he's responsible for carrying safety and enjoyably from port to port.
When the captain sits down for dinner with passenger guests, is it ok to bring up what’s on his ipod or his favorite food websites? I think it would enhance the guest’s experience to hear some personal tidbits about the captain that are not on the resume. Actually, I think it would be a rather dull dinner if the conversation was confined to ship related topics. However, as a passenger, crew or cruise line stakeholder, I would expect the captain to maintain a certain level of decorum that is consistent with the business's brand culture, and have the discretion not to make the guests or crew uncomfortable or insecure with him being at the helm.
Now the practical folks out there are probably thinking that it makes sense for a captain to have dinner with the guests and to get a little chatty, but why should a company CEO take the risk of rocking the boat? How does this chitchat translate into a CEO enhancing a company’s bottom line? Think of the special guests at the dinner table as people who can influence your target audience’s perception and goodwill towards the company. This intimate experience of breaking bread, connecting on various levels enables the CEO to probe his audience for common ground. It’s relationship building 101, it puts the guests at ease, and provides the captain with valuable insight into how to make his guest’s experience even better while on board.
The internet has broken down barriers and empowered the world to connect, but it has also made it all too easy to keep our distance. A number of companies and CEOs have started blogging. What I find most exciting about blogging are the far reaching aspects for positive business impact. A genuine corporate blog or CEO blog can provide so many practical benefits for both the company and audience.
Blogs can enable people from companies to connect on a more human level with their audience without having to physically be in the same room or even be conversing at the same time.
The time and effort that goes into facilitating this dialog can be leveraged to provide a number of additional business benefits such as, rapid communications, thought leadership, brand awareness, pr, higher search engines rankings, traffic and ultimately business leads.
One of the basic rules of marketing is you can't be all things to all people. There’s plenty of room on the company website for corporate speak. Letting the true personality come through is part of what makes a blog credible. The more editorial review a blog post has the worse it’s going to be. Some readers will like it and some won’t. The art is in knowing your audience. Jason’s blog is a great example of a blog that shares and listens to readers. I think Jason intuitively knows that the core of his audience appreciates the personal nature of his commentary and observations. But he also takes the time to use surveys to prove it. To some, his sharing may seem out of context, but I believe he’s really saying, I care about you therefore I want to share something with you and hear what you think.
One of the ways I like to explain blogging and blogging etiquette to people is to think of the blogosphere as a huge cocktail party or networking event that includes clusters of people having enthusiastic conversations about every subject under the sun. The fact that this is happening 24/7 gives companies looking to develop relationships with target audience segments an unprecedented ability to search and identify the conversations, the participants, and influencers of the conversations that are relevant to their business. The two big mistakes that most markets make in evaluating the potential of the blogosphere are:
Thinking it’s something that can be mass marketed to.
Looking to quantify it in terms of an advertising unit
Can you mass market at a cocktail party? Marketing to bloggers is more about strategy. The best advices I can give to remember your networking party manners, If you want to converse at a cocktail party you don’t just barge in and stat talking, you stand there and listen and politely speak when you have something of value to add to the conversation. You gain credibility by following the discussion and adding value to it, not by hijacking it and shamelessly plugging your wares.
Filed under: Blogging Tips