Getting the Most Out of Your Corporate Blog

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This session at Media Relations Summit includes Tac Anderson from HP, Jennifer Cisney from Kodak and Robert Scoble from Fast Company.

First up is Tac Anderson from HP, who shares a specific example of a tactical execution of a blog. HP has had bloggers for 3 years. 60+ blogs.

Example of using a business blog as a competitive response. Xerox announced a change in pricing. Charging more for the printer and less for the consumables – ink and paper.

The next day, HP blogger Vince Ferraro responded followed by analyst responses. Ensuing media coverage became more about HP’s response than the original Xerox announcement. HP was able to instantly get their viewpoint into the coverage by using a blog.

SMX Sesion: 8 Tips to More Effective Blogging

dsc00450.JPGThe Wonder Twins Track at SMX West: SEO and Blogging, provided the audience with information on how to best launch and promote a blog.

Here are 8 tips, from Aaron Wall of SEOBook, on how to gain traction for your blog.

Own a Niche

  • Owning a smaller niche is an easy way to starting building personal brand
  • #1 player gets more play in the media

Make Formatting a Priority

  • Ensure you have a clean appealing design
  • Highlight best practices
  • Include an “About Us” page
  • Make it easy for press to contact
  • Leverage pictures/video/sketchcasting

Write clearly

  • Write headlines like a wire service writer
  • Use simple words and short sentences
  • Use bulleted lists/headers/sub-headers

Filter

  • Create Google news alerts

Top Ten Online Marketing Tactics

Online Marketing Tactics

Earlier this week we started a poll on what online marketing tactics our readers would use most in 2008. The polling plug-in allows for only one choice and over 100 people have responded so far. We’ll keep the poll running for another week or so, but here are the top ten tactics rankings so far out of 35 listed and the percentage of votes for each.

With the vote count at over 150, I’ve updated the top ten as of 02/13/08:

  • Blogging (27%)
  • Email marketing (16%)
  • Search engine optimization (14%)
  • Pay per click (9%)
  • Social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) (5%)
  • Blogger relations (4%)
  • Online public relations (3%)
  • Viral marketing (3%)
  • Free content (white papers) (3%)
  • Corporate web site (3%)

The difference between tags and categories.

Tags & CategoriesWith the release of WordPress 2.3, tags are now a standard part of all WordPress bogs. However, many new bloggers don’t know the difference between tags and categories so I thought I’d elaborate.

Categories are the different areas of your blog. They are the sections that you want to break your blog into. Categories will continue to gain more and more posts over time as you post on them often. Think of them like the main services or main product categories on a website.

If you have a site all about sports, your categories may be: Football, Baseball, Golf, Basketball and Hockey.

Tags are words or phrases that are specific to individual posts. They are items that will give the post additional exposure. Tags differ from categories as they are words or phrases that are less often used.

Defining Business Blogging Success

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When talking with TopRank or M&O Account Teams about new clients, it is inevitable that I will ask if there is a blog involved. There are simply too many advantages to enabling a web site with fresh, themed content that is well structured for SEO benefits and that also offers a great platform for creative promotion, not to consider it in the online marketing mix. However, the mis-perceptions about what a blog is and is not abound, even with self-described “blogging experts”.

Despite that, I think it’s a perfectly reasonable question for a company to ask: “Why should we have a blog and what will it do for us?” Answering that question in the most effective way possible starts with understanding the business and marketing goals of the company. Too many SEOs and blogging consultants focus on the mechanical capabilities of a blog and not on the business goals that can be met.

What Not To Do With Your Business Blog

This morning, and I mean really early morning, I went about my weekly perusal of about 50 or so SEO and SEM blogs. For the most part this is a very informative and satisfying experience. However, there are a few barriers to blog reader experience that I feel especially obligated to point out. These observations are relevant for any business blog:

  • Don’t make readers register or login to make a comment. What, you’re too lazy to manage all the comment spam? Or install a better spam filter? You’re lucky to get people to your blog in the first place. Why make it inconvenient to interact?

Reader Poll: Best Blog Content

reader poll

If you’re a regular reader of Online Marketing Blog, you’ll know we like to tweak things on a pretty regular basis. I send such refinement requests to Thomas, my blogmaster, just about every day. “Make this bigger, make that smaller, add xyz plug-in or check on something with our host VISI”. I’m sure it’s annoying but it’s what he gets paid for. :)

Like many bloggers I look at stats pretty often and since we started using the most recent version of Google Analytics, I’ve been able to get a better handle on what kind of content generates the most interest (and inquiries) as well as traffic sources, etc. In fact, I just checked this morning and see for April to June 28, 2007 the 5 most popular resource pages (in terms of traffic) were:

WinJournal – New Windows Desktop Blog Client

WinJournalMariner Software is getting ready to release their new blogging client called WinJournal. If you’ve used a Mac, then you may be familiar with MacJournal. Well it’s the same idea, just for Windows users.

WinJournal aims to bring journaling, blogging and podcasting into one application. Its blogging capabilities tie into MovableType, TypePad, WordPress, Live Journal, Blogger and Windows Spaces. You can even publish your entries to a web server via FTP. Not sure if that includes an RSS feed or not, but it does sound like a great option. Or you can just use WinJournal write your own entries that don’t get published.

3 Blog Mistakes You Can Avoid

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As part of a blog optimization panel I participated in during a recent conference in Australia, I decided to forgo the bulleted list of blog plugins and recommendations that you typically see on such sessions in favor of something more personal.

The presentation focused on 3 of the biggest mistakes we’ve made with Online Marketing Blog in the past 3 years, why we made them (and why others do too), what we learned, what you can do to avoid them and the expected outcomes.

This format was well received, so I thought I’d share them here.

Mistake Number One: Goals.

Sourcing Content for Business Blogs

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Blogs are useful for many marketing and communication purposes. They’re also useful simply as software that manages content. Businesses can use blogs to communicate a corporate vision, to build thought leadership corporate-wide or for subject matter experts. Blogs can be very useful in support of public and media relations efforts and they are certainly excellent tools for making a site more search friendly with fresh content that attracts incoming links.

One of the best resources for blog content comes out of interactions with prospects and customers. If an organization can tap into the flow of dialog that happens between front line employees such as sales people and customer support there is an abundance of valuable content available. If customers and potential customers have questions about certain topics, then it’s pretty likely that many others will too.

Reader Poll: Blogger’s Block

reader poll

Blogs are great marketing tools, but if you’re running or working in a successful business it can be tough to find the time. Hence, this week’s reader poll:

What do you do when you can't think of something or you're not motivated to blog?

  • Just don't blog (51%, 46 Votes)
  • Repost news of the day with your commentary (21%, 19 Votes)
  • Avoid the situation by scheduling content in advance (pre-write posts) (13%, 12 Votes)
  • Run a poll about how to deal with blogger's block (10%, 9 Votes)
  • Ask a co-worker to write a post (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Repost links to popular posts (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 90

Down but not out and lessons learned

Some of our regular readers may have noticed that Online Marketing Blog was not available for about 26 hours this week. We were informed after calling our hosting company, that the site was under attack by hundreds locations sending unresolvable requests or a denial of service attack. The host shut the site down without telling us as it was on a shared server and the increased traffic was affecting other web sites.

After numerous attempts to get access to our data with ambiguous responses from our host, we finally decided to change hosts. I planned to do this on Friday night so DNS propagation would occur over the weekend. But the hosting company was not able to do anything to resolve the situation in the short term so we made the call to change hosts with more support resources asap.