Using Blogging like Napster

April 17, 2007

or the power of accidental social networking

Way back  when before it became a pay to use service and Lars Ulrich and the Metallica muppets completely missed the point I  used to love Napster.

Yes I like many people stole a bit of music, well I actually used it to download most of my vinyl library as MP3s – convenience really I could rip vinyl to MP3 if I wanted to but I’m lazy when technology can help me out.

Far from Napster making me steal more  music it actually used to drive CD sales for me as when I’d downloaded a file or two I’d then make the point of browsing the users other files to glean silent recommendations for other music I might like, download a few and  then buy the CD if it was worthy of my appreciation.

I use blogging in a very similar fashion, when reading  Steve’s or Eileen’s or Jason’s  or James and Kevin’s Blogs, I’m a bit of a click bandit in that I’ll often  follow the link to a commenter’s blog.

It’s a fair bet that there’s some overlap of interest with the commenter, especially with the more specific blogs,  more often than not there’s a post worth commenting on and also there are usually other interesting parallel themes or occasionally tangential ones.

This is where tabbed browsing really comes into it’s own – if you open a link in a new tab you’ve got a history of how you got where you are right there in front of you.

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do many microbrands make a macrobrand?

March 11, 2007

could we really elevate our  company’s status through blogging?

Steve is talking about how blogging works as a marketing tool, Thomas Mahon‘s experience has become a legend of the blogosphere however he has a limited output of a very exclusive product and I’m intrigued as to how the company I work for could use blogging encourage new customers to talk to us.

Microsoft have had an enviable level of brand recognition for years some good, some bad and I genuinely believe that embracing blogging has helped Microsoft become more approachable to their ultimate customers, it means that bashing them has become less fashionable and harder to sustain and that at the end of the day a massive corporation has now earned the right and more importantly has the ability to reply directly to their detractors.

I’ve alluded to my place of employment, but you’ll not find any explicit reference to the name of the company or indeed to who I am as there is an ongoing discussion about the value of blogging which has yet to be concluded. if you know me you can probably work out who I am but this is my own personal blog and does not reflect the views of my company.

Some key managers don’t want blogging, some don’t understand it, some are keen to try it  and some want to control it, there’s a debate about how it can improve the bottom line and the idea of group blogs or controlled blogs for a limited audience of customers seems to be the most likely way forward at the moment.

I think this is a mistake, I don’t believe group blogs work well as they often lack a personality or consistent position, it’s too easy to muddle the conversation as there’s a tendency ( and perhaps a duty ) to provide a dispassionate commentary based on consensus rather than express a personal opinion.

Exclusive blogs to a carefully chosen audience  deny the power of blogging because you probably know the likely responses of your community so will either self moderate or gain no additional insight into the community’s range of opinions.

We operate in a market where there are any number of competitors that appear similar to ourselves on paper. There are a number of johnny come lately’s ( particularly coming in from the voice world ) who are acquiring paper expertise as convergence makes life really difficult for them and frankly most IT professional’s I know wouldn’t let a traditional voice company anywhere near their server environment.

I believe the reason customers deal with us and the reason they come back to us is our people, and their experience.  there are a number of people I work with who’s technological and market knowledge  is second to none.  

Our existing customers know this, at the moment our potential customers can’t possibly,  as the only access they have to our insight is through a series of carefully constructed statements and case studies on our website ( does anyone believe case studies?).

I think that a body of company associated personal blogs and the microbrands they engender will establish a blog macrobrand for our company that will elevate our position in our marketplace.

If we have half a dozen people blogging on subjects they are passionate about and we actually generate some discourse OUR google juice will improve.

Imagine  if you search for storage area network, or exchange mobility or AD migrations, or managed desktop deployments on Google and get our specialists’  blogs about the marketplace, maybe some of the troubles our customers have experienced and how we’ve used technology to solve them.  A potential customer  may see a few positive comments and endorsements by existing customers or even criticisms and a structured response and resolution to them  the chances of you as a new customer wanting to talk to us further has got to increase.

If our name appears in multiple searches you’re more likely to consider us as a serious option for a complex multidisciplinary problem or for providing a managed service  to you, if you keep seeing our name surely our kudos increases..

For our senior management to buy into this they have to see that the time spent blogging actually provides a return, and I can’t expect my colleagues to be happily blogging on a Sunday night so they have to be free to do it during time paid for by the company.

At the moment  if I spent time blogging during office hours it would take me away from tangible fee earning work which I know  would not go down well, if it contributes to the overall perception of my company it has a value albeit one difficult to quantify. if we’re all doing it the synergistic effect could be immense. Unfortunately I don’t think merely improving the perception of the company would  be so well received in the way it would if I was doing it at Microsoft.

Is my reasoning flawed?  am I looking at the blogosphere through rose tinted glasses? would this kind of exposure even happen? in a few short weeks I’m Googling highly on a few things like this (pretty specific and unrelated to my main interests I know) but is it possible that more generic business challenges can be so susceptible to SEO generated by blogs ?

I’m interested in other bloggers’ experiences – whether sanctioned or censured by your company how has blogging made a difference to you or the company you work for?

using Live writer beta

December 4, 2006

another little test using the beta of Windows Live Writer, a few people in the blogoshpere have been raving about this tool and I thought I’d give it a go – we’ll see how it works out.