Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

To Blog or Not To Blog

Blogging is for those with a story to tell

Blogging is for those who love to write

Part 3 of my notes from 2006 after reading Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. If you have not read Parts 1 and 2, please do so now. Then, this will all make more sense.

Notes from May 29, 2006:

Reasons NOT to blog

p.135    Some reasons, such as fear of accidental disclosures or conflicts with other corporate communications channels are identical to the reasons we heard back in the 1990s for why companies shouldn’t build websites. 

FUD Barrier – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  During watershed times, businesses develop this FUD. 

Who shouldn’t blog?  Blogs so far have worked extremely well for companies and people with doing the right thing cultures. 

Rules for blogging:

p.20      Blog smart. 

Mike Torre, lead promo manager for MSNSpaces, says that he used search services such as technorati, feedster and pubsub to look to see if there was anything about MSN that had been published.  If people know that management is in the conversation, they get respectful.

p.50      Blogging is self-regulating.

p.51      Bob Lutz (head of GM) – comes across as both transparent and authentic – two essentials for successful blogging. 

The two most fundamental rules for blogging about a subject: passion and authority.

p.56      Executives should blog but only if they have a vision they are trying to communicate or if they are very visible in the media.

p.72      Locate the people in your organization who enjoy writing and have a passion for your product or service and want to be evangelists. 

How do you begin?  Find the naturally curious people and let them start.

p.77      Blog often. Be authentic and be interesting.

p.79      5 successful tips to blogging:

1. Talk, don’t sell
2. Post often and be interesting
3. Write on issues you know and care about
4. Blogging saves money but costs time – join the conversation by reading other blogs, linking to them and putting comments on them.
5. Research what you write about, check and recheck your facts.

You get smarter by listening to what people tell you.

p. 173 There’s a tip to demonstrate your passion, to show your authority, add comments, be accessible, tell a story, be linky, get out into the real world and use your referral log.

p.182    Dooced in the blogging world means getting axed from a job.  There are things you have to be careful of and should not do these things:  not matching up with a PR image; linking financial and other confidential information; disrupting the workplace by upsetting coworkers and bosses; breaking news in advance and generating unexpected work for the PR team; exposing dirty laundry; creating legal liabilities; damaging a company’s relationship with partners, competitors or other entities that affect its standing.

p.185    If you want to be a top level blogger, you need to get over your fear of breaking rules.  At the end of the day, you need to tell an interesting story.

p.190    Another wise course for employers is to set up an intranet page to post blog policies.  Then let bloggers loose to post to each other on smart blogging.

p.191    Corporate web blog manifesto on Scobleizer:

Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth


Post fast on both good and bad news; it’s all about building long-term trust


Use a human voice


Make sure you support the latest software: Web Human Standard; if you don’t know what RSS feeds, tagging are, find out; if you don’t know how Google Technorati Feature and Flicker work, find out


Have a thick skin


Seek out as many grassroots news resources as possible


Talk to the grassroots first. Why?  Because the mainstream press cruise web blogs looking for stories.  People trust stories that have quotes from multiple sources. 


If you screw up, acknowledge it


Under promise, over deliver


Know your influencers


Never change your web blog URL


If your life is in turmoil and/or you’re unhappy, don’t write


If you don’t have the answers, say so


Never lie


Never hide information


If you have information that might get you in a lawsuit, consult a lawyer before posting, but do it fast


Link to your competitors and say nice things about them. Be better than your competitors.  People remember.


Be nice to everyone


Be the authority on your product or company


Know who is talking about you


Be transparent


Build relationships offline


Disclose all conflicts and biases


Don’t blog on demand


Keep confidences


Be clear when you’re speaking for your company


Be careful with legal issues


Demonstrate passion and post frequently


Respond to your readers


Be ethical


Realize that you don’t have free speech

More to come tomorrow!