November 2005

New Orleans News: City to get free WiFi!

As reported in the Washington Post, "Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans will deploy the nation’s first municipally owned wireless Internet system that will be free for all users, part of an effort to jump-start recovery by making living and doing business in the city as attractive as possible."

Read more about it here, here , here and here.   We needed some good news!

Brian Oberkirch | 6:45 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs , Media 2.0 | Bookmark on | Digg It

Branding Genius!

pajamas.jpgWant to get people to remember your name?  Well, start out with a cool name, say like Pajamas Media.  Now change it to something boring like Open Source Media.  Be sure to pick something that is either a direct or indirect infringement on someone elses trademark.  Wait for the warning letter, make a little bit of a fuss, blog about it, get a few other people to blog about it (don’t worry they will have fun at your expense).  Now hire a branding company and get them to suggest that you change it back to the original ‘cool’ name.  At the end of the day everyone will know your new name…  [via]


Alexander Muse | 8:57 pm | No Comments Tags: Micromarketing , Blogs , Media 2.0 , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Simple is the NEW Complicated…

Just a couple of years ago everyone was looking for the next ‘new’ thing in design.  I can recall sitting with the Architel guys.  They wanted a new website with all of the coolness of Flash and the complexity of Amazon.  This year they decided to go ‘retro’ and focus on simplicity.  Check out their new site and blog interface at  Fast Company latest article titled, The Beauty of Simplicity details this new trend.  Jason over at 37signals details the article , he suggests,

"staying simple on purpose"

He also expands on the idea by indicating,

The big guys are discovering what the small guys have always known. The small companies leading the way and have been for years. The big guys are following the small guys. The Less movement is bottom up, not top down. There’s a big story here. I wonder which journalist will grab it.

Alexander Muse | 2:14 pm | No Comments Tags: Micromarketing , Blogs , Media 2.0 , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Weblogs Work for The Motley Fool

Selena Maranjian with The Motley Fool authored a piece I found on MSNBC titled, The Business of Blogging, How blogs are influencing business — and helping investors. 

Would you be more likely to buy stock in a company whose CEO blogged on a daily basis or one that never blogged?  I can hear the snipes already, "I would never buy stock in a company whose CEO had enough time to blog!"  

Selena’s article suggested a few insights blogs offer investors including:

  • Business-centric blogs can help an investor understand companies in a new way.
  • Technorati can help you ‘value’ businesses in new ways.
  • CEO’s of the companies you invest in are blogging or reading blogs.  Find out why.
  • 20 million people are blogging, better find out what they are saying. 

To read the full article click HERE.   

Alexander Muse | 1:42 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blog Hosting , Web 2.0 , Blogs , Blogging Tools | Bookmark on | Digg It

Corporate Blogging Prognosis

Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing, predicts that,

In 2006, expect blogs to be standard items in the marketer’s playbook. Corporate blogs will continue to proliferate. Some will earn kudos for their honesty and informative nature, while others will be recognized as blatant, homogenized propaganda and ignored. Content blogs (such as will deliver “street cred” for marketers smart enough to create their own slice of aggregated info and brave enough to let the consumer-generated content run unfiltered.

Brian coined the phrase and now marketers like Drew are using it.  "Blog Monitoring" services are going to be huge according to Drew,

Blog “Monitor” will be the newest, hot job in corporate communications, as marketers try to stay up on both the positive and negative buzz in the marketplace (Dell found out the hard way the importance of this role, as Jeff Jarvis’s “Buzz Machine” shamed them into replacing his malfunctioning computer). Consumer blogs will continue to multiply as mobile devices like Sony’s AIBO support blogging on the fly. Blog networks like WebLogsInc will make it easier for marketers to advertise on these sites, especially the ones that attract consistent audiences with quality writing.

Finally, Drew suggests that partnership between big players and smaller, niche players (like WeblogsWork) will become the norm, not the exception,

In the last few months alone, smaller agencies have delivered slap shots to the biggies, stealing away such prestigious accounts as Heineken, Volkswagen, Sprite and British Airways. Agencies like Mother, Strawberry Frog, Renegade Marketing and Crispin Porter and Bogusky (the Wayne Gretsky of the idea pack) are among a handful of firms that are building reputations for delivering channel neutral multi-disciplined campaigns, and driving what will be an enormous shift in how clients approach their agencies in 2006. Big clients are already starting to see the benefits again of having multiple partners, and asking each for “media neutral” ideas; it might not be long before clients designate one firm as the “idea agency”, tasked with coming up with the media & channel neutral idea, while other firms are tasked with execution according to their specialty.

Alexander Muse | 1:34 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Managed Blogging , Web 2.0 , Weblogs Work , Micromarketing , Blogs , Media 2.0 , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Craig Tackles Citizen Journalism

craig.jpgRun a newspaper?  Who is enemy number one?  Craig Newmark.  Why?  Craigslist.  Free classified ads have taking a painful bite out of newspaper’s revenues.  Now Craig has announced that he is going to launch a citizen journalism project that will mirror the "wisdom of the masses" strategy offered by Craigslist.  Should newspapers worry?  Nah, it will never work…  Craigslist is just a fad…  Everyone wants to pay for ads…  [via]



Alexander Muse | 6:21 pm | No Comments Tags: Micromarketing , Blogs , Media 2.0 | Bookmark on | Digg It

Ad Creep ->> Parking Stripe Advertising

John Moore asks, "Who are the ad creeps behind this ad creepParking Stripe Advertising are the creeps."  Wonder how much Home Depot is making?


Alexander Muse | 4:27 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs , Media 2.0 , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

‘Loosely’ Joined is the Key

Another interesting installment of a good discussion over at Shel Israel’s Naked Conversations blog.  (Note:  we’re finishing up a read of Naked Conversations — the crackerjack business blogging book by Israel and Robert Scoble.  Much to talk about there.)  Shel has been having a conversation since the BlogOn conference about whether or not blogging integrates with other marketing tactics.  Shel says ‘no’ here, and here, and here

If blogging integrates, it does so with a company’s constituencies, not with the remainder of marketing tools. Marketing should use blogs because blogs communicate well in two directions. They don’t work well when the intent is to push out messages in one direction.  They don’t work well for companies that still don’t want to listen to customers.

This does not mean that company bloggers should not collaborate and/or cooperate with marketing and PR.

Others, like Evelyn Rodriguez, Steve Rubel, Dave Taylor and Todd Watson think absolutely that marketing outreach can include blogging.  The issue here is the way in which Shel is thinking of (capital I) Integrated Marketing.  If, as he suggests, that integration means generating a tight set of messages and pushing that same ‘campaign’ out through various channels (a la the Lincoln Fry blog), then, sure, that’s a dubious use of a blog.  Not really an attempt to generate dialogue, but simply a cheap posting tool in the hopes of creating the next ‘viral’ hoo ha.

If, instead, a blog or set of blogs is loosely joined (paging David Weinberger, you’re needed, David Weinberger) to other marketing programs, there is a huge chance for the blog to inform and shape those efforts in a more organic, powerful way.  Open sourcing the marketing.  Rather than getting corpspeak in my blog, what if we get blog dialogue into our marketing?   I don’t think you have to go whole hog (as Tara Hunt has done) and say ‘the marketing program is to blog‘.  (But if the buyout rumors are correct it seems to have worked for Riya.) 


Brian Oberkirch | 10:38 am | [4] Comments Tags: Corporate Blogging , Micromarketing , Blogs | Bookmark on | Digg It

San Antonio Express-News on Corporate Blogging

The San Antonio paper has a story covering the Blogging Enterprise conference we presented at a few weeks ago.  Good snippets included from lots of the panelists, including:

Corporations that use blogs correctly have found them effective ways to communicate with customers, employees and the public, said Shel Israel, author of "Naked Conversations," a blog and a soon-to-be-published book on corporate blogging.

Once companies start blogging, they start listening to people more, they stop shoving information to customers and they start building products and services that people want, he said.

Small and midsize businesses have adopted blogging much more rapidly than large companies, said Paul Walker, co-producer of the Blogging Enterprise conference.

"It takes large companies more time to adopt these kinds of ideas and determine the benefits and sell them to the company," Walker said.

Companies that use blogs improve their ranking on Google and Yahoo search engines, and that’s appealing because consumers increasingly turn to the Internet to find products and services they need, Walker said.

"It lets them talk directly to the marketplace," Walker said.

Brian Oberkirch | 9:51 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blogs , BloggingEnterprise | Bookmark on | Digg It

Online v. Offline Blog Promotion

Additional thoughts on Alex’s post yesterday about billboard advertising for blogs.  Of course, putting up a billboard is going to drive some traffic to your blog.  Certainly boost awareness.  Just like the earlier post about TV advertising having an impact — it ‘works’, but not nearly as well as it used to, and not even close to the kind of cost and attention returns gained by more targeted online means.  It’s not a question of if DallasBlogs should run a board to announce their new alternative media project to the general audience it’s designed for.  (Scott’s already said that that is how he is getting the majority of his new visitors.)  Also, this is an outlier example because the very nature of blogging & DIY media projects is in the bootstrapping, grassroots outreach approach.  Media buys are simply contra to this type of project, not that there can’t be some integration, though that’s a whole other post. 

Rather, I’m trying to hone in the most effective means of introducing new blogging projects and organically attracting the right types of readers.  When the Slidell Hurricane Damage blog was in full operation during the month after the storm, it generated pretty good data about how people discover content and where readers come from.  While all sorts of media outlets covered the blog (I think there were three days of CNN blog segments that mentioned the URL and talked about what we were doing), I never saw traffic and activity increase as a result.  Much more powerful, actually, was when someone would post a link in a hurricane forum, reblog it on their own site, or choose to syndicate our information as part of a running round up of storm reports. I just think offline requires too much of an action step for them to remember your URL and visit when they are finally back at the machine.  You’re after the one-click pitch, I think. 

So, if I had to make a working list of the best blog promotion modes right now, I’d list:

  • Posting often, generating a trail of organic search terms that will attract the right readers.
  • Linking, linking, linking to relevant blogs and adding value to those conversations.
  • Using a smart tagging strategy that observes how people are using Technorati and other services to search for content like yours.
  • Using comments/trackbacks to properly mesh yourself into appropriate networks of conversation.
  • Providing links to great posts, interviews, podcasts, etc. in your own everyday communication.  You think it’s valuable, right?  Evangelize it.

The system tends to feed itself.  Other bloggers link to you, raising your profile, generating more search results for you, pulling you into more conversation, suggesting new posts, which create more links, etc.  It’s a constant process, one which repays close attention, sharing, and savvy.  It’s a great way to help a small brand generate a more powerful reach than it ever could via a clumsy, inefficient outlet like an outdoor board.  



Brian Oberkirch | 9:36 am | [5] Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Micromarketing , Blogs , New PR , Memes | Bookmark on | Digg It

Weinberger on the Social Nature of DIY Media Tools

Elizabeth Lawley captured David Weinberger’s opening remarks at the Corante Symposium on Social Architecture the other day.  The part that really caught my eye was a recounting of the social aspect of these do-it-yourself media tools:

Tosses out a list of tools (wikis, weblogs, email, IM, etc), then asks what these things have in common?

  • they connect people to people
  • they tend to be relatively low-tech, small, bottom-up, inexpensive
  • very human, suffused with human voice

Key points:  using these simple, inexpensive tools, you can make real connections with the right people for your business.  It’s not without some risk, and there’s a learning curve involved, naturally.  But the rewards are great.  Yes, there is hype, but there are also really valuable connections to make.   

Brian Oberkirch | 9:07 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blogs | Bookmark on | Digg It

Now Blogging for MSFT, Ray Ozzie

When he was starting Groove Networks, Ray Ozzie kept one of the top exec blogs.  A natural for a leader in collaborative software, right?  I’m pleased to say that Ray is following up on his mondo Web 2.0 memo from a few weeks ago by restarting his blog, this time as the CTO for Microsoft.  Why does someone such a huge task devote time to blogging?  Ray says:

As in the past, it’s not my intent to be pitching our products here.  We’ve got plenty of mechanisms - old school and new - that work well for that sort of thing.  But to the extent that I’m excited about something, or I think there might be a different angle that you might be interested in, I’ll chime in.
Mostly, though, it’s my intent to use this as a channel through which to reply and converse with you in a manner that scales.  

Nice:  blogging lets you have a conversation that provides both intimacy & scale. 

Brian Oberkirch | 8:58 am | [2] Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blogs | Bookmark on | Digg It

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