March 2006

Jeff Clavier Announces Dogster Involvement on Weblogs Worknotes

Jeff Clavier We just posted an interview with Jeff Clavier to Weblogs Worknotes, in which he reveals for the first time his involvement in the ruffalicious community site Dogster. Full recap of our discussion on the new startup environment, how & when to take money and more of Jeff's current company picks later this weekend, but, for now, you can check out his Dogster news 18:20 into the conversation. 114176341 9B290C0E5F MListen to the podcast here. (12 MB mp3) 

Full disclosure: Dogster is huge in the Oberkirch household. Olivia is a hardcore Dogster user and we have taken copious amounts of swag from Ted & Co. To whom, we can heartily say about this new from Jeff: woof, woof.

Technorati Tags: dogster, jeff clavier, Weblogs+Work

Brian Oberkirch | 1:19 pm | 1 Comment Tags: Blogs Work , Startup , Podcast | Bookmark on | Digg It

TechCrunch Launches TalkCrunch Podcast Series Using PodServe

Picture 9-4 Mike Arrington has launched a TalkCrunch, a companion podcast series for his white-hot Web 2.0 review blog, TechCrunch. He's using PodServe, one of our Big in Japan tools, to host it. His plan is to have on the founders of the companies he is covering each week. I think VC David Hornik is also going to be on very soon, as well. The first show features Ethan Stock of Zvents and Narendra Rocherolle of 30 Boxes talking about competition from Google's new calendar app. Nik Cubrilovic (who's been helping Mike write TechCrunch lately with some kick ass commentary) and Edgeio partner Keith Teare join in as well. TalkCrunch will be a great complement to the daily coverage Mike's team is pumping out. (We're ready to be on the show whenever you're ready, Mike.) Read Mike's post on the new podcast series.

Technorati Tags: biginjapan, mike arrington, podcast, podserve, talkcrunch, techcrunch

Brian Oberkirch | 12:37 am | [2] Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Web 2.0 , Podcast | Bookmark on | Digg It

SXSW Geek Lunch on Tuesday

We’re working furiously this morning as we get ready to head off to SXSW. We’ll be there through Tuesday. We’ll be blogging & snapping photos and attending to some things that just won’t stop for the annual geekorama. If you’re around Austin this weekend, do say hello.
And if you’d like to join me, Jon Lebkowsky and Evelyn Rodriguez for a geek lunch on Recovery 2.0 and disaster blogging, please do so.

Our friend Jake McKee is also doing a geek lunch on his experience leading LEGO’s global community group. Should be good.

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Brian Oberkirch | 9:15 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Weblogs Work | Bookmark on | Digg It

Dallas Roundtable Talk

I gave a Blogging 101 talk at the Dallas Roundtable on Tuesday at the Park City Club.  I've met a bunch of the DRT folks at events, but this was the first time I got to address the whole group.  A super sharp gathering of folks.  The goal of the DRT is to bring together business leaders from every segment (one from each vertical) to share knowledge and networks.  With the DRT, it's likely that you're only one degree of separation from any business leader in the DFW area.

Here are the slides I did for that talk.  

Here are links to a few of the sites we discussed:


Naked Conversations

Robert Scoble

Jonathan Schwartz

English Cut

Cluetrain Manifesto




Brian Oberkirch | 7:38 am | 1 Comment Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Dallas , Weblogs Work | Bookmark on | Digg It

Living on the Edge: Blogging in the Real World

Here’s an article I did for Floral Management Magazine. It’s meant as a list of real world blogging tips for marketers who want to really put the new tools in play and change the way they talk to customers. As Mike says: it’s time to get real about how hard it is to really have a bunch of ‘edge’ communications. Love to hear what you think.

Living on the Edge: Blogging in the Real World

Ok, we get it: blogs can be really good for business. Over the past 18 months, a lot of words have been laid down to get people to think about blogs as more than online journals, places for cat photos and outlets for political rants. Big companies like Sun, Microsoft, Boeing, GM and a number of others have embraced blogging as a critical way to have conversations with those who matter to their business. A new blog comes online every second, according to blog search service Technorati. Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have just published the definitive book on business blogging – Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.

Blogs are here to stay. So, how do we actually do this stuff?

As my friend Mike Manuel noted at the New Communications Forum this past week, it’s time to move the discussion out of theories about blogging and social media and into the raucous to & fro that is actual conversation. Once you get the big idea (that as marketers our job is to enhance conversations, not try to control them), you need a new set of approaches for getting the job done. The bad news: there are no hard & fast rules. As customers produce their own messages (through blogs, videos, podcasts, photos) at the edges, our marketing has to be flexible, flowing, transparent. Honest. Here’s a handful of real world thoughts to get you started on your own adventure with blogs and other social media:

Get Small Fast.

Social media is an embarrassment of niches. Blogs make small players look bigger & help big players get small. If mass media wastes your message on those not interested, social media helps you offer sharp, targeted stuff that is high value to the right readers. So, you’re not just the floral expert. Maybe you’re the wedding flowers guru. Or you’re the one who’s going to show us the value in everyday flowers. Or you’re going to launch a flower-a-day blog to help us branch out a bit. Drill down. Slice your area in half. And again. Go niche and you’re on your way to better blogging.

Just Do It.

How do you learn to blog? By blogging. Badly at first, but improving with each push of the publish button. See, you’ll quickly learn what gets a response. People will comment, link to you, totally ignore posts that don’t matter to them. Don’t fret endlessly over what platform to use (choose one of the top ones and get cranking). Don’t overdo the fuss over your design (do something clean and sharp that lets people get to the info they want). Don’t overthink it. Start writing a little bit, and see what the world has to say.

Link, link, link.

The most important thing to do in a blog post is provide good links. The second most important thing is to provide really good links. And so on.

Write a Little. Often.

Readership and improved search engine rankings happen through this magical formula: lots of frequent, short posts with links. Have a big idea? Chop it up into a series of posts. Make your blog look alive with routine posts.

Listen. Learn. Rinse. Repeat.

It’s a conversation, right? How can you learn anything if you’re always running your mouth? Pay attention to comments. Respond to them. Use Technorati and other blog search services to track what people are saying about your company, your service, your area of expertise. Respond on their blogs. Great blogging is really about reading, understanding and synthesizing. The writing is mostly flourish.

Ping, Don’t Pitch.

My geek pals & I have a phrase we use when we tap each other for something:  ping.  When reaching out to other bloggers, don’t approach it as you would an old-school media relations pitch.  Offer something of interest to someone you know says Josh Hallett.  A great formulation.  Engage other bloggers.  Comment on their stuff.  By all means, let them know what you’re up to.  (You’re proud of your content, right?)  But, don’t do it in a mercenary way.  Focus on sharing valuable, relevant links & material. 

Spread the Words.

All blog software creates a feed that is automagically updated each time you post. (Sometimes you’ll see an inscrutable orange box that says XML or RSS. That’s what we mean.) Use these feeds to help you spread the word. You can reflow (or syndicate) your blog content to other parts of your Web site. Make sure to prominently feature your blog feed on your page, on your home page, etc. Let readers get your blog posts via email if that’s what they want. Include your blog address in your email footer.

Search Me.

As Elisa Camahort so rightly pointed out the other day, the phrase ‘blogs are great for Google juice’ gets repeated as though it were a form of magic. Can blogging help you show up better on Google and other search engines? Absolutely. It’s a nice, organic byproduct of having real conversations with people. It doesn’t happen by accident, though. Think about what you want to be known for. (Again, go niche.) Then write about those things. Use those terms. And give it time. Blogging is a long-term play with no good shortcuts.  As Jeremy Pepper cautions, though, "don’t just go into blogging for ‘Google Juice’ but because you have passion." Without passion for the topic, the blog won’t continually pull an audience.

Think Beyond the Blog.

When I say ‘blogging’, I really mean all the new tools we can use to self-publish our ideas. Blogs, sure, but there is also flickr and other photosharing services;delicious, digg and other bookmarking communities; podcasting at iTunes, Odeo, AudioBlog and other listing sites; YouTube, Google Video and other video sharing sites; forums, mailing lists and so much more. When you start looking around, the Edge suddenly feels endless. And very exciting.


Mike Sansone adds a great point (Rebecca Blood’s incremental value process at work):

Share Your Knowledge.  Mike highlights a key part of the blogging way — sharing know how, linking out, providing value as a ticket into the conversation.  This is fundamental, and I’m glad Mike added his voice to this piece.   

Technorati Tags: better+blogging, brian oberkirch, elisa+camahort, flickr, mike+manuel

Brian Oberkirch | 4:16 pm | [10] Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Dallas , Micromarketing , Blogs , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

Zeldman Hearts WordPress

The king of standards-based Web design chooses WordPress for his blogging platform. Matt is happy. A nice SXSW warm up.

Technorati Tags: jeffrey+zeldman, matt+mullenweg, wordpress

Brian Oberkirch | 1:41 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work | Bookmark on | Digg It

NYTimes Piece is Another Example of Journalists Not Digging the Blogging Route Around

There is a wide range of opinion on today’s NYTimes article on Edelman PR sending information to bloggers on behalf of Wal-Mart. I’ll recap the continuum below, but for me this is another example of our august traditional journalism outlets getting a little quesy over the idea of companies using blogs to get information directly to readers. When anyone can publish, then anyone can become a competitive outlet for news. (You may recall the last example, where the WSJ tried to cast aspersions over FON advisors blogging about the company.)

This echoes a point Tom Foremski made in a panel at New Communications Forum last week: that journalists are better suited than bloggers at ’sorting out the crap’. (A point JD Lasica rebuked right away.)

Some of the blog response has taken the same tone: shame on Wal-Mart for pulling the wool over these poor little bloggers.

Jeff Jarvis counters (reasonably) that PR people place stories with journalists all the time & no one writes about how they are being taken advantage of.


Richard Edelman
Mike Manuel
Dan Gillmor
Roundup at PR Linker
Marshall Manson (whose work is detailed in the piece)

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Brian Oberkirch | 4:57 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , New PR | Bookmark on | Digg It

TechCrunch Digs PodServe

As I uploaded the podcast interview from yesterday, I showed Mike PodServe, the first of our Big in Japan tools we put out for folks to start playing around with. Big in Japan is an integrated set of tools for prosumer bloggers & podcasters. We’ll make it easier for you to create & manage multiple feeds, get stats, etc. We’ll be showing off some of Big in Japan this weekend at Barcamp Austin & SXSW. Mike is thinking about doing some podcasting for TechCrunch, so he played with the app a bit and reviewed it today on his site. PodServe makes it simple for you to create, list, host and manage a podcast feed. Just upload your mp3, and PodServe walks you through the steps of creating a podcast, listing it in Odeo, iTunes, iPodder, etc. We also have special features like social podcasts and public podcasts, which Mike focused on in his review:

Second, PodServe also allows “social podcasts”. A channel can be created that allows a number of podcasters to submit files, and all will be included in the feed. The third notable feature is really interesting. Users can create full public podcast channels that anyone can add their content to. Two great examples are Brian’s Naked Conversations Discussion (podcasts discussing Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s new book) and Alexander Muse’s Elevator Pitch Podcast, which is a podcast that any company can use to submit an elevator pitch. I’m considering using the service to create something similar to the Elevator Pitch Podcast for use by TechCrunch readers.

You can read more about Big in Japan on Alex Muse’s blog. Alex is the brain behind Big in Japan, and he’s done some really great work on it. Rodrigo Franco is the lead developer. Scott Ryan has helped immensely. Dan Cederholm did the design work. Merlin Mann contributed some really great ideas that we can’t wait to implement as the project develops.

Technorati Tags: alex+muse, barcampaustin, biginjapan, dan+cederholm, merlinmann, mikearrington, podserve, rodrigo+franco, scott+ryan, simplebits, techcrunch

Brian Oberkirch | 2:32 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Web 2.0 , Startup , Blogging Tools , Podcast | Bookmark on | Digg It

New Edgeio Features Revealed

Hey, with all the flurry yesterday, I neglected to mention that Mike detailed some new edgeio features yesterday during our podcast interview. Keith mentions as much here on the edgeio blog.

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Brian Oberkirch | 1:18 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Web 2.0 , Startup | Bookmark on | Digg It

Mike Arrington Podcasts

We talk with Mike Arrington about TechCrunch & Edgeio, as part of the Weblogs Worknotes podcast series.

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Brian Oberkirch | 10:16 pm | 1 Comment Tags: Blogs Work , Web 2.0 , Weblogs Work , Blogs , New PR , Startup , Podcast | Bookmark on | Digg It

PR 2.0 Podcast

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What a crazy day. Busy, busy, so it took me a while to post up this podcast interview we did at New Communications Forum this morning. A roundtable discussion of PR & social media with:

and later

I’ll try to index the conversation & questions later this weekend. For more on the New Communications Forum, track the conversation and check out the flickr photos.

Grab the feed for Weblogs Worknotes.

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Brian Oberkirch | 9:19 pm | [6] Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Corporate Blogging , Blogs , New PR , Podcast | Bookmark on | Digg It

Press Releases Dead?

Death of PR.jpgAccording to Alex Muse and Tom Foremski they should be.  Tom started the conversation with his piece, "Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!"  and Alex piled on with his post, "Press Releases are for Bureacracies." Alex gives three reasons why startups should avoid press releases:

  • They are expensive
  • They get lost in the clutter
  • They are written in ‘corporate speak’

Tom suggests:

Press releases are nearly useless. They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes. Often they will contain quotes from C-level executives praising their customer focus. They often contain praise from analysts, (who are almost always paid or have a customer relationship.) And so on…

Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense through Businesswire or PRnewswire to reach the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of journalists.

This madness has to end. It is wasted time and effort by hundreds of thousands of professionals.


Frederic Tubale | 10:06 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on | Digg It

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