What should you blog about?

After we’ve explained the reasons for using blog technlogy, far too numerous to mention again here, customers tend to call us with a blank sheet of paper after the first few coffees are long gone.

The best advice we can give is to go read something. Preferably something related to what you do of course, but for ideas there is nothing like ‘news’ to set people’s opinions going.


For the technical, they would use ‘Google Reader’ which is a fantastic tool for subscribing to relevant news from a google newsfeed.

You see, to generate your own personal news stream, head over to google news, search for something fundamental to your business, hunt for the RSS button and click. You’re done. Read once a week for instant idea juice.

So, why is this a good idea?

Blogs are publishing platforms, and one of the main reasons to publish is that you have some news. News is fresh, and Search Engines give this some credence by seemingly placing ‘news’ articles almost instantly into their index. Some higher than others of course.

To give a great example, one of the best case studies I’ve ever seen for Search Engine Optimisation has to be the Brent Payne interview recently over at the Wordtracker website. Kudos and links go to them, congratulations.

You couldn’t get a better example of how keywords and news mix to give exposure to those who work them hard. It sets an example to us all, you included!

Another example: when Google chose a new ‘doodle’ today to honour the invention of the barcode, I ‘searched’ for bar code, and between the first time I looked and 20 minutes later, the Daily Telegraph leapt to the top of the rankings for a new article on bar code….above Wikipedia.

The reason Google did that, it’s ‘news’. See the google news feed…. and look for the orange button at the bottom.

The reason the Telegraph did that – it knows what people are looking for (from Stats or a keyword tool), and then writes about it. Just as the case study of the Tribune above, writing about things that ‘we know people are interested in’ is easier than trying to make it on your own.

Just I write this, I’m absolutely gratified to see one of my clients, who know a think about data capture and barcodes, have written an article on this very subject…spotting opportunities is a ‘key’ phrase for today.

My work there is done :-), oh wait, I don’t mean that.

Bloggers vs Blaggers

Blog technology has huge business benefits, but the best in business say it’s about more than that.

In the last few days, several people, in quite different industries told me they felt integrity was crucial to their business. Pointedly, they also said they were competing with people without.

Underneath I’m not sure they really believe that’s true, but what if all the good people wrote blog articles regularly? I like to think it would help us all rise above the blaggers – and in a very literal way, with Google in mind, it probably will do.

When you write stuff down, good things tend to happen.

A friend sent this to me, I’m guessing it’s because I’ve been too busy to write lately. Perhaps if they would be so kind as to send this over about once a week or so?

Blogs are like presentations, wheres the conversation?

As yet another social network buzz is starting to die down…..

A recap on ‘what’s happened so far’

Various forms of electronic communication have been invented.

The key aspect to all of them. Asynchronous.

We only have one piece of attention to give at any one moment, and so, asynchronous technology gives us massive productivity benefits – conversations can be carried out over a period, whilst doing other things.

This is true of

  • Email,
  • IM,
  • Blogs,
  • Wikis,
  • Social networks 

Electronic conversations are also much more powerful because they’re written down, – searchable, discoverable, interactive whilst being less sensitive to time, (timefree)

BUT – the crucial piece is that none of this software truly yet delivers a full conversation electronically.

For all of the marketing sector telling us that they are having conversations with their audience with their blogs – the reality feels more like they are making a ‘presentation’.

A blog is like a presentation in that someone makes their point, and the audience can comment or ask questions afterwards and then leave the building.

This isn’t exactly an example of a roundtable asynchronous timefree conversation is it? I make a comment and then have to remember to come back to see the response, or other people’s questions?

It’s just not intuitive – where is the user interface for our conversations? All over the place on other people’s blogs, that’s where.

Conversations shouldn’t be kept by just one of the contributing parties, and marketers would probably like to continue the conversation with people even after they’ve left the building.

Solve that one and then we’ll enable it with unified communications.

Similar themes

There is a useful ‘zeitgeist’ post by hugh macleod over on his blog, gapingvoid. Echo’s are here at Stowe Boyd’s blog, and I have to agree with both Stowe and Hugh, running a blog is a powerful learning and communicative experience, not to be undersold.

However, it is clear from the comments on the gapingvoid that other people are also still looking for other tools to keep the conversation going, and I think I’m agreeing that there is still some stuff missing (as well as being all over the place).

It feels like it wouldn’t take much to link blogs, comments and conversations, and I’m wondering whether this linked article here at gigaom is alluding to something. Although it talks about identity and WordPress, the phrases “inside out social network”, and “the social graph” do resonate.

Build a website in WordPress, 10 reasons

WordPress open source software used to be just for building blogs, but now its more than good enough to have your website built with.

You should.

For all my friends in small businesses, here’s my reasons.

  1. WordPress can be used to create a website from scratch with no coding (with a little reading)
  2. Anyone can add pages, and this means more content, and more updates (no charge)
  3. Search engines care very much about content levels and how often a site is updated.
  4. Content is preserved, even when changing the look of the site (Thats what this Wordpress Content Management System actually does)
  5. Change the look, and all pages are updated, there’s no hard-coding. A website can live and breathe.
  6. Thousands of developers are working to simplify all sorts of advanced capability – e.g. Search Engine friendly stuff, statistics management! audio and video embedding, database and e-commerce functions.
  7. If you get stuck, any WordPress contractor can pick up where you left off – easily
  8. It is a major bonus for a website to support RSS and blogs, for marketing, and with WordPress, such rich functionality is built in of course.
  9. Websites are tons better when interactive – positive customer comments build trust and credibility and will increase conversions from visits to contact.
  10. It’s free to use

Forget the word Blog – just think of this as a way to replace that old website that looks like a brochure and to start a conversation in your marketplace, and hit those search engines.

Story telling as marketing, blog it

‘Online Marketing’ as it is quaintly called, is probably the least expensive communication on a ‘one to many basis’ available.

So, does your business really need more of a shopfront, or perhaps a press marketing campaign with a freephone number and a new callcentre, or maybe ‘Online Marketing’ is a better place to put your budget. It could be the best return for your money…

Matt Ambrose tells it best, as usual, around a classic tale of a global micro-brand

It seems that if you tell your company story well enough, people could literally buy into it, and help make the story even better, joining the club.

What’s a better conversation over the evening meal?

a. I popped into town to buy a shirt today from Marks and Spencers – or,

b. I bought my shirt from a chap in England. He flys all over the world once a quarter to measure us up and the delivery is within a week or two. It’s great service, and now he keeps my measurements, it saves so much time when I need a new one. Yes of course, you can find him on.. http://englishcut.com/ There’s loads of pictures of the tailoring process and what he’s up to, quite interesting really.

You could never get that word of mouth from a telesales campaign could you, especially as they always seem to interrupt your dinner.