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November 13, 2007

Improve My Site: Why I Returned The Money From a Paid Web Consultancy Job

Eager for my expertise, a company recently hired me to improve their web traffic by reviewing their web design, content, and structure.

I don’t do “web traffic” work. Traffic isn’t important. The numbers aren’t important. The ones who stick around, and pay for the privilege, aren’t on a normal score card. To influence me to take them on, they told me that they wanted to improve their online presence, visibility, and really connect to their customers, expanding their reputation to a global market, as well as be more attractive to modern shoppers and web users.

Basically, their site was six months old and not working for them. They wanted an expert to tell them why. With misgivings, I decided to take them on. In the end, I gave them their money back. Here’s why.
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October 15, 2007

Blogging for Business Conference comes to Salt Lake City, 22 October

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Though the publicity has been underway for well over a month now, the Blogging for Business (B4B) Conference in Salt Lake City next week caught my eye in a press release today.

It’s a single day event aimed at helping business owners, marketing experts and PR pros make the most of new social media technologies.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Edelman Interactive’s VP, Gary Goldhammer, who will give the afternoon keynote speech
  • Podango’s CEO, Lee Gibbons
  • Know More Media’s Co-founder Tim Stay
  • Liz Strauss, speaking on “Making Businesses ‘Sticky'”
  • eMomsAtHome.com’s Wendy Piersall on “Blog Entrepreneurship”
  • Generation Y Expert Lindsey Pollak on “Marketing to Gen Y”
  • Dave Politis on “PR 2.0″
  • Malcolm Atherton on “BusinessWire on the Blogosphere”
  • Cheryl Snapp Conner on “Should Companies Encourage Their Employees to Blog?”
  • Rand Bateman and Brian Lloyd on “What Your Attorney Hopes You Know About Business Blogging”
  • Tim Stay on “How to increase your company’s online visibility”

More information is available at B4BConference.com.

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August 23, 2007

WordPress For Small Business – A “Revolutionary” New Theme

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It’s no secret that businesses can benefit from blogging. Regularly updated content keeps the reader interested in what’s going on, gives them a sense of accessibility to the business, and can mean return visitors and potentially clients. But one of the challenges to blogging for your business is the choices you have to make when stepping out. What platform should I use? Should I go with a free theme, or have a custom theme developed?

I like WordPress. I really like WordPress. And strangely enough, there are countless small to medium business owners who are still unaware that WordPress can not only fill their blogging needs, but also serve as a fantastic platform for updating their website as well. The technical phrase for it is a “Content Management System” or CMS. Using WordPress as a CMS isn’t terribly difficult, especially since WordPress was one of the first blogging platforms to use a “page” system where static content could be published. read more

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August 21, 2007

Most Internet marketers fail to tap into blogging, despite recognising importance of effective web presence

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Just five per cent of Internet marketers see blogging as a viable tool in achieving sales and marketing objectives, with 78% never having used the medium, according to a recent survey by WebTrends.

More traditional methods fared better, with 46% often using direct email, 37% using web analytics, and 36% using web optimisation techniques.

Blogging sat near the bottom of the “new ideas” pile, with online competitions and website/e-news sponsorship scoring 8%, viral marketing on 5%, podcasts on 4%, and web seminars on 3%.

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August 14, 2007

Banks should start blogging, study suggests

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Banks should be more consumer-centric and aim to build customer loyalty by starting their own blogs, according to research by Javelin Strategy.

Their research suggests that 20% of US consumers read blogs, rising to 34% of affluent, tech-savvy ones.

Apparently, less than 1% of all financial institutions have their own blogs, and Javelin believe that a bank’s website needs to be more than simply functional. It needs to match the refurbishment of bricks-and-mortar branches that many banks have recently undertaken to make them more appealing to customers.

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July 31, 2007

Techrigy Announces “Web 2.0 Compliance” Software

Blogs and wikis can be great tools for companies and businesses. Blogs can be great marketing tools. Wikis, meanwhile, can be great for collaboration, especially among colleagues who are spread across the globe. However, there is a debate as to how manageable corporate blogs and wikis can be, especially in light of acceptable use policies, or the lack thereof, and companies firing employees for blogging about their work.

Andy Merrett recently asked here how controlled a corporate blog should be, given the mix of official postings and those that are more personal in nature. The bigger issue would be for a company to be able to scan the blogosphere for content elsewhere that is relevant to one’s industry or the company itself. While this can be part of the job of a corporate blogger or the company PR professional, tools that can automate this process make life easier. There are the free and obvious tools, like Google Blogsearch and Technorati, and of course you can chance by blog postings linking to your blogs or sites via analytics and metrics apps, such as pMetrics and Google Analytics.

Recently, startup Techrigy announced its SM2 software. To make “social media management” easier for companies, SM2 Social Media Manager basically monitors the company intranet, and the internet at-large for blog and wiki postings that are relevant to that company. They note that companies are afraid to get into blogging because of the risks.

SM2 will search the internet to discover blogs and wikis containing discussions about an organization. It will then monitor these media and provide notifications when a potentially damaging communication is posted. SM2 will also comb through an organization’s internal network to discover blogs and wikis and ensure that they meet corporate standards.

“Many companies still take the approach that no employees can blog or use wikis,” [Techrigy founder and President Aaron Newman] said. “This is not a profitable strategy, as employees are increasingly demanding the ability to use these tools. SM2 is a solution that enables companies to embrace these technologies and still maintain some peace of mind.”

The first phase of SM2, available this end July, will be a hosted service that will integrate with existing blog search technologies like that of Google and Technorati, and flag the sites that mention one’s company. The second phase, to come later in the year, will do the same for wikis and blogs located in the company intranet.

Discover blogs and wikis running on your intranet and discussing your company on the internet.

  • SM2 performs internal scans to find blogs and wikis operated inside your organization.
  • Search engines are utilized to find blogs and wikis operated by individuals associated with your organizations or those that mention your organization.
  • User decides which blogs and wikis to record and monitor.

Monitor blogs and wikis to ensure that liabilities are not being created.

  • SM2 schedules automatic scans to determine if damaging information has been posted.
  • Comes loaded with keywords and phrases for which to monitor.
  • User can create customized rules for which to monitor.
  • Real-time notifications if a violation is discovered.

Retain communications in case of litigation.

  • Blog and wiki postings are recorded.
  • Communications are stored and indexed.
  • Can be instantly reproduced for evidence requests.

Techrigy’s rationale behind SM2 is that organizations need to retain “control over what information employees are distributing through these [social] media,” to help manage the associated risks. So for instance, with the application, companies can make sure communications are backed up for later reference, that employees use adequate disclaimers when using social media, that no confidential nor copyrighted material is published by employees, and that employees don’t harass each other online.

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June 19, 2007

Six Apart offer two feature packs for business bloggers

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Six Apart has announced the launch of two add-on feature packs for Movable Type 4 aimed specifically at business bloggers.

The “Enterprise Solution” pack lets customers use Oracle and Microsoft enterprise databases rather than being confined to the standard MySQL and Postgres databases supported by MT4.

The “Community Solution” pack allows the blog to be synchronised with LDAP user directories, allowing permission-based rules to be applied to blog access.

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May 21, 2007

Business Wire to host seminar on blogging for Israeli CEOs

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Business Wire announced that it will be hosting a seminar on corporate blogging for Israeli CEO’s and VPs of Marketing, featuring PR and Social media expert Alan L. Weinkrantz.

“Corporate blogging is becoming a staple of corporate communications,” added Yair Merfish President of M.G.M. Publications, Business Wire’s representative and licensee in Israel. “In addition to getting more recognition from journalists, analysts, and customers, they’re also attracting the attention of other bloggers – another important source of coverage.”

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May 8, 2007

How controlled should a corporate blog be?

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I think corporate blogging is difficult.

It’s a frequently updated reflection of the company it represents, yet visitors can see through spin, jargon, and ‘corporatese’ very quickly.

A recent press release focused on the UK private number (license) plate business Regtransfers.co.uk, who took a somewhat unorthodox approach to their business blog.

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April 25, 2007

BT launches Tradespace package including blogging and podcasts

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With yesterday’s news that UK small businesses are taking up blogging to promote themselves and interact with customers, British Telecom are jumping on the bandwagon with the launch of their Tradespace service.

Hoping to appeal to 90% of UK businesses with less than 50 employees, the service offers unlimited blogging, two podcasts, five photos, and a single community hub. There’s also a paid option which, for £15 (about US$30) per month, offers more features including Click to Call and SMS capabilities. As this is a new service, other details are a bit sparse at present.

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