Corporate RSS Made Simple

I share a lot of the burden of explaining what blogs & RSS feeds are all about with my brethren who develop RSS readers. Sandy Hamilton of NewsGator posts a nice run down on corporate RSS feeds, why they’re not as complicated as they sound, and points to examples of companies that use them.

I think it’s the acronym that’s really tripping people up. As my colleague Anil says, "If someone told me 15 years ago that I really need to buy a VHS recorder instead of a device that allows me to tape TV shows, I would have balked as well."

Ketchum on Blogs

Nicholas Scibetta and Adam Brown at Ketchum discuss how the art of Public Relations can benefit from blogs in this interview style post on the Ketchum website. Their observations show that they understand the power of blogs to initiate a dialog and their insight into the future points to a rich set of opportunities for savy public relations firms.

What
do you consider the next steps that public relations must take to ‘own’ blogs and be able to most effectively use this medium for companies and clients?


AB: I think there is about to be a shakedown with blogs. Advertising is trying to own blogs the same way it took ownership of the Internet. But the way information is shared on a blog isn’t appropriate for advertising. Advertising is about a call to action. PR is more about information transfer and information sharing. It’s about changing someone’s thoughts, beliefs, emotions and perceptions of a company, product or brand. And that’s what blogs are about. I think we need to take the initiative and demonstrate what blogs are best suited for. Blogs are for information transfer, and PR is about information transfer, and that’s why the two go together.


NS: That’s a great point. PR has a snug fit with blogs. And we as practitioners need to embrace blogs wholeheartedly. We need to really dig deep to understand what the mindset of bloggers is and what we can do to foster mutually beneficial relationships with them. We are, as Adam said, different from advertising in terms of the call to action and the straight sell. The truth is you couldn’t have asked for a more organic development of a tool to emerge to suit the objectives of PR.

Good PR is about “information transfer” and blogs are great for that. Not only do blogs conduct a signal with little or no impedance but also amplification of that signal if the message is provocative. The one improvement we all need to work on is a way to reduce the distortion of the signal over time and space but that’s a problem that’s as old as history.

 

ThinkEquity, Equity Research Demystified

ThinkEquity Partners, a San Francisco based boutique investment firm, launched a blog for its equity research analysts. From their press release:

"ThinkBlog is leading the revolution in our industry," said Mr. Moe.
"With the NYSE making a play to extend trading hours to foster European
investments, real-time insightful intelligence on the ever-changing
landscape of the marketplace will be paramount. We are the first
Investment Bank to launch its own blog creating real-time, dynamic
exchange with bloggers from the worlds of business, technology and
investing. No other bank allows the level of openness and collaboration
between its readers, proving once again that ThinkEquity Partners LLC
is a leader in new media that is emerging due to its anywhere, anytime
access."

By being the first of their peers they gained a bit of press buzz which hopefully gave them some new clients but, more importantly, by jumping feet first into the conversation, they will now reap the benefits of deeper insight into what’s going on in the market and find their voice and build cred. I see big opportunities for the equity analysts to use blogs to build a brand around their research and hope to see more Analyst Blogs soon.

TheNewPR/Wiki

A great resource for information about corporate blogging and how it relates to traditional marketing. TheNewPR/Wiki is a goldmine of user-submitted links and further resources. Some pages I like are:

CEO Blogs list
Corporate Blogs list
Product Blogs list
Business Blogging Resources

If I ever end up on a desert island (so long as it has WiFi) I’m actually going to take the time to read all this stuff!

As with any wiki, you can subscribe to the feed of AllRecentChanges. in your favorite RSS reader.

Categories
Current Events

Ask Jeeves launches blog on TypePad

Ask Jeeves moved to a shiny new office tower in Oakland and launched a shiny new blog to boot!

UPDATE: and buys online RSS reader, Bloglines.

Rubel on Business Blogs

Steve Rubel writes about The Rise of Business Blogs and covers the growth within Microsoft in some detail. Unfortunately, there are no hard facts on the ROI which is something the industry lacks in order to move most corporate blogging projects forward. One call for data was put out and I’m sure we’ll see more over the coming months.

Is it just me or is there a business opportunity waiting to happen for the likes of Forrester or Jupiter?

Jupiter Blogs & ROI

Closest thing I’ve see so far to a statement on the ROI of a corporate blog can be found on Alan Meckler’s JupiterResearch blog.

Scoble’s Business Blog Book

Microsoft Blogger, Robert Scoble, and seasoned PR pro, Shel Israel, are working on a new book about business blogging, The Red Couch. From their proposal to the publisher:

The Red Couch explains the why and how of blogging to business people.
Using recent case studies throughout its 250-300 pages, it will
demystify this disruptive technology and explaining why it is more
efficient, credible and effective than traditional business
communications tools and explains why it is likely to change or destroy
the usual marketing mix of ads, PR, websites and collateral materials.

What’s even cooler is that the writing of the book is going to take place on a blog so we can expect lots of interactive conversations to take place on the blog. They’re currently drafting the Table of Contents and are asking for input.

Categories
Office

Blogs for the Enterprise

I’m starting a new category today to bring together news about the inevitable march of blogs into the corporate space. InfoWorld talks with Google about it’s internal use of Blogger and the benefits they’ve seen from it:

"Since then, we have seen a lot of different uses of blogs within the firewall: people keeping track of meeting notes, people sharing diagnostics information, people sharing snippets of code, as well as more personal uses, like letting co-workers know what they’re thinking about and what they’re up to," Goldman said. "It really helps grow the intranet and the internal base of documents."

Allen Weiner of Gartner is quoted on how weblog companies are nipping at the heels of the larger content management solutions and forced to address this new functionality, some of them are adding blogging to their kit bag.

What is undeniable is that there is a growing interest among businesses towards blogs as business communication tools, particularly among IT departments, Weiner said. "The mandate of IT organizations today is to do more with less, so the better they can communicate and share things, the more efficient their operations will be," he said. "There’s a huge benefit in blogging for companies implementing IT projects. It’s going to be a growing trend over the next couple of years."

Full disclosure – I work for Six Apart and we are actively interested in driving this trend.