March 2007


I laughed long and hard at this one from Pete Cashmore at Mashable because it so beautifully sums up so many people’s attitudes to blogging, YouTube etc. I think that my only addition would have been a podcast of the cat purring as well. :)


However, I have to make my point again that Business Blogging is altogether different and it serves as a reminder to me that blogs, podcasts, social networking sites and the like are all media (or tools if you like) which in the hands of one person allows them to talk about their pets and in the hands of another can be used to successfully promote a company, create great PR or develop new business.

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Little Daniel WhiteIt’s not my norm to mix business and personal on this blog – my focus is generally purely business and hopefully helping to create business for others through their use of blogs and social media.

However, as a personal event of real significance, the birth of your first child comes fairly high up the scale and I’m proud to say that that’s exactly what happened to me last Saturday, with the arrival of Daniel. Just over 7lbs of healthy baby boy with an exceptional pair of lungs if first impressions are anything to go by! I should add that this is also the main reason for the recent lack of activity on my blogs – ideally I would have posted sooner to explain but events overtook us and they have a tendency to do!

One thing that is already becoming apparent, even after so few days, is the need to get a routine established early. Currently, the constant feeds during the night mean that I’m not too sure what day it is let alone what time it is. A routine will benefit both baby and parents … I hope!

Bizarrely enough, blogging has the same requirements in many respects – blogging can also be time consuming and it will certainly benefit from a routine. The more that we are able to plan ahead and get into a routine in terms of researching and writing the individual posts, as well as dedicating time to developing and marketing the Business Blog as a whole, will be of benefit. Planning, and then maintaining, a routine also means that we are more likely to achieve our goals for the blog.

So try to get your blogging routine going as soon as you can, as it will really benefit you – I can also guarantee that it will be a whole lot easier than the one I’m trying to put in place currently with young Daniel!! :)

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As its Red Nose Day, the guys who run the BT Broadband Blog, who I will be writing with from next week (more on that later), thought it would be great to liven things up on their blog and help raise some cash for Comic Relief at the same time.

They’re offering you the chance to plug your company and share some light relief by contributing a ‘Friday funny’ to their Comic Relief Blogathon post. It could be a funny story, a joke or just a link to an amusing site.

All they ask is that you make a donation directly to Comic Relief by using the link provided and, once you have done that, simply add a comment at the end of this post with the company details you want to plug and your ‘Friday funny’. Keep it clean though! ;)

The site gets quite a high throughput of business people every day so it’s a great chance to get noticed and help raise some money for some fantastic causes! So what are you waiting for? Head on over!!

For the rest of what is going on on Red Nose Day 2007 then pop along to the Red Nose Day site and get involved!

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Back in December of last year, I wrote what I thought was a harmless little post called All Bloggers are Real Amateurs which did a little word play on the fact that the word “amateur” comes from the Latin “amare” – “to love” and that you should ideally be passionate about the subjects that you blog about. All well and good.

I wasn’t targeting any keywords but I do basic optimisation on everything that I write so the Better Business Blogging site is set up with good title tags (using Stephan Spencer’s SEO Title Tag plug-in which is great and takes all coding effort out of it) as well as a number of other tweaks. Thought nothing more of it and it passed into the “Great Archive in the Sky” as posts do.

However, recently while checking my blog stats, I noticed I was getting a number of hits on that post – not massive, but enough to stand out a little. That’s great, I’m always up for some additional, if unexpected, traffic. I checked what keyword phrase was attracting the hits and found it was “real amateurs” and discovered that I was position 2 for a UK search on the phrase and about page 6 worldwide.

The downside was that all of the other sites were, shall we say, adult in nature and this was clearly a popular search term for a certain type of site. Aha … the penny finally dropped. (Took a while … yes, I know) In hindsight, having one of the tags as “blogging with passion” wasn’t a great idea either!

So, the moral to this story is two-fold:

  • one, we know that blogs are attractive to Search Engines, but you can’t always dictate what they should or shouldn’t find attractive about your posts; and secondly,
  • if you are targeting keywords in your posts, then do your keyword research not only to make sure that they are relevant to your target readers but also that they are likely to produce the results you expect

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Business blog designJust wanted to let you know that the first two follow up articles to my original post on Business Blog Design are now available over at The Blog Coach.

They are:

1. Business Blog Design: Profile and Contact Details

2. Business Blog Design: Navigation & using your Content

There will be another 5 articles in the series covering the other points which were briefly raised in the lead post – do let me know what you think and what other elements you consider important. I will then be looking to bring all of those together and publish a document containing all the information.

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Information is a key resource in a company. A major part of the job of internal communications is ensuring that the process of collating, storing and disseminating information is done automatically, or at least as easily as possible.

However, judging by a recent survey by Accenture which appeared in eMarketer.com, a large number of companies are not that good at it according to their own middle managers. The figures reported are shown below:

Survey

So whats the solution?

Well, I guess that it depends on what the problem really is. In some companies, it may well be caused by the company culture and the resultant attitude of those involved. In others, it is more likely that the information exists in small pockets around the company and so is difficult to access and share.

So could using a blog as an internal communications tool be a magical solution to this issue? Not necessarily. But it certainly be a great way to pool all the information and make it accessible and, because it is so easy to add and update information, it may well help overcome the reticence of some people to use online systems to make the information available to all.

What would the benefits be?

Some of the immediate benefits of an internal blog based system should be:

  • Information distribution: It would make information instantly available across the company or to pre-determined levels within it if required. Not only does a blog allow easy and automatic organisation of the information but both the categorisation and the search facility makes retrieval quick and simple;


  • Information accessibility: since the internal blog is accessed through the browser, there is no need to develop additional costly interfaces that bespoke systems might require;


  • Information updating: having many contributors (indeed the whole company if required) means that there is no barrier to adding new information to the blog. The easy Word type of interface also means that people who regularly work with PCs will almost immediately feel comfortable using it, hence reducing any training requirements;


  • Single source of information: whether it is departmental information, company information, project details, competitor analysis or any other type of information, having it all in one place makes it that much easier to keep up to date and relevant;


  • Information storage (easily located): the information will build up over time creating a repository which will be invaluable to the company. Organisations often have hugely valuable information which they didnt even know existed because it is locked away in individual email systems or PCs. This would help to avoid that happening.

You will also find that the implementation costs of such a system are really very low and that the time required is short. This means that this is an ideal solution not only for corporate organisations with multiple offices, but also smaller companies which need a coherent and cost effective solution themselves.

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Calls to actionWell, this weekend, I’ve been doing a fair bit of decorating at home in readiness for our imminent arrival at home. This had a couple of consequences: firstly, it reminded me that I’m still no Michelangelo with a paintbrush and roller and, secondly, it gave me the opportunity to listen to the radio rather more than I have done for a while.

One of the things that intrigued me, apart from the fact that I still recognised a lot of the music, was the way the adverts have developed since I used to listen to radio driving about in the car. The medium has clearly evolved quite substantially since then and become more sophisticated – certainly, advertisers have developed a number of different ways of attracting and holding our attention with their adverts.

Putting my marketing hat on for a moment, I found it interesting to listen to the way in which the calls to action were done. Of course in days gone by, the only real call to action was to get people to phone for more information. Interactive and immediate. You call, you can ask questions, you can chat to someone.

Obviously that’s still used but, naturally enough, advertisers have added websites into the mix over the last few years, so we now get:


Go to www dot la-de-dah dot com for more information.

Thats okay, but while it’s immediate, its not interactive in the case of most websites. Unlike using the phone, you can’t easily ask specific questions so you have to make do with the information available. Surely what we need to get back to is the interactive element that a telephone call could offer so that we can advance the selling process more quickly? If so, then presumably that’s something that blogs can help us with by providing an online route for the conversation to start to take place.

The other thing is how to encourage people to visit your site. Rather than a simple go to, how about join us at or visit us or even talk to us at. Somehow that seems more inviting and so more likely to be acted upon. Do you agree? If you do, then what call to action would you suggest?

Or maybe the paint fumes have gone to my head and I’m just imagining the whole thing.

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BBC and YouTubeIn any interesting move today, and I believe the first of its kind, the BBC has announced that it has made a deal with YouTube to distribute its content on three YouTube channels. You can find the full announcement on the BBC website.

Unfortunately, this doesnt mean that they’ll be scrapping the TV license anytime soon, as it happens its only snippets rather than full programmes in fact, if anything, it really isnt aimed at a UK audience, as evidenced by the fact that one of the 3 channels will not even be available to UK residents!

The original article terms the as “groundbreaking and controversial” – while I don’t know that it really goes that far, one thing is clear. When an organisation like the BBC decides to employ online and social networking methods to promote their broadcast content, then it is certainly significant and the likelihood is that others will follow. Its also shows a level of appreciation of the benefits of these different distribution media and, perhaps, a step towards greater mutual cooperation where appropriate in the future.

This also comes hot on the heels of statements released earlier this year that YouTube was intending to share revenues with content providers. It seems that they haven’t wasted much time in putting that into practice in a large way – so let’s see if some of the other major players and smaller contributors follow suit.

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