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  • Warren: Blogging and Social Media definitely go hand in hand. Having a successful social presence can do a lot for a...
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    Super Advocates, A list Bloggers and Bloke down the PubI read earlier this month an article in the Financial Times entitled Business urged to woo social network figures which was reporting on some of the findings in a report on social networking from Experian and Hitwise. In it, we are recommended to woo super-advocates that is to say influential members on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace.

    Having tried (and failed) to stop myself smirking at the use of Super Advocates and banish the idea of them sitting at their computer wearing their underpants on the outside of their trousers, I thought that there was a certain amount of sense in what was being said.

    But hang on a second, havent people like this always existed?

    Of course they have – go back a couple of years and, within the blogging world, we would have referred to them as A List bloggers because of the influence that they had. Before that, it might have been someone we knew who was well connected or one of our friends who tended to lead the conversations and spread the word about the latest information or gossip. And of course, if all else failed there was always the bloke down the pub who positioned himself as the fountain of all knowledge.

    So what do they all have in common – well, in essence, they are people who others listen to. Each has their own sphere of influence and their own expert subject matter (except possibly the bloke down the pub who is an expert in everything!). This means that we consider what they tell us to be both correct and valuable which we therefore take at face value.

    So, let’s look at it from our own perspective: what type of person would we take note of and why? This is important because if we wish to position ourselves as someone whom others would recommend (perhaps using our own business blog as a focal point) then these are the type of characteristics that we should be looking to demonstrate.

    So what is it that makes a super-advocate super when it come to helping our business?

    • Good level of Contacts – ideally both in terms of quality and quantity

    • Recommended either by someone you trust or a number of different people

    • Very active in the right circles, markets or areas

    • The right sphere and level of influence

    • Trusted and Respected

    • Outgoing and communicative

    As an example, think of someone like Martin Lewis who runs the Money Saving Expert site and blog – well respected, listened to and widely used as a reliable source of information and, generally, when we hear that something comes from him then our reaction is that “it must be true”. He has reached a point where he has a reputation which puts him is a special category of trust in many people’s eyes.

    If you want to call him a type of “Super Advocate” through the use of his blog and his website, then so be it. But, whatever you call him, he has an enviable position in his field and one we should be trying to emulate in our own areas of expertise.

    So, next time you read about “Super Advocates” (and once youve stopped smirking to yourself), do remember that there are these types of Connectors in all areas of life so think of 3 people who could be influential figures for your business and get in touch with them. At the same time, work at developing your own reputation through your blog or whichever other medium you feel can offer the same coverage and visibility. If all goes well, you’ll soon be there wearing your underpants on outside of your trousers too! ** smirk **

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    It is great to see articles appear in major newspapers which extol the virtues of blogging and in particular business blogging. This is partly because it adds some additional (hopefully) useful information for companies looking at whether they are going to incorporate it into their own activities and partly because it is always hugely powerful when one information medium sticks its neck out and recommends another.

    So last week’s article in the New York Times entitled Bloggings a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool was a good read particularly with an opening line which states that blogging is widely considered as “a low-cost, high-return tool that can handle marketing and public relations, raise the company profile and build the brand”. Good start point but that’s by no means all that they do!!

    As the article nicely points out, the benefits for small businesses range far and wide but need to be focused in order to be successful. To be truly effective, they need to form start of the business strategy which, after all, is what should be happening with all marketing activities. They can then be used to:

    • demonstrate expert opinion

    • develop a community around the business

    • become a respected source of information

    • create new relationships and partnerships for the business

    • develop greater awareness of the company and the brand

    • show a personal side to the company’s activities

    and many more activities, some of which are outlined in more detail in the document “An Introduction to Business Blogging“.

    There was, however, one small element that I disagreed with. Although I share the author’s opinion that blogs are not for all companies, I do believe that the opportunities they offer are more extensive than most people believe. To use an example given in the article, a restaurant may not consider blogging to be as important as serving great food but it can certainly benefit from the publicity and visibility it can offer.

    After all, blogs are the nearest thing to online Word of Mouth that we have and Word of Mouth is a key elements of a restaurant’s marketing opportunities. Additionally, a blog can also be used to run a ‘customer reactions’ area which can introduce the interactive element to a website, allowing diners to record their impressions, enhance Search Engine rankings and help to generate online word of mouth par excellence.

    The use of blogs is starting to be better understood by both small companies and corporates alike, but we are still only scratching the surface of what they can be used for and help businesses to achieve. Here’s hoping that, in 2008, we can help to push the boundaries even further.

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    How many hats do you wear as a blogger?Do you run your own business blog? Then you are amazing, absolutely A M A Z I N G !

    Whys that I hear you cry? Well, just think about all the different activities that go into developing and maintaining a successful business blog. Larger companies will probably have a small team working on their blog or blogs but you have to run it all on your own. And you manage to do it usually without even realising all the things you are doing automatically and the different hats that youre wearing.

    But if we break it down, its really quite impressive!

    • Researcher: keeping an eye on the RSS feeds and Google Alerts can help speed up your research as you plan and build your own posts. Phew – a full time job in itself.

    • Writer: right at the centre of everything, there’s the writer in you who actually puts pen to paper and without whom you just don’t have a blog!

    • Storyteller: no, not in the sense of “telling lies”. Shame on you. People love stories so if you can convey your message as a story when you write it, that will make it all the more memorable.

    • Editor: some tough decisions sometimes have to be taken to keep the writer in check, so you’ll need to have an editor in you working hard to keep the writer on the straight and narrow.

    • Expert: with the research done, you let the expert in you come shining through to add the depth to the post.

    • Project Manager: well someone has to keep the whole thing together!

    • Designer: you need to have the blog looking the part in order to support your business goals. Luckily there are some good templates available and, if you can’t do it yourself, people who can help you to stand out from the crowd.

    • Techie: with your technical hat on, you may want to get “under the hood” which for WordPress would include the set up, adding plugins etc. Even with the other systems, understanding how a blog works will allow you to make your blog more targeted to your readers.

    • SEO expert: with Search Engines a key consideration, make sure that you think about optimising certain aspects of your blog as part of your online marketing. Even if it’s just “Title Tags” and ‘friendly’ permalinks it’ll help.

    • Social Networker: or at least a networker. Offline it’s a great way to develop awareness and contacts, while online by your contributing to other blogs, it helps immeasurably to raise profile and awareness.

    • Market Researcher: you need to make sure that you are writing on topics that your readers are interested in so make sure that you carry out market research. Start by simply asking them. :)

    • Marketer: you’ve created a great blog so now get out and market it. And don’t forget that you need to do offline as well as online.

    • Diplomat: sometimes you’ll get comments on your blog which aren’t so favourable but be the diplomat, argue your position and remain your persuasive (but polite) self.

    • Businessman: at the end of the day, your blog is therefore for a business reason, so make sure the businessman/woman in you doesn’t let you have flights of fancy which aren’t helping those goals.

    • Strategist / Planner: you’ll want to make sure that the blog is heading in the right direction and that it’s developing properly, so keeping developing the plan of where it’s going and how it’s helping your business.

    • Housekeeper: sometimes there’s a lot of extra jobs you need to look at to keep the blog in order so try to tidy up loose ends when you spot them, answer comments, update software etc.

    • Accountant: though it pains me to say it, keep an eye on the bottom line even with a blog. There are costs involved and the main one is your time so try to remember that you’re looking for a return on your investment of time here.

    • Analyst: don’t forget to keep a check on what posts are attracting most readers, where you are getting referrals from and whether you are getting the search engine positions you wanted. Once you’ve analysed it you can do something about it!

    • Therapist: just in case you are feeling a little schizophrenic by now! ;)

    So how manys that? I think I make that 19 in all and doubtless, youll be coming up with lots of others.

    Dont panic, I know it sounds daunting …. and, in a way, it is. But don’t forget, that you don’t need to do it all yourself if you don’t want to. Some aspects you may decide not to bother with, others you’ll link up with other people to work on together and with some you’ll perhaps get an expert in to help.

    But the main thing is that you are already doing it, you’re out there communicating and connecting with readers, prospects and customers in your blog and that’s hard work in itself. So, after all that effort and hat changing, may I suggest a quiet moment and a cool drink might be in order – and maybe I need to add Bartender to the list as well.

    Image Photographer:Lisa F. Young | Agency: Dreamstime.com

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    Geographic search with GoogleGetting your blog indexed by Search Engines is relatively easy – you write, get linked to and the Search Engines follow the links and find you. Et voila! However, for most bloggers, ranking highly is more important and doing so on Google in particular for some it’s for bragging rights (egosurfing and the like) but, for business bloggers, it is for commercial reasons. Lets be honest, getting found means more potential readers and so more potential customers.

    However, although we tend to use Google in the singular, there are many different Google search results for the same phrase, the primary factor being where you are searching from.

    We know that Google operates Google.com as the global search engine and then a large number of individual country search engines, the UK one, for example, sitting at www.google.co.uk. The results at Google.com and Google.co.uk vary quite markedly with more relevance given to sites which are country specific in the google.co.uk results. There is also a third option which I am primarily interested in here, which is for “pages from the UK” only, and is activated by a click box as you can see below.

    To be included in this listing, Google needs to ascertain where a blog writer is located so that they can decide whether they should appear in these results or not. This they have generally done either using the country suffix on the domain so for UK results, .uk as in .co.uk or .org.uk – or where the IP of the host server indicates they are based. Result – if you are a UK blogger with a.com domain and host it in the US then there is no way of Google to know that you are UK based and so you are excluded in a uk only search.

    With me so far? Good. (Oh and by the way, this is the same for all other countries, US expected)

    However, rather than suddenly reach for the UK Hosting Directory, Google it seems has now offered a solution to ensure inclusion, by allowing us to associate our sites (and blogs) to a particular country, no matter what domain name or hosting we have.

    As outlined in Better Geographic choices for webmasters:

    Starting today Google Webmaster Tools helps you better control the country association of your content on a per-domain, per-subdomain, or per-directory level. The information you give us will help us determine how your site appears in our country-specific search results …

    So, pop along to Google Webmaster Tools and get yourself associated with the country you are targetting – you can only do so with one at the moment so don’t try to be greedy, but it’s probably worthwhile and certainly if you are not appearing where you would like in your country specific results.

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    EU Directive hits floggersLast year, there was lots of talk about fake blogs (aka flogs) and one or two notables (Walmarting across America and All I want for Xmas is a PSP particularly come to mind) which rose up above the flog mediocrity to be truly awful. There were also some high profile companies amongst them and both they and the marketing companies which initiated them on their behalf were roundly berated by the blogosphere as a whole, and the blogs (or should I say flogs) quickly closed down and withdrawn.

    Generally this is the way that the blogosphere has policed its own. However, in Europe, as from the start of next year, the courts are lending a hand as a new EU directive comes into play which would make this type of activity punishable by law as reported in The Times early this year and The Register more recently.

    In fact, the Directive is not specifically designed for blogs, fake or otherwise. It casts its net much wider than this and is concerned generally with media where someone falsely represents themselves as a consumer. In the online world, these could be testimonials on websites, book reviews on Amazon, reviews on hotel or holiday sites or presumably any online media including forums, blogs etc. where organisations leave favourable comments under a false name to try to influence other consumers.

    So, while its encouraging to see the European Union leading the way in anything to do with “online”, a couple of things come to mind.

    Firstly, is this something that is really necessary either in its proposed form or indeed at all? Is it not possible to maintain a type of self regulation which the blogosphere has shown itself to be particularly adept at when it feels that companies have overstepped the mark.

    Secondly, I also worry that the whole thing is quite “un-policeable” with the huge number of online areas where this type of thing could be going on … and of course if cases are not followed up then why attempt external policing in the first place?

    However, what is clear is that this is a very open confirmation of the importance and influence of Word of Mouth and, by implication, of “Word of Blog” as one of its principal online incarnations. So make sure that you don’t overstep the boundaries and fall foul of the law, but at the same time do make sure that you are using your blog to support and develop your online Word of Mouth and marketing activities as a whole.

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    Corporate Blogs and how to sink themCompanies are discovering the benefits of communicating with customers through corporate blogs, and are setting them up in ever greater numbers. There are many places now where you can find help in setting up and developing successful blogs – indeed I hope that Better Business Blogging is one of them! However, I have found a dearth of places with practical information on sinking a blog, although the blogosphere seems to be littered with real life examples of dead or dying blogs.

    So I decided that it would be good to post some pointers to help those determined to professionally sink their blog. These have been tried and tested by some of the most expert blog “scuttlers” around so, with pens and keyboard at the ready and without further ado, I give you:

    1. Don’t focus on any one subject area: keep your readers on their toes by switching between posts on “Thermal Dynamics” and who is likely to win “The X Factor” or American Idol. Maintaining a clear focus on your blog will simply attract readers interested in the subject and encourage high search engine rankings for your relevant keywords. A real “no-no” when trying to kill off your blog.

    2. Make sure your Domain name can be misread: ‘Experts Exchange’ may be the name of your blog but you could find that using a domain name of www.expertsexchange.cc results in you attracting readers looking for a very different type of service.

    3. Over-optimise your posts: a keyword-optimised post should contain keyword phrases which are keyword attractive to Search Engines but non-keyword-optimised human readers are less likely to wade through keyword-rich blogs with too many keywords which make no sense. (cf. keyword phrases). Related post: “Keywords for keyword addicts

    4. Always sign your posts with “Lots of Love”: blogs are intended to be personal, so you can never be too friendly with your readers. Adding “xxx” for kisses adds that additional personal touch that sets you apart from other blogs.

    5. Don’t update your Blog: you know that your first post was probably “the best you’ve ever written” or indeed “the best anyone’s ever written”, so don’t pander to your readers’ whims by providing regular information. In any case, youll find that good regular information will only encourage them to come back and recommend your blog others, so stay clear of this potential minefield at all costs.

    6. Avoid pictures - in fact avoid anything remotely colourful. Everyone loves pages of plain text and the more austere it is the better, so don’t mess it up with imagery. Ideally steer clear of new paragraphs as well, one long one is more than sufficient – and you’ll also find that punctuation only distracts readers so do away with that too.

    7. Cater to a Multilingual audience but do so using an online translation tool. You will find that your blog instantly becomes unintelligible in the target language as well as the original. A clear “Win – Win” situation when it comes to confusing readers and chasing them away.

    8. Don’t respond to comments: to be honest, you never meant to allow people to actually leave comments anyway, it was just that you couldn’t find how to disable them. And dont install a spam comment filter either all those “special interest sites” are probably just what the doctor ordered.

    9. Calculate your Blog’s ROI – not a bad idea, per se, but once you have gathered everyone’s opinion on how to do it, decided on what criteria really matter and how to measure them and then finally got stuck into the calculations, you will find that you have no time left to post anything of value.

    10. Use lots and lots of external advertising – there’s nothing like a good game of “Hunt the Post” on a blog, your corporate readers will love it! So make sure you have multiple AdSense, BlogAds and eMiniMalls on your blog although, if space permits, you might like to squeeze in a post or two. The false dawn of hope that your readers experience when they finally find a post is a joy to behold.

    11. Avoid expressing an opinion – there is nothing worse than opinions to get peoples backs up and encourage them to participate on your blog which you will then need to ignore at all costs to dampen the debate. You may find that sharing information carries these same risks as it opens the door for dialogue and discussion, so avoid at all costs.

    With these 11 key rules in place, you will be well on your way to creating a blog which is certainly unattractive and hopefully will not be around long enough to gain any visibility for your company in the market. So cast off and bon voyage!

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    HR, Human Resources, Personnel and blogsI was interested to see two opposing views expressed recently in Personnel Today of whether blogs and social media were of use in general and particularly whether they had a role to play in the area of company HR (Human Resources).

    On the one hand, there is the take that blogs and social network sites are nothing more than gimmicks and toys used by the younger generation and for time wasting by chatting with friends. The other view is that they are tools which have real potential to help HR managers in their work by improving internal communications and employee engagement, as well as changing how recruitment is carried out.

    As you might imagine, I am hardly an unbiased observer but I will try to give an objective overview of the value of blogs and social networks here.

    Using online Social Networks

    When we consider “social networks”, there is a range of different ones that we need to consider. These vary from primarily social to business social and through to purely business networks – examples being MySpace, Bebo and Facebook to eCademy, Xing and LinkedIn. The relative value of each from an HR perspective will vary, but I believe that when it comes to recruitment, the use of the internet and hence these networks is a legitimate (and increasingly important) method to identify potential candidates as well as gather additional information about candidates. Therefore my advice to individuals looking to use these networks for business purposes, either now or in the future, is to remember that you should never say something online that you wouldn’t stand by and be quoted on. The internet doesn’t forget and is seldom forgiving! Recruiters much less so!! ;)

    Using Blogs: external and internal

    In terms of blogs, they can be used in a number of different ways from an HR perspective. On the recruitment front once again, from a Researcher angle, an HR manager interested in recruiting a candidate can get a much more in depth and rounded view of an individual’s knowledge and general suitability via a blog rather than simply from a traditional CV. This approach may also help with the anticipated skills shortage which seems to be expected by the majority of companies. If the company is open to embrace the use of blogs (as a ‘Builder‘) in their own recruitment process, then using them to demonstrate how current graduate recruits view working for the company, as Cadbury Schweppes did, is certainly an excellent option.

    However, perhaps the biggest gains can be made through the use of internal blogs on general HR issues and the opportunities that they provide to open up the channels of communication within an organisation. Improved internal communications, dissemination of important HR information, better team working opportunities, improved employee participation in the company are all benefits that have been reported by companies such as Allen & Overy, Dresdner Kleinwort and Microsoft. They are also all benefits which are available to companies of all sizes through the planned use of blogs internally which can be combined with other collaboration tools such as Wikis.

    Safety Measures

    Of course, as with anything, this is open to abuse. It is possible that employees spend too much company time on social networks or in writing either their own or company blogs. It is also possible that there may be inappropriate posts made by employees on blogs which could lead to problems or even legal issues. For these reasons, it is always advisable that a company has a blogging policy, whether they are actually running a company blog or not. (For help in drafting one, contact details here.)

    Just as important is the employees’ education in the whole area of blogs and online communications. Running workshops which help employees to understand where blogs can be beneficial and which also outline the corporate lines which should not be crossed will often be the best way to approach this matter. They should give clear guidelines without stifling the benefits that blogs can accrue.

    Conclusion

    So which view of the interaction between blogs and HR do you go with? Well, for me, without doubt, there are potential issues raised by the use of blogs and social networks within a company. However, it is clear that trying to suppress this is unlikely to work and dismissing it is simply handing a golden opportunity to your competition to steal a march on you.

    Instead, I believe that embracing these communication media will reap rich rewards for companies though I’m also all in favour of ensuring the confidentiality of company information through education of potential bloggers among the workforce. Harness the energy, passion and ideas rather than try to suppress them and you’ll be onto a real winner!

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    Well, clearly Amazon believes that they have an important role to play in guiding potential customers to their site. They have just launched a series of widgets that bloggers and online social network users will be able to use, primarily as part of Amazon’s affiliate program.

    And just why is this avenue so important to retail organisations? The reason is that the personal recommendation is a powerful tool for retailers – in fact probably THE most important one they have if used correctly. Quite simply, we all rely very heavily on the opinion of friends or colleagues that we trust when making a buying decision.

    Online word of mouth, as I mentioned in Blogs, Peer Review and the Retail Market, holds enormous sway with customers and is going to be increasingly important. This is primarily down to the massive increase in the levels of online communication via blogs and social networks. But, importantly, this is not only the case with the so called Generation Y but with people of all ages as the increasing average user age of both MySpace and now Facebook is clearly demonstrating.

    So as a small business looking at retailing online, what can you do? Well, we will be looking at this in more detail next week as part of the Small Business Series on Better Business Blogging. But in the meantime, take a leaf out of the “big boys” book and think about making your own widget which you can distribute yourself to help publicise your online shop or products.

    For some ideas on creating widgets yourself, have a look at All about Widgets which is an excellent start point – it will also direct you to places and resources that you really should visit.

    In the meantime, try to keep an eye on what the main players in your own market sector are doing and, where possible, employ similar tactics to raise your own profile!

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    When it comes to Business Blogging, there are 5 Rs which we should focus our attention on if we want to create a successful and sustainable small business or corporate blog. Our aim should be to put all the necessary elements in place on our Blog to allow these 5 Rs to happen as smoothly and automatically as possible. When we manage this, well have created a Blog which fulfils both our readers requirements and our own business needs.

    These 5 Rs are:

    Read - Reply - Return - Recommend - RSS

    Simply put, we need to create and maintain a Blog which in the first instance will attract readers and then encourage them to participate by commenting on our posts or contacting us directly. We then need to make sure that it provides sufficient value or creates enough interest to make them return and become regular readers as well as recommend our Blog to others. The 5th R of RSS underpins all of the others by supporting the distribution and the promotion of the blog.

    If we want people to read our blog, then logically the quality of what we write in the posts will be important. However, we first have to attract readers to our blog – if they dont know about us or cant find us then we are going to fall at the first hurdle, no matter how good our content or services are!

    So promoting the blog is always going to be a critical phase in getting our posts read and its important that we make use of all the methods at our disposal to achieve the best results possible ideally this will combine offline marketing as well as online and blog specific marketing methods.

    As part of this, we need to consider the Search Engine aspects when we write. Its essential to focus on making the content interesting and useful to your readers but it also has to be written in such a way that it is appealing to Search Engines they are a key way to attract readers so we need to write with one eye on ensuring our search engine ranking is as good as possible.

    In addition, to make all of our other efforts as effective as possible, everything about the blog should be attractive and easy to use, from the general design to the layout of the blog and the positioning and display of our own marketing elements.

    The first step in engaging properly with your readers is to have them reply to one of your posts and allow them to voice their opinions, thoughts, ideas and concerns. This creates the interaction, conversations and ultimately the connections that business blogs need to develop and thrive.

    However, we cannot sit back and just rely on the comments simply appearing instead, we need to be actively encouraging them, either by the way in which we write the posts or by asking open questions as part of the text or even by specifically asking for them.

    Having encouraged people to want to reply, try to avoid putting barriers in their way getting people to fill in a form in order to leave a comment is never going to get good results! Its also important to listen and respond to the comments which are left, hence developing the conversation and working towards establishing and then building on a connection with the reader.

    Effectively, we need to get to love comments and make sure that we respond to as many as possible that we receive. We should ensure that we respond to any negative comments which arrive negative comments can often be the most important type!

    As a last thought, you might even consider adding a list of recent comments as part of your blog to highlight those who have made the effort to leave a comment and to encourage them further.

    If people are interested in what you are writing about and find value in it then the likelihood is that they will return to read more. By maintaining the quality of your posts and demonstrating your expertise on a consistent basis, you will be giving yourself the best chance of this happening.

    In the process, you will develop not only a loyal readership but you will also be developing a growing level of trust between yourself and those reading your Blog. Make your blog THE place to go to find information on your specialist subject area.

    Once readers return to your blog, make sure that they can explore all your posts as fully as possible let ALL of your content shine through. To help this, make sure that the navigation around the blog is as clear as possible, that you highlight your key articles (the Foundation articles) and that you include links to related articles at the end of each post.

    As a final point, try to keep an uncluttered look and feel make it easy on the readers eyes again so that they want to return. No-one will come back simply because it looks nice but you want to avoid people deciding to stay away because it doesnt.


    This might have been called Refer but I prefer the concept of recommending which has a more positive connotation and when someone recommends your Blog, that is a very positive thing!

    How do you recommend a blog? Well, clearly, you can tell people about it directly! Word of mouth (WOM) is the most widely used form of recommendation there is so use it to your advantage. When people are considering books to read, films to see or hotels to stay in, arguably the most important element in the decision making process will usually be recommendations from friends. The online world works in the same way and blogs really are the online equivalent of W.O.M.

    There are other online and blog specific ways which are just as important. The most frequent one is to simply reference a post or article from your a post on your own blog, as well as including a trackback. Another option is to include someone in your Blogroll, which is where bloggers highlight the blogs they recommend to their readers high praise indeed. When this does happen, then just like the replies to your posts, follow up and thank the person for the link and hence the recommendation.

    Dont forget that you also make it easy for people to tell a friend about it using an email a friend type of function or links to social bookmarking sites such as Digg or Del.icio.us which will automatically add the post to then be shared online.

    Lots of ways to be recommended so encourage them all!

    Communication and dissemination of information is key to achieving a successful blog and the RSS functionality is the way to achieve that. So the 5th R included here is RSS.

    When someone subscribes to your RSS Feed, it means that they have shown a commitment to continuing the interaction they are interested in receiving more information and with RSS you can provide them with immediate updates from your blog, cleanly and instantly. With so many benefits on offer for all parties, make sure that the RSS feeds are prominent on your blog to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find them.

    To cover all options, you should also give people the opportunity to subscribe to RSS by email – 3rd party services such as Feedblitz or Feedburner make this straightforward. In any case, as RSS is still an unknown quantity in many quarters, it may equally be wise to provide a link to a page which explains what RSS is and what RSS Readers are available.

    Once you have your RSS in place, use it to your benefit. Try to differentiate yourself in your feed and include branding elements such as your logo tools such as Feedburner can really help you to do this simply enough. RSS will also allow you to syndicate your content on a number of different sites immediately and, as a final comment, dont forget that you can create any number of individual RSS feeds to cover individual topics.

    But whether you work from a single RSS feed or develop multiple feeds, it is important that you make RSS a central part of your blog promotion and reader retention program. It is something which underpins the other elements and allows the Business Blog to reach its full potential by making the information we produce as widely available as possible.

    Summary

    If we can achieve each of these 5Rs successfully in our Business Blogging, then we are well on the way to creating a Business Blog which will achieve the goals that we set for it, whether they are focused on creating a network, improving our reputation or positioning, developing a solid base of subscribers, increasing our Search Engine Rankings or simply generating new business.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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    As I have been catching up on some reading over the past few days and browsing through links in the articles as is my wont, I found a nice reference by Roy Greenslade in the Guardian Unlimited to an Oslo based blogger called Kristine Lowe.

    In her post earlier this month regarding Andrew Keen’s book, there was a sentence which I felt summed up not only a really important aspect of my own attitude to blogs but also a sound piece of advice to both companies and individuals using the blogosphere, whether they are bloggers themselves or not.

    If the blogosphere has taught me one thing, it is to become a better listener: I love letting the links of blogs I trust or appreciate take me into unknown territory introduce me to new and interesting takes, angles, voices…

    Yes indeed.

    Although important from a personal point of view, it’s also a key element from a business perspective and you may remember that “The Onlooker” (or “The Listener“) was one of the Corporate Blogging Profiles I mentioned, as well as being an important phase when preparing and planning a corporate blog.

    It’s also something which we should continue to do, whether it’s for pleasure or for work, just as we might flip through books or magazines until we find something which catches our eye and we fold over the corner of the page so we can find it again later.

    So I’m going to cut this short today and go back to my RSS Reader – the electronic equivalent of folding the page corner – and indulge in a little bit of listening of my own for a while.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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