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« The Customer is Always Right | Being Safe is Risky »

April 13, 2004

The Blog Bog

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Technology

This originally appeared in our e-mail newsletter. If you're not getting it, you can sign up today.

Despite the media hype, are you still asking, "What's a blog?" Or maybe you have a vague idea, but you don't know what it means for you. Here's a short primer on blogs and how they can help your organization.

What's A Blog?
First things first, a blog is short for "web log" and takes on a variety of formats, depending on who you ask. The trend started in the late 1990s, and gained incredible speed in recent years with current estimates counting between 2.5 and 8.8 million bloggers in the U.S. alone.

So it's popular. What is it? A traditional blog definition is a web site that features short posts about a specific topic updated frequently. These posts can be news blurbs or summaries or simply links to articles or other web sites related to the blog's subject. Other blogs have morphed into more commentary or journalism, where each post is longer and comments on trends in an industry for example. Other blogs have gone even farther and simply become online diaries or journals.

Who Cares?
The reason blogs have become so important is their near revolutionary status. They give publishing power to the people. The printing press made mass communication possible, but still required significant investment. A blog can be set up on an ad-supported service for free, essentially giving a voice to anyone who wants one.

But with so many competing blogger voices, does anyone really have an impact? The simple answer is yes. Though realistically a blog will never be more popular than a major news outlet like CNN, a blog can gain an audience by doing something better than the competition. The Command Post did just that during the second gulf war, attracting millions of visitors by posting up to the minute war news from worldwide sources, often delivering the scoop hours ahead of CNN.

The high-speed updating and minimal editing of blogging also gives readers an intimate view of an organization, something that worked for Howard Dean and was copied by every presidential candidate (George W. Bush's blog; John Kerry's blog).

What About Me?
But what does the blog revolution mean for you? Blogs can help the average organization in a number of ways:

1) Official Blog
Running an official blog for your organization can get the word out with minimal energy and expense. Why wait for the quarterly newsletter? Reach your audience with news and updates immediately. The frequent updates will draw more people to your web site and the short, bite-size blurbs are more likely to be read.

2) Niche Blog
Creating a blog that targets your particular industry or market can be a helpful way to communicate. Rather than focus on your organization alone, your blog might report on the larger trends in your industry thus appealing to a wider audience. You provide a service as well as position your own organization as an expert in your field. The Think Personality blog is a fine example, if we do say so ourselves.

3) Internal Blog
A different way to harness the power of blogging is to start an internal blog for your organization. The blog format can be a quick and easy way to share information within an organization. Keep your coworkers up to speed on the latest developments in your industry.

4) Using Blogs
A final way to take advantage of the blog revolution doesn't even require starting a blog. All you need to do is keep blogs in mind when you plan your marketing efforts. Know what blogs cover your industry and make it easy for them to cover your organization. Let them know about your latest news with a one-sentence blurb and a link to the full press release. If it's a worthwhile item, bloggers will often borrow news from one another giving you added exposure.

You don't have to scratch your head when it comes to blogs, you can make them work for you--and we can help.


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Comments

Just want to express gratitude for information.

Posted by: Smile at April 3, 2007 3:47 AM