SES New York: Blogging for Business

Thu 26 March 2009 21:48, Bas van den Beld

Four experts talk about blogging for business. In the room more people are twittering than blogging, which is pretty surprising for a session like this.

Speakers are Jeffiner Laycock (Director of Social Media), Paul Woodhouse (Organic Web Strategies), Lee Odden (Toprankblog) and Michael Gray (Atlas Web Service).

SES New York: Blogging for Business

Jeffiner Laycock

First up is Jeffiner Laycock. She is going to give us tips on marketing on blogging.

Right now tons of people are blogging, from kids to corporate CEO's. For companies its a good way to really put a face to the company. The conversation is happening in your house or on your blog.

She gives us five qualities a blogger needs:
- ability to write
- ability to engage (know what your readers want)
- ability to focus (stay on topic)
- basic seo
- basic pr

Five benefits to blogging:

- showcase your personality
- create a feedback cycle
- build a loyal community
- create an emotional investment
- increase your credibility

Warning: it does take time to scale up. How not to blog: don't have a thin skin. You will get criticism.

How to blog:
- ask questions, let your readers add to the content.
- Find other bloggers and comment early, don't be commenter 500, but commenter 1 or 2. Except if you want to reach the blogger himself.

Why blogs matter
She shows the viral triangle:


Finding bloggers to pitch:

  • How many RSS subscribers?
  • How many Twitter followers?
  • How many social media friends?
  • Do they have an e-mail list
  • How many comments on posts?

Number one rule of pitching bloggers: read their blog.

She has a "Pitching checklist" with things like "read at least five posts" "spell check" and "adress someone by name".


Michael Gray
Next up is Michael Gray. He likes to tell people: there are no rules, there is no right or wrong way. What is good for a personal blog is not good for a business blog.

He points out some type of blogs

Customer outreach blogs:

  • blogs designed to help build and strengthen relationships between customers and the company. Example: Dell.
  • Lots of community engagement, discussion and comments
  • A few readers that readers want to know

CEO or Thought Leadership blogs

  • CEO's or other thought leaders sharing thoughts
  • big picture type blogs
  • Top down, not many comments

Commercial blogs

  • How to do things, solve problems, get things done, news or industry information
  • Often contain commercial content, commercial links, affiliate links etcetera
  • Some sense of community
  • Work best with content that really helps readers or general public

Who is going to be writing?

  • Guest and Gost bloggers are a bad idea. Something is bound to go wrong. If your CEO can't write, have them make an audio and video and then sent it to a ghost writer.
  • Guest writers work best for generic industry content.
  • You can leverage high profile guest bloggers to grow your exposure.
  • Beware of becoming dependant or building a foundation on a freelancer.

On Staff bloggers

  • Blogger must be strong author and understand community building management skills
  • Using a single author has potential to lead to problems
  • Find a person with industry knowledge

What if everyone hates me?

  • Chances are you're company isn't any more hated than the TSA who has a blog
  • If you're worried about what people are saying about you think about this: they are already saying these things, your blog is a feedback channel to make yourself better.
  • It's dangerous to censor critics
  • Review the US Air Force Blog rules, handy to use

What are your blogging goals

  • Gain exposure
  • Connect with customers
  • Be seen as industry thought leader
  • Build links
  • Make sales

Lee Odden
Next is Lee Odden of Toprankblog. He first introduces toprankblog.

He then gives us some stats.

  • Technocrati tracked 133 million blogs
  • 100.000 post per hour
  • 2800 links per minute
  • 100m blogs < 20 inbound links
  • 2600 blogs > 1000 inboud links

Couple of business blogs Lee thinks are good: Kodak, Google, Dell.

Three reasons why blogs fail

  1. Lack of planning and oversight
  2. No passion for the topic
  3. Paralysis by committee

Four tips for a succesful blog:
1. Practical purpose for a blog
2. Plan editorial & source content (for example create a keyword glossary, an editorial guide, assign a blog 'champion', recruit contributers, feedback to contributers. Blog content sourcing:

  • Commentary on news
  • Monitor Social Media Buzz ( &
  • Aggregate in depth tips
  • Conference live blogging
  • Polls
  • Interviews
  • Video, Images, Audio

3. Socialize:

  • Comments
  • Trackbacks
  • Outbound links
  • Surveys
  • Comment on other sites
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

4. Measure and promote success:

  • Set objectives
  • Take Benchmarks
  • Monitor: real time & trends
  • Measure goals: traffic, funnel, conversions

 Take aways:

  • Purpose should drive blog creation
  • get creative
  • Socialize
  • Don't forget the SEO
  • Measure and promote

Paul Woodhouse
Paul is actually telling us a 'story'. He shows us some not very glamourish guys. Specialized in stainles steel. They always relied on word of mouth, the usual channels.

They asked him to built a website, though he had no experience. He started a site which now looks cheesy.

When he got a mention in the Times he was ashamed an revamped the blog. That's when the blog lifted up: The tinbasher was born.

Out of nothing the blog won prizes, got mentions in papers and magazines. Mostly in old media. And the only thing they wanted to do is to do online what they did offline.

He got indirect and direct effects. The point he wants to make with his nice story is probably that everybody can be succesfull with blogging.

It's the voice that makes the credibilitu, honesty en trust.


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