Tuesday, November 07, 2006

finally, some of my thoughts on the Blog Business Summit

So, I’ve had a little time to digest the information I learned at the Blog Business Summit a couple weeks ago. Unlike a lot of the other attendees, I didn’t blog live from the Summit. I’m kind of old-school in that I like to actively listen and take notes with pen and paper. Then, I go over my notes and think about them before I write anything down that I’m going to share. It scares me to write and think at the same time. It reminds me of people who just blurt out their thoughts as they enter their mind. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Anyway, I still haven’t had time to really go over my notes, but a few things from the conference have been stuck in my head and I’d like to share them before too much time passes. Here they are:

I enjoyed the speakers at the conference and thought for the most part they were interesting and informative. At the same time, I felt like they are so keyed into the blogosphere that they don’t really know how to relate with people who aren’t. I contribute to 2 blogs right now, I use RSS and Bloglines, I know how to navigate Technorati, I’m somewhat comfortable with del.icio.us, and I know what the term Google Juice means, so I’m probably more familiar with the concept of Web 2.0 than a lot of folks out there. But, I didn’t relate to most of the “elite” bloggers (or bloggerati) at the conference who referred to themselves as tech geeks.

One of the things I would’ve liked to have learned is how to get people involved in blogging. There are many people out there who simply don’t get blogs. I have a handful of friends that contribute to blogs or read them; the rest of my friends think they are just online diaries full of inane ramblings. Sure, some of them read blogs without even knowing it, and I try to point that out, but for the most part they have no interest in the blogosphere. To them it has a negative connation, like MySpace has to me. How then, do we get them involved or interested? The feeling I get is, “if you build them, they will come;” that blogging and Web 2.0 is like the internet was in its infancy. People didn’t really understand the value of it at first, but over time it became an easy and important tool that everyone has accepted and now uses.

I still don’t understand how to measure the success of a blog. For example, we are a credit union who offers membership to those who live, work and worship in Washington State. If people in New Jersey are reading our blog, that’s great, but my goal is to reach out to people in my immediate community who can benefit from Verity’s products and services. I guess I don’t see how having good ratings in Technorati and Google make us successful. Maybe I shouldn’t even think about the success of our blog, but just as another way to communicate.

Right before I was set to post this, I came across Jeremy Pepper’s blog. I think he nailed some of what I was thinking (and definitely in a more succinct way) in this post.

4 Comments:

Blogger Trey Reeme said...

I saw your post got the attention of the BBS folks on their blog. Kudos to them for being so open to the constructive criticism.

When it comes to measuring success of your blog, I don't think the metrics that were probably mentioned at the conference fit Verity.

I can only speculate that they included: high Technorati rank, # of diggs per post, making the del.icio.us popular page, thousands of subscribers, etc. Now for a blog like BoingBoing, sure, those metrics work fine.

Like you pointed out, you're local. It doesn't matter if New Jersey gal is reading your blog - unless they're contributing valid conversation and helping you ideate. I have a vested interest in your blog because part of my day job is convincing other credit unions to use social media to reach out to their members.

I think for companies like Verity - and I would consider a credit union, by nature, a niche company - the measurement of success is more about looking at where you were yesterday and improving on that. As far as metrics are concerned, I'd start by focusing on how many eyes are on your posts (both subscribers to your feed and regular traffic) along with how people are getting here (links in).

The most important by-products of your blog are less tangible for sure. No fancy graphs needed. Does the blog positively impact your staff, help the Google Juice, and serve as an effective brand touchpoint that stands out from what every other financial institution (save 10 or so others in North America) is doing in online marketing? Yuuup.

Wed Nov 08, 11:55:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Jim Butz said...

I think that one of the biggest issues is that, for the most part, these are social networking tools. Not business networking tools, and that is part of the issue.

Although blogging has been around for some time, it evolved differently than most technologies. It didn't start with the Federal Government and then trickle down through the Enterprise, eventually making it through the rest of business.

So the blogoshpere is attempting to understand how all these tools combined with consumer generated media play in a business environment. So the current conversations around monetizing these technologies are around driving traffic to a site in sufficient quantities to attract ad revenues. Not much of a help in trying to better communicate with a smaller niche.

I have a couple of clients that are looking at blogging to help solve the problem of better communications with their clients. Along with driving traffic to a site, another value of blogging is establishing the writer as a thought leader. This can be valuable as you attempt to better communicate with your consituency.

Along with blogging, it would be valuable to understand all the new 2.0 tools and how they are being incorporated into the enterprise. You find that desired results are less around readership, links, and search engine feeds and more about better connecting with your customers.

What I find valuable at conferences like the BBS is finding out what new tools, tips and techniques the high end bloggers are using, making some interesting connections with the so called A-listers and exchanging ideas with them. It is also a place where I can find just how far these tools have made it into the enterprise. In this case, there is still a lot of opportunities for business consultants like myself based on very little penetration.

Wed Nov 08, 09:40:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Jim Bruene said...

Terrell, Thanks for the post on the conference...I was wondering what I might have missed.

Trey nailed it, but I also think it demonstrates that you are "with it" and care about connecting with your members.

BTW, your post was much more understandable than Jeremy Pepper's.

Fri Nov 10, 09:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger terrell said...

After reading all your comments, I feel more comfortable about what I took away from the Summit. It's nice to get input from people who can relate to a non-techie.

Jim Bruene, thanks for the compliment on my writing. It made my day.

Tue Nov 14, 11:38:00 AM PST  

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