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Preview: Backbone Blogging Survey

Backbone Blogging Survey

Backbone Media welcomes your comments and feedback on the Backbone Corporate Blogging Survey 2005.

Published: 2006-11-03T13:27:03-05:00


Blogging Success Study Released


We're please to announce the release of the Northeastern University and Backbone Media Blogging Success Study.

here's a link to the press release issued by Northeastern University

Here's a link to the study...

SCOUT Launches The Big Time Career Blog for Spherion


Hello BlogSurvey readers. We've been writing an awful lot about corporate blogging strategies, blog monitoring and blogger relations. Now SCOUT (a division of Backbone Media) is launching our first official client blog for Spherion (NYSE: SFN ), one of the leading staffing and recruitment agencies. The blog features career insight & advice, and the company's CEO will also be contributing from time to time. We also plan to interview some actual job candidates which should be very interesting.

Here's a link to The Big Time

I also posted this on the SCOUT blog. It gives a little more detail about the corporate blogging project and why we're so excited about it.

Taking A Leave Of Absence From Blogsurvey To Write A Book About Corporate Blogging


I am happy to announce that I will be working on a book about corporate blogging over the next few months. Butterworth - Heineman Business Books or Elsevier and I just signed a contract to write a book about business blogs called "strategies and tools for corporate blogging."

My thanks to Jane Macdonald, the acquisitions editor for Butterworth-Heinemann for all of the work she put into creating the relationship and getting us to this point.

As part of the effort to finish the book I am taking a leave of absence from my role as Director of Blogging Strategies at Backbone Media, Inc. in Waltham. I will not be updating the blogsurvey blog for a while, but you will still find me writing the occasional post on my personal blog PR Communications.

Starting To Blog


Starting off slowly will not hurt your corporate blogging adventure. That's one of the lessons I think I've learned, as I've been blogging over the last three years. In talking with other corporate bloggers, clients and running my own blogs at a few different companies. It seems to me that a company does not have to be in a rush to develop multiple blogs for their company. Starting off slowly and experimenting with one strategy is perfectly acceptable. And as various corporate bloggers have learned from Macromedia/Adobe, Microsoft and the Southwest Airlines blog, dipping in your toe and growing organically is probably the best way to learn about blogging and interact with your audience. Each company is unique, even if their industry may not be, therefore its always a matter of culture and personalities as to how fast a company can progress with the number of blogs and how open their blog will be to their audience.

Dell Launches Blog


Dell Launches a new blog called "Direct Conversations with Dell" at

The blog hosts a number of authors, who write posts and post videos. Similar to Microsoft's channel9 website.

I immediately clicked on the about one2one link to read the blog's guidelines. Makes interesting reading. The dell blog set's the expectation that Dell employees will answer blog comments. That's a huge commitment and one that General Motor's Fastlane blog has not made to its readers, see my earlier post about setting expectations with blog readers.

Here's the commitment to conversation:

"one2one is an extension of Dell's direct model where we learn and improve by listening to customers. Comments are a great way for us to know what's on the minds of our customers and partners. Of course, we may not always agree with the comments, but we will listen closely to see what we can learn and improve. Comments will be moderated - we will do our best to post your comments and respond, where appropriate, within 24 hours."

It will be interesting to see how Dell's employees response to reader comments. I've already seen examples of the Dell bloggers responding to customer comments. Lionel Menchaca, Digital Media Manager, responded to a blog readers comment.

Blogsurvey Having Trouble


Due to a server switch we are having some trouble with blogsurvey today. Should have this fixed shortly.


Northeastern Blogging Success Study Progress


Work continues on the Northeastern University blogging success study. We have transcribed all of the interviews, and I am now taking out excerpts to use in the final study document.

Bloglines Engineer Comments Great Example Of CGM Brand Management


Matthew Hurst on datamining wrote about his search for a new RSS feed reader, he is thinking of ditching his existing service, bloglines.

Bloglines UI Engineer, Ben Lowery, spotted Matthew's blog post, and concerns about the bloglines service and responded quickly.

I was impressed with Ben's comment and that fact that bloglines keeps tabs on its brand keywords. This comment is a great example to every company about how to do effective product management in the world of customer generated media. Monitor your brand keywords and respond to questions and comments about your product as they appear on the web.

Fard Johnmar's Take On The Jupiter Research Blogging Report


Fard Johnmar writes a critique of Jupiter Research's Blogging report.

Jupiter had suggested in their report that 70% of companies would be blogging by the end of the year. Based on my understanding of the industry, I do find it hard to believe this statement, unless Jupiter Research meant internal blogs. I'd like to hear more from the company on what its results mean?

Maybe there's a slant to a particular industry. If you look at the 29 companies in the fortune 500 who are blogging 21 of them are in the technology and telco industries, see my article about the fortune 500 wiki. Perhaps the survey focused on technology companies? I'd be interested to hear more from the company about who was surveyed for the report.

Blogger Relations Content Strategy Determined By Researching Blog Readers


Conducting an audit of a blogging community is not just about researching bloggers in your company's industry. You also have to understand who is reading the blogs you wish to build a relationship with over time. Content should dictate how you interact with a blogger. But I also think its important to read the comments of a blog to determine who is reading a blog. Not only will you find other great bloggers to read and interact with over time, but also you will build up a profile of the readers of that blog. That profile will then give you the ideas as to what content strategy will attract the type of readers you seek.

The New PR Is Part Of Blogger Relations


Philip Young describes in his post, "What is the new PR?" that there are profound changes happening with the practice of public relations because of the new world of social media. His discussion about the issue was inspired by Stuart Bruce's post around the issue of PR 2.0. Stuart does not believe that PR has fundamentally changed with the introduction of new media. I think I agree with both Stuart and Philip, that PR has not changed and also that online social media has given companies new ways to communicate with their audiences.

Philip Young's posts encouraged me to ask the question: "what are those profound changes?"

I agree that the purpose of PR has not changed in the new world of social media. However, what I think has changed is the division between PR and other disciplines. The lines have blurred. Tina Lang-Stuart said this best in a comment on Stuart's blog, there's now a thin line between professions and disciplines, or, "It's becoming a middlesex-kind-of-society where there's a thin line between journalists, bloggers, vloggers, MySpace networkers, PR and Marketing people."

The reason I use blogger relations to describe the process of a company communicating with their audience rather than public relations is because of that blurring of the lines between PR and the other professions. I see that product managers and customer service people get some of the best results in terms of interacting with their customers by using both a public relations strategy along with their existing skill sets and the new discipline of blogger relations.

Building relationships with journalists was once the domain of PR professionals and company communicators; often most of their relationship was conducted in private. But now that blogs are becoming increasingly important as a way to build relationships directly with customers for some companies, it has also become important for bloggers to build online public relationships with other bloggers in their community.

Often marketing and PR people are not the right choice to be the blogger for a company's blog. Just as typically, the PR professional was not the best interviewee for a journalist's story. The PR professional might have facilitated the interview but the CEO or senior executive was the person the audience and by default the journalist wanted to hear.

The change with blogging is that the blogger facilitates the conversation between other bloggers, rather than the PR professional where the blogger is not in PR. To me this is why blogger relations is not just about public relations but a combination of different disciplines. Raises The Stakes For Ford In The Company's Struggles With Sales


Ford recently launched a website that features documentary style video's of Ford's next steps in saving the company from its sales decline. The videos seek to reveal the inner workings of Ford. You can comment on the videos and articles at the website. The site will feature 50 videos over the next year. I have a few suggestions for the team: Lose the flash pop-up, its useful for first time visitors, but got old fast the second time I went to the site. The 'Intro' link on the left hand navigation works just as well for encouraging people to click on the initial video that explains the purpose of the site. I had problems registering for the login for the comment section on the website. A runtime error appeared a few times, fortunately, I am not faint of heart and tried logging back in. Once logged in however, the comment system was a little confusing to use, the login was floating on the page while the comment box is located at the bottom of the page. I did manage to post a comment on an article about buying American, but no comment appears. Hopefully comments are moderated and mine will appear in the next few hours or day. It would be great if the would let the user know if comments are moderated. I looked through the legal terms and conditions, but did not see Ford's policy on answering comments. I've previously posted an article about the synthetic transparency of the General Motors Fastlane blog. In that post I suggest to General Motors their blog inform readers clearly that comments will not be automatically returned when a reader comments. Rather, GM has posted a few articles informing readers their comments may not be answered in the future. I chatted with several GM blog readers who told me their expectation as GM is running a blog, when the customer comments, GM will answer their comments. I'd suggest to Ford; that clearly setting expectations on your blog comment policy with customers will avoid blog reader disappointment. The website represents a great opportunity for Ford to reveal its story to the buying public, it remains to be seen how Ford will react to customer comments and suggestions made on the website by Ford customers. If Ford is able to be proactive and respond to comments, whether positive or negative, I think the website will be a success. If not, I think the website will not help the company with their market share issues. Telling the truth is good, but if market share loss is due to a crisis in brand confidence with Ford, the way to bolster brand confidence is by listening and building the type of cars your customers seek. Listening doesn't just mean allowing comments in the online world, it also means interacting with customers to demonstrate how you will make a change, and sometimes why you cannot make a change requested. I expect the Ford website to receive 100's if not thousands of comments, the resources needed to manage all of those comments will be a tremendous. Yet, answering the comments of a few hundred or thousand people will make a huge impact on how the company is perceived. That action alone will say we listen at Ford, and when people feel as if their opinions and comments are taken seriously, those people become not just customers, but part of your team. Update: Bryce Hoffman from the Detroit News called me to comment on Ford's new website. Here's his article, "Behind the blue oval," thanks Bryce for the inspiration for this blog post.[...]

Browster Helps You Eliminate Slogs


Advanced Technology Ventures, based in Waltham, Massachusetts backs a browser add-on company called Browster.

I was a little dubious about the concept of the company, a plug-in for Internet explorer and Fire Fox. However, once I downloaded the plug-in and tried Browster on Internet explorer, and tried the service, I thought the concept behind the technology has some merit. The plug-in allows the Internet user to roll over links on a page, say the Google search engine. When you roll over a link with an associated lightening bolt (browster's addition) a view of the rolled over page appears instantly.

I think browster can help people who search a lot of websites to quickly look through a number of websites. Which gets to why I am writing a technology article today. Backbone uses RSS feed search engines to search for blogs for our clients. We conduct audits around blogging communities and terms. Many of the RSS search engines remove many slogs or spam blogs, but quite a few do get through. Browster makes it easier to identify those slogs, and also identify blogs we do want to include in our client's audit.

In addition, I noticed that Scott Milener's blog is associated with Browster. Scott is the founder of the company, he writes the browster blog which is all about advertising, paid search, browsers and internet trends. The blog appears to be focused at the advertising community.

I am not really sure about the business model for the company. According to the main website, Browster sends ads to users. I have not seen any of the Browster ads. I'd like a better explanation of the model. However I think the technology has great merit, as it will make the process of looking through a lot of websites easier. I recorded 49 links on for the blog, many of the links were just links.

SNCR Journal Submissions & Awards


The Society for New Communications Research is seeking submissions for its new journal.

"The Journal for New Communications Research (JNCR), which will be published in Fall 2006. The Society is seeking articles or projects based on original empirical research, as well as pieces focusing on the theory, strategy and tactical use of participatory communications tools."

The society is also looking for nominations for its awards program.

Awards will be granted to individuals, businesses and educational institutions in the following categories:

-SNCR Professional Awards -- honors leading new communications thinkers, bloggers, journalists, citizen journalists and professional communicators

-SNCR Academic Awards -- recognizes leading work/research/studies from students and academic institutions

-SNCR Business Awards -- honors organizations that are successfully adopting new communications models and leveraging them in innovative ways for business purposes

The deadline for entries is September 8th, 2006, or contact SNCR at 650 331-0083 or email

I am a research fellow and advisory board member of the society, I encourage readers to submit their ariticles or put in a nomination for an award. We are looking for some of the latest research on blogging and social media. If you have not been profiled in the press or blogosphere now is your chance to get noticed.

Umbria's New Blog


Umbria, a social media measurement company has a new blog. Unfortunately, the blog does not allow comments or trackbacks. But as it just launched, I am sure the team is working on putting together all of the elements of interaction.