RealTime IT News

Advice For Blogging Newbies

NEW YORK -- If markets are a conversation, then companies need to pay close attention to what's being said about their products in the blogosphere's marketplace of ideas, Weblogging and tech executives said at the Internet Planet conference here Wednesday.

The challenge for companies mulling how to use the growth of Weblogs to their advantage is to first create one that people want to read, said Buzz Bruggeman, founder and executive vice president of ActiveWords, whose technology creates a user interface that tracks keywords across different platforms.

"Corporate Weblogs that don't have an individual or face behind them don't work," added Anil Dash, vice president of business development for Six Apart, which makes popular blogging tools TypePad and Moveable Type.

"If you sound like a marketing blog, people won't read it," he said, adding that the trick is to communicate more in your own voice and not like a marketing person.

"If you don't seize the opportunity, you are ceding it to someone else," added Michael Gartenberg, a research director for Jupiter Research who moderated the panel discussion. (The parent company of this publication and Jupiter Research also sponsored the Internet Planet conference where the panel took place.)

"What [blogs do] is put a human face on the company," said Greg Reinacker, founder and president of NewsGator Technologies, a popular blog aggregator. "You might still think Microsoft is a big evil corporation, but at least now you know some of the people who work there," he said of the hundreds of blogs maintained by Microsoft employees. Robert Scoble, technology evangelist for Microsoft, also attended the panel.

Still, panelists noted that a lot of companies aren't ready for the kind of first-person conversations with customers that blogs entail. But they also said blogging, and RSS feeds in particular, are changing the way news and information are delivered in such fundamental ways that businesses need to pay attention to their impact -- and opportunities.

If you don't think you have much to lose by ignoring the rise of RSS feeds and blogging tools, do a search in the blogosphere about your product and you may be astounded about what you're missing, panelists said.