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.

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