Tag Archives: business

Blog Personality

Image from: PresenterMedia.com

Effective use of blogs in a business setting requires understanding several key attributes. Among these are: voice, frequency, style, and passion. Each attribute represents a component of an overall personality for the blog and will determine the types of audience that will find the blog useful or interesting. Blogs can be written from many different perspectives. A blog’s voice refers to the way the entries are presented and worded. For most blogs, this means a departure from a journalism type voice where facts and events are described, and instead creating an everyday conversation that makes the messages sound personal to the readers. Most blogs are not a collection of articles. Instead, readers expect to find specific opinions, and a representation of the person doing the writing. When comparing blog entries to newspaper writing, it is helpful to think of the blogs being more similar to opinion columns and editorials than to headline articles. A blog’s voice will embody the approach the writer takes for communication. Blogs often use humor, sarcasm, self-deprecation, irony, over-the-top seriousness, or other approaches to create a voice that captures the readers’ attention.

A second attribute of a blog’s personality is the frequency with which articles are published. Remember blogs are a form of technology that allows the writer’s material to be instantly available to the public. Timely material can be published and a sense of immediacy may be expected of the blog. So, when a significant event occurs, it is helpful to update the blog right away. It is also helpful for the readers if the writer of the blog never allows more than a predetermined time to pass without adding an article. Depending on the audience and the goals for a blog, this might be a day, a week, or some other time frame. Most people subscribe to blogs so your updates will automatically become available to them when you publish an entry. It can be a fine balance between too many entries and not enough. By monitoring your blog’s traffic statistics, you can eventually determine a good entry frequency approach.

Blog style can also be important to success and readership. A blog that looks amateurish will reflect on readers’ perceptions of your business. Most blog hosting sites offer themes which are preformatted configurations. Themes may be free or they may be premium and cost money. Thousands of customizable themes are available for use on WordPress.

Finally, blogs need to exhibit passion for the subject covered. They work best as direct-to-the-point entries that don’t get too wordy or long. The following suggestions can help a writer ensure their material conveys passion:

Read Fresh and Though-Provoking Material: Don’t limit your reading to current news and the same blog entries that everyone else reads. The writing in your blog will reflect it. It will lack freshness and fail to have a unique voice. Writing output directly relates to reading input. Absorb new and fresh ideas by observing the world, by talking to people working in related areas, by reading old and usual books, and by spending time reflecting and thinking. It is possible to discover useful subject matter not related to your blog that will add value because of the author’s style or way of approaching topics. It is possible to find unexpected inspiration and new ways of viewing your topics from these alternative sources.

Blogs Don’t Need to be Balanced: Blogs are useful in conveying an opinion. Remember, people reading blogs will read more than just your company blog. For a specific blog entry, it is better to choose a direction and make a strong case for it. Reader comments can provide alternative points of view and perhaps build a case for the opposing set of arguments. This is a good way to create a discussion online. If an entry is meant to influence readers, provide them with the best arguments for your opinion. This will convey passion.

Passion becomes the elusive but essential component to powerful and compelling writing. A blog entry with passion will unleash the opinions of others and compel them to reply and provide their thoughts to the community a business blog seeks to build. Passion will ensure a blog’s message is carried beyond the website. Good writing may challenge opinions, offer alternatives to the traditional, and even offend or scare some readers. A passionate entry may be proven wrong and perhaps ruffle feathers but it will change minds and help build a reader base.

From: Web 2.0 and Social Media for Business by Roger McHaney, 2012

Free Textbook: Web 2.0 and Social Media for Business

Web 2.0 applications and social media have provided new venues for businesses to inform, understand and connect with their customers. This book provides a general understanding of using blogs, podcasts, live streaming, wikis, social buzz, social media, and more to enable businesses to rethink their approach and leverage new digital media’s advantages. It covers theoretical concepts such as RSS feeds and practical examples such as constructing a WordPress blog  in detail. Other topics examined from a business perspective include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Klout, and others. This free textbook provides information about the changing digital environment and how it impacts modern business practices.

Download it here: http://bookboon.com/en/textbooks/it-programming/web-2-0-and-social-media-for-business

SOPA: Not Far Enough?!? Stop Subway Whistlers Too!

I usually don’t weigh in regarding my political opinions but when it comes to SOPA, I couldn’t resist. Keep in mind my perspective might be skewed because I am currently living in London where the US-centric view of the world is less predominant. So here it goes:

I am beginning to wonder if SOPA goes far enough. Here’s my case. I was sitting on the Tube the other day for a long time. The person next to me, a twenty-something fellow, well-dressed with stylish clothes, began whistling a Britany Spears song. I am sure his public broadcast was being enjoyed by more than just me. But then it occurred to me, has he paid the appropriate licensing fees to rebroadcast that material? If I had been at home in Kansas, I might have considered the prospect of a citizen’s arrest but as a foreigner, I wasn’t really in that position. Plus, for all I knew, maybe he had sent a royalty payment to Britany’s recording company.

This takes me back to my point….SOPA is NOT ENOUGH! I think SOPA needs a few additional clauses to cover whistlers, hummers, and, yes, even random chorus singers. They all should be required to display their license demonstrating their subscriptions are paid up before publicly (or even privately!) being allowed to reproduce the music in ANY form.

The US government could rely on citizen watchdogs first and then formally organize an enforcement agency to deal with violators. The enforcement will be tricky but that’s a detail Congress can organize later. Just think of how much better the world would be! As a tax payer, I would be happy to fork out the additional money required. An international enforcement branch could take care of overseas violators. And a Website could be maintained to let whistlers and hummers know what they can legally reproduce royalty free (e.g. old school tunes!). After all this goes through, no more unlicensed whistlers on the Tube in London…wouldn’t that be heaven?

One last thought, I mentioned this idea to a friend of mine. He brought up one more sticky point—singing in the shower. But, that is a no-brainer. Webcam enforcement could manage that for us easily! I am sure plenty of our congressmen would volunteer for that duty…Stop Sopa

Get Stuff Done

A little over a week ago I had the good fortune to attend the MIS Department Chairs/Program Directors Conference at the University of Texas Dallas (MIS stands for Management Information Systems and is the acronym commonly used to represent the field that applies technology solutions to business problems).

One of the sessions I attended was an industry panel that focused on emerging trends in information technology and the resulting implications for MIS programs. The panelists were well-known CEOs and managers from major organizations such as Microsoft, SAP AG, and JC Penney. They talked about hiring today’s students and attributes that were important criteria for identifying the leaders of tomorrow. Venkat Kolluri, CEO of Chitika, said he looks for students that know how to ‘get stuff done.’ He used the analogy of Astronaut versus Astronomer and suggested today’s business firms need more Astronauts. He wanted student hires that were willing to get in the middle of solving problems and not just observe and describe what was out there.

This got me thinking about my best students over the years. Many of them grew up on family farms in Western Kansas. Mr. Kolluri may have been on to something with his observation. Perhaps many of these students were strong because their formative years were spent solving problems with whatever was available. My wife and I grew up in rural communities and know many instances of farmers making do with very limited resources. In other words, barbed wire and duct tape solves many problems.

Although modern corporations are not hoping that their new employees will solve problems with barbed wire and duct tape, they do appreciate problem solving skills and the ability to ‘get stuff done’. Kolluri said the person he hires won’t be saying, “I want to be a manager someday.” Instead, he or she will be say, “I like to get stuff done!”