Saturday, July 29, 2006

BlogHer Day 2 - Business Blog Case Studies: Room of Your Own

How to do a blog for business...

Case Study 1 by Toby Bloomberg
Diva Marketing Blog (
Tim Jackson started Macy Bike's Blog. High end Italian bikes. No budget. The brand wasn't selling. He was hired as PR. Keeping the pace of the blog is a big challenge. Time consuming. Full story at

Case Study 2 by
Business blogging boot camps; 6-10 people; introduce them to the topics in the morning and build blog in the afternoon; provide them technical support in the afternoon.

"Our father's who art in heaven" book about father's that have passed on. Author needed blog to sell copies of the book.

Author was skeptical. Did not think it was going to work. It has worked so he hired a student from the local community college to maintain the site. He was happy that it came up with high results in Google.

Case Study 3 - "Know your bones" by Yvonne DiVita

How to make the blog work for your book? Question asked of client. How much time really are you going to have to produce content? She didn't post frequently. (

When doing a blog you have to understand that you often have to have a conversation so you need to be able to make a committment to do that.

Case Study 4 by Heathers Sanders

Moved from html site to blog because search engines weren't finding their site. They moved to blog and kept comments available. Comments were not used so they removed them.

Case Study 5 (online organic material diaper service)
Create a context for the product being sold. "Calm university approach" - voice. Bring community and philosophy to parenting. Created blog "business" plan and content creation schedule (from daily to bi-weekly). "If I had to write everyday I wouldn't be a good writer." Users have option of using comments, but prefer to email instead.

Case Study 6 (Barkley Advertising)
Lee Dungarees asked them to do online marketing campaign.
Did blog to coincide with commercial campaign involving giant woman stepping on building. Success? Unclear.

Case Study 7
People don't like fake identities. People want sited resources. From linguist perspective, how do we build, maintain and manipulate identity?

***Hansen Consulting - manufacturing clients. Clients request blogs but they don't know why or how to do one.

***Don't start a blog if something is going wrong. Develop positive relationship with users then when something goes wrong. When it goes wrong tell them as fast and honestly as possible.

***Over communicate.

***Character blogs - i.e. online welding supply company. "Carmen Electrode"

***Help decision makers manage risk. Have them write down what they believe are worse-case scenarios and then build in plans to address these concerns. Also often has staff create internal blogs for purpose of example; so they can understand how it works and what can come of it.

***Who's your market? What do they want? Know them well enough to know what questions you should ask them. When they give feedback they will feel more committed to you.

BlogHer Day 2 - Opening session

Friday, July 28, 2006

BlogHer Session 3 - Audience Building


focus content
you cannot write about everything; you will not find or keep an audience
you also will have difficulty in maintaing the site

Post frequently, but not at the expense of quality
use images and photographs
write well
consider headlines, post size
poll, top 10 lists, contents, how-to's, interviews, controversial topics

**Missed a bunch of info. had to take care of some business.**

San-serif is better for small blocks of text.
Serif is better for longer blocks of text.

What's up with all the food blogs? Fascinating.

* be useful
* focus
* Engage your community
* Tune your site
* Promote your feed
* Create a blog you will be proud of


BlogHer Session 3 - Ten types of Web writing

How do you write for the web?

You have to be more conversational with blogging. When writing for a newspaper or magazine you want to tell the story. PUll them in right away. Personalize it. Get your voice in there. Differentiate your voice and the voice of the industry.

There is a web tool that can score the readability of your website.

Who is your audience? What level of readability do they want? Where are you reaching them in the process? Are they getting your from a search page? Or is it because someone told them about your site so they are visiting.

1. Readers
2. Presentation
3. Word choice
4. Conversations
Different mindset
5. Headlines
6. Attribution
7. Link blogging
8. Essay blogging
9. Question and answer
10. Reviews and how-to's

Media Slaves

Is writing for the web an art or science?

1. Readers
How effective a writer are you? Some of your audience know. So ask.

* Own it
* Ask for feedback
* Listen
* Does feedback match behavior?
* Feedback in perspective
* Evolve
* Learn

2. Presentation
* Even the best prose can be lost on the internets. That's wy presentation or "layout" or "user interface" is essential to good writing.
* Navigation
* Headlines and subheadlines

3. Word Choice
* clarity
* professionalism
* voice
* punctuation
* ...

See copyblogger

Don't open comments if you are not looking for a conversation.

4. Headlines
* clarity
* professionalism
* voice

Search algorithms
- they look at h1, h2, etc. then body text; headline is generally in an 'hX'
- have your title's match the url, you'll get better results

Elise Bower is an expert on this topic from the technical side. See her blog.

You don't just want traffic, you want the right traffic.

Often bloggers are disregarded because they do not attribute their sources. Check out Electronic Frontier Foundation because they have lots of info on this topic.

A link by itself it not interesting. Often your commentary on the quote is what peaks someone's interest.

Danah Boyd will be at the conference tomorrow.

Mommybloggers has a great example of a Q&A strategy to bring authentic voice to a blog.


BlogHer Lunch Keynote: What's Next?

Evolution of Flickr and Blogger

Both spin-off's from other projects. Flickr spin-off from social networking game. Blogger spin off from project management software.

What differentiates Flickr from Ofoto or Shutterfly? Public access. 80% of photos on Flickr are public. It's what creates community.

Inventing Flickr and Blogger is like the invention of electricity. It's up to the user to apply it in a meaningful way.

How has tagging catalyzed communication? Tagging originally just a way of organizing photos, but when applied to social interactions it becomes more dynamic, impactful. Tagging is not keywords. Keywords were not used in a social context. They are generic. For example, if you typed a proper name like "Betty" you are going to get all photos associated with the WORD 'Betty'. Tagging allows the user to give context. By tagging you can have the tag 'Betty' return photos of only your Aunt Betty.

Also have the ability to formulate ad hoc groups. We can assume people would people would tag with 'black and white photos' or 'color photos', but there are people organizing 'squared circle' images. No way of anticipating these keyword of sorts, but there are people that share this common interest.

Blogging is primarily text. Where will video and audio take blogs? Unknown. Ability to tag and comment photos allows for a greater variety of uses a user could apply the technology. Time will tell.

Online communities are like a dinner party. Every user should be greeted and introduced to culture, activities. After the beginning the users you hand nurtured will recognize that its part of the community. They will do the introductions and enforce the cultural norms.

"Community management" as an evolving role in building large communities. Comment spamming ('sploggers') and trolling can become a problem and the person that acts as the "community manager". They can give a development team heads up on what to guard from. "It's an arms race..."

Will legislation limit the development directions of social networks technologies?

Development of Flickr happened semi-live with assistance of users. "Developing in stealth" has gone out of fashion a bit. Public development is likely to be more fruitful at this point in history.

Blogger developer's insight: If you try to anticipate all trends and potential hazards you'd never get past the specs.

"Beta is your friend"

What's next?
- better management of text, video and audio
- help user to be more self-referential
- we won't need our pc's anymore; mobility


BlogHer Session 1, Breakout 2

- Blured line between publisher, poster. Where does liability lie?
- Libel issues

No blogging in schools issue - Supreme requires filters on school computers; what's going to happen with blogs is tbd dependent on congressional decisions and judicial rule.

Areas to be discussed:
- copyright
- libel

Service providers are not responsible for libel.

Making decisions about what you want your space to be impacts your right. For example, a journalism site has different rights than an ISP site.


BlogHer: Check it Out

These are a set of links that were suggested to me in passing. Check 'em out...

Latina Lista
Copy Blogger


BlogHer Session 1 Break Out - How to conceptualize a community blog

Facilitators notes:

Questions to ask yourself in conceputualizing:
* How will I recruit people to blog on the site?
- Pay people?
- Get one or two role models to get things started?
- Consistent

In any community you have to know "What's the purpose?"
- for individual?
- for community?
Both are equally important.

Examples of "purpose" -
- connect to other people with similar
- get things off your chest (how do you make it 'safe' for people contributing content without negative consequence?)

Some people have their individual needs met by a message board, but it doesn't necessarily foster community...Is this true or a false assumption? In general, they are topic or conversation based. In contrast community blogging generally more

"What is the pattern and the need of the community?"

* What are the expectations of the user? Do they want comments or do they simply want to put out their ideas.

Always talk to the community that we expect to participate in the web. Do this over time because it often changes over time.

* What is our (hosting person or org) committment to the community? Is the community aware of what it is?

* How do you listen to the community in different ways to know what direction to take it?
- Ask questions and people will respond!
- In food blogging community they started "get your blog burning". They asked people to submit recipes for specific theme.

Idea: do monthly skype talk
Idea: just do it. start blogging and regularly ask others to be involved

Communities will grow as people get to one another personally or topically.

Writing style - vary your writing style; some are more inviting than others. Session this afternoon on 10 writing styles. "Vary your voice."

Editing - when should it happen? why? In a strong community, the community will often self-edit.

Idea: a day in the life. Mommy bloggers often do this. i.e. 7:00am woke up, 8:00am make kids breakfast, etc.

Idea: integrate images because it often will open up tone, direction.
Idea: shared tagging,

* What is the invitation and why is it important to the community?


BlogHer 2006 - "So you have this crazy idea:..."

BlogHer Day One

Session 1 - will take typepad blogs and transform them into a book. Prices start at $39.95 for a single 40-page. You can also configure a book and make it available for sale to visitors of your site.

Sometimes people come to blogs to "write" and sometimes people come to community blogs to "participate" (commenting, for example). What't the difference in Web 2.0?

Community blogging as a means of bringing together people with commonalities - identities or issues. Women from Stanford University Law School created one to build a support network.

How to organize a community blog? Technical lead (implementation). Bring users together to determine focus and/or flow. Do they need to be fully defined before they are implemented? Not necessarily. Mostly need a "core focus" and allow it to grow organically.

Community blogging for talking done and evolving. Community blogging for move to action not fully explored.

The New Media Collective began in Feb 2006. It is an information network for people of color. It is a media education site. Founder Melanie Morgan created site after visiting She recognized very few people of color were represented. She allows others contribute content.

Share your story place where parents with children in neo-natal units at hospital. Blogs under "Share your story" tab. Two options: 1) short story option 2) blog option. Quickly blog option became stronger preference. "No blog goes un-responded to", March of Dimes ensures every post is responded to in 24 to 72 hours. Accessible - must register to get blog, but can view without authentication. They also have people that sift through data to determine if there are people in crisis to offer them services.

Three general forms of blogging:
1) One Blog/Blogger (a community gathers around an individual; power centralized with primary blogger; often spawn off communities of their own;
2) Central/Community Centric (a purposeful collection of independent blogs)
3) Site that invites bloggers in (aggregation in one frame; blogher site is an example; power is centralized by who controls the tools)