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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Unlike China, Westerners Have the Freedom to Blog

August 26th, 2007

Looking through the headlines today, I ran across an article that reminded me how blessed those of us who live in Western democracies are to have systems of government that allow citizens to share information. Whether it be instructional, humorous, entertaining, critical, or complimentary, the right to create and disseminate thought and opinion is a blessing we, or at least I, take for granted.

Conversely, citizens of China would not be able to have blog sites like Michelle Malkin’s or Michael Moore’s. Even for blogs of a non-political nature, China has tight restrictions on the content and distribution of blogs within its borders. Among other things, it is unlawful for Chinese bloggers to maintain anonymity, which has created international backlash from some of the world’s most prominent technology firms and media watchdogs.

Regardless of the various opinions on the effectiveness of blogging, most of us can agree that we’ve been blessed with systems of government that allow businesses, organizations, and individuals to collaborate and communicate without the fear of authoritative reprisal. To that end, I’m more thankful upon reflection as I exercise my freedom by publishing this message. You should be too.

My Letter to the Idaho Statesman

March 4th, 2007

Thank you Idaho Statesman for your informative article new window on blogging that was featured on the front page of the March 2 edition.

I was in agreement with almost all the insight and advice provided in the article other than one notable exception: “Most companies can start blogging for between $25,000 and $45,000.” As principle with a marketing company focused on providing blogging solutions this statement strikes me as absurd, even laughable.

The fact is, any business that has a truly unique message and a passion to share it can be successful at blogging regardless of their budget or lack thereof. For those who have no budget at all, companies like Google and FeedBurner provide advanced blogging, podcasting, and RSS services at no charge whatsoever.

Sincerely,

Douglas Case
CEO
RisingLine New Media Marketing

Corporate Blogging is Gaining Momentum

December 8th, 2006

Despite all the negative publicity from some pundits on the effectiveness of blogging, the current trend of corporate blogging is gaining momentum. For instance, there are twice as many Fortune 500 companies blogging today as there was a year ago, and I would estimate that number to grow substantially as the need for dynamic Web applications grows.

So why is it that corporations are starting to buy into the blogging trend? I would narrow it down to these basic factors:

– The necessity to edit and update information on the Web instantaneously

– The need to reach out to and engage customers rather than passively addressing them through advertising

– The reality that consumers are more savvy today than a few years ago; and they demand relevant and up-to-date content via the Web

As the blogging phenomenon continues to evolve and progress, the realization that a blog is far more than a rant platform or a personal Web page will bring more companies into the fold. A blog is not simply a tool in which to share personal opinions, but rather a communications device that allows businesses like to reach out to and communicate with targeted audiences.

Articles of Reference:

CEO’s Blogging

Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki

Blogging Myths

Is Blogging Worth the Hassle?

October 20th, 2006

Great question. I guess it depends on what goals you’re trying to achieve. As I continue to consult my stakeholders on the benefits of blogging, the perception seems to be that if the venture doesn’t bring about an immediate return, it’s not worth doing.

As a small business owner, I can definitely empathize with this mentality, since time and money are as valuable as tangible inventory. However, the mindset of blogging shouldn’t be regarded along the same lines as an advertising campaign. If every blogger took the approach of garnering an immediate ROI from a blog, they’d quickly run out of viewers because blog readers don’t want to be sold, they want to be entertained or educated.

So why would a business owner want to blog unless the effort translates into immediate sales? The answer lies in the fact that relationship building takes time, and becoming an effective blogger takes time as well. The whole point of blogging is to increase online interactivity, it’s about building relationships and exchanging information. In other words, blogging provides business owners the opportunity to educate and learn at the same time … basically for free. Smart business owners would jump at the opportunity to tell their story to a targeted audience while being presented with organic market research. However, blogging has become a buzzword with the get rich quick crowd, and unfortunately some negative perceptions have been developed as a result.

Therefore, what is the right approach to take with a blog. My advice would be to:

1) Build your blog through your existing customers first, ask them for feedback and find out what content is meaningful to them.

2) Don’t expect miracles overnight. Be patient, allow your readership time to participate and engage. Don’t be on the lookout for immediate sales results, it could effect your style and turn readers away.

3) Don’t blab on about your products. For a blog to succeed, you need to develop a community centered on relevant information exchange. No, you don’t need to blog about fishing or your favorite pizza, but talk about things in your industry or community that are relevant to your company and customers

In the end, blogging can be used effectively as a marketing tool because it can build intimacy with your brand through putting a face on your products. Just make sure you don’t confuse blogging with advertising.

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