10/27/10

Long Now Foundation: slower pace, better future … well maybe

(you may also vote for this article on Marktd)

The Long Now Foundation Good morning, we are on Monday, the twenty first of January zero two thousand and eight. No this isn’t a typo, but rather a sign that we are taking into account the fact that humanity still has a few millenniums to go through. Well… hopefully! [One may have doubts when one considers the dreadful status of pollution in emerging behemoths like China (and this is just a beginning; despite courageous efforts by the likes of the ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown, there is little or no evidence that anything will be done to curb carbon emissions over there)]. Thus, focussing on the long term is what the ‘Long Now Foundation’ (a term coined by famous UK musician and innovator Brian Eno) is doing as a day job. The foundation is a think tank aimed at promoting long term thinking (by long term, the foundation member certainly don’t mean anything like 18 to 24 months). As a result their seven recommendations are that we should:

  1. serve the long view (and the long viewer)
  2. foster responsibility
  3. reward patience
  4. mind mythic depth
  5. ally with competition
  6. take no sides
  7. leverage longevity

Layers of SpeedAll which items should be heard by marketers as the foundation for increasing Corporate Responsibility in what they are doing. Needless to say that we still have a long way to go, but there are also encouraging signs that things are moving in the right direction. Yet, those of us who are endeavouring to take a lot of hindsight and put Nature above Fashion and not sacrifice Culture and the Environment on the altar of greed, may have a tough time now and again. It was my case when I read that issue (Vol. 171, No. 4 dated January 28, 2008) of Time magazine Europe; the ‘briefing‘ section on page of this issue triggered a few thoughts related to that subject. In this section weirdly entitled ENVIROTECH and even more weirdly substitled Green Machines, Time describes some of the highlights of the Detroit 2008 auto show:

Detroit’s annual Auto Show displays the best and brightest prototypes for eco-friendly cars Jan. 19-27. A look at some of the top innovators from the U.S. and abroad.

  • TOYOTA A-BAT Utilizes solar panels
  • SAAB 9-4X BIOPOWER Runs on biofuels
  • FISKER HYBRID First true electric plug-in car
  • JEEP RENEGADE Gets up to 110 m.p.g.
  • MERCEDES-BENZ VISION GLK Powered by a diesel engine
  • LAND ROVER LRX 2-L turbodiesel

This is how huge diesel-powered SUV’s, dubbed Chelsea Tractors in London by Environmental activists, are deemed “green” (for a hint on what Diesel fumes have in store for you, please check the UK Government’s official Health and Safety Executive website). Seeing this makes you think about long term view doesn’t it.

The Long Now Foundation describes its Clock and Library project in the following way:

“Such a clock, if sufficiently impressive and well engineered, would embody deep time for people. It should be charismatic to visit, interesting to think about, and famous enough to become iconic in the public discourse. Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think”.

But the real question is not whether people see the clock (or Arthus Bertrand’s earth from above photos or Nasa’s or anything else) and think it’s cool. The real point is how do we go beyond this and actually do something about it. Marketing and Innovation has to go beyond this green paradox and start acting on it, or it will disappear. For those who still doubt it, I would recommend that they read Futurelab’s Alain Thys’s presentation on how Marketing committed suicide.

Let us hope that the clock is really well engineered and that we’ll keep our eyes on it all the time, there is a lot of catching up to do.

side note: many thanks to Stewart Baines from Futurity Media for telling me about the Long Now Foundation.

04/14/10

Scott Berkun Spells Out The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation is a must-read for would-be innovators

(important notice: this post is the original and unabridged version of a post written for Bnet, to which I am a regular contributor)

“Poor is the substance, alas! and yet I’ve read all the books”: Stéphane Mallarmé’s warning would be perfectly valid for most of the literature devoted to innovation. There are books on that subject however, which are really worth reading such as the inevitable myths of innovation by Scott Berkun. Berkun is a full time writer and speaker and former programme manager at Microsoft, the man behind the success of Internet Explorer at a time when the web was dominated by Netscape. He also delivers lectures such as this amazing Carnegie Mellon presentation on the book I am describing here. His book is not based on dubious principles but spells out clearly the “don’ts” of innovation. It’s a lot more powerful than most books because of that, because it’s easier to learn from mistakes than mimic other people’s behaviour. Here are Scott Berkun’s 10 myths of innovation summed up in a few words, and I hope this will convince you to buy a copy of his book too:

  • myth number one: the myth of the epiphany
    An epiphany, in essence a sudden moment at which creation is supposed to happen, is epitomised by Archimedes‘s Eureka moment or Newton‘s apple. Yet, if many innovations are described as magical moments, the truth is often more complex: hard-work is required, the Eureka moment is often coming at the end of that process (not the beginning). Most Eureka legends aren’t real, they are myths aimed at giving a romantic view of innovation,
  • myth number two: we understand the history of innovation
    Well, so we think, but most of the time we don’t. Most of the stories we read about innovation aren’t real either. Google wasn’t a search engine to start with, nor was Flickr a photo sharing platform etc. in actual fact, most innovations are the results of errors, changes and corrections, but we like history to smooth things out and make them sound perfect and simple,
  • myth number three: there is a method for innovation
    How is innovation delivered? Despite our attraction to recipes, innovation is – in essence – a “charge into the unknown” and therefore, a method for innovation is a bit of an oxymoron,
  • myth number four: people love new ideas
    So we like to think but most of the time it’s not true. Changing one’s habits is always a challenge, and that is true of customers too (remember Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the chasm?”). There is no end to the list of rejections that innovators have to face. Change management is in an innovator’s best friend,
  • myth number five: the lone inventor
    We like stories in which a genius single-handedly changed the world: Edison invented the electric light; Ford invented the automobile; Apple invented the first graphical user interface etc. all wrong! And most of these stories are wrong. Often, innovations happen simultaneously too (in different countries at approximately the same time). Lastly, successful companies are often started by a group of people, not the obligatory lone inventor,
  • myth number six: good ideas are hard to find
    Ideas are everywhere, and not just found as a result of a brainstorm session (a tool which most of the time is badly used and implemented). Ideas come in more than many ways, mostly through trial and error. As far as I am concerned, because I am not a very imaginative person, I love to pick other people’s brains and make notes of all the ideas they have had but have never had the pluck to implement. It would be so nice if we could… is often my starting point. The real issue is not the idea(s) but how they could come to fruition and when,
  • myth number seven: your boss knows more about innovation than you
    Berkun argues that managers can make decisions that others can’t but this doesn’t mean that they always know what to do. Often, power and a high position in the hierarchy exert pressure on execs and they feel terribly alone. I have witnessed that the higher in the hierarchy two, the farther away you are from the field and it’s easy to lose sight of reality; theoretical views don’t make decision-making easy. Often, managers are therefore afraid of innovation. Berkun provides the antidote by describing the most common necessary traits of successful managers,
  • myth number eight: the best ideas win
    There is a fairy tale view of innovation (in fairy tales good guys win and bad guys lose) hence the belief that it’s always the best innovation that wins. There are so many counterexamples such as the QWERTY keyboard (aimed at slowing down typists to avoid jamming), HTML and JavaScript (probably the most horrendous computer languages ever invented), the M-16 rifle etc. There are 7 factors according to Berkun which are leading to product success: culture, dominant design, inheritance and tradition, politics, economics, subjectivity and short-term orientation,
  • myth number nine: problems and solutions
    Great innovations – such as the palm pilot project, a pioneering digital notepad invented at the end of the 1990s – often come from the clear and simple spelling of a few problems that they are meant to solve. Believing that serendipity plays a major role is also wrong and yet another proof of the myth of the epiphany. Hard work and prototyping are of the essence,
  • myth number ten: innovation is always good
    Rudolf diesel is said to have committed suicide when he realised that his invention would only be bought by the military (and therefore serve the purpose of the war between Germany and France; he was German but had always lived in France). His innovation was being used to do harm and kill people and destroy Europe, not to do good and improve people’s lives. Other examples abound quoted by Berkun in his book — such as the DDT and personal computers and even cell phones, not to mention discrimination via the infamous digital divide.

Such are the lessons we can derive from Scott Berkun’s research on innovation. In one of his posts on the Harvard Business Review blog, Berkun declared that true innovators don’t use the word innovation at all. They talk about new products, new projects, change management or just doing things. Innovation isn’t a playground for intellectuals; it’s a game for doers and hard workers. I found the statements so true, and so close to how I felt (sometimes I’m being asked to pitch about innovation and I feel weird about that, because innovation is something one does but it’s yet difficult to describe) that I decided to know more and buy this book; probably one of my favourite business books.

Find out more

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02/4/10

increasing brand advocacy with Social Media

On Nov 10th, 2009 I was in Atlanta presenting at Blogwell on behalf of Orange Business Services, presenting our social media strategy and explaining how, why and what we did online to increase our brand advocacy. Yesterday, the video recording of that presentation was posted by SMBC and – assuming your firewall isn’t going to block Vimeo – you are kindly invited to click the following image in order to view the recorded session.

And if your firewall does block Vimeo, or that you find the quality a bit flaky, you are now left with the possibility of contacting me via the comments section of this post and then I can tell you how video can be made available to all easily and qualitatively, which is what I explain in that recording.

here is the introduction to the video by the SMBC representatives:

In his BlogWell Atlanta case study presentation, “Succeeding in Social Media Initiatives,” Orange Business Services’ Head of Internet & Digital Media, Yann Gourvennec, explained how they’re finding success in social media as a business-to-business brand.

Yann’s case study covered how they’re finding passionate buyers online that advertising can’t reach, how they’re using video, and how they’ve used social media feedback to improve their products.

BlogWell is the only conference where social media executives from large companies come together to share their case studies, offer practical how-to advice, and answer your questions.

To learn more about BlogWell, visit gaspedal.com/blogwell/

BlogWell is produced by GasPedal and the Social Media Business Council.

Learn More: gaspedal.com and socialmedia.org

11/21/08

“Video is the medium of the future” Cisco Social Media Expert Announces

John Earnhardt from Cisco at BlogwellIn this article we’ll describe the take aways from John Earnhardt’s
presentation at BlogWell (http://www.gaspedal.com/blogwell) about the development of Corporate WebTVs and Vlogging and I will also establish a comparison – in part two of this post – with our own experience on the launch of our own WebTV at http://orange-business.tv


Video usage on the way up

There has been a lot of talking about that for a long long time, and by dint of spreading the self-fulfilling prophecy we are now witnessing an incredible development of video usage on the Internet. I am not afraid
to say now that WebTVs and videos in general are an absolute must-have for website owners. And it’s not just about YouTube and other social media websites. Of course videos are used and disseminated through this kind of websites. But there are also private WebTVs being set up by enterprises and there are good reasons for this. Big logos are now using this new means of communications to send more direct messages, less top-down, easier to record and understand.

Cisco’s John Earnhardt who was speaking at the BlogWell (http://www.gaspedal.com/blogwell) conference at the end of October 2008 in San Jose, California (BlogWell was an event organised by GasPedal, Andy Sernovitz’s company, and took place at the conference centre of San Jose on October 28, 2008. Andy Sernovitz is also the author of Word-of-mouth Marketing: http://www.wordofmouthbook.com)
praised this new medium quite extensively and gave us insight as to how Cisco is making the most of its use. John is in charge of multimedia on behalf of the American equipment manufacturer.

read more on the Orange Business Live blog

10/3/08

enterprise collaboration matrix: positioning the various types of services

 

I’ve already had the opportunity to touch on the important subject of the return on investment of Web conferencing in a previous post published in three separate instalments on this very blog. One of the questions that came to my mind following that post is related to the comparison between various conferencing modes. Telepresence may be on top of the media agenda at the moment, but I don’t think that this will make the need for different types of conferencing modes any less important. On the contrary, the advent of telepresence is breathing life into this entire industry. This is a typical example of a competitive advantage applied to an industry as a whole, as Michael Porter would have it.

Having established this fact, what is the difference between the various conferencing modes and what makes them complementary rather than mutually exclusive? I have attempted to represent a number conferencing alternatives in the following slideshow in order to highlight how complimentary all these solutions could be.

10/2/08

the Stern review and credibility in change management

Sir Nicholas Stern

Sir Nicholas Stern

Sir Nicholas Stern is a great man. I don’t know how many of you can remember his name but I for one will never forget that he once wrote the eponymous report that triggered the whole hooha about environmental issues. It was at the beginning of October 2006. Sir Nicholas wrote this  report about our endangered planet and what we were doing to it and suddenly, we not only became aware of facts that were supposed not to exist before, but we got all dragged down into this big environmental maelstrom. Strange as it may seem, the bleak and distressing announcement that “there is a 50% chance that average global temperatures could rise by five degrees Celsius” Came as a blessing to me. For the first time in history, one was able to pronounce the “E” word without running the risk of being taken for a ‘Commie’. Why was that? Was it because Sir Stern was Tony Blair’s envoy? Not really. It probably helped but in fact I’m not even sure about that judging by the lack of trust Tony Blair and his successor had to suffer recently.

More seriously, Sir Nicholas Stern used to be the chief economist of the World Bank. That certainly lifts any suspicion about intentions he may have.

One could deem that Sir Stern was a wolf in sheep’s clothing but also that he was more credible than the most competent of environmentalists. Here lies a true Marketing recipe in fact that when the message is worth conveying, it is more important to voice it through credible or influential people (so-called opinion leaders) than using the most competent of dedicated professionals. This job of convincing and changing public opinion is possibly the most important of all. Al Gore also understood that a wonky powerpoint presentation could land the message that hundreds of true experts before him had repetedly failed to convey.

A true Marketing lesson, delivered this time for the common benefit.

notes

  • notes on the economic impact (Source: the BBC, Stern review at a glance)
    • “extreme weather could reduce global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1%
    • a two to three degrees Celsius rise in temperatures could reduce global economic output by 3%
    • If temperatures rise by five degrees Celsius, up to 10% of global output could be lost. The poorest countries would lose more than 10% of their output
    • In the worst case scenario global consumption per head would fall 20%
    • To stabilise at manageable levels, emissions would need to stabilise in the next 20 years and fall between 1% and 3% after that. This would cost 1% of GDP”
09/15/08

ROI study sheds light on conference benefits (2)

This is part two of our article on web conferencing ROI based on the Frost & Sullivan and WebEx document dedicated to the return on investment for web conferencing services.

In part one of this article
, we have established that the main benefits which can be derived from web conferencing are not forcibly those that seemed obvious at first sight.  The prominence of the productivity factor is obvious.

However, one still has to build a business case around that and try and estimate how much productivity can be derived from the usage of this ICT tool, and what impact it can have on either sales, profits, or even other business factors such as the investment of this productive time into other activities which in turn can generate either more revenue and profits or even lead to a leaner organisation.

> read on at this address on the Business Value & ICT blog

09/10/08

ROI study sheds light on web conferencing business business benefits (1)

it’s not just GREEN IT …

It’s not just with Green IT that ROI calculations are a must. Conferencing is very much at the centre of most discussions on that topic at the moment. I believe that Cisco’s much touted launch of its new telepresence system a couple of years ago has been very instrumental in putting conferencing – and video conferencing in particular – on top of the business agenda. The recent interest in environmental issues  (as in our new CO2 saving tool)  – no longer disconnected from business – has also triggered an outstanding revival in the conferencing market. Similarly, the accelerating pace of globalisation and the fact that business teams are now increasingly scattered across different regions is no longer a subject for the likes of Charles Handy (who warned us more than 13 years ago that virtual organisations were our future) but a reality that almost all knowledge employees have to live with and a potential opportunity that the most nimble of us can leverage. No doubt then that the demand for conferencing tools is rising.

07/18/08

Wizeoz’s Stephanie Stewart reflects on social community launch

wiseOZ community / Social media gaming site
wiseOZ community / Social media  site

Setting up one’s company is a difficult task. Stephanie Stewart wrote this very honest and straightforward report of her new social media venture entitled WiseOz. I thought that this report would be very beneficial to all our readers who are thinking of creating a new business in that department and wish to know the do’s and don’ts of such an activity.

by Stephanie Stewart, Co-Founder of iThinkWorks LLC and WISEOZ.com

This story starts like any other. Girl reads book. Girl is deeply inspired by book. Girl and boy jump head first into to the super competitive social community space. Well, I’m that girl. Now, fast forward to 10 months from when I first picked up that book and my partner and I are 90 days into the launch of our first social community.

I have for you what I learned in the first 90 days of the social community space that I must be stupid enough to share. These lessons are not intended to represent the lessons of everyone in this space. They are certainly personal to my experience and, in some cases, may be entirely unique. Regardless, these are the lessons I have gained and the observations I have made 90 days into this journey. Where some may consider it stupid to divulge such lessons (and so early on), I am sharing this with anyone and everyone that has the desire to follow their dreams into the social community space or who is already deep in it.

1. Your theme song and mantra will dramatically change
Just like every other team of entrepreneurs, my partner and I had a theme song which represented our mantra. Leading up to the launch (which was exactly 13 days late due to a million other lessons that I could write a book about) and a few weeks post-launch, we rocked to Rage Against The Machine’s “Renegades of Funk” … No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop us now! Well, days go by and the struggle to find one’s audience takes its toll on the psyche. A homemade mantra, “Breakthrough before breakdown”, keeps us going these days.

2. The guy who wrote the book will just try to sell you something
The book I read (which shall remain nameless) preached all about the emerging social community space. It taught, it inspired, it encouraged, and it even invited the reader to contact the author (who happened to be an angel investor himself) with ideas. Well, we did just that and were quickly given an offer (one could easily refuse) which was more like a consulting agreement with ridiculous fees for this and that to bring our idea to investors. This lesson was indeed the most disheartening of all.

3. Operations is the most important thing you will never have time to always be doing
My partner and I happened to pick a high maintenance concept that requires a tedious amount of day to day operational activities to continuously build and manage custom games and contests. If we’re not around, the WISEOZ.com world will fail to revolve and members will get antsy. We found very early on that operations will always come well before strategy and growth. It’s an unfortunate but true reality for a self-funded venture, as we are.

4. MySpace is a viral wasteland of marketing opportunity
Albeit tedious and primitive, MySpace marketing is a strategy or ours and many others. We set up a MySpace (and Facebook and Twitter) page for WISEOZ.com at the suggestion of some of our well-informed members. Little did we know how that trolling through the millions of MySpace pages and groups to find new members is actually a marketing strategy and not such a bad one at that. You can spend hour upon hour weeding through MySpace users based on their interests, demographics, and whatever other personal information they reveal and it will cost you nothing but time. This is a tedious but addicting activity that happens to produce the occasional new member which eventually leads to more and more new members through word of mouth. Not a bad marketing strategy if you’ve got a zero dollar budget and a good stomach for bad web pages.

5. The devil is in the minutia, and by that we mean customer service
Aside from day to day operations, we have managed to distinguish ourselves for our customer service. It was likely born from new entrepreneur syndrome (similar to new mother syndrome in that you just can’t put your new baby down) but has evolved into a sort of customer-driven customer service. Over the past 90 days, we’ve gotten to know several of our members on a personal level, their dogs, their kids, their accomplishments, their struggles, and more. We listen well and respond even better. In fact, it’s not unheard of to see us in the chat room for most of the day responding real-time to member requests for this and that special feature. Keeping our existing members satisfied and engaged comes first and foremost. No matter how cool your gadgets or fancy your widgets, your social community is only as good as your least satisfied member. All in all, it’s one thing to know your demographic, it’s quite another to know your members.

6. When the going gets tough, friends and family are nowhere to be found
My partner and I don’t have a huge network of friends nor do we have large families, but we do have enough to potentially offer a vast amount of support. Unfortunately, that has not been the case in our case. We have members from Seattle to Australia that will talk the WISEOZ talk and walk the WISEOZ walk completely unsolicited but we don’t have a single family or friend that will take the time to join our community and show their support. This might be a more personal experience, and I might be struck by lightning when I walk out the front door this morning, but it is true nonetheless and may be true for others in a similar position. It’s an odd phenomenon that the people closest to you can sometimes be your worst supporters.

7. Signs do occur but you’ll never quite understand what they really mean
My partner and I were ecstatic when FairyGodMom, our first paying member arrived just 2 weeks into launch. She didn’t bring with her dancing mice or a pumpkin coach, but she arrived nonetheless. Then, just over 2 months into launch, lightning struck my home (where else do you put your data center when you’re self-funded) and took out our connection to the world. The site was down for about 20 hours, members were in a panic, and we were trying to read the signs. We are still trying to read the signs.

8. Not every click is created equal
Within the first few weeks of launch, we gave Google AdWords a freshman try. In some cases, we paid upwards of $10 for a single click. On a $10 daily budget, it’s disappointing when one click produces nothing more than a bruise to your bounce rate. Shortly after, we stopped Google AdWords and found that our bounce rate dropped from a whopping 60% down to a respectable 15%. With paid advertising out of the question, we’ve resorted to a heavy dependence on word of mouth and homegrown viral marketing techniques. It’s a slow climb but forward progress is being made every day.

9. This business of social communities is not so social at all
Call us naïve but right out the gate we went looking for a mentor. It seemed the right thing to do at the time. We learned about other sites our members frequented and pursued relationships with them. We saw synergies all around us (maybe those were stars in our eyes) and know the market is big enough and broad enough to allow for such synergies. Unfortunately, we quickly found that those with investors run the furthest and farthest, the fastest. We have yet to find a competitor that is self-confident enough to consider a mutually beneficial or mentoring relationship. This is the part of the social community space that isn’t quite so social at all. In the end, site statistics will tell you you’re small but it’s your competitors that will make you feel that much more tiny and insignificant.

My partner and I carry these lessons forward into our next 90 days in the social community space with heavy hearts, thicker skin, and blood shot eyes. For those that find themselves dealing with similar circumstances, we hope we’ve offered you some insights that may assist you on your venture or maybe in comparison you’re doing much better and my article made you finally realize that.

Stephanie Stewart is the co-founder of iThinkWorks LLC, a start-up that identifies and develops products and services focused in and around online social communities. WISEOZ.com is iThinkWorks’ first social community project. WISEOZ.com is a free contest-based and interest-oriented community where members win prizes, participate, socialize, and connect through play-as-you-please games (“WiseWits”), interest-based social networks (“Circles of Interest”), and establishment of an online identity (“My Ego”). You can e-mail her at stephs@ithinkworks.com.

05/30/08

golden rules for corporate blogging: preliminary questions (2/3)


Watercolor - Antimuseum - Avant La Pluie - Yann Gourvennecpreliminary questions

First and foremost, define the purpose of your corporate blog even before you start writing the first line.  What is the objective of this blog?  Is it about awareness?  Is it intended for you to share knowledge with the community?  Is it there to show that your corporation and its experts are particularly good at something?  If you are able to answer any of these questions, then you should also know what and how to write in it. Of course, it is possible to maintain a blog just to talk about the weather.  But at the end of the day there are very few chances that this is going to benefit your corporation.  Eventually, not only  will this make your blog ineffective, you may also run the risk of losing your management support.  It is particularly advised to target your blog as if it were a standard information vehicle, through a carefully chosen niche strategy.

It is also recommended to create a blog per activity, rather than one that mixes up different subjects.  This will increase the community effect and make it a lot more efficient.  Think about starting small rather than launch upfront as many blogs as you have domains that you’re dealing with.  It is much more desirable to have two or three blogs which are successful rather than a hundred which are not.  Besides, don’t forget that blogging could be time-consuming.

How much time should be devoted to that exercise? And by whom?  This is probably the most crucial question.  If the blog depends on an individual then it can also become a mind-boggling question.  Very often, bloggers who do this for leisure, give up after a while or once they have moved to a more time-consuming job for instance and their free time vanishes or is considerably reduced.  This is one of the reasons why a lot of blogs disappear after roughly a year of activity.  When it comes to corporate blogging, things are theoretically easier because experts are plentiful and it is possible to pool expertise and form expert-teams so that experts aren’t all busy at the same time. One can therefore establish rosters for the blog to be maintained on a regular basis by different people.  Even on the open Internet, this is one of the most effectual methods which I have found in order to keep the blog alive in the long run.

Ideally, expert teams for corporate blogging should comprise six to seven bloggers, or maybe more (although it is dubious that there are going to be more than six of seven people who update the blog on a regular basis).  Should some of these experts move jobs or tire of entering posts on the blog, do not hesitate to bring in more experts and change the team.  Ideally there should be somebody in your corporation in charge of facilitating the team and helping them. A facebook and bios of the experts on the ‘about’ page can also work wonders. It increases personalisation and establishes credibiity. Besides, it addresses the point that the blog isn’t a flog (i.e. Fake blog, a blog written by some advertising agency or fake professionals/experts).

If you want to attract more than 50 visitors per day, at least three to four hours of work will be required every week.  Once again, if you’re getting yourselves organised in expert teams, the amount of time that each individual would spend every week on the blog is going to be limited, although it won’t have any impact on the quality and update of the information produced.  A minimum of one article a week has to be delivered for the blog to merely exist, but do not expect much if you can’t produce at least three to five each week.  Once again, if your team is made of six or seven high-grade experts, this should not be a real problem and should not be too time-consuming. All these people also need coordination, the corporate and marketing teams should cater for that.

Lastly, do not forget that blogging is not an end in itself, but just a means to an end.  However, if it is well-managed, it can be tremendously successful with regard to the objective which you have set at the beginning of your approach (see above).

blog post classification

Let’s classify the type of content that you can find in a blog along four main categories:

  • firstly, the easiest type of posts, let’s begin with those articles which contain lists of links and resources. All you have to do is to add a link to another article, a tool or other reference material, video etc. and establish a link with your activity and add a comment. Please note that articles which do not contain a personalised comment are an absolute non-starter and should be excluded at all cost. Besides, even if it is brief, any comment should contain added value to make the post worthwhile. On average, you should reckon that this type of articles will take up 30 minutes of your time,
  • Secondly, it is possible to enter articles whereby your experts will comment on news or events and even possibly seminars. In the corporate world there are a lot of these business seminars going on. My advice for this is to publish comments and notes taken during the seminars and presentations. Very often this kind of posts is very successful and brings in a lot of added-value content. Besides, other participants to the seminar event will also be using your minutes and/or linking to theirs. This is also a very practical way of enabling those people who haven’t been able to attend the event to benefit from the content which was produced at that time,
  • The third type of article which you could post are those one could call reference articles, whereby you will give your expert advice and opinion. These are probably the most gratifying ones for an expert, those which would establish his/her expertise in the most transparent fashion, but they will also be more time-consuming, and despite the quality of their content they might not be the most successful ones. However, this paradox should not stop them from producing this kind of articles, on the contrary. Once again, do not attempt worldwide fame with niche expertise, it is much better to be well positioned on that niche which will make you and your corporation visible in your ecosystem,
  • Lastly, there is what I would entitle best practice articles. These are the ones in which experts are going to define and describe, for instance, the 10 Golden rules for doing this or the other, the five most common traps which you should avoid etc. They might not be the most profound of articles, but they will work wonders since online visitors are keen to find them on the Internet. This kind of article is also going to bring returning visitors, and track-backs (i.e. Other blogs linking to yours).

Last but not least, it must be added that a good corporate blog should comprise a mixture of these classes of posts.  The blog in which you will have only lists of resources, or reference articles, or even Best practice articles could not be very successful in the long-term.