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Blog tips from ‘The Corporate Weblog Manifesto’

February 18, 2005

Robert Scoble, of the Scobleizer (I am not worthy), has published The Corporate Weblog Manifesto, a full copy of which can be picked up over at Change This. Change This is a very cool project which collects manifestos on all types of ideas from the innovators of this world. It’s heavily dominated by marketing, not geek stuff, so even I can understand most of the reports.

Corporate blogging to me means a blog with more of a bent towards pushing a product. Though professional marketing blogs published by lawyers covering a niche area of the law or locale are slightly different, there is a lot to be learned from Scoble in this report. But heck, there is always much to be learned from the guy. Here’s some highlights of what Scoble said in his Corporate Weblog Manifesto.

  • Tell the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth. If your competitor has a product that’s better than yours, link to it. You might as well. We’ll find it anyway.
  • Post fast on good news or bad. Someone say something bad about your product? Link to it — before the second or third site does — and answer its claims as best you can. Same if something good comes out about you. It’s all about building long-term trust. The trick to building trust is to show up! If people are saying things about your product and you don’t answer them, that distrust builds. Plus, if people are saying good things about your product, why not help Google find those pages as well?
  • Use a human voice. Don’t get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to cleanse your speech. We can tell, believe me. Plus, you’ll be too slow. If you’re the last one to post, the joke is on you!
  • Make sure you support the latest software/web/human standards.If you don’t know what the W3C is, find out. If you don’t know what RSS feeds are, find out. If you don’t know what is, find out. If you don’t know how Google works, find out.
  • Never change the URL of your weblog. I’ve done it once and I lost much of my readership and it took several months to build up the same reader patterns and trust.
  • If your life is in turmoil and/or you’re unhappy, don’t write.
  • If you don’t have the answers, say so. Not having the answers is human. But, get them and exceed expectations. If you say you’ll know by tomorrow afternoon, make sure you know in the morning.
  • If Doc Searls says it or writes it, believe it. Live it. Enough said.
  • Never hide information. Just like the space shuttle engineers, your information will get out and then you’ll lose credibility.
  • If you have information that might get you in a lawsuit, see a lawyer before posting, but do it fast. Speed is key here. If it takes you two weeks to answer what’s going on in the marketplace because you’re scared of what your legal hit will be, then you’re screwed anyway. Your competitors will figure it out and outmaneuver you.
  • Link to your competitors and say nice things about them. Remember, you’re part of an industry and if the entire industry gets bigger, you’ll probably win more than your fair share of business and you’ll get bigger too. Be better than your competitors — people remember that. I remember sending lots of customers over to the camera shop that competed with me and many of those folks came back to me and said “I’d rather buy it from you, can you get me that?” Remember how Bill Gates got DOS? He sent IBM to get it from DRI Research. They weren’t all that helpful, so IBM said “hey, why don’t you get us an OS?” Translation for weblog world: treat Gnome-Girl as good as you’d treat Dave Winer or Glenn Reynolds. You never know who’ll get promoted. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way over the years.
  • Be the authority on your product/company. You should know more about your product than anyone else alive, if you’re writing a weblog about it. If there’s someone alive who knows more, you damn well better have links to them (and you should send some goodies to them to thank them for being such great advocates.

If you are not subscribing to the Scobleizer by RSS feeds, you ought to be. He’s blogging the future for you.

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