Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learn to Blog: Three Books Show You How (Part 3 of 3)

The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) asked me to review a handful of books on blogging.

Here's review number three (review one: Problogger; review two: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging).

Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. By Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, 251 pages, $24.95.

If your corporate clients are having trouble seeing the value of hiring you as a blog writer or consultant, consider citing one or more of the case studies in this book.

Naked Conversations is all about convincing businesspeople why they should blog. The authors (Scoble runs the enormously popular use real-life examples to illustrate the business-related benefits of good blogging and the perils of bad blogging.

While some case studies went into more detail than I needed (Microsoft: I’m glad blogging helped you elevate your public image), I particularly liked the chapter on why blogs go wrong. For example, inauthentic blogs cause companies to quickly lose credibility among customers online. I’m glad I missed the McDonald’s Lincoln Fry blog, which the company quickly canned after members of the blogosphere labeled the blog about a French fry resembling president Lincoln as incredibly lame.

This book reminds readers that blogging is two-sided communication, where businesses engage and respond to customers compared to the traditional marketing model of talking at people.

Use the lessons in Naked Conversations to both build your own blog community and help your corporate clients create a more meaningful and powerful connection with their customers.

Also reviewed: Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income (I hear they just came out with an updated edition.)

Also reviewed: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Learn to Blog: Three Books Show You How (Part 2 of 3)

My previous post explains why I recently reviewed three books on blogging for the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). Here's book review number two.

The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. By the Editors of The Huffington Post, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2008, 230 pages, $15.00.

Sure, this book offers helpful hints on what to blog about and a Glossary of Blogging Terms (troll: “a disruptive commenter bent on making trouble on a site”), but it stands out as the most entertaining of the three books I reviewed, partly because it contains actual blog posts--political rants, funny observations--from the famed HuffPost.

The book also points to multiple examples of how blogging has advantages over mainstream media because of its immediacy (instant publishing), shared community, personal nature and platform for covering or uncovering stories that mainstream media ignores or, even better, doesn’t know about.

While this book offers basic advice for launching a blog, there’s not much detail on the nitty-gritty technical side of actually getting started and running a blog. Instead, pick up this title for an enlightening, entertaining and inspiring look at how the blogosphere is reshaping the media, and why you should start or keep blogging.

Up next: Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing The Way Businesses Talk with Customers.