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Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers Hardcover – 31 Jan 2006
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Scoble, a video blogger for Microsoft, and technology guru Israel have put together a bible for business bloggers. Drawn from their own experiences, as well as from numerous comments posted to their blog (http://redcouch.typepad.com/), they have produced a book with the conversational style of blogs. Starting with a brief history of –Word–of–Mouth– products such as the ICQ global instant messaging service and web browser Firefox, and placing blogging firmly in this context, they state that blogs are –Word–of–Mouth on Steroids.– Included are interviews with company bloggers from the technology industry, of course, but also from various other businesses. Scoble and Israel outline the right and the wrong ways to blog in a business context (e.g., don′t say anything you wouldn′t say directly to a client or the company VP) and provide basic advice on blogging generally and on related emerging technologies. The key points of the book are that blogs are better than traditional one–way marketing because they allow instant two–way communication with customers, developing a loyalty unmatched by other marketing endeavors. In fact, if a business doesn′t blog, its customers will abandon that company in favor of one that does. This book should be in all public libraries and academic business collections. Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green ( Library Journal, January 15, 2006)
For the past five years, Microsoft employee Scoble has maintained one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. Mixing personal notes with passionate, often–controversial commentary on technology and business, his blog is "naked" i.e., not filtered through his employer′s marketing or public relations department a key part of its appeal. In this breezy book, Scoble and coauthor Israel argue that every business can benefit from smart "naked" blogging, whether the company′s a smalltown plumbing operation or a multinational fashion house. "If you ignore the blogosphere... you won′t know what people are saying about you," they write. "You can′t learn from them, and they won′t come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation." To bolster their argument, Scoble and Israel have assembled an enormous amount of information about blogging: from history and theory to comparisons among countries and industries. They also lay out the dos and don′ts of the medium and include extensive statistics, dozens of case studies and several interviews with famous bloggers. They consider the darker aspects of blogging as well including the possibility of getting fired by an unsympathetic employer. For companies that have already embraced blogging, this book is an essential guide to best practice. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005)
"Scoble ... and ... Israel have put together a bible for business bloggers.... This book should be in all public libraries and academic business collections." ( Library Journal, January 15, 2006)
"...this book is an essential guide to best practice." (Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005)
"...essential reading...(would) highly recommend to anyone..." (Financial World, May 2006)
"...reveal a new (blogged) world that is challenging the traditional way of doing business." (LRP, October 2008)
From the Inside Flap
"Talk WITH me."
Today′s consumer craves human contact. We′re sick to death of voicemail. Menus of options that never offer the option we need. A deluge of carefully spun "information" designed not to answer our concerns, but to influence our decisions. Mechanical voices telling us our call is important to them even as they refuse to answer it.
We′re frustrated in our attempts to reach a live human being, and when we finally do, all too often it′s someone who barely speaks our language and only reads from a script.
It is so surprising that the consumer distrusts the corporation?
Into this charged atmosphere comes a phenomenon called blogging. It′s interactive. It′s informal. It′s peppered with misspellings, grammatical errors, and an occasional forbidden word.
It comes from a real person. And it allows the consumer to talk back.
Robert Scoble, author of the nation′s best–read business blog, and veteran consultant Shel Israel believe bolgging is already changing the face of business. They show you how employee bloggers altered the public′s perception of Microsoft. How an outspoken NBA team owner uses his blog to connect with fans. How small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike can benefit from blogging, and how failing to use it properly can be disastrous.
In the totally forthright manner that defines a good blog, Scoble and Israel are equally honest about blogging′s dangers. They examine the risk and how to manage them. And they have practiced what they preach. You′ll read comments they receive when they publish early drafts of this book on their own blog.
Traditional corporate communication is one–way, and customers are tired of being talked at. They want to talk back. This landmark book shows you how to let them, and why your business may depend on it.See all Product description
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The book is firmly aimed away from geeks (and consequently doesn't waste time on the sordid details of the RSS specification), and firmly aimed towards business owners and marketeers who want to communicate better with their customers.
Lots of good case studies of widely-read blogs, balanced out with some good analysis of what the succesful blogs have in common.
Now, if your intention is to set up a blog to communicate with your school friends and family members round the world, then this isn't for you.
If your intention is to improve your relationship with your customers, then it would be a good use of your time at get this. The material covered is very similar to that in "Blog Marketing (Jeremy Anderson)", but Scoble and Israel have a rather deeper coverage, and to me, their book is more succesful at conveying WHY blogging works, rather than just what to do (which is where the Anderson book concentrates.)
Oh, and yes, two months in, the direct revenue I can track back to my blog has paid for the book many, many, times over!
My advice is this: if you already are blogging, if your blogroll is full of prominent business references (people like Scoble himself, Guy Kawasaki, Chris Anderson, Seth Godin, GapingVoid.com, and the likes, you know, the usual name dropping), then you don't need this book, and most of its content will be merely anecdotical or, sometimes, boring.
On the other hand, it could probably be very useful for the clueless folk in marketing. But then they will not probably be very open minded about the ideas conveyed in this reading; and they won't even know about Scoble and Israel in the first place.
However, let me stress that this is not for lack of quality in the book itself, but because this book has somewhat missed its audience for the reasons above (obvioulsy that's my personal opinion only).
The one aspect of blogging that is not covered is 'How do you find the time to blog if you are a busy person?' - and if blogging is largely done by people with nothing else to do are blogs worth reading.
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