Long Post cos I liked this video: Robert Scoble has a blog called Scobleizer. A book called Naked Conversations:How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers (with Shel Israel) From Amazon

Robert Scoble helps run Microsoft’s Channel 9 Web site. He began his blog in 2000 and now has more than 3.5 million readers every year. Scoble’s blog has earned acclaim in Fortune magazine, Fast Company, and The Economist.

But seriously, read the book if you must, but watch the video. Yes its an hour long: I watched it all the way through THREE times. He didn’t say anything new, but he said it so well. Particularly A) How to consume blogs and feeds B) why blogging got hot and C) How to engage the blogosphere. Throw in issues like being found in search engines, why every company should podcast, and why word of mouth is more powerful to PR than traditional media, and it’s a compelling video.

I know y’all are lazy, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version. Or is that Blogger’s Digest?

Tools – read Techmeme which follows the posting behaviour of 2000 top bloggers, their keywords and their linking behaviour. If they are blogging about a topic and linking to each other, you should be aware of that topic. Follows linking AND content. Google Reader. Scoble reads 550 feeds per day. In the video he shows you how to consume that much content without bloating. Basically scan the feeds and look for:

  1. an author you trust,
  2. a heading that is meaningful,
  3. pictures/logos/videos, and
  4. indents or layout changes.

Scoble then shows how to SHIFT-S to add to a link blog. If you have 600 blogs talking about say, the new Apple iPhone, just link blog 2 or 3. Most are simply saying “cool, I want one of those”. Social Media is about relevancy (the old context is king saying that everyone now uses) and grabbing attention.

Search – most people only know their search bar. Most searched for word on Google is Yahoo. Most searched word on Yahoo is Google. Only 3% of people click onto second page. People want to be on that first page – buy your way on (30% click on a sponsored link) or build through relevancy. One way to get on the first page is to post every day. Second way is to link to others.

The world is the size of this room. When Scoble quit Microsoft, he told 15 people at a conference on a Saturday. They weren’t A-List bloggers and he told them to not tell anyone else until Tuesday. By 7pm the news had leaked. The first person to blog it wasn’t someone he knew but the blog posts about him quitting doubled every 5 minutes. By the next morning, BBC, Associated Press and Wired were on the phone. In three days his resignation had made 50 million media impressions. Word of mouth network is hyper efficient now. I thought he made a great point (around the 15 minute mark) that there are discrete social networks online. For example the blogosphere is one, YouTube another, Flickr another. He then goes on to discuss PR – that for 20 years, companies have been pushing out messages – pitching, presenting, fighting to be heard. Now it’s time to listen.
In fact he says straight out about blogging: learn to listen to this world. Don’t just dive in and try to blog. Read, digest, subscribe. THEN make comments on other’s blogs. It’s all little steps. Start with refining your search terms – search for your company name with “problem” or “sucks” next to it. Also search for a product and “blog”. He makes a great point that Google.com is a relevancy search engine whereas Google Blog Search is a time search engine (blogs posted recently at the top).

Once you know what the conversations are about your products then build your skills in comments, which is much lower risk than writing your own corporate blog. However, try to move onto corporate blogging sooner rather than later. Links back to your site and relevancy and uptodate information is what pushes your corporate site to the top of the search engine. (Reminds me of why I don’t like SEO that tries to queue jump).

In fact he spends some time in this video explaining why pay per post won’t work and will move bloggers down the search page. He calls it gaming, or cutting in line and talked about splogging. I was interested to see that Google will change the AI to read duplicate headlines, posted within a short time of each other, by people who visit a known pay per post URL site will be penalised.

So a list, in order of priority of how to engage the blogosphere:

  1. read blogs, subscribe to them.
  2. start to comment on blogs
  3. write a blog
  4. enable comments
  5. enable permalinks, linking back and forwards
  6. publish feeds.

Another list – 5 reasons why blogging got hot:

  1. Easy to do. Not a HTML expert. Blogger, wordpress.com.
  2. Discoverable. Tell people about it. Ebay had zero hits first day. Now there are Pingservers – on google blog search immediately. Technorati. Spiders find you.
  3. Conversational – not waiting for end of month ISP report of links to your site
  4. Each post has a permalink – direct address. Easier to email around. Link to ppl – more viral.
  5. Syndication. RSS and XML

One tough (but true) piece of advice was: Understand RSS and XML. Information consumer doesn’t want to go to your web page anymore. I don’t ever want to go back to your webpage. He makes the point that the Google Ads won’t make any money if you RSS all but partial feeds just annoy. (you can embed ads in RSS now, right?)

The end of the video is about podcasts and how to get them seen and heard and why you should.

I might edit this post later and link to a bunch of interesting sites he mentions such as Twitter, BeachBox, ZeFrank, and so on. Hope this helps. 🙂