Friday, November 04, 2005

Blog Globally, Comment Locally

I’ve been on a very involved business trip for the past two days, hence the absence of posts. I'll make up for it with a little longer than the usual post. You’ll want to bookmark this one though, as I’m sure you’ll find it useful--it includes a little about strategy and a little about tactics, so here we go.

Strategy first.

"Where do I begin?" is a common question for marketing professionals figuring out corporate blogging strategy. Starting a corporate blog can be daunting. Just remember sorting out corporate blogging objectives starts by realizing there are two types of corporate blogs (that you can actually control, that is):

- Customer-facing blogs (these engage the customer)
- Inward-facing blogs (these engage employees with each other)

We'll talk about 'watchdog' blogs and 'whistleblower' blogs in another post…

So, as you begin working your corporate blogging strategy and execution, there is something you can do immediately to have an impact on the task:

Start commenting today!

Participate in the blogosphere by commenting on posts (a blogger’s entries are called ‘posts’) in other blogs. This will engage you (or other “smart people” in your organization who assist you) in relevant conversations, expose people to your ideas, and result in comments about your comments. This can happen well before you turn your blog loose on the world. People will already be familiar with you because of your comments.

Go to the blogs where your customers (or target customers) hang out, and start commenting on blog posts today. If you don't know where these blogs are, use tools like Technorati or Google Blogsearch to search for them. You'll find ones to start with easily enough.

Now for tactics.

As for entering the comments themselves, you’ll find in the different blog platforms a wide variety (a.k.a. ‘dearth’) of editing capabilities for your comments. To make your comments more unique and visually appealing, several of the editors support the use of HTML tags in comments.

If you came back from that link all intimidated, please don’t freak out and think you need to be an HTML guru in order to ready your ideas for the prime-time blogosphere. Just use this simple reference (NOTE: this is the part you'll use if you bookmark this post) to enhance the content of your comments from a readability and richness standpoint:

- To produce bold text in your comment, enclose the text with a <B> and a </B> like this: <B>bold</B>

- To produce italicized text in your comment, enclose the text with an <I> and an </I> like this: <I>italicized</I>

- To produce underlined text in your comment, enclose the text with a <U> and a </U> like this: <U>underlined</U>

You can also combine formatting tags, like this:

- To produce bold-italicized text, enclose the text with a <B><I> and a </I></B> like this: <B><I>bold-italicized</I></B>.

When making a comment, you will often want to include a hyperlink to another web page (my blog RSSPundit for instance). This tag is a little more involved than a formatting tag, but it's not too difficult. Here’s what the RSSPundit hyperlink tag looks like:

<A HREF="">RSSPundit</A>

Here's how to create the hyperlink in your comment:

1. Type <A HREF=" followed by the ENTIRE URL you'll want to jump to
2. Immediately after the URL, Whatever you place between the "> and the </A> will appear as the blue-underlined hyperlink text in the comment (RSSPundit in the example)

While it seems a bit involved, once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll easily get the hang of it. Also, take advantage of the Preview option most editors provide. This will let you check your work before you send your comment to 'the point of no return.'

Give it a try by creating a formatted comment in response to this post.


At November 06, 2005 8:11 PM, Anonymous Ryan P said...

It's true that commenting can be intimidating, especially if you don't know a lot about what is being disucssed, but once you jump in and get your feet wet it becomes easier to do in the future.

Thanks for the quick tutorial on some basic HTML tags, it's been VERY helpful. :)


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