February 28, 2006

Blogs Aren't Mini-Websites. They're Powerful Tools.

published this at 10:36 am

PART 1 IN A SERIES

Personal Computers as Tools

In Companies
When personal computers first became standardized and affordable, and software for using them was readily available, it wasn’t that long before they were sitting in every office. The ability to push rote tasks down to the lowest level has always been a strength of an effective business. Taking advantage of computers to do that–calculate spreadsheets, retype and revise documents, generate mailing lists–was an immediate no brainer for business folks focused on productivity. It wasn’t long before Information Management and IT became terms, then whole departments.

Personal computers changed how we work. They changed how we organized information, how we stored it, and share it, and even how we thought about it. Businesses–some more quickly than others–recognized that the computer was a tool of great value.

In American K-12 Schools
Schools, on the other hand, didn’t see the computer as a tool. They saw it as a subject, a class called Computer. Its highest honor was the day it replaced the class in touch typing. Even now in some prestigious New England high schools, the college prep strand kids still only officially see computers in the mandatory class called, “Computer Applications.”

It’s worth saying again. Schools don’t see computers as tools–like pencils and paper and textbooks or desks. Granted this a is gross generalization, but as an entity, Amercian K-12 schools can’t see past the contraption to take full advantage of its uses. The problem is not one of resources; it’s one of not enough folks feeling the need for them.

Blogs as Tools

Now companies and the mass media are acting like schools did. They see the physical blog and not the uses for it. They stop at the idea of what they think a blog is. Just as the school who sees computers as another subject, companies often see the contraption–blogs as another form of website, possibly as a way to do viral marketing.

We’re all missing that blogs are technology too.

The beauty of blogs is they are a flexible tool. The technology allows them to be that website and so much more–intranet, team project site, email replacement, advertising platform, billboard, company picnic, conduit to ideas, real connection to customers.

What Every Company and School Should Know

What most non-bloggers should know is that the number of both public and private blogs will continue to grow. They will outnumber websites based solely the fact that the expertise required to run a blog makes it inevitable. Small businesses start blogs because they already know that blogs are more flexible–can do more things, more easily, more quickly, and for much lower start up costs.

We owe it to our readers and our customers to to let them know that a blog isn’t just a poor person’s website.

If you want to add value to a business relationship, share that information with someone who needs it.

Let’s talk about how many ways blogs can be used. What do you see when you look at your blog as a tool?

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related articles:
Part 2–Blogs: The New Black in Corporate Communication
Business, Blogs, and Niche-Brand Marketing
Chicago Goes Wi-Fi . . . What Does that Mean to Business?
Marketing Strategy ala Mickey Mouse

Filed under Business Life, Marketing /Sales / Social Media, Strategy/Analysis, Successful Blog, Tools, Trends | 20 Comments »


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20 Comments to “Blogs Aren't Mini-Websites. They're Powerful Tools.”

  1. February 28th, 2006 at 8:22 pm
    Martin said

    I see my blog as the foundation of my business (and actually, it is!) – from there I connect with potential customers and start building relationships with each and every one of them.

    It’s also my shopfront, my marketing dept. and my customer relations dept. all rolled into one.

    As you said, Liz, it’s a “real connection to customers”

  2. February 28th, 2006 at 8:29 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey, Martin,
    Your blog is a shop front, It even has a welcome mat and the feeling that I can stand there and talk to the owner about my book.

    It’s also your business card and your credibility. I go there and it seems like I’m in a brick and mortar building that’s got exposed brick interiors and a great conference room.

    Liz.

  3. February 28th, 2006 at 8:37 pm
    Martin said

    I learn from the best … you! That’s the whole vibe I’m trying to develop there and #1 is to respond to every comment and engage in conversation and go where the readers want to take it.

    I’ve learnt more from my readers comments over the past 2 weeks than months of research.

    The ultimate goal of business is repeat customers so for blogging it’s turning visitors into loyal and continuing readers.

    Get the atmosphere right and you’re half way there

  4. February 28th, 2006 at 8:58 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Martin,
    You just said so much. It IS about the conversation. Isn’t it? If I spend my time–and I don’t have that much–who does?–going from blog to blog reading, I want to talk about what I’m learning.

    I want to find out if your seeing what I’m seeing. Maybe you’ve had some more ideas that I’ve not even gotten to that’s where the conversation can take us. The blog post is just the beginning.

    The atmosphere is what makes the conversation possible. I want to feel like I can talk without people thinking what I say is weird or that I’m crazy.

    I go to some blogs. You’ve probably seen it happen where someone will say something and be totally ignored. It’s happened to me. People sometimes talk right past me. It doesn’t feel right. I ended going back less. Then not at all. I feel I don’t belong there.

    A great blog is a magic combination of new ideas, conversation, and welcome atmosphere.

    Liz

  5. February 28th, 2006 at 9:23 pm
    Martin said

    Well, you’ve just about summed it up there, Liz – can’t really add any more.

    I hear you about going to some blogs and being totally ignored – a real pet hate of mine. It tells me the blogger in question doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to converse or engage so I simply move on never to return.

  6. February 28th, 2006 at 9:26 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yeah, here’s another cool one.

    I can’t even stand it when the blogger is talking to me and ignores someone else. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

    Liz

  7. February 28th, 2006 at 9:33 pm
    Martin said

    If someone else was commenting here I would have showed you an example of that – but it’s just you and me, oh nice one :-)

    I see that happen a lot at the bigger blogs (by bigger I mean ones that get lots of comments). The blogger will ignore 2, 5, 10 comments and only respond to one that might interest him.

    I’d rather see them maming no comments at all than doing this.

  8. February 28th, 2006 at 9:39 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Yes, I’ve seen that happen too. I’ve had that happen to me. I suppose it happens to everyone.

    (No, it only happens to you, Liz. Damn, I was afraid of that. Quit talking to yourself in public. Okay.)

    It’s just rude. I often wonder if those blogger do that same thing in public when there are real people around. I’ve decided that they probably do. They must be unaware that they are doing it.

    Liz

  9. March 5th, 2006 at 9:38 am
    Bright Meadow » Sunday Roast: you’re gonna love it! said

    [...] It’s never to late to come to the party – Liz has a great post all about how blogs are tools. [...]

  10. March 6th, 2006 at 2:01 am
    Educational Technology and Life » Blog Archive » Blogs Aren’t Mini-Websites. They’re Powerful Tools. said

    [...] Blogs Aren’t Mini-Websites. They’re Powerful Tools. (Via Successful Blog.) ME “Liz” Stauss: “The beauty of blogs is they are a flexible tool. The technology allows them to be that website and so much more–intranet, team project site, email replacement, advertising platform, billboard, company picnic, conduit to ideas, real connection to customers.” There is more here worth reading, too. Personally, I need to put some effort in being able to get this point across to non-bloggers. [...]

  11. March 7th, 2006 at 10:44 pm
    Successful Blog said

    [...] Related articles: Why MSMS Are Afraid of Blogs and Should Be Chicago Goes Wi-Fi . . . What Does that Mean to Business? Blogs Aren’t Mini-Websites. They’re Powerful Tools. Blogs: The New Black in Corporate Communication Technorati Tags: A listers bloggers blog networks David Starling enterpreneurs Five Forces leadership Michael Porter MSM Scot Karp social bookmarking [...]

  12. June 25th, 2006 at 11:02 am
    CB said

    A blog as a “shop front” – that’s a powerful image!

  13. June 25th, 2006 at 11:57 am
    ME Strauss said

    You see where I’m going. I think there is a powerful seminar on this blog. I need help pulling it out to tell the story.

  14. July 18th, 2006 at 7:05 pm
    Successful Blog - Right Brain Creative? Business Needs You said

    [...] Related articles Why MSM Are Afraid of Blogs–and Should Be Blogs: The New Black in Corporate Communication Blogs Aren’t Mini-Websites. They’re Powerful Tools [...]

  15. August 12th, 2006 at 10:09 am
    vaspers the grate said

    I love this post, it crystallizes vague thoughts I have been mulling over recently. Even businesses thought personal computers were just “toys” at first. It took business a long time to go from word processing and spreadsheets to intranets and CEO blogs with web conferencing apps.

    Telepresencing and other forms of entering into relationships with customers will separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Businesses that balk and play dumb about blogs are almost entirely of one mindset: all they want to say is “Buy my product” and all they want to hear is “Love your product”.

    That’s the only conversation they want.

    But there are a few companies, Edelman, GM, SYNNEX Canada, Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis, etc. who do sincerely wish to engage in conversations.

    They will win, while the arrogant selfish anti-consumer firms will vanish.

  16. August 12th, 2006 at 12:47 pm
    ME Strauss said

    I agree those who fear the customer and the conversation will be left behind as the rest of us move on.

  17. April 1st, 2007 at 3:49 pm
    Franck Silvestre said

    A blog is really powerful. I wonder if I will ever build static html sites in the future. I takes forever to update, while writing a post in your wordpress blog is a snap.

    I really like blogs since they give me all the time to focus on my marketing.

  18. April 1st, 2007 at 6:21 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Franck,
    I follow exactly what you are saying. I think the more we can spend time on our thinking and less time on our tools, the better off our businesses are. :)

  19. June 11th, 2007 at 2:22 am
    santhosh said

    I agree with that welog s are powerfull tools

  20. August 30th, 2007 at 5:58 am
    Interruption 3: Two Questions About Blogs and Your Business - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] February 2006, I posted that blogs are technology. At the time, I didn’t take the idea as far as I might. But I’ve been thinking about [...]

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