Monday, October 22, 2007

Review: The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil

Debbie Weil is a corporate blogging expert, online marketing consultant and speaker. She consults with large companies, CEOs and senior executives on how to create blogs that connect with customers and attract media attention.

And I know this because the above text is the entire title displayed in your browser when you navigate to her site,

As to how true this is, I couldn't tell you. She's one of the advertised speakers at the upcoming Blog World Expo, and while a Google search for "corporate blogging" doesn't list her site on the first page of results, it does list her book: The Corporate Blogging Book. It's subtitled "Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right".

Unfortunately, it's not. It is, however, a good introduction to the subject.

Like just about every other corporate blogging source in existence, this book about corporate blogging is aimed at the manager or CEO of a company. Either the company is considering starting a corporate blog and needs to know more information, or they know next to nothing about corporate blogging and want to know what it's all about. Or they are misinformed about blogging altogether and don't think blogging is relevant for their company.

The book covers, roughly in chapter order, basics about what blogging is, what corporate blogging is, some corporate blog examples, some fears about blogging (time and legal issues, mostly), CEO bloggers, the ROI of blogging, some blogging basics, some blog technology basics, and making the case for blogging to your boss.

Perhaps it wasn't a good idea for someone as immersed in the blogging world as me to have read the book. There wasn't anything new in it that I hadn't read a dozen times over on popular blogs already. It's merely a convenient collection of introductory ideas suitable for an airplane ride. Which was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping that "absolutely everything you need to know" would include a lot more than that.

Regarding the ROI of blogging, one of my pet peeves is that most people speak about blogs in terms of number of hits to the blog, which is not really a useful metric for a corporate blog. Ms Weil kind of manages to convey this in the ROI chapter, but not forcefully enough. Too many of her examples still laud those blogs that become sensations in their own right. Funny how no one ever talks about the metric of a site's FAQ as being a destination site in its own right; only that it contain useful information and cut down on support calls.

Judged entirely on its own aims, which is to sell corporate blogging to companies by means of a simple offline introduction to the topic, it's good enough. But no more.

You can find more about her book on the book's site.



Gavin Schmitt said...

The interface between blogging and books is a very interesting, if not totally defined topic to me. In some ways, I think Blogs make _better_ books, because they invite conversation (via comments), are searchable, and offer the author the opportunity to grow their work within (and with the help of) a community already interested in and knowledgeable of a topic.

This alone makes books about blogs lackluster and (aside from informing the out-of-touch) essentially irrelevant to the community.

I don't mean to bash books entirely. Printed text is easier to read, and by their physical nature you can read them in any situation (as long as you have light). They are intrinsically portable and permanent. These two aspects lend their contents a sense of credibility difficult to capture in blogs -- which makes them ideal for teaching purposes.

However they are an entirely different format, much as magazine articles are entirely different from them. And I think transitioning the socio-economic meaning of a blog, and the nature of blogging community loses something when it is done outside of the actual community...

Yehuda said...

I suspect that electronic books will have to make inroads one day. It's just impossible that they won't.

I've read some darn good books about the Internet, so I was hoping for more in this book.


Gavin Schmitt said...

Certainly, and I agree that eBooks aren't there yet. They certainly don't have the power to grab attention / consumer awareness. I just think, in the case of blogging, there is a fundamental community aspect, which is difficult to capture in conventional media.