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August 03, 2007

Return of McKinley's Blog Watchdog

The Blog Watchdog is back for another month. Sign up for the McKinley Matters newsletter to get this column and others from the talented consultants at McKinley.

Blog Etiquette: After three years as a blogger, I've learned quite a few things -- mostly by trial and error -- about how to write an engaging blog. While I'm not Hindu, I am a firm believer in the concept of blog karma. If you are a decent human being and write about what you love, people will participate in your conversation in the blogosphere. Still, there are some subtleties to conducting yourself properly in the blogosphere and earning blog karma points. A series of four posts from the Australia-based Dipping into the Blogpond is probably the best roundup on the customs and etiquette of blogging. Here's the introduction.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is playing a high-stakes game. Its members (and their members’ customers) will determine whether they will win or lose. E3, the ESA trade show that developed a tenaciously loyal following amongst video game enthusiasts (E3 on Wikipedia), was re-invented this year to focus more on the business of gaming and the executives who are the trade association's core customers. ESA toned down E3's ostentatious and sometimes bawdy festival atmosphere to make the event an invitation-only affair for the sector's largest companies. The decision was made to cater to the industry's business elites, but it's the ravenous and enthusiastic end users who have been negatively affected. The tenor of blog posts by gamers about E3 is almost universally negative. What would you do in this situation? Cater to the C-Suite or the end consumers?

Here's another dilemma. Your association wants positive word of mouth. Perhaps you've informally identified a few influential “mavens” that you provide with the very latest association information in hopes that they'll talk to other members and constituents about it. Or maybe you're doing this on a more formal basis. Suddenly, one of them becomes an outspoken opponent of your association's position on an issue. What do you do? Is there an implied contract that the maven is to not speak ill of the association? This is the association version of a situation that two quote-unquote evangelists found themselves in when they created a rap about Chicken McNuggets. Read all about it at Church of the Customer.

Nick Senzee turned me on to a post by Seth Godin that might cause a Chicken Little episode for some in the association community. Online Community Organizer is Seth's first featured "Job of the Future." Seth has this way of writing stuff that can't be put any better, so I'll just let you read what he wrote: "What if you want to hire someone to build an online community? Somebody to create and maintain a virtual world in which all the players in an industry feel like they need to be part of it? Like being the head of a big trade association, but without the bureaucracy and tedium..." Bureaucracy and tedium. Sounds like associations have an image problem. Associations are essentially off-line communities, so it's a natural to extend our reach to online communities. Does your organization have a strategy to cultivate an online member community? Is it working?

To continue the discussion on any of these topics, post your comments. Got feedback or a tip for a future column? Contact Ben at bkmcae at gmail dot com.

Full disclosure: I am a paid freelance writer for McKinley Marketing.

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1 comment:

Meg said...

Hi Ben

Many thanks for the shout, and all your great tips in the first place :)

Still in your debt for suggesting co.mments. I wouldn't be without it now!