SXSWi 2008: "The Future of Corporate Blogs" panel notes

These aren’t the tidiest notes, and I even failed on jotting down exactly who was speaking but there are a few useful points in there… Thanks to Lionel for the insight on how Dell dealt with feedback in the early days.

The Future of Corporate Blogs

Lionel Menchaca @ Dell

Monitor the blogosphere and listen. In 2006, 48% of feedback was negative comments on the web
Social media plan with the blog was to address this issue in public, ie. when the batteries exploded

Sundar @ LinkedIn
Comments policy should be open, Google don’t have an open comments policy
It should be a 2-way conversation

– Where are the communities? What do THEY need from my company. Find the sweet spot where what they want and what we want meets

Measuring relationships
– What would success be?
– Look at competition as benchmark
– Measure engagement
– Analytics, subscriptions
– Comments to post ratio

Find what the community wants
Listen, analyse then act on the feedback

Find out about problems via listening post means insight on the problem 2-3 weeks before they become call drivers at Dell
IdeaStorm is a digg-style system for ideas that could improve the experience of the users.

IdeaStorm resulted in a Linux version of the laptop being released on short turnaround (3months?) instead of usual 9-12 months cycles

You should be aiming to solve problems faster for your customers

Both responding early on and sorting out: Need to change the company culture of having a fully formed answer before responding. It’s fine to say thanks for flagging that up, we’re looking into it, then responding more fully later. It shows a sense of care and urgency. Incremental release of information is a way of managing crisis.

Make everyone respond, not just the blogger/pr/marketing, if it takes a developer, then so be it. It’s your job as community link to push that. Humanise a company by being willing to say sorry.

Create an internal feedback wiki to help everyone get the fuller picture when problems reoccur, internal support method. Help change the company culture to be customer-focused.

How can we serve our users faster? Better?

Question from the public: How can you maintain your own brand while working for a corporate blog?
Bring the team together, don’t become the only person writing, bring others on board and facilitate the communication. That way the company will have multiple faces, not just yours.
(Not sure I’m satisfied with this answer, but I guess it’s part of the answer…)

Question from the public: What about SEO?
Don’t focus your blog around SEO, it’s a by-product but the blog should be about thought leadership, customer focus.

One thought on “SXSWi 2008: "The Future of Corporate Blogs" panel notes

  1. Dave Fleming

    Thanks for sharing your notes!

    My business partner and I have been trying to launch a Social Business Model that more conscientiously addresses the issues surrounding UCD, employee compensation, customer support, honest feedback, and encouraging more public facing blogs. The information you share indicates that at least some people are beginning to realize the worth in promoting more open dialogue as a bridge to learning more about how we can all help each other make things better. It is almost too simple too believe in, but it’s true- opening up forums to share more, ultimately leads to more progress. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually fit the corporate models where profit analysis is the bottom line- not customer support via open, honest channels of communication.

    Hopefully, all this might change someday if enough of us really care enough to promote the unpopular notions peace and dignity.


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