CINA Panel on Blog: What It Can Do For You

Sean Murphy is on a panel at the CINA Technology/ Innovation Program tonight (Thursday March 15, 2007). He joins expert bloggers Zoli Erdos and Henry Lu in discussing how to use blogs to benefit your professional and personal life. They will share with you their successes, walk you through the maze of online blogs, and provide tips for developing a plan to start blogging.


Blogs are now ten years old. Some early tools were Xanga (96), OpenDiary (98), Pyra (99) LiveJournal (99)

What are they?

  • A blog allows anyone to create and update a website without having to learn HTML or hire a webmaster.
  • Normal organization is reverse chronological (most recent at top) with permalinks (links that don’t expire or get overwritten with completely new content).
  • Blogging systems allow you to reedit or update an entry, the permalink stays the same but content is updated.
  • Blogging systems also encourage asynchronous conversations by allowing readers to comment on an entry and by tracking what other blogs have referenced or commented upon an entry (ping/trackback)

Uses for Blogs

  • Websites for small firms or consulting firms
  • Intranet departmental and project sites
    • These are a useful alternative to e-mail for audiences inside your firm.
    • Each blog entry comes with a permalink,
    • You can include by reference instead of copying text from other e-mails
  • Nonprofit and open source sites
  • Caveat: every successful system invites parasites; you must install comment spam blockers.

Tips on Blogs

  1. Seth Godin outlines what makes a good blog post:
    “An appropriate illustration, a useful topic, easily broadened to be useful to a large number of readers, simple language with no useless jargon, not too long, focusing on something that people have previously taken for granted, that initially creates emotional resistance, then causes a light bulb to go off and finally, causes the reader to look at the world differently all day long.”
  2. Map out a calendar of subjects to cover. Just planning one or two a week for the next 2 months will help you avoid writer’s block. This still leaves room for “inspired” work but can give you some structure.
  3. Tie it to something topical. Write about events you have attended:  talks, conferences, seminars, trade shows, etc.
  4. Read blogs for several weeks before you actually write one. Some good places to look for good blogs include
  5. Pick a set of topics that are relevant to your business and stick with them. Create a second personal blog if you want to offer non-business related writing. But keep your blog focused on your business and topics that are relevant to your customers and prospects.
  6. Shorter and more frequent is better than longer and less frequent: 200 to 400 words is a useful length. A shorter post that just makes three points is also useful, providing there is a connection to an issue that’s relevant to your intended audience. You should try and post at least once a week.
  7. Add your own insights and point of view. Don’t just rehash other articles, blog posts, news stories; add your own perspective and provide context. Compare and contrast other perspectives. Stay practical.
  8. Titles are important: keep them short, use words familiar and relevant to your readers
  9. Always provide links for your references and citations where possible. This increases your credibility and makes your blog more useful. Remember that you are writing hypertext, and it’s quicker for your reader to follow your link to an article than have to go to the top of another site and search from there (or re-enter text into a Google search).

See also Ten Tips For a Better Weblog ( by Rebecca Blood

Upcoming Workshops

Peter Cohan’s Create and Deliver Surprisingly Compelling Software Demonstrations Thursday, March 29 8am-12noon, San Jose $120
This is an interactive workshop with Peter Cohan. Bring a copy of your demo and be prepared to present it.

SKMurphy’s Getting More Customers

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8am-12noon, San Jose early bird $160/ After April 3 $200. We will cover a variety of proven marketing techniques (including blogs) for growing your business: attendees will select two or three that fit their style and develop a plan to implement them in their business in the next 90 days.

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