If you just said to yourself, “the blogo-what?” then “Naked Conversations: How blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (Wiley, $24.95) might be a book you need to read.
The title speaks volumes about the authors’ hypothesis: Blogging is an efficient, credible tool that allows companies and customers to interact in an honest, unfiltered—i.e. naked—way.
Scoble and Israel back up this contention with more than 50 case studies, starting with a look at how Microsoft used employee blogging to replace its evil empire reputation with a more human face. Sprinkled throughout are tips, advice, lots of background information, and a number of caveats, such as who shouldn’t blog—the dull, the cheesy the thin-skinned—and how to do it wrong.
Blogging has the potential to be a powerful marketing tool, but the keyword here is potential. The few marketers who have made the leap still are feeling their way around. This book doesn’t provide all the answers, but it does raise questions about how blogging can fit into a marketing plan, or more precisely, how marketing fits into the blogosphere. “In our vision,” write Scoble and Israel, “blogging changes marketing more than marketing changes blogging.”
—Tracy A. Gill