My inbox today included a note about the release of a book called Business Blogs: A Practical Guide, by Bill Ives and Amanda G. Watlington.  Ives and Watlington interviewed seventy bloggers, across a wide spectrum of blog types, formats, and content.  They've analyzed and synthesized this into a 200+ page book which outlines the ways to make business blogging a successful tool.

For example, here is some of their advice from chapter 4, "Connecting with your market":

.. Provide quality, relevant, and honest content
.. Provide a mix of content on a regular basis
.. Focus your content to support your business
.. Offer your blog as an extended resume
.. Develop credibility with your readership
.. Monitor other blogs in your field
.. Take responsibility for where you link
.. Develop and enhance communities through your blog
.. Be open to the associations and connections in the web
.. Use your blog to try out new ideas
.. Practice reciprocity with other bloggers in your field

The nice thing about this book is how the recommendations are proven out with literally dozens of supporting statements.  I'm quoted reminding writers as to the huge population of "lurkers" that all blogs attract, for example, and to bear them in mind when writing.  In my case, my lurkers include competitors (and their PR agencies :), reporters, industry analysts, customers, business partners, and personal friends.  If I took all of these audiences into account every time I wrote something, I'd never write!  Still, it's good to bear in mind that the people who comment on the blog represent only a small fraction of the readership (though I'd be happy to hear from a lot more of you!).

I'm flattered to be considered expert enough at business blogging to have been interviewed for this book.  My commentary in the case study is unvarnished... a few of you might be uncomfortable by some of the statements I made, but I've said similar things here and in other places as well.  Of course, I'm only one of 70 opinions you can read in this book...which means that I hardly consider myself authoritative.

If you are trying to figure out where blogging fits in your business, this book would be well worth a read.  You'll learn a lot about blogging opportunities and successes.  It's also instructive to get to know the prominent bloggers through reading the 300+ pages of case studies.  I've already picked up a few new RSS feeds just from my first read-through of the book, and I know I'll be adding more to both the reader and blogroll, soon.

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