Book Review - Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies by Susannah Gardner
Since I've been blogging (http://www.twduff.com) for quite awhile, this is almost like reading a book to see if you're doing anything wrong. Still, Susannah Gardner does a good job with Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies (Wiley).
Part 1 - Getting Started with Business Blogs: Checking Out Business Blogs; Discovering the Buzz about Buzz Marketing; Building a Business Blog
Part 2 - Setting Up a Business Blog: Picking a Blog Solution; Setting Up a Hosted Blog; Taking Control with Independent Blog Software
Part 3 - Minding Blog Etiquette and Culture: Understanding Your Audience; Joining the Blogosphere; Avoiding Business No-Nos
Part 4 - Positioning Your Blog: Finding a Voice; Promoting Your Blog; Staying on the Right Side of the Law
Part 5 - Making the Most of Your Blog: Adding Value to a Blog; Making Money with a Blog; Going Beyond Blogs
Part 6 - The Part of Tens: Ten Dry-Spell-Breaking Ideas; Ten Traits of a Good Blogger; Ten Blogs You Should Know
Part 7 - Appendixes: Glossary; Using the Book Blog; Hosted and Independent Blog Solutions; How URLs Work; Case Studies; Index
Based on the title of this book, you'd probably assume that this is geared more for the business use of blogs. And in a significant sense, it is. But that's not to say that the serious personal blogger won't learn a number of things here. Gardner does a good job of taking the reader from "what is a blog" through the reasons they can be very important, and finally ends with the things you need to know to keep your blog fresh and inviting. You'd probably figure out many of these rules on your own, but the blogging world can be unforgiving. Make a mistake involving deception, and you may never get your audience back. Have your blog be nothing more than press releases, and no one will show up.
She also does a good job of bridging the theory and the practical. In addition to all the knowledge you need to understand blogging, she also takes you through some potential blogging software choices and shows how you'd use them to set up a blog. Granted, it's not a comprehensive instruction manual on how to install and configure any one blogging package, but the reader will get an idea of what it takes.
I also mentioned it's a good book for the serious personal blogger. I use my blog to share information with various audiences, but it's also a personal marketing tool. Therefore, many of the same "rules of the road" that she covers apply to me. I'm concerned about finding my voice and style, how to attract readers, and knowing whether or not my audience is getting value from my writings. While I've learned much of what she writes about on my own, I'd have come much further much faster if I had this book a couple years ago.
Good stuff, and highly practical. A very good selection to give to your boss if s/he wants to investigate the subject. Just make sure you explain that "For Dummies" isn't personal...