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Friday, December 31, 2010

Readers Tell BusinessWeek How to Blog Better

Readers Tell BusinessWeek How to Blog Better

Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek's popular Blogspotting blog published this June 4 request:
"In a meeting with the people who contribute to our 29 BW blogs, online executive editor John Byrne said that the goal is to create the business and finance site with 'the deepest and most meaningful engagement' with our community. 'It matters more than anything else.'

"It's not entirely clear to me that counting comments is the best way to measure engagement. But none of us came up with a better idea. Any suggestions?"

In the week since then, commenters have posted many suggestions, resources and insights, including these:

Joe Pemberton: "Tracking links (not just trackbacks) from short URL services (, bookmarking sites (Delicious) and mentions on Twitter a better gauge of how relevant blog content is."

Leighsah: "I don't think [comments are a good measuring stick] unless the readers can vote on others' comments. Sometimes I don't have anything to add to another's comments, but I want to voice my support. Other times I think the comment must have been written by the original poster's mother and is so off-base I can't believe the comment was even written. Either way, sometimes I don't have the time to write a response but would like to voice my support or opposition."

Jay Deragon: "Your blogs should be distributed through multiple points of attraction such as Linkedin groups, Twitter, Facebook Groups, Stumble Upon, Ning-centric platforms, related topical media blogs, etc. Distribution ensures attraction if you put the content in context to the audience."

Joseph Manna: "Turn over a bit of editorial control to users with [customer feedback system] UserVoice. I would think it would be nifty if BW leveraged UserVoice to allow tips, suggestions, hate mail and other commentary to the editorial team so they know what content people are dying to see. When you write about, respond to the suggestion and mark it as 'completed.' It might just be a great experiment that sticks."

Kyle Austin: "I think there needs to be more chatter on your end about how these blogs interact with what you're doing with [the Businessweek collaborative resource site] Business Exchange. I go to the categories there a lot and a lot of the BW blog content hasn't been added under the categories. Use that as the first aggregator and then leverage Digg, StumbleUpon and everything else."

Chrys Wu: "What about rethinking content and coverage? For example, you write it's hard for you to decide which [BW] blog to publish a post in because the differentiation is so minute. Imagine what readers miss cause they can't tell either, and randomly choose one blog over the other..."

Niti Bhan: "I know I stopped bothering to comment after the last design made the commenter's name static rather than a hyperlink. That's part of the give and take in conversation and community in any social forum, the ability to find out whom you're talking to and with."

Jon Garfunkel: "I've been here from the beginning (2005). And I'm sorry to say I moved on. The comment moderation just made it not fun, and the weblog layout makes it heard to read older stories."

... I was glad to see that Baker participated in the comment thread and acknowledged many specific suggestions. He indicated there would be a forthcoming "lessons post." It'll be interesting to see which, if any, reader comments eventually are tried.

In the meantime, online publishers should read this complete comment thread. The ideas are good and are a great example of why and how to ask your online community for input on how you serve them via your site and elsewhere.

source: poynter


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