I've gotten a couple comments and emails on my last post that I want to address. The first one is,
"There seems to be a built-in assumption in your article that "blog consultants" are just implementers. "
Good blog consultants are definitely more than just implementers. They strategize and help companies figure out how blogs can best be used for their business. But given the problem of "how can group A communicate better with group B", blog consultants will generally come up with blogs as a solution. Community experts will recommend an online forum as a solution. Ditto with a wiki expert, a social networking expert, and the future experts in whatever new nifty tool comes along. Ad agencies provide strategic services, but -- what do you know -- recommend an ad campaign as a solution. Online marketing firms will recommend online strategies as a solution. Hint: if the name of the tool is in the description, then you're going to get that tool recommended as the best solution to your problem.
I'm not bashing experts. We need people out there who deeply understand the tools and how to use them. My personal role in this emerging grassroots ecosystem (and a couple others I know like Jerry Michalski) is to
- be familiar with all the tools available,
- fully understand the specific challenges that the company needs to be addressed,
- consult on big-picture culture shifts that need to happen before applying any technological solution,
- bring new ideas to the table, and
- recommend the most appropriate tools and experts for the job.
If blogs happen to be the right solution, I'll recommend a blog consultant like InsideBlogging or Debbie Weil. If a community forum appears to be the best solution, I may recommend an expert like Jake or a vendor like Informative. Ditto for marketing… even with my agency background, I'm quite likely to tell a client to cut the ad budget and focus dollars on loyalty and referral programs. I consider myself a "tool-agnostic" strategic resource. Hey, everyone's got their niche.
Next comment is:
"Consultants like you will do well to answer questions like "How do I start testing hammers safely in my company?"
Assuming you are already familiar with all the tools available and have decided that blogs make sense for your business, your best bet is to go directly to a blog consultant. Or, for those people who participated in Brand Humanity seminars, I'm compiling the best wisdom I can find from the experts and passing it along on a monthly basis (or more frequently, depending on what's happening). And, of course, offering thoughts of my own. Within the next 30 days I'll be launching an education platform that will feature a number of gurus in this social tech space; more on that later.
And now that I've written this post, I really need to recategorize all the posts in the "weblog" category to "multiloguing." I've been procrastinating.