Listening to the Blogosphere

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_This article is by Guest Contributor Kate Trgovac, reporting from the “BlogOn”:http://www.blogonevent.com/blogon2005 conference. Here she shares some of her notes on the “Listening to the Blogosphere” panel._
Moderated by Elisabeth Albrycht of Blogging Planet, a discussion on how companies can listen in on the blogosphere to hear what customers are saying.
Key points covered:
Don’t look at it as “just blogs” – Randall McAdory from DaimlerChrysler comments that enthusiasts for your brand or product are extremely influential – regard them as such.
When queried about the tools used to monitor conversations, Mary Hodder (CEO of Bloqx) shared the following:
* Track Google News alerts about your product/brand,
* Use deli.cio.us links for your product
* Set-up custom search phrases on BlogPulse, Bloglines, and Technorati
* Watch the Feedburner Feed stats for your RSS feed (one of the few tools available that monitor feed stats)


Hodder suggested that news alerts and search queries be set up for your competitors products as well as your own. Also, at this time, she cautioned that these custom searches need to be set up on all major engines. Each has its own database and its own method for building the database (e.g. some spider the full content of a blog while some only index the RSS feed).
Monitoring the blogosphere can be a time-consuming prospect. All speakers recommended that companies learn how to do so well-before a crisis hits.
Jackie Huba, author of “Creating Customer Evangelists” commented that she has seen a few clients implement early adopter or evangelists programs. One of the panelists also mentioned a Community Manager position. This was actually something that was mentioned quite frequently across the day – establishing a position to work with folks in the blogosphere, a Chief Conversation Officer.
The main focus during the Q&A was about dealing with the general fear and reluctance for companies or brands to enter the blogosphere and enter into genuine authentic conversations (another key message from the day) with their customers. Hodder summed it up best, “Look, if, as a company, you don’t want to hear from your customers, then you have a larger problem then how to get into the blogosphere.”
_Kate Trgovac is currently Manager, Web Evolution for Petro-Canada. Prior to joining Petro-Canada, Kate spent eight years developing user experience strategies for clients at several interactive agencies in Toronto. She writes about technology, branding, user-experience and other topics of note on her blog “mynameiskate.ca”:http://www.mynameiskate.ca/ ._

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