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This actually is a question I have thought about quite often, especially after having spoken with companies who do not use blogs as they fear that people could write something negative.

End of March we launched a blog at ZHW School of Management. Before we launched the blogs I had very interesting discussions with some of my colleagues, most of them having been very critical about my idea to launch a blog. They came up with lots of stories about companies having had bad comments on their blogs, people writing all their anger in blogs, etc. and they kind of tried to convince me not to launch this blog (were they scared about seeing bad comments about themselves?). To be perfectly honest I had some doubts, especially after all those negative feedback, but we still did it and guess what happened?

Not one negative comment about lecturers or courses, but more and more students and lecturers being interested in using this new media and posting their experiences: study trips, humour, funny stories happening at school as well as interesting articles from Alumni sharing their experience about their life back in business. I don’t say that we never will get any negative comments on the blog it probably will happen, but I am quite surprised and happy about how the blog has evolved and how suddenly people at school have discovered that they have a voice and there are other people out there listening to them.

There are not a lot of comments to a post though, but the amount of readers increases by the day. Last month we had about 200 readers a day, which is not a huge audience but still 1/6 of all our students are reading the blog. Not to bad for a beginning.

So why do people fear blogs? There indeed are some bad cases about bloggers spreading negative word of mouth via blogs, but anyway, people speak with each other and spread the word. If a company is using technology correctly and is willing to adopt its authoritarian style of communication, if it is willing to listen to its customers and get involved in discussion it can build up trust and a virtual relationship with its customers. And if there are some bad blogposts floating around they can respond to them within no time and can get their view out into the market.

Any experiences or thoughts on that?

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Last Friday an online marketing workshop called: PUNCH ABOVE YOUR WEIGHT took place in London. Small companies have learned how to create a good story that connects them with their customers and use the web to build their presence online.

Dr. Alan Rae, Managing Partner of Ai Consultants (www.howtodobusiness.com), Dr. Lisa Harris, Senior Lecturer at Brunel Business School (and my PHD supervisor), Dr. Fintan Clear, Lecturer at Brunel Business School and Jas Dhaliwal, MBA student at Brunel Business school and successful author of the blog called “the web pitch” (www.thewebpitch.com) have organised this workshop to teach small companies how to use the web 2.0 tools.

I found this workshop very interesting and I am sure the others did too. It is impressive how small business can present themselves online and use online networking tool to connect with business partners and clients. The second workshop will already take place mid July. More information can be found on http://www.howtodobusiness.com.

Congratulation for your first successful workshop!!

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