Syndicated Blogging – Don’t Be Where Your Readers Be

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Along with many of my blogging peers, we are syndicated across a number of CRM related properties. Sounds great, doesn’t it? More readership means more exposure for us. You might be surprised to hear me say that it isn’t all a bed of roses, though. In truth, I’m a big believer in the Social CRM mantra of engaging with your customers wherever they are. That could be in a community, but let’s be real…not everyone is going to have an online community.

In the case of blogging, the engagement is through the commenting system – and to a lesser degree Twitter. Twitter doesn’t really count, in my opinion, because of it’s loosely coupled relationship to the blog post (thru back links and 3rd party products). The real engagement has to happen, back and forth, through comments on the post. So, what’s the problem, you ask? Syndicated blogs have worse than loosely coupled relationships with the originating post.

It’s The Comments, Stupid

For the same reason that I don’t like dealing with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gist, etc. and etc., I struggle with the fact that comments on one of my posts could be scattered around the known Universe. I’m not even sure I know every place my post could reside, let alone know when a comment has been made at that location. There is simply no tieback to the originating post other than an inbound link. Not in a meaningful way (not even a pingback).

How can bloggers and content writers engage where their readers are commenting? Do we really have to spend all day hunting them down? Did anyone in the social media world bother to plan for anything they built? I mean, did they understand that we still have jobs, or are they hoping that new, clerical jobs would be created to support this disjointed social architecture?  It’s a great example of a non-strategic implementation of technology.

Let’s Go Fishing

I heard my friend Prem Kumar Aparanji mention something in our backchannel (yea, it’s secret!) about a protocol called Salmon. If a fish doesn’t make sense relative to blogging, then allow me to take a few moments to explain – because it’s a cool idea. The salmon protocol is all about unifying conversations regardless of where the participants are conversing. 

In my business, I try really hard to eliminate silos, or at least connect them. In the social media extension to relationships, the last thing we need is more silos. One of the disturbing trends I see in social media solutions is the come to my silo mentality while talking about social engagement. It makes no sense. So I was very pleased to hear that someone was actually working on a solution to this.

The concept is that when a blog post is syndicated, any comments that are posted to your syndicated copy will swim upstream to the originating post. Thus, the name Salmon. Now, the really cool part is that it doesn’t just swim upstream. Any comments on the original post also flow out to the syndicated content. And not just the posts originating at the original post, but also any comments from any other syndicated copy that have flowed upstream. That means that I can have conversations where I want to have them (my blog) and my readers can converse with me where they want to be (the syndication website).

To me, getting this right means that someone is getting relationships right. I can imagine the day when I bitch about having to jump from my CRM platform to my blog. Wouldn’t it be cool if this kind of protocol managed all the social conversations you might have within the platform that’s supposed to be managing your relationships? Imagine being on a contact record /page and being able to respond to a Tweet or a comment posted on a remote blog, syndicating your content, and have the response actually reach that contact where they’ve chosen to engage with you. I can’t wait! Is it even coming?

We’ll see how much resistance it gets from the sleepy footed giants who fear change yet want to make a difference somehow. Maybe someone will make the Social CRM protocol. It’s all about relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Mike, you nailed it about one of the problems that syndication has created. Comment fragmentation is a real issue, but the technology is not there yet.

    Pre-syndication, bloggers struggled to get people to view their content, much less add comments. Each blog = silo.

    Now syndication is becoming commonplace. Good for exposure and generates more comments… but each web site is yet another silo.

    Sometimes solutions create more problems.

    Comments are indeed the glue that makes communities work. In the earlier days of blogging, pingbacks were used but they seem to be in decline.

    Salmon looks interesting, but it’s brand new. The spec was published earlier this year, and I’m not sure who is behind it. Next the spec has to be implemented. Our community uses the open source Drupal, and there are no projects yet.

    Another option might be comment aggregators like http://www.disqus.com/, but it requires everyone to switch and creates yet another silo.

    I think Salmon is the right idea. Comments (or at least links to comments) should flow to the source, and also to syndicated sites. Everyone would benefit. But it requires working code and everyone moving to support the protocol.

    Sometimes, Mike, technology really is the answer. Perhaps this is part of Web 3.0?

  2. Bob,

    Just putting in my voice to get this concept moving forward.

    Technology, in this case, is the answer to a problem created by technology. I think conceptually, we can all understand where things need to be before we’ve totally mastered social relationships. It seems that each day, someone points me to some completely new (and additional) source for some type of social content that I may like to interact with. The problem, for me, is that it’s not contextual to my existing or potential relationship with the person on the other end. It’s contextual to the silo.

    If you think about what we each do for a living, it’s generally not hunting down fragments of conversations. That’s just inefficient. Therefore, it’s now part of the “job(s) that we do” relative to social media and social CRM. So, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the innovator that comes up with the solution to the problem I just expressed (related to my job) – and not one silo at a time.

    I’m looking for a major platform (call it what you will) change that begins tying current and future SM and notso SM channels together into a way that can be plugged into relationship management tools. Otherwise, we’ll be creating jobs simply to manage the inefficiencies caused by social media and the social customer.

    If I can’t see my complete relationship with someone in front of me, how scalable is this all, really?

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

  3. The answer may be some form of VRM, which gives the individual power over their information.

    You’re correct in that the social media hubs, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and even CustomerThink, are just creating more silos to manage. But they do offer value, and they are free after all.

    There is a business model consideration, which you’ve implied and correctly so. Portals can’t exist without a profit, so it’s not enough to help customer do their “jobs” if the revenue can’t be found to support that.

    Currently publishing models are like most any other business, which means not very collaborative with other businesses. We need more many-to-many collaborative networks as part of the infrastructure of Web 3.0. It would help in this publishing case but in many other places where information needs to be synchronized in multiple places.

    Salmon may be a solution, but if not I’ll bet other solutions spring forth in the next year or two. Already we’re seeing Twitter feeds integrated in LinkedIn (and Facebook?) so comment feeds are a natural step.

  4. If that’s Web 3.0, then maybe my vision for CRM 2.0 (social) is actually CRM 3.0. At that point we may have to drop the social, or will that be Social CRM 2.0 🙂

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

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