Here is another set of questions that was put to me recently… well over a month ago to be specific. It might be too late for my answers to be internally useful, so I figured I’d post them here.
We’d like to get your answers to a couple of questions and your perspectives on blogging, as well any notable experience/comments that you’ve had from customers/partners on the positive impacts.
Here are a couple of questions for you:
1) How do you see your blog in terms of supporting/improving customer satisfaction? Critical? Useful? How so?
Since driving customer satisfaction is one of the primary reasons my team exists I see my blog as a very valuable tool. Through my blog I get a chance to:
• Quickly bounce ideas off a diverse set of readers to see what concepts live, die, or need more time to bake. Customers generally are pretty willing to tell you what would make them more satisfied and whether or not a particular process, program, tool, or feature would help.
• Highlight what other folks on my team and across the company are doing to drive customer satisfaction.
• Practice what I preach in terms of transparency and the value of having regular conversations with customers.
• Communicate broadly with key internal influential Microsoft folks. I regularly meet people in the company that read my blog that I would have never had a chance to connect with had I not been posting publicly. In other words… I never would have connected with them otherwise. Sometimes it means me giving them valuable information and selling ideas to them and other times they are able to provide me with great insight, alternative perspectives, and even prototypes (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2005/08/03/447449.aspx).
2) What specific content or media have you published that has generated the most interest and what kind of interest?
I wish I had a good answer to this question… then I would have a more popular blog. I am honestly shocked what blog entries I post that get the most attention and that others don’t garner much interest. The general rule is to blog about what you know where you can offer the most benefit to your community. But you can get a lot of attention blogging about stuff you don’t know much about as well. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2004/08/20/217992.aspx)
3) Do you track or measure interest?
I generally check the rankings when they come out. My blog hovers generally in the mid 40’s overall out of the msdn blogs. I also check to see what posts get the most interest and from what sorts of people. But I don’t have any sort of review goals around my blog that force me track meticulously. And even being in the top 50 on MSDN doesn’t make for very interesting stat watching.
4) What kind of customer response have you received, if any, about content on your blog and can you forward any of that verbatim to us for use in this article?
Here are a great collection of quotes I took at Tech-Ed last year about the value of Microsoft blogs. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2005/06/09/427276.aspx)
One of my favorite stories from my blog can be found here. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2005/03/29/403423.aspx)
Finally, (although this is very basic) for those who may read your comments and as people may be considering starting a blog of their own:
5) Why do you blog?
In addition to reasons listed above I’ve answered why I blog before. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2004/02/25/80274.aspx)
• It’s great personal information database. Now I can remember important parameter tests and never to drink goosehorn wine.
• Working at Microsoft does mean I can provide people with additional value by sharing with them deeper information about the product I work on than they would have had otherwise such as how to customize it. I know I’m helping people just from the useful google searches that lead people to me.
• If no customer ever benefited from blogs.msdn.com it has still become an awesome way for Microsoft people to share best practices with other Microsoft people they would otherwise never get to learn from. There has not yet been any internal web site that enabled this amount of best practice sharing. It should be a “best practice”.
I would also stress the importance for bloggers to listen as well as blog. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2004/05/13/131312.aspx)
Finally, I think blogs are one of the best modern tools available to corporations looking to get more transparent. (http://blogs.msdn.com/jledgard/archive/2005/01/04/346404.aspx)