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BOOK REVIEWS

Jo Mackiewicz, Editor

Illinois Institute of Technology

PUBLISH & PROSPER: BLOGGING FOR YOUR BUSINESS

D. L. Byron and S. Broback. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2006, 188 pages. Reviewed by J. A. McArthur, Clemson University

DOI: 10.1177/1080569907305141

“AREN’T BLOGS JUST a way for people to talk about their cats and family vacations?” Byron and Broback respond to this question with a telling answer: “Not anymore” (p. 5). Blogging, a practice now 8 years old, is making its mark on corporations, products, and consumers. In their book, Publish & Prosper: Blogging for Your Business, Byron and Broback encourage businesses to enter the blo- gosphere to reach a growing and active audience. Engaging with this text allows readers to hone their ability to incorporate blogs into successful business practice. Byron and Broback’s work compiles advice generated by their near-decade’s worth of experience as successful bloggers. The two are among the cofounders of the Blog Business Summit and maintain successful business blogs. At 188 pages, their book is a concise and informative read that employs some of the same strategies they pro- pose for use in the blogosphere. Their tips are short and categorized by topic. Most sections contain visual examples of blogs that currently use these strategies. That the authors have consulted for big businesses and that those businesses have employed the authors’ strategies successfully give the text extra credibility and increase its value. Each chapter manifests the strategies for successful blogging that the authors present. The table of contents, for example, contains nearly 150 entries. These entries direct readers throughout the book in the same way that a “categories” sidebar on a blog allows users to navigate through the posts with ease. In the first chapter, “Meet the Blogs,” the authors make a point to organize their thoughts by read- ers’ experience with blogs. They begin with the history of blogs, types of blogs, and an appeal to business people on behalf of current

Business Communication Quarterly, Volume 70, Number 3, September 2007 393-403 © 2007 by the Association for Business Communication

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bloggers: “The easiest way to learn about blogging is just to jump in and start paying attention to the blog world, and then to start partic- ipating” (p. 20). Their advice: Start now. After the text makes readers determined to join the blog world, it becomes a resource that answers many of the most vexing questions about blogging. Chapter 2, “Determining Your Focus,” and chapter 3, “How Much Blog—and How Often?” give visual examples of the simple improvements that create usable and aesthetically appealing blogs. The authors use examples from blogs maintained by businesses such as Boeing, Skype, McDonald’s, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and Apple. These examples from big businesses may seem daunting to the small business owner, but the authors use them to show the best practices in business blogging. In these chapters, the authors present their strategies in terms that can be understood by blog veterans and novices alike. They include charts and graphs to help people in busi- nesses of all sizes assess their needs, and they provide resources to help readers find the style of blog that will best fit their goals. Chapters 4 and 5 (“Designing for Readers” and “Tools and Implementation”) delve into the most technical jargon presented in the book. Discussions of “syndication feeds” (p. 65), “trackbacks” (p. 71), “software systems” (p. 85), and “pings” (p. 94) offer readers an introduction into the terminology of the blog world. In addition, the authors suggest, based on their experience, the best practices on each of these topics. They frame these best practices around the goals of individual blogs rather than advocating the use of favorite products or specific systems. This tactic is important in that it appeals to business owners wary of Internet frauds and unsure of how to begin. Additionally, it confirms the practices of successful bloggers and reminds them of key things to consider as they continue to update their blogs. The remaining chapters (“Writing Your Blog,” “Launching Your Blog and Getting Noticed,” and “Monitoring and Managing Your Blog”) deal with the blog content in terms of writing, advertising, and maintenance. Byron and Broback give guidelines for finding successful content, gaining user support, and interacting with blog- gers online. Furthermore, they offer tips for encouraging conversa- tion and thus increasing Internet presence.

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The work concludes with a future-focused chapter, “Beyond Blogging,” which predicts a shift in Web design. The authors argue that the structure of blogs that they have outlined will become more common. They also argue that companies can employ blogs along- side current marketing strategies to improve the quality of their cus- tomer service. Based on their experience with corporate use of blogs, it is very hard to deny the possibility of these assertions. Publish & Prosper: Blogging for Your Business is a guide for forward-thinking businesspeople who would like to incorporate blogs into their business plan. Byron and Broback provide an affordable book (approximately US$20.00) for businesses at all stages of development that informs experienced and novice bloggers and soon-to-be bloggers. Businesses that blog or want to try blogging will benefit from this user-friendly read. One suggestion that I have for the authors is to include a list of their own blogs. With such a list, readers could visit the authors online to see the best practices in action and engage the authors in dialogue. That said, the authors’ blogs are easy to find using search engines. Readers can visit one of the authors’ joint blogs relevant to this text: the Blog Business Summit, available at http:// blogbusinesssummit.com. This blog testifies to the applicability of this book’s strategies for businesses of all sizes.

Address correspondence to J. A. McArthur, Clemson University, 205 Strode Tower, Clemson, SC 29634; email: jamcart@clemson.edu.

BRANDING UNBOUND: THE FUTURE OF ADVERTISING, SALES, AND THE BRAND EXPERIENCE IN THE WIRELESS AGE

Rick Mathieson. New York: Amacom, 2005, 244 pages. Reviewed by Lauren Minors, Clemson University

DOI: 10.1177/1080569907304834

“SOMETHING COOL—and very important—is happening on the wireless frontier,” says author Rick Mathieson in the first chapter of his book Branding Unbound (p. 33). With the recent explosion of new wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SMS, and OnStar, corporations now have new challenges to face as well as a wealth of