A blogger who calls himself “The IT Skeptic” begins one post by calling one technology a "dead elephant’: a great putrescence in the corner of the room that everyone studiously ignores, stepping around it and ignoring the stench…”

Sound over the top? Well, consider that this blog on CMDBs (configuration management databases, which store information about complex networks and other computer systems to help companies manage them) popped up second in a Google search on CMDBs, right after the Wikipedia definition. That’s the kind of attention you’d like for your corporate blog, but his over-the-top intro is only one reason he got and kept so many eyeballs.  

After hooking people with his outrageous opener, he backed it up with actual stories about failed or flawed CMDB projects and the very specific challenges he faced in them. He challenged readers to think about whether CMDB software can automatically “discover” all the components they should; whether they can track the ever-changing relationships among those objects; and the difficulty in sharing information among all the CMDBs now required to track all of an organization’s IT “objects.”

Finally, he cited third-party references and links to other sources – including CMDB backers as well as other bloggers and trade press reporters – so the reader could form their own judgment. That showed the skeptic keeps up with the field and is open-minded enough to hear other points of view. In other words, he’s open to a conversation, which is good for a vendor because it gets potential customers talking and (not incidentally) comments and links to a blog boost its visibility to the search engines.

You probably don’t want your product managers and marketing folks calling their competitors dead elephants. But you should encourage them to blog about customer deployments, specific shortcomings in competing products, and actual examples where conventional wisdom is wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, they’re walking around with a lot of this knowledge in their heads. If you don’t encourage and help them to blog about it, you’re leaving the field to the skeptics – and your competitors.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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