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In this two-part series, I analyze the steps for planning and implementing a corporate blog. The first article, on planning a blog, examines the key decisions on subject, mission, audience targeting, market survey, blogger selection, securing a corporate champion, and making the "go" decision.

This second article, on implementing a successful business blog, dissects the steps of selecting development tools, working out a content plan for launch, making a debut, developing a style and personality, handling responses, monitoring consumer discussion on your subject, and enjoying the process.

Herewith, nine tips for implementing and launching a blog.

Tip #1: Select tools/location/hosting service

Most bloggers use online services to create and publish their blogs. All the services provide the necessary tools to easily create a blog, write regular postings to it, and make your blog postings available for viewing on the Web. The following are the most popular services:

  • Blogger (www.blogger.com) is Google's free blogging service.

  • LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com) from SixApart is a free blogging service, largely used for creating personal journals.

  • Typepad (www.typepad.com), another service from Six Apart, is used by many business blogs.

  • Movable Type (www.sixapart.com/moveabletype/) provides more advanced site design and development capabilities.

  • WordPress (www.wordpress.org) is a personal publishing platform for bloggers who want more sophisticated features.

Instead of creating a blog within one of the free public services, many companies host employee business blogs on their Web domain. Examples:

  • Sun Microsystems: blogs.sun.com
  • General Motors: www.gmblogs.com
  • Microsoft: www.microsoft.com/Communities/blogs/PortalHome.mspx

Homegrown blogs require substantial technical support from a company's IT department.

Placement in search engines, links from other blogs, and publicity are the key methods to generate visits to your blog.

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Bill Comcowich is president and CEO of CyberAlert (www.cyberalert.com) and has been developing and producing interactive multimedia communications programs for Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years and has 10 years of experience in public relations.