Wednesday, March 26, 2008

phoning home to...your blog?

Blogger, itself a Google service, is using the newly-acquired GrandCentral online phone service to help you enhance your blog with phone calls and messages. Here's a post on Blogger's own blog about the service, which lets you post a button so readers can call you for free. You decide whether to take the call--which you can preview even as a message is being left--or record on voicemail. And you can choose to post voicemail, too, as a new form of content.

We see this as a powerful tool that gives your readers,customers or audience another easy way to interact with your or your organization--and provide you with the kind of content users love to generate. Some ideas we're brainstorming here at don't get caught take their cues for creativity from existing call-in options, such as customer service lines, talk radio and more:Ask readers to vote, with comments, on a new idea you've posted; promise their volunteer time or funds to a special cause; or express their appreciation for what you do. (Remember, in the case of donors, you can actually take the call and gather the information you need to secure the pledge.)
- Try a pledge drive or other call-in campaign using online phone service.
If you're experimenting with sound options like this on your blog, let us know and we'll share your findings with others. Email us at
- Create fun content. If you were the "Car Guys" on NPR, you'd ask readers to call up and make the noise their car makes, for sure. But you also could ask readers to tell you something interesting about how they put your product to work (odd locations used, how they wore it out -- or couldn't). Or put a celebrity on the line, and let listeners react.
- Use it to collect customer service issues--then answer them on the blog. Give your customers the chance to leave detailed messages, call them back with answers, then write up the resolution on the blog--perhaps including audio from the original customer message. How about compiling an audio FAQ that features your users' voices asking common questions?

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