“Once you start blogging, can you ever stop?” asks prolific blogger Zane Safrit, CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited. To be precise, he didn’t say those exact words during our podcast [click to download the MP3 or listen]. But it’s a great question. Zane, my advice to you is: “Don’t stop.” You’re good and getting better all the time.
Zane is in fact kind of zany, defined as “amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.” (Surely I’m not the first to point that out 🙂 He’s been blogging regularly since December 2004 as a way to create a “voice” (pardon the pun) for his teleconferencing company.
So what’s his differentiator in a very crowded marketplace? A customer-centric approach. An informed, energetic, real-live-person answers every time you call CCU. Everyone, including “the IT guy,” answers the phones, Zane said. And they’re charged with “doing whatever it takes to make the customer happy.”
If you’re a customer, you soon learn their names (Cindy and Chaz and others).
Our impromptu podcast started out as a phone interview, with me asking Zane a bunch of questions for The Corporate Blogging Book I’m writing. I’m on a cell phone so my end of the conversation sounds a bit muffled. Zane comes in loud and clear. We decided half way through the call to turn it into a podcast. Nothing fancy; no cool intro music.
Oh, and one of the key takeaways: Zane says he writes “for an hour or two” every day. Ninety percent of the time he’s online and blogging directly into TypePad‘s interface. He “Publishes” almost immediately. Then goes back later to do a quick edit, if needed.
He starts out with a goal of “four lines.” But often finds he writes 1000 words. “With a cup of coffee the sky’s the limit,” he says. He doesn’t consider himself “a word craftsman” but finds that his writing has become “more concise, clearer, a little crisper” over time. (I agree, having been reading his blog for months.)
One thing Zane says he gets out of regular blogging:
“It helps me articulate and refine ideas in a linear fashion, ideas that I’m thinking about for our company. So it improves my ability to communicate within the company.”
Another benefit of blogging:
He’s made “high-profile contacts” through his blog. Trackbacks and emails have connected him with “sneezers” (Seth Godin’s term for influencers), Zane said.
It was Seth who inspired him to start blogging for real. “I had had a blog account with TypePad for eight months but I didn’t get it. I didn’t really know what blogging was.”
Download or listen to the MP3. Podcast subscribe link TK.
Zane’s version of our podcast (good reading)
Why CEOs Should Blog by Jeneane D. Sessum
ReturnPath CEO Matt Blumberg makes the same point in Jeneane’s article: “One of the best things publishing a blog has done has been to force me
to spend a few minutes here and there thinking about issues I encounter
in a more structured way and crystallizing my point of view on them,” Blumberg wrote in 2004. “[That’s] invaluable, but mostly for me.”