New Title

February 28, 2005 · 35 comments in Miscellaneous

Okay, it’s clear that Chapter One needs some work and that the title is not being well received. We are open to suggestions on what to call the book. Please help us.

{ 35 comments }

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Debbie Weil March 9, 2005 at 4:18 pm

Robert,

I like The Red Couch better than "The Corporate Weblog Manifesto." I also like Steven Streight's comments. Maybe I'll grow into "the couch." It's true… if the phrase can gain so much currency that it means "how companies should blog and what they'll get out of the conversation, etc. etc." then maybe it will work.

Debbie

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate March 9, 2005 at 7:03 am

I like Debbie Weil's thinking.

But I tend to think that Red Couch is like Purple Cow, Amazon.com, Monster.com, Yahoo!, Google…

…a weird word or phrase that induces curiosity.

Why name a bookseller Amazon? Totally inappropriate. Why not Books For Sale.com? Yet look at how it's a houshold word now.

Why name an employment site Monster? Why not The Hiring Post.com? Or Jobs-R-Us.com? Yet look at the acceptance.

I do believe if you have something unique to say, you ought to have a unique name to say it with. That's why I like the name The Beatles much better than The Band, though I like Bob Dylan way more than John Lennon. Dylan Thomas vs. Vladimir Lenin.

Anyway, Debbie has a point, and often a "prosaic" title works great.

But then again what the heck is a Cluetrain? Robot Wisdom? Photo Matt? Boing Boing? Ideavirus? Eminem? What do Stars and Bucks have to do with caffeine? Why would anyone, except a Catholic, buy music from someone named "Madonna"? What is an iPod? One of those alien things from Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Unusual names can trigger bemusement, capture attention, create an esoterica that business leaders like. Think of how many strange buzzwords enter business speech.

You need to red couch your online presence, Chief.

…and use a captcha for comment posts.

robert Scoble March 9, 2005 at 2:21 am

How about simply:

The Corporate Weblogger's Manifesto?

Debbie Weil March 8, 2005 at 9:40 pm

Sorry to chime in late on this. But I've been dubious about "The Red Couch" as your title ever since you started the blog… yeah, I love the idea that Robert has a red couch (we want a photo of the new slipcover!!) in his house and that he invites folks to sit there for interesting conversations. But that's way too insiderish for your book, IMHO. You may be writing the book with the help of the blogosphere but you're (presumably) writing it *for* corporate decision-makers. The title has to work for them. "Blog or die" is hyperbole.. and not really true. Face it… some companies are not cut out for blogging. Although *every* company may find RSS feeds useful.

I agonized over a clever title for my little e-book about business blogging that ran on Seth Godin's ChangeThis site: http://www.changethis.com/11.BusinessBlogging I finally settled on "Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging" even though it seemed awfully prosaic to me. Interestingly, it seems to have struck a nerve. It's one of the most downloaded "manifestos" from Seth's site. (And no you can't use that title!)

Maybe something like "Corporations That Blog" with a sub-title on the lines of: "How blogs are revolutionizing the way companies interact with their customers." That's not quite right but you get the idea. The point is that the title should be about them… your readers. Not about you two, as clever as you are.

Oh, and put a fab photo or illustration of The Red Couch on the cover! I can see it now. A white background, a red couch, the title in black type.

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate March 8, 2005 at 8:10 pm

"Blog or Get Really Seriously Ill and They Eventually Have to Take the Feeding Tube Out of You and Let You Rot"

wilson ng March 7, 2005 at 11:17 pm

How about " To Blog or Not to Blog"

Danny March 6, 2005 at 5:27 am

Time to update Wikipedia. Is "to scoble" a verb yet?

btw, changed my mind. "Blog or Die" probbly is better for its directness. Bit blunt for my own taste, but then I don't buy business books…

shel March 4, 2005 at 7:52 am

I don't really know. I got him through central casting. But while we're at it, Walter, just who are you. You don't have a link in your name, so we can't track back to see who you are or why you might be asking the question.

Walter March 3, 2005 at 10:21 am

"The Red Couch: Just Who Is This Guy Scoble Anyway?"

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate March 2, 2005 at 8:45 pm

Before I shut my big fat mouth, let me also state another reason why Robert's wife is a genius:

The "couch" in "The Red Couch" also creates a conceptual association with the psychiatrist's couch. This is good, due to the psychoanalystic Fundamental Rule of word association, saying, blurting out whatever comes to mind, a spontaneity and candor that is the essence of the blog.

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate March 2, 2005 at 8:37 pm

I don't think the objection to "Blog or Die" is a matter of wake up calls or watering down the original idea.

It's a matter of hard nosed business thinking vs. exaggerated commercialized hype that CEOs and other business leaders will frown upon and not trust.

Robert and Shel need to protect and promote their credibility, and using hyperbole, "Blog or End Up in the Morgue", is not going to help gain the trust of business leaders.

You could tell average dumbed down public to "Overcome Obesity or Die" or "Stop Smoking or Die", but I don't think I'd feel comfortable and confident telling highly educated business professionals that they must "Blog or Die". IMHO, that's nonsense and a turn off.

Funny how this proposed title has stirred controversy. Yet I believe that names are vital and, although some products with stupid names have succeeded, still, a name or title must be selected with great care and consideration.

And my honest, spontaneous reaction to "Blog or Die" was that my heart sank and I felt it was a shame to put that title on this book. I understand what Wiley is trying to accomplish, and they are close, but this is not the best title for this book.

I tend to like my earlier suggestion of "The Red Couch: Blog Revolution in Corporate America".

I can see a CEO or business leader intrigued by "red couch", then wondering how a blog could start a revolution, then wondering why blogs are causing a big fuss in corporate offices.

If there is a "revolution" going on in Corporate America, it seems most CEOs, business leaders, and marketing types would want to know all about it.

Just my 2 pesos.

Kathy Sierra March 2, 2005 at 5:11 pm

I'm voting for "Blog or Die", on the theory that your authentic voice starts right at the title.
While I guess some have interpreted as using "scare tactics"… isn't the whole point to try to give these folks need a much-needed wake-up call? It's such a strong impossible-to-forget and simple message. I'm with Peter and Brett on this one. But the main point is that this is still YOUR book. It's most important that you and your publishing team believe in your title and message. Screw everyone else : )
What matters most is your true, honest voice. If you wouldn't tell a business blogger to water down his message in order to please more people, then…
Be brave ; )

Brett Nordquist March 2, 2005 at 3:58 pm

Have to say that I liked "Blog or Die" because it's so direct. At the end of the day aren't you saying that if your business fails to blog and connect with customers you're business will die? It's short and sweet and to the point. The idea of "Red Couch: blah blah" sounds like an article you'd read in Cosmo.

Neville Hobson March 2, 2005 at 2:54 pm

I've always liked The Red Couch because that's where the idea started and, if you read Robert's stuff, you know what it's a reference for.

On the other hand, Blog or Die is good for the reasons Wiley outlined that were mentioned in another post here. More likely to be the attention-grabber than The Red Couch, plus it's directly relevant to the book's content.

But this book is also selling personalities, in my view. I think there's potential big PR value from Robert's name association (not that there isn't from Shel's name as well of course!).

Commercial sense may well win over here. So it could be something like this:

Title: Blog or Die
Sub: New ways to engage with the marketplace to create business advantage

Yes, that sub may sound a bit PR-ish, so it needs some work. If the title has the word 'blog' in it, then the sub title needs the emotive grabber that delivers the strong punch that's here's something that will make you and your company successful.

My 50 eurocents' worth…

Danny March 2, 2005 at 11:47 am

Something along the lines of "The Red Couch: Corporate Blogging for Fun and Profit" seems reasonable, keeping the main title exactly *because* it sounds like a hooker's memoirs ;-)

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate March 2, 2005 at 3:21 am

Again, I suggest: what would you put on the Subject: line of an outgoing email message to a CEO, to whom you wanted to explain your book?

"Blog Or Die" sounds offensive, mean-spirited, trite, hyperbolic (exaggerated), misleading, and unimaginative.

"The Red Couch: How Business Are Reaching Customers With Blogs"

"The Red Couch: Blog Revolution in Corporate America"

"The Red Couch: How To Use Blogs to Gain Loyal Customers"

The business realm seeks Practical, How-To advice, not theory, not history, not philosophy, not scholarly rhetoric, not poetic metaphors.

As for the first chapter, since I'm a writer, I'm very hesitant about telling other writers what to write…

…but okay, you forced me.

Go straight to the heart of what you have to say to readers. Skip the analogies, the history, the coaxing.

Say, "Here's what we have discovered in the CEO offices we visited. Here's what works. Period."

Be as hard-nosed, bottom-line oriented as your audience.

BEGIN with a short but profound anecdote, like many other books on creativity, business psychology, sales, marketing, etc.

Look at how the 30 most successful business books begin. With history and analogy? I doubt it.

Usually, I suspect, with a bold assertion and an amazing, memorable anecdote. The kind that makes you drop the book and go tell your girlfriend, buddy, or dad about.

That's how to begin a book. Fast, sharp, explosive. Memorable, pithy, astonishing. (Thanks again to my mentor Seth Godin).

Very similar to the book I'm writing, but yours will be far more intimate and comprehensive than mine. Mine will be a supplement to your book. That's fine.

Robert Scoble March 2, 2005 at 3:19 am

>Why?

Why ask why?

Robert March 1, 2005 at 9:19 pm

> Please help us.

Why?

Peter Orosz March 1, 2005 at 3:39 pm

"Blog or Die" is an insanely cool title. It's something I would spraypaint on the side of every corporate HQ. Business communication needs shock therapy to come back to us Earth people, no need for silk gloves here.

/pd March 1, 2005 at 3:18 pm

Solly I 4got to mentiond Shannon has nailed the case down pretty darn well. Thats advice which I will not just take with a grain of salt. !!

Kudo's to you Shannon !!

/pd March 1, 2005 at 3:17 pm

"Blogging from the TRC" !!

imho opionion. Think of all the chatter already taken place on the key – the red couch – google returns – about 2,860,000. Change the title. You loss what you have build up- That is indentity and brand equity !!

Figure out this carefully, a title is a title. the contents will make the difference.

Susan Getgood March 1, 2005 at 10:16 am

You have built some equity in The Red Couch, but I suspect it should be in the sub-title, not the title, to provide continuity with this site for your faithful blog readers but to not confuse those newbies that may have never visited the Red Couch itself (real or virtual versions). As for the title, the poster above me has the right idea — don't worry too much about it right now, let the title emerge in the writing.

Jim McGee March 1, 2005 at 7:59 am

I think it's premature to focus on the title. It needs to be focused on the marketing needs to link the content to the widest audience possible. A title will emerge as you get farther into the writing and the discovery it will generate. Focus your energy on the journey right now.

REK March 1, 2005 at 5:55 am

"The Red Couch" sounds to me like whispered memoirs of a hooker. Which, for a book on blogging, seems fitting. I suggest that subtitle be a clear benefit statement.

Similarly, re. chapt 1's title: blog or die. Too negative. Consider a chapter title that is a benefit statement. In fact, if execs are the target market for the book, each chapter title and subtitle should be a benefit statement.

Gautam March 1, 2005 at 3:49 am

Hmm I agree with lots of you folks! Something on the lines of

"The Red Couch"
Sub-Title: "Use the power of blogging to build honest conversations with your customers"

Janet Tokerud March 1, 2005 at 1:27 am

Elizabeth Grigg's comment is excellent and leads me to think that perhaps you could take the values and perspectives of The Cluetrain Manifesto and apply them to your book, chapter by chapter to see whether it measures up. And to see what new directions are suggested by that exercise. True, the business book is an old economy medium, but you have some new perspectives that need to be reflected in your use of it.

Scott Niesen February 28, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Passion and Authority – Building Business with Blogs

Bill Riski February 28, 2005 at 2:20 pm

Shannon & Steven have some great comments on the book title.

I second the motion for "The Red Couch: w/subtitle". In keeping with your Blog or Die sentiment, here's a few more possibilities:

The Red Couch: Why Businesses Must Adapt to Blogs

The Red Couch: Why the Best Businesses Are Adapting to Blogs

The Red Couch: Business + Blog = $$$

The Red Couch: Corporate Blogging to Survive

The Red Couch: Let's Discuss Corporate Blogs

The Red Couch: My COO Blogs, Does Yours?

The Red Couch: Should I Work for a Corporation That Doesn't Blog?

The Red Couch: Street-Wise Guide to Corporate Blogging

The Red Couch: What Part of 'Blog or Die' Doesn't Your CEO Understand?

Blogosphere News: Blog News from Bloggers, for Bloggers February 28, 2005 at 11:11 am

The Red Couch: Chapter 1

If you’ve been out of the loop recently, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have been writing a book about business blogging titled The Red Couch (Though they’re contemplating changing the title).

Recently, they’ve published a draft of the first chapter-…

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate February 28, 2005 at 10:03 am

I agree with Shannon Clark.

For a title for the book, here's one approach: if you were going to write an email to a CEO, business leader, whoever is a prime audience for this book, what would you put on the Subject: line?

Another idea: "The Red Couch: How Businesses are Profiting from Blogs."

The front cover could show an executive actually sitting on a red leather couch, with a laptop on his lap, banging away at the keyboard, a pot of coffee next to him, and a stack of pizza. Maybe he should be in his pajamas, to appease the MSM (morbid stream media).

I do think that "The Red Couch" has become more than a place holder, though I do respect the fact that that is all it was meant to be originally.

I think, I may be mistaken, but I think "The Red Couch" has equity built up in it. It is bookmarked on a lot of PCs. People have been refering to "The Red Couch". I was even a bit envious that you guys had come up with such a unique phrase that was odd, like Monster.com or Amazon.com or Purple Cow, yet it was also, and here's the genius of it, related to high powered corporate offices.

I think of a classy, successful business leader when I imagine a red leather couch. Red symbolizes passion and revolution. Couch symbolizes informality, relaxation, comfort, being approachable, casual, chatty, everything a blog is supposed to be.

"The Red Couch" is indeed a furniture meme that Maryam started. Why kill it now?

Having an "insider" main title bespeaks an expertise, an esoteric, secret, hidden aspect, and people love mystery and unusual terminology.

One business leader to another: "You need to red couch your marketing."

Other business guy/gal: "Huh? What do you mean by red couch? I don't get it."

Business leader: "I can see that. You poor little puppy. You haven't heard about Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's book or their blog about their book? Let me help you understand what's going on…"

Maybe a little fanciful, but the general idea is to start something Astonishing that is also High Quality. This is Seth Godin's idea.

His "Free Prize Inside" is the only marketing text to make it to the Forbes.com's Business Books of the Year 2004.

He is onto something, along with Al Ries and Jack Trout ("Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind" and "Marketing Warfare") saying the name is so super important for marketing and sales.

The Red Couch is a Purple Cow. Ride that red couch into the blogosphere like Al and Jack drove that U.S. Army tank down Madison Avenue as a publicity stunt for "Marketing Warfare".

Shannon Clark February 28, 2005 at 9:03 am

I would personally suggest that blogs enter the title in the subtitle, that the book itself be named more generally.

I like "The Red Couch" – but then I've gotten used to it, I can see how facing it on a random bookstand it might not be clear what it is about… though a great subtitle would explain (perhaps).

My reasons:

- A general title lends itself to future books more so than a specific

- a non-tech speak title is approachable by a larger audiance (and face it "blog" is still fairly geeky/tech sounding even at 7M+ and counting)

- As a focusing element, a non-tech title will help focus you as you write to focus on the "Why" do this (blog) more than the tech details of "how". The "how" will and does evolve (a year ago would you even think about mentioning podcasting or RSS enclosures?) – the why (open dialogue and conversation with your customers and other partners) is much more timeless.

My interest in The Red Couch is in seeing it illustrate and start to answer questions about what is happening when corporations start to "blog" – I suspect that by the time the book is in print the mere fact of blogs being written by corporate employees (in some official capacity) will not be all that new – but that will only grow the demand for help about the non-tech side of "how" to do it.

Shannon

Blogging on the Free Web February 28, 2005 at 7:57 am

Red Couch: New Cover?

How about “Your Business Needs Blogs”? The first paragraph might be something like…

Christopher Hawkins February 28, 2005 at 7:55 am

Call me unimaginative, but I prefer simple and to the point. Just call it "Blogging".

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