Friday, February 17, 2006

The Downside Of Business Blogging

Now, you would think - being an unabashed evangelist for business blogs - that I would never admit to there being a downside to blogging. You would be wrong. But by saying that, I'm proving my point about the value of blogging. I'm being honest with you and trying to engage you in an honest conversation about this important issue. And that's the point.

In fact, let me again ask you to let me know what you think. Feel free to add a comment to this.

There is a downside. One of the horrible downsides is that your communication is very public. And public in a forum where people love to talk. If you say something stupid, well... It's one thing to be stupid in front of the water cooler.

Another is that if your organizational strategy is short-sighted, your blog will most likely suck. It will probably be nothing more than a scrolling e-newsletter or a cheap marketing trick, and the blogosphere will hammer you. Or worse: ignore you. If you're just looking for another way to package your product, stay away from blogging for your business.

For you bean counters, ROI is king, I know. If you see blogging as purely a cheap revenue generator though, you'll be disappointed. A business blog is there to serve your business community. Like good customer service at a brick and mortar location, a business blog may not bring in short term measurable results, but it will get you loyalty that will help you weather the inevitable storms of the marketplace.

So, here's a few thoughts from the article by Tom Taulli in Forbes Magazine I mentioned yesterday:
To get noticed by bloggers, companies should appoint internal bloggers and start them blogging," said Wyman. "Of course, the blogs must be authentic. Also, companies can sponsor blogging events and meet the bloggers themselves to see
what makes them tick."

Shel Israel, the co-author of Naked Conversations, agrees. "We see Microsoft and Sun--with well over 1,000 bloggers each--moving the perception needle into the positive column," said Israel. "Other companies, like Google and Apple, have cultures that seem to an outsider to discourage open, transparent dialogue with customers, users and prospects. This is impacting how people perceive these companies. We see a day when companies will be regarded suspiciously because their employees do not blog."

Business blogs will probably become as commonplace as websites, and businesses that don't have one will probably look foolish. But just because they seem easy, don't be fooled. There are plenty of bad examples cluttering up cyberspace to learn from.

Let me know your thoughts.


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