Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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July 20, 2005

Babson College Presentation on Corporate Blogging

I am giving a presentation tonight on business blogging at Dr. Dhruv Grewal’s class on “Using Customer Input in Creating and Delivering Value through
e-Commerce Solutions? for Babson College’s Department of Marketing MBA class.

I think it will be particularly interesting to meet Dr. Grewal and discuss how research into the area of blogging can be conducted in the future using different sampling methods. I am also looking forward to chatting with the MBA class; the course has been centered on describing how markets on the web work, and providing models and frameworks for companies to work within those markets. A little scholarly, but as I’ve learned from the blogging white paper, thought leadership is what its all about.

Posted by johncass at July 20, 2005 12:14 PM

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Your presentation was very thought provoking. I found the Macromedia use case particularly interesting. Do the benefits to company and customers alike outweigh the risks to the company? I’m sure we’ll see many examples to this in the coming months and years. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with the class.

Posted by: Matt Benati at July 20, 2005 8:11 PM

Hi Matt,

I agree with you Matt I also think Macromedia's work with blogs is very interesting. I do believe that the benefits of blogging in the new blogging economy outweigh the risks.

The web is giving Internet users access to more knowledge about companies and products. Customers are coming together in online communities and self-publishing content about their experiences with products and companies. With the ability to find those communities through the use of search technologies, the larger the community the easier it is to find the community on search engines, why, one of the drivers of high rankings on search engines are links, the more sites that backlink to one another on the same topic the higher the rankings.

If you have a customer community of blogs interlinking to each website that links to another website that customer community can dominate the rankings for a particular category of terms. Plus the links within the blogging community drive direct traffic between the community members.

While forum sites are important as places to exchange information between customer communities, forums have a disadvantage of being only one site, unless a forum site succeeds in gaining wider recognition and links because of the quality and relevancy of the content. Blogs are easy to set up and use compared to a forum site.

That ease of set up and use does not necessarily build a successful blog in terms of quantity of content every time. In published data from IBM, I estimate that IBM’s 3,600 blogs on average only generate between 2.5 and 3 postings a month. Not everyone has the discipline to post every day. But in fact the lack of postings on IBM’s part is not really a disadvantage as IBM can simulate a large number of postings by aggregating the content in one blog aggregator, or they would if they had all of their 3,600 blogs on the web. The majority of IBM’s blogs are internal blogs. Another company we reviewed, Microsoft, has over 1,800 blogs, we went through about 500 of the Microsoft blogs and counted the number of postings and the length of time since the first blog post. We found on average the number of postings per month was between 2.5 and 3 postings per month. Microsoft’s blogs were public blogs, and Microsoft is starting to use blog aggregators to aggregate their blogging content from across the entire company.

It does not matter within a community if many bloggers don’t publish a lot of content, what matters is the community. The power of blogging, and the reason why companies may have to get involved, is because of the collaborative nature of bloggers within a particular customer community. There will probably be more customers than companies exist in a particular market place, and those customers acting organically and in unison can drive their own higher search rankings by links and drive direct traffic within their community. A company will always be looked at as a biased participant in a customer community unless they demonstrate they can be just as open and transparent as a family member, friend and colleague is perceived when asked for their referral or opinion on a product or company.

There are always risks involved in any endeavor, but I would suggest the benefits to companies outweigh the risks because of the new nature of how customers gather information in order to be able to make decisions on purchases. Customers, more and more are using online communities to help them arrive at their decisions. To interact with the new and growing communities, a company must use the same language and methods, post on a forum or respond with a blog comment or blog trackback from their own blog, and if they want to really succeed in the new blogging economy I would suggest based on the “crossing the cultural divide? framework that companies must be more open and transparent so that customer overcome their concerns of company bias.


Posted by: John Cass at July 21, 2005 10:54 PM

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