Does Blogging Work For Service Companies?
This Chicago Tribune article provides more indication to me that blogging does not always work for small companies. Ann Meyer writes about Kirsten Osolind's decision to stop blogging on her company’s blog at ReinventionInc.com. Kirsten thought the blog was just not paying off for her small business.
I’ve been wondering whether blogs really work as well for service companies as they do for product companies. Plus the example gives me fuel for my discussion with Stephen Turcotte, about blogs for big vs. small companies. I think that blog work really well when there is an existing community of customers for a product or service. If you provide the only blog in a space, Dr. Ron Lasky of Indium is one such example, Rick Short of Indium tells me Dr. Lasky’s blog was a first in the industry, and now there are only three. But, Kirsten’s blog was in an already crowded space, lots of PR and marketing blogs.
When I chat with people at Microsoft and Macromedia and they tell me their customers are asking questions online about their products, and this makes a lot of sense to me that customers would ask questions about products online. But I think its becomes more difficult for customers to ask questions through blogs when it comes to strategic issues relating to a company, the marketing of a company or the technological future of a company’s product as with Indium Corporation. Rick Short tells me he gets many more emails and calls then blog comments on the company’s blogs.
Another factor in building an active blog is how much you conduct blogger relations with people on the web and get your name into the community. The more you do the more likely people will be to interact with your blog.
Thanks Dana for the Chicago Tribune article.
Posted by johncass at August 12, 2005 9:41 AM
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Hmm. Interesting points.
Two quick comments:
- When I launched re:invention's blog three years ago, the space was far from crowded.
- re:invention's blog was a blog for women-led businesses -- not a marketing or P.R. blog. The blog remains archived with links organized by category include venture capital resources, intellectual property resources, entrepreneur statistics and trends, franchise opportunities and business directories. We remain the #1 ranked google url for "women-led businesses," "women entrepreneur blogs," "business women blogs," and more. We never indexed under marketing or P.R. search terms.
As I suggested yesterday on ABC News, we need to ask two questions:
(1) Are blogs profitable? No. I don't know of any company that has perfected this business model.
(2) Are blogs valuable? Yes, for trumpeting your company message and sharing tools and resources with your customers or clients. Depending on your target market, however, there may be more efficient marketing vehicles.
In the end, it all comes down to setting objectives and measuring results for your company blog. MMROI (measuring marketing return on investment) is especially important for small business owners with limited time and tight budgets. Our company, re:invention, helps women-led businesses increase sales and gain national media exposure. We also work with Fortune 1000 companies, helping them build marketing plans that reach women executives and entrepreneurs. We have found that other marketing vehicles -- namely sponsorships (such as Springboard Enterprises Venture Forum Midwest), public relations, conferences, and tradeshows -- are more effective and appealing means of engaging potential clients. Few Fortune 1000 executives are trolling online reading blogs. And blog readership skews heavily male and under 35.
Thank you for considering my comments. Appreciate your musing over the Tribune article! Too bad the Trib photo of myself and my SVP Melissa isn't online (it is my last photo as a blonde, and may someday be worth a mint.) LOL. ;)
Posted by: kirsten at August 13, 2005 1:40 AM
Key to a successful marketing blogging is determining if blogs can either 1) support the goals and objectives of the organization's master marketing plan 2) and/or determining if a blog can help resolve a marketing/business concern.
Without integration into a company's marketing plan, including success metrics, blogs are simply a "let's do it because it's cool" play toy.
Posted by: Toby at August 16, 2005 11:28 PM