Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

« Does Blogging Work For Service Companies? | Main | Blogs Boost Google SEO Rankings »

August 14, 2005

Response to Kirsten Osolind's comment

Kirsten Osolind's made a comment on my post, 'Does blogging work for service companies?' about an article in the Chicago Tribune on why Kirsten’s company is no longer publishing on their company’s blog.

Kirsten, Oh, I meant the PR and marketing blogging community is much more crowded now rather than a few years ago. I was thinking your impact would be less now that a few years ago. Though it sounds as if you targeted a particular category of marketing keywords, women led businesses and are getting good results.

I think I know of several companies who are generating profits from their blog. Macromedia is one such company, Mike Chambers a Senior Product Manager at the company has told me the company has generated sales, links, higher search engine rankings and increased customer loyalty with their blogs. The blogging strategy has also helped the company to build better products by involving their customers in the process of giving feedback during the software development process.

Here’s a blogging story from France about a small company that is making money from their blog, Patrice Cassard’s blog, La Fraise, a one man ecommerce blog and ecommerce site that sells t-shirts.

While I agree that different marketing vehicles will be better choices for reaching certain people and markets, one of the aspects of blogs is their ability to reach the influential people in a marketplace. Keller and Berry’s book “The Influentials? describes how 10% of the people in a marketplace will through active participation influence the attitudes and behaviors of the other 90% of people. I think that bloggers influence the conversation in their marketplace by creating a content rich website that generates a lot of links. Here’s the rub, this is precisely the type of website that search engines love to give high rankings too for keywords. Many companies are spending $000’s if not millions of dollars on pay per click ads, by investing in a website that generates a top ranking on the top search engines they can get a payoff by generating more traffic through the editorial listings on search engines.

Backbone Media, Inc. helps a lot of our customers with search engine optimization services and Internet marketing strategy, we’ve had a few dilemma’s over the years with encouraging customers to create more content for their websites, and also think of way to generate more links for a customer’s website. I think a blog solves many of the SEO challenges our customer’s face on a daily basis, the opportunity to develop a lot of good relevant content, and through active engagement with customer bloggers some of our customers have the opportunity to develop more links because their customers believe they are providing valuable content that deserves a link.

While journalists are using the web to search for stories online, if they are search on your keywords, and find your blog, then you have the opportunity to influence what is written in the Mass media about your company and industry.

To me the reason why companies like Microsoft, Macromedia and General Motors are using blogs is because they realized their customers are using the web to self publish content, and share information about the products and vendors they are interested in purchasing. The market came first, and companies are building blogs to interact with their online customer community.

Posted by johncass at August 14, 2005 9:50 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Hi John:

Good discussion. You mention two companies that are earning "revenues" from their blogs...but I ask the question again, "are those blogs PROFITABLE?"

I simply don't know.

Assessing profitability requires a detailed analysis of both revenues AND EXPENSES. A few blogging expenses include...

- labor hours to staff the blog and provide content updates (how much is your time worth?)
- blog technology development and content or technology maintenance updates
- opportunity costs (other foregone marketing or sales initiatives that could have proven more fruitful than a blog -- such as a 24/7 call center, live chat customer support centers, or product/service quality improvements).

For our company, P.R. and media relations have proven more effective at SEO and key influencer conversation building than 3 years of blogging. Our company website (a flash site) still ranks higher on Google than our blog on our key search terms. Why? Press, partner, and media links to our site. We've never paid for SEO or a Google ad. And blogging is not the only way to pique media interest. Many reporters prefer to source story leads from Profnet, PR Leads, and well-written pitches. A journalist will rarely repurpose what they find written on a blog unless it involves juicy controversy -- and in those cases, bloggers who are untrained about working with media may find blogs can bite.

To me the reason why companies like Microsoft, Macromedia and General Motors are using blogs is because they have deep pockets. A small company on a tight budget must vigilently measure MROI - marketing return on investment. For every dollar that you spend on marketing, your goal should be to make more than a dollar. And that requires small business owners to define smart objectives and success measurement upfront, well before any marketing work -- or blogging -- begins.

I don't know the answer, John.

But I do know that you shouldn't just blog because you "think" it will work or because everybody else and Donald Trump are hopping on the blogging wagon. All blogs should be held accountable to MROI.

After 3 long years -- it was time for re:invention to explore something new and different.

Posted by: kirsten at August 16, 2005 8:31 AM

Hi Kirsten,

I will go back to the two bloggers I mentioned and ask them if their efforts have been profitable, at some point in the next week or so.

I think that different areas of marketing can get you great results especially if you have a lot of experience in a particular area of marketing. PR really works for your company. I personally believe conducting both PR and blogger relations (BR if you will) can be an effective tactic for a company.

In the backbone media survey we saw some statistics on the effects of a corporate blog in developing published articles by journalists, 59% of 70 bloggers were contacted by journalists, and 53% of 66 bloggers had a published article from the contact.

From my own experience, and in the corporate blogging survey, its pretty clear to me that I would not expect a journalist just to reference a blog post, but journalists will find your blog by reading other blogs and searching on search engines. The journalist will then contact you to check facts and get your permission to write about the information they were interested in including in the article.

Although with the increasing number of journalists and publications that are developing their own blogs, we may be seeing some changes even in this area. The business week blog is a great example of such a blog. Here's an article by Stephen Baker of blogspotting of business week that references another blog.

I don't know if Stephen has asked the blogger about the article, it does not look as if he did to me. However, I asked Stephen whether he did or not as well.

Kirsten, you are totally right that any small company has to vigilantly monitor their marketing dollars, and for some blogging might not be the best use of their time. I pretty much say the same thing in my discussion with Stephen Turcotte in Big vs. small. However, I do think that strategy has a huge part to play in this process. For some small companies especially technology companies they almost have a requirement to monitor and blog if they are really going to effectively connect with their technology community. Having worked for two web design companies, I do know that websites should be interactive and that designing a website that allows a back and forth between your audience from a simple contact us form to allowing comments is a great way to build loyal customers.

I also think that larger companies can gain even more benefits from blogging as:

1) They have a ready customer base willing to discuss the company's products.
2) A larger company may actually seem more impersonal than a smaller company.

Blogging can show a human side, which results in a customer considering or re-considering purchasing a company’s products. I think Microsoft is using this strategy in their blogging efforts, see the Backbone Media case study on Microsoft.

However, any company, large or small cannot beat an individual with flair, witty prose and the ability to place their products within their customer's lives, like you ;-). Many of the so-called A-list bloggers are read because of good writing and an eye for content that's relevant to their audience.

I also think that blogger relations can help catapult a smaller company within their marketplace. A good idea discussed within a community of several hundred-customer bloggers is worth as much as 5 articles on mass media publications.

In the study "Corporate blogging: Is it worth the hype?" I think we build a good case as to why a company should consider blogging. We really did not cover customers in the survey. Over the last ten years, customers have been using the web to connect with one another and exchange opinions and ideas about products and vendors. By connecting with fellow customers and learning from other customer experiences customers are using the web to form opinions about what to purchase and what not to purchase. Blogs are the tip of the iceberg in this process. This ability of customers to self publish online and the power of search engines is the real reason blogging popped up as the marketing discussion point in the last year or so. A company has to measure if their customers are using the web to make decisions about their product choices and if they are then there is an opportunity to influence that community through blogging, or other types of websites that allow customers to connect with other customers and share opinions about products.


Posted by: John Cass at August 17, 2005 8:10 AM


Here's Stephen Baker's answer to my question about quoting a blogger.



Posted by: john cass at August 19, 2005 10:10 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Subscribe to This Entry
Subscribe to This Category
Subscribe to This Blog

About Us
Recent Entries

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33