23 Nov 2006
Taking the Blog Out of Blogging
Recently I spoke to a couple of potential clients about blogging, and was met with some scepticism. Why bother? Who’ll read it? What good will it do the business? Isn’t it just for geeks?
They’re right to be wary of blogging hype. It’s easy for someone immersed in ‘web culture’ to go along with it and believe that business blogging is a uniquely wonderful way to communicate with customers, can transform PR & marketing, etc., but it often just isn’t that simple, particularly outside of IT-related industries. Unfortunately, blogging is largely being packaged and promoted as a specific medium, with its own buzzwords, technologies and etiquette that set it apart from other forms of communication.
So how do you encourage sceptical businesses to communicate more effectively without the ‘blogosphere’ baggage? You take the blog out of blogging.
Think about what blogs are. Some consist mostly of topical announcements; that’s a news area on a site, right? Others feature personal views about an industry; a column of some sort. Some have long, in-depth analyses; those are articles.
Companies shouldn’t be crudely bolting on blogs. They need to show off their expertise in ways that suit their skills and audience via news stories, Joe Bloggs’ Weekly Column, helpful articles, etc., all integrated into the overall ‘voice’ of the site. Outside of IT, I don’t think the word ‘blog’ is currently particularly useful or necessary on a site.
Things like the Intel Centrino Duo Blogger Challenge don’t set a great example. Featuring 6 ‘rising stars in the Blogosphere’ blogging about blogging for 5 weeks, it reeks of trying to jump onto a ‘cool’ bandwagon. Apart from anything else, struggling to build an audience for a separate site in just 5 weeks then discarding it all is pointless; Intel will get none of the great long term traffic/communication/SEO benefits blogging can give. It’s a misguided marketing bolt-on.