Monday, September 12, 2005

Business Blogs as Next Growth Area

Business blogs -- whether published by an individual talking about her profession or a company talking about its products -- continue to grow in importance as more people start thinking about blogs for things other than politics, culture and journals.

Publishing has always been a way for academics to distiguish themselves among their colleagues. Maybe now we're seeing an easy way for the business world to do something similiar. Of course there are many differences between the two. In academia, your reputation is probably more closely tied to your published works. Your career might depend on whether your papers are seen as well researched or hogwash. Blogs are going to foster the publishing of quick commentary, not the reasoned research. But nonetheless, blogs do offer the ability for those in business to establish themselves as thought leaders.

David Scott talks about how the
corporate blog is emerging in 2005 as a growth area. I see corporate blogs currently as a small segment of business blogs. Corporate blogs are likely extensions of the PR department or the CEO's office. They can be useful ways for a company to get their messages out in a folksy manner. But they can also be seen as shameless shilling.
A corporate blog will work will if it addresses some esoteric interests of a company's products or if it furthers a certain image the company is trying to portray, like
Stonyfield Farms.

But beware -- bloggers and (likely) readers of the Blogosphere are savvy. A marketing web site that tries to masqurade as a corporate blog will turn people off quickly. Remember the McDonald's Lincoln Fry blog? It was a superbowl ad campaign that McDonald's tried to foster with a fake blog purported to be written by someone who found a french Fry in the shape of Abe Lincoln. Uh huh. McDonald's said the blog helped the campaign last a little longer in the minds of the public. I doubt it did. I think it just made the company lose cred in the Blogosphere. Did they really think they were going to pull some sort of Blair Witch?

1 comment:

David Meerman Scott said...

Glenn, you are absolutely right that to make any traction, business blogs need to be authentic.

When the PR department gets involved and "MarComs" the blog (did you know MarCom was a verb?) then all authenticity is lost.

The key is that a great business blog needs to focus on something bigger and wider than just your company or your product.

And a blog can't be sneaky. The Lincoln Fry blog is a good example of sneaky. I posted on it when it first appeared http://www.webinknow.com/2005/02/the_lincoln_fry.html