Just kidding! Not all business blogs blow, just most of them.
According to an article in Monday’s Washington Post, Technorati says that of 112.5 million blogs on the web, 5,000 are corporate. I’d wager that the number of small business blogs is much larger. A Forrester report from June finds that fewer B2B blogs were started in 2007 than in 2006. That is startling. Forrester hints that the resources corporations expended on blogs did not generate the expected results.
I think the problem is with the execution.
There are certainly some corporate blogs that work very well. But here’s why most don’t:
Corporations don’t understand that blogs are best produced by people who know how to communicate. Since blogs generally come in written form, the best people to write blogs are people who can write.
Blogs are intended to start a conversation. A conversation implies two-way communication. Many businesses are afraid of two-way communication because they don’t want to hear other people’s opinions about their business, their products or their services. Many companies want the conversation to be one-sided. We call that advertising.
Business blogs are a great way for a business to be a part of the community and to create a community of key constituents such as customers, employees, suppliers, local residents and/or anyone interested in the offered product or service. Blogs provide a rare opportunity to put a human face on a company. Most businesses don’t understand this.
Business blogs are the best but most underutilized consumer research tool available to business. Blog conversations are like free focus groups, you can learn a tremendous amount from listening to the comments. Few businesses take advantage of this great opportunity and even fewer adjust their business or their offerings based on this feedback.
Blogs by commitee really blow. One or two talented people can easily run a great company blog and still have time for other tasks. The key is to have your finger on the pulse on the company and its community and then be able to use blog technology (thanks wordpress!) and your communication skills to reach your audience. It ain’t rocket science and it doesn’t need a committee, a task force or any other corporate bureaucracy. According to this post in Above the Buzz, the Forrester report found that team blogging didn’t work for B2B bloggers. I’d venture a guess that it doesn’t work for B2C bloggers or any other blogger either.
Like everything else in life, the results are commensurate with the effort. Too many business blogs are left to wither on the vine due to lack of attention. Ignoring an audience is the best way to lose them.