Monday, July 03, 2006

blogs don't need to produce results

I question ROI (return on investment) analysis of blogs. I question the desire to burden a blog with the demand to "justify its existence" by showing measurable results.

How do you measure good will? Customer satisfaction? The value of open communication with customers? How do you prove that a CEO blog is a good thing to do?

I just talked to a garment industry client today. When he started telling me all sorts of colorful anecdotes, and said he had a million of them, I said, "You'd make a great blogger!"

Isn't this all a blogger is, really? Someone who is fairly good at writing, and has expertise or anecdotes to share?

All you should need to do, in an ideal world, is say, "Mr./Ms. CEO, here's an opportunity to present your side of the story, to fill your brand with your personality, and to show customers that you really care about their suggestions, complaints, questions, praise, criticism, and problems."

I keep warning my blog consultant colleagues that the resistance and pretend "cluelessness" about blogs, on the part of business, is due primarily to corporate arrogance. My mantra: All that business wants to say is "buy my product" and all they want to hear is "how can I buy more of your product".

That's the only "conversational marketing" most companies care about.

It doesn't really matter if your blog can be proven to have a "measurable impact" on sales. I proclaim: "If you do something (like blogging or manufacturing) JUST to get rich, you're a greedy, materialistic idiot. Do everyone a favor and stop."

RIGHT: Do it because you love it and you wish to benefit others, without screwing them with excessive profit and mediocre quality.

WRONG: Doing it because you hope to get rich and famous.

Take music for example.

I can somehow "sense" insatiable mammonism (money worship, Psycho-Capitalism) even in music.

When the primary goal of a musician is to make money, no matter what, that musician's music will actually sound exploitive to me. Music that is made, not for the love of music or audiences, but just to capitalize on a fashion, just to exploit the music buyers by hyping crap product...such music, or any other product, is always automatically mediocre.

This is relevant to such topics as:

* monetizing a blog (making it produce income via ads, downloadable products, etc.)

* building a "blog media network" (consider my parody: the New Reformed Insane Blog Media Network--under construction)

* convincing businesses to blog

* blog whoring, as in PayPerPost or Buzz Agent marketing (paying bloggers to pretend to be enthusiastic, loyal users of a product).

Here's my comment posted a few minutes ago at Business Week Blogspotting post "The Meaning of Being Bearish on Blogs".


My gut reaction to this is to side with Nick Denton. He seems to be opposed to exhibitionistic narcissist blogs, and I hate them, too. From narcissist blogging to naked photo blogging is a very tiny step to many.

As in the foul MySpace toilet.

The blogosphere has indeed become the "bloatosphere". There are way too many irrelvant, mypoic blogs. And 90% or more are pure boring nonsense, trivial chump buckets of slop.

As the blogosphere fills up with more and more worthless blogs, the overall quality and reliability of the blogosphere as a whole declines. I'll credit Seth Godin with advancing this concept about a year or more ago.

Like what happened with FM radio and TV, 55 channels of garbage or mindless mediocrity, the same old sitcoms, the same 30 songs played over and over ad nauseum.

However, I do champion the rise of individual voice against the MSM information hegemony.

Too many blogs? Yes. But I am happy to see even the boring drivel blogs keep at it, ppl expressing whatever, and the public moving more and more to the internet, with some quality, unfiltered, unedited journalism and creative writing.

I wonder why business wants to do an ROI on blogs. Has Business Week done any analysis on the "profitability" of this Blogspotting blog lately?

To me, you might as well question the ROI of company picnics, business cards, or new office carpet.

A blog is something a company should do, mainly to demonstrate a desire to connect with customers on a candid, honest, sincere, and lively basis.


Bottom Line = either you want to connect with other people, and have a two-way conversation with customers, or you don't.

If you want to connect with customers in a candid manner, you need a blog. If you just want to only do what generates measurable results, forget it. Some blogs produce measurable results, most don't.

What say you? Post a comment here and share your thoughts.

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