The Business of Blogging.
With more and more attention from big media being directed towards blogs it is not surprising that the business press is starting to take notice.
Fortune's last issue (probably still on the stands) featured bloggers on the cover and a fairly lengthy article on the subject called: Technology - Why There's No Escaping the Blog. This could be the year that blogs become established from a money making perspective and from a business perspective. I have summarized most of the article here because I am not sure if it will go behind their subscription wall soon.
Why should business take notice?
- "According to blog search-engine and measurement firm Technorati, 23,000 new weblogs are created every day—or about one every three seconds. Each blog adds to an inescapable trend fueled by the Internet: the democratization of power and opinion. Blogs are just the latest tool that makes it harder for corporations and other institutions to control and dictate their message. An amateur media is springing up, and the smart are adapting. Says Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman Public Relations: "Now you've got to pitch the bloggers too. You can't just pitch to conventional media."
Says Jeff Jarvis, author of the blog BuzzMachine, and president and creative director of newspaper publisher Advance Publications' Internet division: "There should be someone at every company whose job is to put into Google and blog search engines the name of the company or the brand, followed by the word 'sucks,' just to see what customers are saying." "
Don't try and fool your audience...
- "Mazda, hoping to reach its Gen Y buyers, crafted a blog supposedly run by someone named Kid Halloween, a 22-year-old hipster who posted things like: "Tonight I am going to see Ministry and My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult.... This will be a retro industrial flashback." He also posted a link to three videos he said a friend recorded off public-access TV. One showed a Mazda3 attempting to break dance, and another had it driving off a ramp like a skateboard, leading in both cases to frightening crashes. Other bloggers sensed a phony in their midst—the expensively produced videos were tip-offs—and began talking about it. Suddenly Mazda wasn't being hailed; it was being reviled on widely read blogs."
Product evangelists wanted
- "obsessive blogs can mean obsessive customers. The witty blogger behind Manolo's Shoe Blog may bash Birkenstocks and Uggs, but he drools over Coach, Prada, and, of course, Manolo Blahniks. Before blogs, finding someone like him—a person who probably helps others make buying decisions—would have been difficult and costly. Now it's just a matter of Googling or searching on any of the blog-specific search engines like Technorati or Feedster. For those who want to go deeper, firms like Intelliseek and BuzzMetrics use sophisticated software to analyze the blog universe for corporate clients. They use this growing online database of constantly updated consumer opinion for marketing and product-development ideas"
Good news for smaller players
- "Entrepreneurs like Shayne McQuade have learned that bloggers can be an easy—and free—marketing arm, if used right. McQuade, [...]invented a backpack with built-in solar panels that enables hikers and Eurotrippers to keep their gadgets charged. He spent $15,000 getting the company up and running, [...] The only thing left for him was getting the word out: He ended up outsourcing that to bloggers.
In late September, just after McQuade received an early sample of the Voltaic Backpack, he asked a friend, Graham Hill—who runs a "green design" weblog called Treehugger—if he'd mention the product. Start up the swarm! Within a few hours of Voltaic's hitting Treehugger, the popular CoolHunting blog mentioned McQuade's product, which got it seen by Joel Johnson, editor of Engadget competitor Gizmodo. Each step up in the blogging ecosystem brought Voltaic to a broader audience. (Yes, for all its democratic trappings, there are hierarchies of influence in the blogging world.)
In came a flurry of orders. Ironically, McQuade—who had helped research Net Gain, a seminal book on how the Internet would change business—was unprepared. "Overnight what was supposed to be laying a little groundwork became my launch," he says. "This is the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing channel." "
- "...an arms race is building behind the scenes. Venture capitalists last year invested a still tiny $33 million into blog-related companies, but that was up from $8 million the year before..."
Sounds great. Now where's my cut??