Value of blogs in direct marketing
Since ebusiness is increasingly a part of any direct marketer, we skim through a paper publication DM News that is like the journal of the direct marketing industry. We would not recommend that you spend much time reading it since there are hardly any valuable articles. One article recently caught our attention, not because it was great but because it could cause a lot of damage to a direct marketer's business if it were to follow the advice provided in the article.
Robert W. Bly, the author of the article, writes in an article "Can blogging help market your product?" that "..most blogs seem to be private, idiosyncratic musings of an individual, without censure or editing of any kind...I have yet to find a single marketer who says that a business blog has gotten him a positive return on investment" We are just wondering if Bly lives under a stone.
Bly has even more errors in article since he has not spent enough time researching the world of blogging prior to writing an article. Also he has relied on the opinion of only two other individuals to make several sweeping conclusions.
So what do we think about blogs?
- Blogs are an emerging technology and like any other technology that is evolving literally in real time, people can have a difference of opinion about their potential. However, just because someone has not met a company that makes money from blogging, it does not mean that they do not exist. eCreativa Network (that now has 10 online media properties including blogs) makes money from blogging and lots of it. In fact, our blogs produce a higher ROI than websites and newsletters. It is just that most blogs/websites are still privately held companies (eCreativa included) and they do not need to publish their revenues and profitability numbers anywhere or go disclose it to an 'expert'.
- It is also not fair to say that blogs are personal diaries. Those days are long gone and to say this is to provide information that is already old. A blog today is another tool for publishing high-quality content for people who want to use something that is more user-friendly than a website.
- Bly further argues that "...there is already too much content", and therefore, there is no need for any more content. The reality is that there is not enough content on the Internet yet that will answer all the questions that a planet of 6 billion people have. Just ask any average person who has tried to do research on any topic whatsoever. So very often, you don't find even simple answers. Blogs are doing a great service by providing content that is not colored by the marketing message of a company. It is raw information that touches you in a way that a company's marketing baloney never does.
- Bly provides another wrong piece of information to the readers of DM News. He says that "...the reader has to go out and proactively look for it (blog)." He has probably never heard of a blog reader. Most surfers today read blogs in a reader (many are free to download) or simply add it to their My Yahoo page. In fact our analysis shows that as SPAM explodes, email as a marketing channel will simply die since a reader is giving too much power to someone else by subscribing to an email newsletter. People, and Americans in particular, do not like the idea of some company determining what they should read. A blog gives power back to the people. If they like an article in a blog they can click on it to go read it. If not, no action needed (no need to hit the delete button).
We sincerely hope that direct marketers will rely on more up-to-date, fair, and balanced information before they develop their online marketing strategy. There is plenty of information on the web and many experts have made convincing cases why businesses should integrate blogs in their marketing initiatives.
Recommended article: More business bloggers wanted