Letter: Blogosphere Abuzz Over Bly's ColumnSeems as though Bob Bly has created quite a buzz in the blogosphere ("Can Blogging Help Market Your Product?, Nov. 1). Though I am an advocate of including blogs in an integrated marketing strategy, his column challenges marketers to examine the structure, goals and objectives of marketing blogs.
To answer his question: "Will it help sell more products and services?" From my experience, the answer is "yes." I can directly relate my blog to new business opportunities and a new service offering - developing marketing blog strategies. (I also have developed a rich resource network that is invaluable to me in my work.) I have no advertising on my blog and probably never will - not that I'm against ads on blogs, but my model doesn't include paid ads.
Here are a few of my tangible benefits: assignment to create an adverblog and ad blog strategies; prospective new business opportunities to develop blog strategies; and the American Marketing Association asked me to chair and present a national workshop "road show" of a new professional development event - Blogs: Marketing Beyond the Web Site.
The AMA has a direct marketing strategy that will hit their base and purchased lists multiple times, increasing the promotional value for me. In addition, three AMA conference Web sites include links to my blog. So, while not a paying gig, national exposure is a high value to me in terms of visibility and credibility. And this has led to a speaking opportunity at a regional conference next spring with marketing executives and business owners - my target market. Not too shabby for a blog that's six months out.
I would ask that Bly cut marketers who are using this new tactic a bit of a break. Sure, we'll make mistakes along the way. Sure, blogs today are a little rough around the edges. Sure, we probably need more structure and metrics. And, yes, some bloggers (me included!) do ramble every now and then. However, the concept of creating a more valued interactive experience for and with our customers and prospects is very exciting and worth the growing pains.
Robert W. Bly responds: Thanks for the thoughtful letter, but I'm still not convinced. Bloomberg is basically saying he makes money with a blog by telling others how to do blogs. Show me ONE direct marketer generating significant profits and positive ROI from a blog and I will change my position. So far, zero evidence ... unlike e-mail and e-zines, where my clients document millions of dollars in sales.