<< by on June 16th, 2008
On Friday I was sitting in the State Theater in Falls Church, Va., attending Blog Potomac, a conference sponsored by Livingston Communications, Viget Labs, and WordBiz.com, Inc., that focuses on the dos and don’ts of social media marketing. I heard a lot of great speakers discuss everything from blogs to new media to social networking sites, but the last speaker’s presentation really struck a chord with me.
The last speaker was Jeremy Pepper, author of Pop! PR Jots, and he spent about an hour discussing how to approach social media from a strategic standpoint. For a lot of companies starting a blog can seem pretty daunting. Many people aren’t used to writing everyday and the thought of constantly updating a site can seem intimidating. Often times companies start a blog on a whim, without any clear idea of which direction they are hoping to take. According to Pepper, this is the wrong way to go about creating a website. Rather than blindly diving into the sea of new media, companies need to evaluate what it is they hope to achieve with their site and decide if a blog is needed. Sometimes, perhaps even oftentimes, it’s not.
As a recent James Madison University graduate with a degree in media arts and design, I’ve been taught for four years that blogs were the be-all and end-all of new media, and now someone was saying that some companies might not need one? I was shocked! But after hearing Pepper through he made a lot of sense.
While it’s no secret that blogs can help boost a company’s SEO rankings, it’s important to remember that sites are really created for an audience. If the audience would not benefit from the creation of a blog, or if the blog does not address what readers want to know about, there is no point in creating one. It may seem like every company has a blog, and maybe a lot of them do, but if it’s not needed it’s only a waste of man-power, time and money. (And this is coming from someone who has been blogging for the past two years).
For an example of a company that has used its blog in a good way, check out Direct2Dell, written and created by Lionel Menchaca. When Dell was dealing with negative feedback after a few of its laptops exploded in Japan, Menchaca, who also spoke at the Blog Potomac conference, created the site in an effort to keep customers up to date and informed. The site allowed users to leave comments, ask questions and receive quick replies to anything they had a question about. Since the site was created in 2006 the amount of negative comments has decreased from 50 to 20 percent.
Blogs are still a relatively new innovation, and we will obviously learn a lot about them in the future, but it’s already clear that there are right and wrong ways to go about setting one up. Blogging is in my blood, but is it for everyone? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.