Good and Bad Blogs
There is a danger as digital networking erupts that many of the companies who set themselves up as communication advisers are not credibly practising what they preach. Of the all companies who were finalists in the 2007 AFA Advertising Effectiveness Awards only one had a blog at time of writing.
The earliest blog stems all the way back to 1983. A blog is a portmanteau (i.e. a word that fuses two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded meaning). The modern blog evolved from the online diary or ‘web log’ where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. The short form, ‘blog’, was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word ‘weblog’ into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog. This was quickly adopted as both a noun and verb: ‘to blog’ meaning ‘to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog’ (thanks to Wikipedia for this).
No matter what angle we are coming from, most of us are trying to connect brands with consumers in the most relevant way. In order to build such relationships on behalf of your clients and on behalf of your company it is imperative to practise what you preach – to be blog-natives not blog-observers.
When people outside advertising ask what you do and you humbly mutter something about ‘advertising’, the usual response is along the lines of being cutthroat and competitive. Both are true. Accordingly the core mission for any self-respecting company involved in advertising, marketing, communications etc. is to create a point of differentiation, build relationships, be talked about and attract the best people. I’m not saying blogs are the golden ticket, but they do go a long way to externalising a company’s soul.
Websites are fine as far as they go, but they do tend to be rather static and undernourished. A vibrant blog is the true pulse of a company. I use the word vibrant, because any self-respecting blog-detractor will claim that most blogs are never read. This is probably true.
According to blog measurement specialist Technorati, we should balance the estimated size of the blogosphere with the percentage of ‘short-life’ blogs (those that disappear soon after their arrival). Last July, Technorati heralded the birth of the 50 millionth blog. The current estimated size of the blogosphere is 60 million – but some argue that the figure paints an inaccurate picture, because so many of those blogs are static (rarely, if ever, updated). US researcher Perseus claims that 66 percent of blogs have not been updated in the past two months. It describes more than a million blogs as ‘one-day wonders’ with no follow-up postings.
Technorati supports these statistics, estimating that around 45 percent of blogs have not been added to in the past three months. The traditional measure of a blog’s popularity – in terms of ‘readership’ – is the number of other sites that link to it. According to Technorati’s Global Top 100 Blogs list, tech blog Engadget leads the pack with 25,580 links. But 80 of the top 100 – mostly US-based, although Chinese bloggers are on the ascent – have fewer than 5000 links. Adage provides a ‘top 150′, which is a great place to start to build your blog RSS (http://adage.com/power150).
The number one blog (according to a cumulative ranking from Google and Technorati, among others) is http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ by Seth Godin, well-known author and the godfather of permission marketing. This is a monster of a blog… enjoy.
One of my favourites is www.adliterate.com, incidentally ranked number 82. From its homepage: “Adliterate is dedicated to providing radical thinking for the brand advice business. It is concerned in the main by the future of advertising and the marketing communications industries, the impact of technology on communications and the nature of potent brands. It takes a radical view in order to solve deep-seated problems and it sets itself against orthodoxy in any form. It also aims to be deliberately provocative. Because life is more fun that way.”
Please draw inspiration from the blogs listed below. But whatever you do, if you are in the ‘business’ then kick-start your blog and get out into the wide world web of opinion.