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The value of business ‘blogging

Becoming a ‘blogger is akin to a land grab – you’re attempting to seize control of a dialogue about a thing or a person, a way of thinking, a product, a place .. almost anything. For businesses that like the idea of ‘blogging, there has to be a way of quantifying the value, and until now, that’s been hard to gauge in advance of the act of ‘blogging itself.

To ‘blog is to establish an informal dialogue with your audience. It’s a chance to maybe speak off the record, to engage as an individual rather than just as a business entity, and there’s also the chance just put a face to a name and remove that sense of anonymity.

I could prattle on about this all day, but you’d be much better served reading up on the benefits of ‘blogging for businesses by reading what Mark White has to say over at Better Business Blogging.

“Charlene Li and Chloe Stromberg [of Forrester] have put together their report on “The ROI Of Blogging,” and in it they point out all the wonderful things a blog can do: generate increased press mentions, better search engine results, build word-of-mouth buzz, and function as a sort of free focus group that can save companies hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.”

That’s the kind of stuff that usually costs a small fortune to implement. A word of caution: simply because this is what can be achieved from a business ‘blog doesn’t guarantee that’s what you’ll end up with.

The same rules of quality, managerial approval and marketing apply, so some post-blog effort is still required to keep those visitors traipsing through without letting slip in-house secrets.

A convenient example of the potential savings comes from a Case Study on GM’s FastLane Blog:

“The next step is to ask exactly how much running a focus group would cost. According to Li, it’s about $15,000 a month, which works out to $180,000 each year. Voilá: GM has just saved itself $180,000 in cash, approximately the same amount of money needed to fuel a first-generation Hummer for one year.”

While “There’s no fixed formula for doing the calculation because it depends on what each company is trying to achieve through blogging.” The potential savings must be alluring.

Could we see a shift from the Internet being choked up with teenage Japanese girls and instead see the Internet reduced to a crawl by corporate ‘blogs and even more corporate ‘blogspeak?

I hope not, but if we can encourage businesses of all sizes to step bravely into the world of ‘blogging, we might just see the link between customer and business forged anew.

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.