It’s not rocket science that with the popularity and power of the Internet growing all over the world, online marketing has become a high interest topic. Early marketing applications started with banner and pop-up ads recently moved to tools such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), CGM (Consumer Generated Media) and Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace).
These are still early days of marketing applications in the social marketing space. According to Tim Suther (CMO of Acxiom at a recent Wharton Marketing Conference), people spend 42% of their media consumption time online, advertisers shell out only 11% to 12% of their total advertising budgets on the web (ref.1). We still have a lot to learn about this space. With the online scene evolving everyday it is essential to keep in touch with the changing landscape.
Where does blogging fit in all of this? Is it a marketing tool or just a medium for people to share information? My hypothesis is that blogs started off to share information and thoughts, just like Facebook started off as a site for college students to network and “meet online”. But now, it has evolved into another marketing tool. It is being used to promote personal skills (like industry specific thought leadership, cooking, photography, software development, graphic design and many more) or building corporate image and developing brand identity.
Why do people really blog?
While researching the space on why people blog, I was led to a LinkedIn discussion (ref.2) which fit the bill very well. It was in a group called “ThoseinMedia” which consists of people working in the marketing and media world. In a way, these people are experts in this industry. I decided to take all their responses and analyze them to answer my question and prove (or disprove) my hypothesis on blogging.
Exhibit 1: Summary of Responses on “Why do people blog?” Discussion
General opinion (almost 48% of comments on the discussion – see Exhibit 1 above) among media professionals is that blogging is a way to share information. For instance one of the comments on the discussion was “To be honest the reason this professional has started a blog is to pass on my experiences and help give others the resource that was not around when I started out. I just hope that the waffle I blog about helps someone get a head start in media, or at least understand certain areas little better”. Another comment which I think explains blogging behavior to some extent is “Blogging allows a voice for the “little people”.
However, information sharing doesn’t seem to be the only reason why people blog. Exposure (38% of comments) seems to be another big reason. This comment probably summarizes this statistic “To me that is a very simple question. Its exposure. Whether you’re a professional trying to gain some recognition, you have a product you want to introduce to the public with very little money to advertise or you’re just opinionated about a particular subject(s). Everyone is looking for their 15 minutes of fame.”
Other reasons that came up were earning money/profit from ad revenue, for corporates to engage with their consumers as well as for professional networking. Some comments on this topic can explain the sentiment:
- “People blog to market themselves. Think of it as an electronic billboard. It helps you get noticed, and in some cases, famous. The more stuff (an industry term) you have out there, the more you are recognized by the search engines as well. So more people find you and become readers. The more readers you have, the more people will “quote” you. It can be a very good business building tool.”
- “It gives our company website a more personal side as well, besides the corporate message.”
- “Note that blogging is very helpful for job seekers, even when not actively looking!”
This discussion on why people blog also brings up another question – What will be the future of blogging? I came across some thoughts on how Twitter is the future of blogging. But the opinion among experts was that blogs are more your identity and social media sites might shut their doors but your blog will always be yours. This comment explains a lot “Your blog is essentially your identity, your credential, your brand and YOU online today. Twitter and the other social networks are actually closing off spheres of influence dramatically from even a year ago. Yourself hosted blog will never do that to you.”
Finally, this comment in a funny way describes the mindset of the current generation “John Currie comes closest to the best answer; people blog for the same reason dogs lick themselves, because they can. Blogging is the ultimate act of a self indulgent generation encouraged to talk – but not listen”.
This blog post is written by Reema Notani, Insight Consultant, Brandscapes Worldwide
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