I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting Chris Powell and Rob Gerlsbeck, Media Editor and Associate Editor, respectively, at Marketing Magazine. Of course I always make a point of keeping in touch with new people that I meet (blogs are pretty handy for that sort of thing), so I dropped both gentlemen an email when I got back to the office. Chris responded, asking, “I’m interested to know just what… kind of traction you’re getting from clients re: establishing corporate blogs. I think you mentioned that you’re about a year away from it becoming profitable? I’d love to include an agency perspective in my piece.”
“We’re getting a lot of curiosity and interest; I think everyone realizes that this phenomenon is not going anywhere, it’s more an issue of “how” rather than “whether” to deal with it. Of course, as with any shift in the communications model that we’re all so comfortable with, there’s a lot of fear, which comes from not knowing what to expect. That’s a big part of my job right now, speaking to clients and addressing their laundry-list of concerns about blogging. Which, frankly, isn’t hard to do once we get into it.
One of the main issues that comes up (which Shel didn’t really address) is concern about time and resources. In fact, I just got an email from a potential client… in which he listed “time required” as his number one worry (along with IT and legal, of course). The email itself was almost 300 words long, and well-written. So I asked him how long it had taken him to write me, because the same missive could easily have been published as a blog post. That was a real eye-opener for him, and we’ll be meeting next week to discuss the whole notion of blogging in more detail.
Ultimately, when I speak to clients, after working through that laundry list with them and helping them find the answers to their particular institutional issues, I tell them that the discussion is taking place. Customers are already saying bad things about their products, they just can’t hear them. Creating a corporate blog lets firms own the conversation AND the forum… it’s about completely controlling the message, just in a different arena.”
I’m not really willing to put timelines on profitability at this point. We’re in the education phase, and things could move much more quickly than expected… we tend to forget that marketing folks have largely become early adopters as their space has become more crowded; they need to find that edge to stand out. And they should also know that they need to adapt to what’s already happening “out there” – in the blogosphere.
Now, I hope I didn’t just scoop Marketing…