Dee Rambeau writes a blogs called, “I’ve done blogging,” and describes the reasons why he will be stopping blogging, not good for him personally or his business right now. He also gives a critique of blogging culture and believes that you can only make money from blogging in certain ways. I was going to write a comment on his blog, but as it turned into a long post I thought I’d share it on my blog.
Dee, You suggest that there isn’t any other way to monetize a blog other than the ways you have suggested: selling ads, creating paid speaking opportunities as a “subject matter expert,” selling books, or selling consulting services.
Lots of brand companies run corporate blogs, and they are using them very successfully in the area of product development and customer service. I can think of IBM, Microsoft, SUN and number of other companies that are good examples. Those companies that focus on listening to customer feedback and answering customer questions get even more results from blogging, Adobe, Dell and Intuit come to mind. Maybe no sale occurs directly in those interactions, but a customer remains loyal.
Dee, you raised the issue of people having the opportunity to give their opinion, and how messy this makes our culture. I wish that everyone could agree, but this is not the 1950s people have different opinions and we are fortunate, or unfortunate in the view of some people to live in a time when more people can publish their opinions on line. I personally think that is makes our democracy stronger, but it also makes companies more competitive. Dell has only recently supercharged its blogging practices in the face of large-scale blogging criticism, however that criticism has some underlying causes openly admitted to by the new CEO Michael Dell. If we did not have blogging maybe it would have taken longer for the problems at Dell to surface, opinion certainly did matter in the case of that company.
Many small companies should not blog because they just don’t have the time or resources; I’ve even debated this point with my ex-boss Stephen Turcotte at Backbone Media, though my point was more about the small companies had a lot of things to do that could make them successful before thinking about blogging. And Dave Taylor has strongly suggested that CEO’s should not blog.
You write you had some successes from blogging but in your final analysis it does not work for you, I would suggest that that is your situation and that every person and company has to make an assessment of whether running a blog works for them. Your critique is helpful to me in the sense that it gave me pause for thought and I was motivated to write this post. Questioning assumptions is healthy, for you it meant no more blogging, for other people and companies it may mean something different.
I regret that in stopping blogging for your own personal reasons your final thoughts are that most writing on blogs is worthless gossip and opinion. I think there is value in having a body of opinion as I mentioned above in the case of Dell, but that does not mean I will agree with everyone. Taking the contrarian view is definitely part of blogging culture, and being a curmudgeon seems to have become something of a profession for some people. Just because the curmudgeons of the world are around I say to people do not lose heart, fight the good fight, answer their opinion with facts, your example may win you some arguments and inspire people to take the same approach.
You write that blogging seems very pedestrian because everyone can publish online, I’d suggest that now is an exciting time precisely because some of the criticism you have of blogging communities has a lot of truth to it. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and build a better blogging culture, one where the accepted practice is not to be a curmudgeon, unless you use facts and rationality. I sincerely believe that blogging for companies will help them to use the marketing model instead of the sales model; blogging will help companies to improve their product, brand and company, just as has happened with Dell and others.