Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why You Should Care About Blogs

Blogs are dicing and slicing the media world in ways that aren’t yet predictable. Their impact is already changing the way marketers, brand stewards and advertisers think about media. But there is much more to it that being the media flavor of the week.

Consider this recent data compiled by Technorati ( BlogAds (, PubSub and the Pew Foundation internet research people.

A. There are 7 million blogs being written. 40,000 new ones begin each day
B. 32 million Americans , 7% of those online read blogs
C. 12% of blog readers post comments, 1200 per minute
D. 5% have blog updates delivered to them using RSS (Real Simple Syndication)
E. More than half of blog readers are 30 or older and earn north of $45K USD
F. Two out of three readers shop online and have clicked on a blog ad
G. Leading reasons for reading blogs are:
1. Faster news
2. Latest Trends
3. Obvious biases
4. Better perspective
5. More personality

Americans are rejecting corporate-processed, homogenized, duplicative, plain vanilla mass media in favor of the opinions of their global neighbors. Blogs have an allure because they offer the option to observe, participate or both.

Much like talk radio and internet porn, blogs have become digital party lines that allow anyone to be in on things and to determine their own level of access, intensity and input to a zillion different conversations, often in real-time and usually in quick response to breaking news, world events or the peculiar, idiosyncratic stuff individuals’ care about.

In no time networks of blogs on niche subjects (e.g. organic food, diabetes, gadgets, tantric sex) will be selling ads, touting products, sharing best and worst lists and calling out companies who suck. The sweet irony is that evolving digital technology does not much more than enable “high touch” communications. As the world and the words move faster and faster and the gadgets have more and more functions, we default to talking to each other and to reaching out to others who live beyond the horizon and experience the world and the words from a different perspective.

Is it any wonder that somebody formed at Word of Mouth Marketing Association
( to capitalize on this phenomenon? Isn’t it crazy that we are so unused to actually talking to each other that somebody needs to aggregate and popularize best practices in talking to each other and become an advocate for word of mouth media as a paid advertising medium?

The potential for brands to be ground floor participants in these conversations is great assuming they are open, forthright and willing to engage people on their own terms. The “spin” in blogs looks a lot like “no spin” in other media environments. There is no more toleration for PR guys posing as blog posters and shilling for products or services. There is less than zero tolerance for corporate speak, the party line or no-answer answers. And pity the firm that pisses off a customer or seriously commits an act against the common good because the aggrieved (the one who usually just tells 10 others about how you suck) now has a global audience.

Yet imagine the benefit to brands of a having on-going conversations that yield real time intelligence about their markets, suggestions for products and services, reviews of competitors, peer-to-peer counseling and a laser-like focus on a single topic. Potentially a network of blogs is a ready-made channel for instantaneous research among customers or prospects and an early warning radar tuned to the frequency of a specific marketplace. Even better is the fact that bloggers and readers self select, so you have the potential to create a daisy chain of key opinion leaders, KOLs in pharma-speak, who you can contact, query and engage at will.

Stay tuned this is just the beginning. Though if you are itching for a mnemonic device:







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