Thursday, July 07, 2005

Blog or die?

Cover your eyes if you don't want to read yet another post about how the world of advertising is changing once and evermore.

The world of advertising is changing once and evermore. Buying up acres of print or hours of airtime isn't your ticket to the top anymore. Print and broadcast will still have their place, but they're not the finish line anymore.

More and more companies are clued in to this and are launching blogs because they are simply the smartest way to reach the folks who might buy what you have to offer. If the content is compelling, if the tone is individual, if there's a willingness to tell the truth, blogging is the easiest, cheapest way to develop a relationship with the folks who are, or who might become, your customers.

Robert Scoble and Shel Israel over at Naked Conversations, a seminal blog about "how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers," don't mince words. Blog or Die. They got some flack for using hyperbole and in the version I've linked to, they've qualified that statement, but not by much.

In a nutshell:
I believe, blogging will fundamentally change communications from what it is today to something less controlled and more credible. It has already begun to do so, at a phenomenal rate, and at a time when many industries are dealing with broken business models. For example, traditional publishing--newspapers, magazines and books are all dealing with issues of reduced profitability. Blogging didn't break their models--the Internet contributed by fragmenting news distribution and by siphoning off ad revenues. . . .
. . . businesses who ignore blogging will go the way of the blacksmith who ignored the automobile. A century ago, some blacksmiths reinvented themselves to become auto dealers. Others started promoting horseback riding as recreation sports, founded boarding stables or pioneered early race tracks. Others just kept on doing what they were doing and slowly, steadily, and in the end, silently died.
This will be a hard transition for a lot of companies to make because they're accustomed to 100 percent control. Blogging isn't about control. It's about having faith that the truth is the best story you have to tell.

But what if a company's truth isn't their best story? There are some famous failures in the headlines lately whose truth, let's just say, didn't so much set them free as set them up. Blogging can tell your truth, make a company human, engage in conversation, invite feedback, do everything a press release does, but with a human voice.

It's planning season for a lot of industries. Ahem.