Blogging about blogging… yes, I hate it too, but this has to be said. In the past few weeks, I've been working with a number of customers on their blogging strategy and have some notes that I found fascinating. With a certain amount of anonymizing and only using public information, here they are:
Organization A is a company fighting to gain market share in a number of different closely related markets. Some of those markets are fiercely competitive but have incredibly high barriers to entry while they're early entrants to other markets with almost no barrier to entry. They have a well-established name and client list but their brand lacks any kind of Focus. Instead of having a series of products, they've been more of a consultantcy but are actively working to change that. Their competitors are easily identified and are largely established and their customers (and customers' customers) are highly connected and often incredibly tech savvy.
Organization B is quite different. They are a non-profit with a long-established mission and set of goals. Due to various legal considerations and for accountability to their contributors, everything they do has to map into the mission and goals. They also have a well-established name and client list and their branding is in their name. They serve as a resource for people interested in their highly focused topic and their "competitors" are diametrically oppposed to them so their "customers" aren't going to go with competitors. The majority of their customers are not tech savvy.
Both of these organizations have individuals who are eminently qualified in their particular fields. They're long-establsihed as professionals and generally knowing their stuff. So let's see if you can match each of the paraphrased statements to the organization:
- We won't be able to talk about [major competitor]'s big publicly known failure, that's off limits.
- We have to moderate all of the comments before they go live because our competitors will leave nasty remarks.
- The site is only going to be updated 3-4 times/month.
- Only [three people] will be able to post because of potential legal issues.
- We can't say what those customers are doing wrong because all of our customers are doing that.
If you guessed Organization A – the company fighting a pitched battle for market share – you would be correct!
What most people don't realize is that by giving one thing of small value away, you often create bigger value. That doesn't make sense at first but stop and think about it: Why do authors appear on Oprah? Why do companies give presentations at conferences? Why do doctors appear in segments on your local news? Why do people blog?
In almost none of those cases are people receiving pay – in fact in most of those cases – they're incurring a cost in time, dollars and effort, but the key to it all is:
Once you establish yourself as knowledgable in a subject, people looking for information – or products! – on that subject will seek you out.
Ask yourself… which organization would you rather deal with?
a) The one which refuses to talk about or demonstrate what they can do better and won't publicly analyze the mistakes of their competitors?
b) Or the one that demonstrates understanding of your needs, can talk directly to them, and can provide insight you haven't considered?