Every category of blogs and bloggers reported incredible growth numbers in 2007, according to a New Forrester Report, except one: B2B Blogs. In fact, the number of new B2B blogs started in 2007 from 2006 actually decreased. Have blogs lost their magic? Nope not one bit. So then what is the problem?
To put it bluntly, it is the bandwagon and herd mentality of B2B Marketers and their inability and or ignorance to figure out how to get their corporate message out without vomiting and regurgitating all over their audience. It’s the Bullhorn effect. Many marketers have not gotten the clue or the hint that what they’re doing isn’t working. They saw blogs as this great new soapbox to jump on and push out their truckloads full of hackneyed slogans and contrite pitches. They still think a blog is merely a tool to blast out another message, and they are dumbfounded that it isn’t working!
They think; “Hey, we are part of the social media scene! We have a blog, we’re cool! Buy from us!” They just don’t get it. They are trying to butt their way into the conversation, instead of joining it. They think that their blogging style should be heavy-handed with all of their slogans, and carefully crafted branded content and they are forgetting the basic purpose of blogging – to start a conversation.
Forrester also reported that most B2B blogs are dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion. More than 70% of the corporate blogs it reviewed stuck strictly to business or technical topics and didn’t share much personal insight or experience.
The report noted that; “team blogging may lighten the burden, but group blogs seem even more impersonal as writers bounce between topics and fail to deliver a unifying narrative thread. Team efforts also suffer from participation ups and downs. In the past year, for example, about half of Intel’s featured bloggers have moved on to other pursuits.”
As a result, 74% of B2B blogs receive a minimum of commentary or trackbacks because readers fail to find conversations worthy of their involvement.
Successful blogging, Forrester insists, is not a one-way street, but most corporate bloggers yak away about their companies and products, seemingly oblivious to whether their audience is listening or not.
The report states; “Similar to last year, 56% of blogs we examined simply regurgitate company news or executive views, while relatively fewer blogs work to establish thought leadership by enlisting internal experts–with deep, specific knowledge of a particular topic–as their primary blog authors.”
That last line speaks to precisely the strategy we use at Sterling Cross Communications to advise and coach our blogging clients on their own blogging strategy. To open dialogues where in the course of discussion you can establish your thought leadership position by speaking clearly, concisely, and passionately on the area of expertise you bring to the market.
B2B Bloggers need to get this message if you want to reap the rewards a blog can bring. You can learn this lesson, or you can leave your blogs abandoned and continue to heavy hand Twitter or the next shiny new tool! If you can learn from these mistakes, you can assist your blog in rising above the buzz!
Lest you think we were generalizing all b2b bloggers, Laura Ramos the author of the report wished that I would clarify that they were researching the following:
“Just a point or two of clarification: in the report we reviewed 90 large B2B companies where blogging activity was evident from their home page. This number is not meant to be representative of all blogging in the B2B space.
We looked for blogs by Fortune 500 companies and top tech firms, who are enthusiastically embracing blogging because this research follows-up on a report we published last year that reviewed the same group. The intent was to look for trends and patterns in “enterprise” blogging activity, not to size the effort as a whole.”