Should B2Bs Blog?

by Erin Erickson, Chicago Chapter Vice President

Last week, the company I work for convened for a day-long editorial meeting. One of the hot topics of discussion was our blogging strategy.

I work for a small B2B company with an even smaller number of people who blog on behalf of their magazine's website. Most of the bloggers post news; some of them post timely opinion pieces; a couple of them have written posts that have landed them in hot water with advertisers.

In these economic times, upsetting advertisers over a blog post isn't necessarily something you want to do particularly if there's an advertiser that can make or break your year.

So this room of editors started to ponder: Can you really "blog" if you work for a B2B?

I put blog in quotation marks because a blog, when used as intended, is an often-updated, interactive vehicle for promoting news and/or opinions.

If you can't post often enough to call it news or can't present an honest opinion without risking monetary consequences, can you really call that blogging?

And if you can't call it blogging, then what should it be called?

The format that blogs provide certainly is a great way to show the world that your media company "gets" interactive media. But, if you're not actually "blogging," then what is it you're doing? What should you call that portal on your site where you post news and not-quite-100%-honest opinion?

I'd love to know of a B2B site that actually blogs with 100% honesty about a topic, advertisers be damned.

I'm also curious to find out other people's opinions about what this altered style of blog posting should be called: B2B Community Journalism perhaps?


December 15, 2008

Hi Erin:

I enjoyed your blog on blogs, in which you make several good points. Here are some reactions:

(1) The idea of offending advertisers -- even in blogs or editorial columns -- is an albatross too many B2B editors must endure. Happily, other publishers have more courage when it requires straight shooting on possibly controversial matters.
(2) The key word in the previous comment is "controversy." You can address an important issue having no apparent advertiser implications and still get somebody who runs a schedule ticked off. However, controversy should be the cornerstone of more blogs. Meanwhile, you need to be sufficiently well informed -- and have an authoritative image with readers -- if you wish to take on the entire industry.

On the other hand, a controversial blog can be one that defends the industry against impending regulations. Or you can use your blog to recommend a new beneficial program your industry might undertake.

In all of these cases, you need to be an industry insider if you intend to produce attention-getting blogs regularly.

Keeping the above thought in mind, we really need to think about how well-connected we are with our industry? How much traveling have we done -- or are we able to do -- to have face-to-face meetings with key players? How often are we on the phone with members of our core reader group? Or is most of our contact done through PR channels?

In other words, the issue is not what we call a blog but how well are we equipped to produce stimulating commentary.

To a certain extent, capable editors always have been delivering blog-worthy material (before we knew about blogs) in their regular magazine editorial columns! Undoubtedly, those folks will have little problem extending this excitement to website blogging.

Howard Rauch
Editorial Solutions, Inc.

Phone: (201) 569-7714
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : December 15, 2008 at 10:42 AM
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