I find myself quoted in a Chicago Tribune article on the downsides of blogging. Of interest, the story focuses on marketing consultant Kirsten Osolind’s decision to discontinue her blog. (Many legal bloggers met Kirsten at BlawgConnect in Chicago last March — and I have the photos to prove it.) Kirsten, who runs re:invention, decided her blog wasn’t pulling its weight, she told reporter Ann Meyer. “I believe blogging is not profitable, and there are better ways to connect with your clients.” In place of her blog, Kirsten plans to launch a comprehensive Web portal later this year that will provide information and resources for women-led businesses, including links to other Web sites, she said.

The effectiveness of blogs versus Web portals was debated in some detail by me and others in the posts and comments referenced in my June 22 post, Blogging’s Contrarians. The Chicago Tribune article makes many good points about the need to exercise forethought before diving into blogging as a marketing technique. But I don’t buy Kirsten’s premise that a static portal is as effective as a dynamic blog.

  • I’m another one of those people who put a lot of effort into blogging but simply am not seeing the kind of results that justifies the level of effort. In fact, Thursday, August 18, 2005 will be my last day in “the blogosphere.”

    I already have web sites (portals?) for each of the blogs I had started, and simply didn’t see enough increase in traffic as a result of the blogs.

    If you don’t have a good web site, the blog is fantastic (i.e., better than nothing), but if you already have a web site that you’re putting significant effort into and get traffic as a result of google searches, the blog isn’t necessarily much of a win at all.

    I would submit that a solid Q&A; or “white papers” as PDF documents on a web site have much higher value than “chatting” in a blog. Google will likely rank such “relevant” documents fairly well. Blogs are growing like weeds and the search engines are struggling mightily to keep the weed-level down and can be expected to be even less charitable to blogs as time goes on.

    — Jack Krupansky

  • Hi Robert:

    The Tribune reporter took that last bit out of context. re:invention is evaluating our online strategy, exploring new generation media technologies that integrate streaming audio, video, and text along with an online community commerce technology that would allow our clients and partners to sell and exchange their services rather than simply advertise them.

    After 3 long years, we have decided to “short the blog.” We have found that there are more efficient marketing vehicles for reaching our target market (women-led businesses and the companies trying to reach them). Namely sponsorships, P.R., and tradeshows/conferences.

    I don’t know of any company that has perfected the blogging profitability model. Assessing profitability requires a detailed analysis of blogging revenues and expenses (labor hours, technology and content maintenance and development, opportunity costs).

    A small company on a tight budget must vigilently measure MROI – marketing return on investment. For every dollar that you spend on marketing, your goal should be to make more than a dollar. Small business owners need to define smart objectives and success measurement upfront, well before any marketing work — or blogging — begins.

    I don’t know the answer, Robert.

    But I do know that you shouldn’t just blog because you “think” it will work or because everybody else and Donald Trump are hopping on the blogging wagon. All blogs should be held accountable to MROI.

    With your continued success in mind…