Blogs are great, except when you don’t know what to write. When I read the Clive Thompson article “Blogs to Riches the have and have-nots of the Blogging Boom“, mentioning all of the success stories, and millionaire bloggers out there in the blogosphere, I thought what a bunch of lucky *ucks. They just sit around and write gossip, spread rumors or create innuendo, and the dough flows through the front door. What an easy gig… yeah right. I have spent the last few days trying to come up with something clever to write about two articles.
Peter Rojas, of the Endgadget blog says he works “80 hours per week, sometime sitting front of the computer from dusk til dawn.” It’s all about keeping it current. If you snooze you lose. The competition is fierce and fast.
Blogging is the new great communications coup. Thompson describes it as “The most democratized revolution in media ever…” It’s easy to enter, and just takes a lot of sweat equity and tenacity. We all have access to the blogaspere and if we choose to participate, we can be part of the discussion, or the critique, or feed the needs of the niche markets.
Naked Conversations [R.Scobale, S. Israel,] defines and defends blogging as “the most powerful tool in this [internet media] revolution.” Blogging levels the playing field, and has the power to bring to task the enormous media giants. Dan Rather was brought down by the blogger nation in what has been termed “Rathergate” by some. He and the program 60 Minutes knowingly reported false information about the President’s National Guard service, based on forged documents, and they got burned. Chalk one up for the little guys.
Along with being a “sling” in the David and Goliath war of media bias that has evolved over the last 15 years, the blog is also one of the essential elements of the Web 2.0 movement. Of dynamic, two-way free flow of content from publisher to user and back. The blog is the soft dark place that viral marketing thrives, with text, audio and video. It’s “Word of Mouth on Steroids.” (R.Scobale, S. Israel, Naked Conversations). Having been in my own business for the last few years I can attest to the value of word of mouth or “conversational” marketing. There is no more effective means. We are influenced by those around us, by those we respect.
Besides internet development I am also involved in some direct mail marketing and fundraising campaigns. There is an established model to direct response marketing, it’s sort of like carpet bombing. Drop as many as we can afford, and if we hit 2%, we call it a success and fly home. It is an effective way to reach a large audience, and build a base, but it’s not an efficient one.
Just his week we are dropping 125,000 pieces of mail to the tri-state area and parts of New England. All of the names are qualified leads rented from a broker at a cost of somewhere around $11,000.00. The development of the package, copywriting, creative, design, management will most likely run around $9,000.00. The production of the piece which includes a letter, business reply envelope, outer envelope and a donation coupon will run around $14,000.00. And, on top of all that, there is the postage, which for the outbound mailing will run $18,000.00, the cost of the pre-paid return envelope depends on how many people respond. But if we meet the goal of 2%, it should be an additional $350.00. So as you can see it is a fairly expensive proposition, and just think of how much junk mail (direct mail) you get each day.
So, the time of the blog is today and tomorrow. It’s amazing how many blogs exist, but to me what is more amazing is how many do not exist. There are literally millions of customers in the world that could be reached at a fraction of the cost.