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Harvard Business Review : Blogs a breakthrough idea for 2005

The February issue of Harvard Business Review, only available for sale online, lists the breakthrough ideas for 2005. Number 10, is business blogging. This is a huge endorsement of marketing blogs – especially coming on the heals of Monday’s Wall Street Journal’s article endorsing blogs as an effective business marketing tool.

Steve Rubel, publisher of Micro Persuasion has some excerpts from what Mohabir Sawhney, Tribune Professor of Technology and Director, Center for Research in Technology and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, writes in the article. Here’s the excerpts (emphasis added).

‘The ‘blogosphere’ – a grassroots ecosystem comprising of millions of weblogs – is decentralized and ungoverned. But like traditional media (and unlike most personal web sites), it is gaining the power to influence what people think, do, and buy. The blogosphere has begun to develop its own rating schemes, ratings leaders, business models, and brand-name celebrities. As the blogosphere takes its place among entertainment and information channels, companies must devise strategies for marketing in and around it.’……’Marketers will naturally want their messages promoted on influential blogs and protected from critical ones. But they will find it difficult to navigate this complex blend of advertising, content, dialogue, and public relations.’……’Corporate marketers must deal with bloggers differently from the way they deal with traditional media. First, they must realize that the blogosphere is not just a place in which to advertise; it is a medium in which to participate. Marketers can join the conversation on influential blogs related to their products or companies – or even better, they can become bloggers in their own right by hosting blogs for customers. Most radically, they can host independent bloggers on their Web sites, essentially trading exposure for reach and credibility.

Second, companies must try to cultivate bloggers rather than control them. Instead of making ham-handed efforts to influence bloggers, marketers should attempt to win them over by sharing information openly with those who write about their companies and by responding to the issues that are raised, even – especially – if they are negative.

Third, the blogosphere is fluid and ever changing. Ad buys will become more dynamic, as new technologies and modified contract terms let marketers shift rapidly from blog to blog in pursuit of customers’ fickle attention.’

Are you a legal marketing professional or lawyer? Do you have a plan to participate in the blogosphere or to at least launch a beta blog in the coming months for one of your lawyers or practice areas to test the effectiveness of blog marketing? If your answers are yes and no, you are blowing it or do not care about the growth of your law firm’s business.

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