Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Blog Coaches suck! Need a Blog Coach?

Here is my little dry humor for the day.

ProBlogger, Darren points me toward a rant about the horrific proliferation of heinous charlatans known as Blog Coaches, written by JS Logan.

What's so funny? I mean, isn't he besmirching my good name with his blanket, unattributed criticism of those who dare to advise businesses about blogs?

Well, I just think it's kind of funny when the latter half of his post is all about why he would be a better blog consultant than those other guys out there.

He is using the classic straw man. Oooh, those evil blog coaches out there. Well, name one, why don't you?

I'm not saying there are no charlatans out there, there are in every industry, but the reputable marketing consultants I know who include blogging among their portfolio of services...whether it's a major part, or merely one of many, all seem to share Logan's philosophy.

How many times have you heard me repeat my mantra: "Blogs are a tool, a technology, not a revolution."? And if you followed this particular industry you'd hear other consultants say so too...Toby Bloomberg as one example.

Actually, I think some in the citizen's media crowd are definitely all about the hyperbole, but the business and marketing consulting types seem to be a little more conservative.

So, all I'm saying is show us the straw man, or just pitch your business on its strengths. The second half of Logan's post was strong enough, don't you think?

Comments:
Thanks for the kind words on the last part of my post. I thought the first part was good too :-) It’s probably the middle part that’s most upsetting.

If you felt targeted, I apologize. I have a cursory understanding of your business, subscribe to your blog, and have a general opinion you’re good at what you do. You, Toby, and many others I’m sure we could name together do not get my ire.

My ire is not focused on a single person or persons, but an idea - the idea something new, such as blogs, signals the death of something old. I agree business and marketing consultants are more conservative than their political cousins in extolling the virtues of blogging however, I believe it’s a more recent phenomenon and one which requires more effort.

Could I name names and link to sites and offers I believe to be disingenuous? Sure. While that would be fun for some to read and watch, it’s not the point I want to make. I’m not against people, rather my issue is the idea of anything being presented as a must have to all businesses. As you agreed, people with questionable intentions exist and I’m confident we could both cite examples and do simple Google searches to identify a few, but that’s not the point.

Plus, it would never be wise to start a war with a blogger or someone with HTML skills…it’s worse than the old adage of never going to war with someone that buys paper by the truck load and ink by the barrel :-)

So, why would I write about any of this? Aren’t I just another consultant trying to sell a blogging service? No. At $250 it’s not much of a service to pursue; a person could go broke selling that service :-) That’s the business reason I had to limit the offer – I could never afford to offer that service to many people over a long period of time. And I’m quite confident there are many consultants who could out perform me as a blog coach. The point I may have failed to make is blog coaching should be about raising a business to greater success, not performing menial tasks as some offer.

This is more a pet peeve of mine.

For years I had legions (mild exaggeration) of consultants’ parade through my offices offering a variety of “must have” tasks to me and my team – web services, direct mail, sales training, print advertising, signage, copywriting, etc. None of the tasks were wrong; it was the offer I never liked.

The majority of the consulting space is built around the tasks of the individual providing the services, not the needs of the client. For example, if I’m a sales trainer, I sell sales training to anyone I can get to buy it…regardless of whether or not the training is of any real value to my client. You see this time and again across the breadth of sales, marketing, and business consulting. Services are recommended and sold because that’s what the consultant does, not necessarily because that’s what the client needs most at that time. Obviously, some consultants are better than others, but when you draw a circle around the majority, it’s true – certainly it’s true to my experience.

This pet peeve is shared by many of my prospects, customers, and readers of my blog. It’s unfortunate, but many business people feel uneasy with consultants because they believe they’ll say or do anything to sell their service. That some do, make it worse for the rest of us.

BTW…This ultimately is the opportunity for people such as you, Toby, me, and others. The opportunity to serve customers based on their need, not on what we have to sell - to not tell everyone they need a blog because that’s what we have to offer.

Coming full circle…If I offended, I apologize. I believe I left enough open space for legitimate service providers such as you to exist within my opinion. If you think not, let me know…regardless, I’ll loosen a bit and allow more space.

My apologies for the long comment.

Cheers!
 
On a separate, but related issue…This experience has raised my interest in better gauging the demand for a web/blog/ezine/online coaching-type service. From cursory investigation of services available, it appears there is a hole in the market that can be filled, if demand is sufficient.

If interesting in sharing ideas, please give me a call.
 
hey Jim:

I actually didn't feel targeted...no apology necessary at all.

Yes, the "xxxx is dead" meme, all due to blogging, is very tired. Couldn't agree more.

And truth be told, I also agree that it's not really a great practice to single out other businesspeople by name...although it'd be fun to read as you say.

Certainly when I was in corporate life I saw our company hire consultants, and it always struck me as a ridiculous waster. Oftentimes it wasn't the consultant's fault. Often the company just isn't willing to actually maintain the processes or practices that a consultant helps them define and set up. I know this from the other side of the issue because after I left my last company I consulted with them for 4 months, helping them complete a major product development process effort that had been languishing. They needed the process; they invested in getting it done (finally) it was done well (if I do say so myself) and day one after I walked out of there everything brand spanking new and ready to go, everyone trained, they were already mired in their old ways.

As with everything else, it's more than identifying what is needed...there's always good old execution to trip people up too.
 
Jim and Elisa thanks for your kind words. Loved this line from Jim's post "Step forward folks and for a mere $400 all your business woes can be cured!"

Charlatans have been responsible for giving legit consultants, in all industries, a bad wrap for years.

What burns me is the damage done to businesses and the distrust it creates with "clients" regarding the specific industry (be it blogging or marketing or bee keeping) and about consultants in-general.

I have no problems with a consultant changing market value be that $5 or $250K ... if services are of value.

Toby
Diva Marketing Blog

P.s. I've been teaching a class on management consulting at Emory U. in Atlanta. I find that amazing...a class on how to be a consultant! By the way, if you're interested read Flawless Consulting by Peter Block - wonderful take on the client/consultant relationship.
 
Jim and Elisa thanks for your kind words. Loved this line from Jim's post "Step forward folks and for a mere $400 all your business woes can be cured!"

Charlatans have been responsible for giving legit consultants, in all industries, a bad wrap for years.

What burns me is the damage done to businesses and the distrust it creates with "clients" regarding the specific industry (be it blogging or marketing or bee keeping) and about consultants in-general.

I have no problems with a consultant changing market value be that $5 or $250K ... if services are of value.

Toby
Diva Marketing Blog

P.s. I've been teaching a class on management consulting at Emory U. in Atlanta. I find that amazing...a class on how to be a consultant! By the way, if you're interested read Flawless Consulting by Peter Block - wonderful take on the client/consultant relationship.
 
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