Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blog Post Frequency: Daily not required...but why?

Jory Des Jardins sent me over a MarketingProfs article by Eric Kintz that BlogHer Britt Bravo found, thinking I'd have something to say about it.

Mr. Kintz' thesis is that blog post frequency is no longer that important, and certainly daily posting is unnecessary...and in fact may be counter-productive.

Knowing that I write nine blogs and am quite committed to posting in them regularly I think Jory thught I might disagree with Kintz' entire thesis. In fact I don't, but I don't think his reasons are always the most succinct or relevant. (BTW-there are few of my nine blogs that I actually post in daily. Even if at one time I managed to do so with some of them, now with Blogher Conference '06 only two months way, there's just no way!)

So here are some points I made in my reply email to Jory and Britt:

1. Kintz makes a point that not many top corporate marketers blog themselves. He associates this with the barrier to entry blogging represents, in time and having something to say.

But, if I'm a marketer, why do I give a damn if *marketers* are blogging? I don't. I want to reach the people who might buy my product or service, right? So this whole barrier to entry thing is lame.

3. Along the same lines, I don't get his logic with this one:
"Just 13 percent reported using blogs or social networks in marketing, and 49 percent said they had no plans to do so in the next year. If the blogosphere wants to become more mainstream (vs. being the latest hype), frequent posting and required bandwidth are undoubtedly a major barrier to adoption."

First of all the fact that half of marketers do plan to market on blogs/social networks next year strikes me as pretty f-ing amazing.

Second of all, how does it follow, or how does he establish in any way that it is frequent posting and required bandwidth that is a major barrier to marketers wanting to market on blogs?

2. RSS, yeah, it's so cool. But mostly it's the digerati who use it so far. The numbers are very low. I totally agree that one must support RSS, and that one day it will be much more widespread. But again...who are you marketing to? The mass market of consumers, or small business owners or whatever, or digerati? If the latter, then yeah, this is a rationale, but other than that, it's just pretty irrelevant to the discussion.

4. Ah, he brings out this one:
"more and more companies will resort to partnering with their PR agencies to create blogs. The blogosphere will in turn lose some of its effectiveness and value."

This is my favorite piece of bloggerati conventional wisdom: because we all know that PR agencies aren't actually staffed with human beings or anything...yes, they're soulless robots who could never be authentic. Moreover, PR folks haven't had to adapt to stay in the business have they? No, they're absolutely incapable of understanding new modes of communication and adapting their work to include them. It's so narrow-minded. Sure, your marketing person may not be the person to blog for you, but it's not going to be because they're a marketing person.

So, it may then surprise you to hear that I completely agree with the basic thesis that daily posting is not required. Why *is* daily posting not critical: Because people are busy, and very few are actually going to miss you if you don't post daily. He mentions this, and this stuff is true. He also mentions another valid point: posting daily isn't worth it if the pressure to post daily is degrading either your content or your quality of life. Also, can't possibly argue about that.

However, Kintz and I might disagree on the definition of "quality content."

So why *are* companies served by at least frequent posting (maybe 3 times per week)?: Because blogging can be an excellent communications channel for establishing a more personal and invested relationship with your reader, customer, audience. If you only post once a week, even if it is a well-crafted, completely authentic piece, then you are establishing a level of formality with that relationship. People like to see the occasional less-careful, more off-the-cuff comments. They enjoy reactions to events that are happening now. If they wanted only less frequent, more "well-crafted" pieces they'd go read the white papers on your site. Blog a little more often, be a little more informal. That's a win-win.

IMHO, of course :)

OK I feel better.

I thought the piece was pretty, to quote Patrick Scoble, lame. The points he made were mostly irrelevant and sometimes inaccurate.

I do agree with your thoughts about why daily blogging isn't necessary.

Happy to help Denise :)

And happy I'm not the only one who thought so!
As an admiring lurker of Elisa and the Worker Bees blog, I am going to have to apologize for my first comment being one that disagrees with the comments so far. I think that many of Kintz's points are valid. As for the number of corporate marketers not blogging, I agree that it doesn't matter whether they are blogging about marketing and talking to each other -- it's more important that they are conversing with their customers. But the barrier Kintz describes -- the proscription that one must blog every day -- is nonetheless real, and is surely keeping some away from blogging at all, even with blogs that are meant for their customers.

I agree with your thoughts, Elisa, that PR people, contrary to popular opinion, can be real and effective bloggers, and I voiced the same on my blog, studio 501c, in this post: a blog can be like a business lunch. I aimed to dispel some of the myths about blogging, especially as they affect nonprofits.
Hi Celeste: well thanks for being an admirer, even if you sometimes disagree, and thanks for emerging from lurkerdom to leave a comment! That's a good post on your blog.

In general I think there are way to many "shoulds" and "oughts" applied to blogging, sometimes by people who have an interest in being authorities. I think a lot of kinds of blogs can be and in fact already are successful. I also think success can be defined many different ways.

The key thing is to ferret out what kind of blog you or your organization should have and setting about making that happen!
Yes--the key is to customize it. When I hear people say, "I don't get this blogging thing" or "I would have a blog, but you have to update it every day," I often compare blogs to books--there are personal books, business books, short books, long books, etc. etc. There is no one way to write or publish a book, and the same is true of blogs, of course.
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