Despite the intensive promotion of blogging as ‘the next big thing’ in the corporate scenario (E-Commerce Times, 2012) a number of commentators are skeptical about the business potential of blogs. One of the most vocal skeptics is Rajesh Lalwani, a well-known direct marketing copywriter:
“I have yet to find a single marketer who says that business blogging has gotten him a positive return on investment. I know plenty of online marketers who make millions of dollars a year from their Web sites and e-zines, for instance. But I’ve not seen a blog whose creator says that the time and effort spent on it has directly put money into his pocket” (The Times of India, 2007).
The challenges of business blogging
Although business blogging has proven to be immensely beneficial for small scale businesses, but it has certain limitations. The disadvantages or challenges of business blogging can be summarised as under (Mitchell and Silver, 2010; Nelson et al, 2010):
- Negative Comments: Since blogging is a two-way communication platform, firms have to be geared up for negative comments from customers. They must also be prepared with strategies to deal with these negative comments and how to turn disgruntled customers to happy ones.
- Loss of Control Over the Message: Lack of experience can sometimes create a problem for corporate bloggers. Sometimes the main topic of discussion can be lost amidst varied comments from customers.
- Time consuming: Companies must also devise topics to keep their blog interesting. This is sometimes time-consuming and requires effort. Blogs needs to be updated almost everyday to keep it popular.
- Difficulty in measuring the impact of blogs: It is difficult to determine the effect a blog had on the company’s sales and their overall business goals.
Blogs are easy to start and hard to maintain. Writing coherently is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks for a human being to undertake. So, far from blogs being a cheap strategy, they are a very expensive one, in that they eat up time. As a result, many blogs are not updated, thus damaging rather than enhancing the reputation of the organization. This is one of the biggest challenges of business blogging.
Further issues with business blogging
There are separate issues which companies need to deal with.
- Monitoring the blog: The first concerns monitoring the blogosphere for references to the company or brand.
- Guidelines for the blog: The second relates to the need for companies to have guidelines for official corporate blogs. Establishing policy and knowing who is saying what is critical. There are worse things in the world than not having a weblog and corps are right to tread lightly and to carefully establish policies and rules before they jump in.
- Confidentiality: Unofficial employee blogging is an area of some concern. Some companies report that they are worried about ‘unflattering portrayals and leaks’ and mentions several incidents which have led to employee bloggers being fired. Confidentiality is a growing concern with business blogging.
Blogs are risky. However with a trained set of skills and proper time management, companies can convert an effective business blog into successful leads and sales.
- E-commerce Times (2012). The Rise of Corporate Blogging. [online]. Available at http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/75809.html Last accessed on 29th October 2012.
- Janus Risk Management. (2004). Web logs: blog threat management. Dublin: Research and Markets.
- Mitchell, F., and Silver, A. (2010). Making Nutrition Your Business. American Dietetic Association.
- Nelson, M., Shaw, M., and Strade, T. (2010). Sustainable E-Business Management: 16th Americas Conference on Information Systems. Berlin: Springer.
- The Times of India (2007). Blogging hits corporate world. [online]. Available at http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-03-18/india/27878695_1_blogs-reliance-communications-reliance-users Last accessed on 29th October 2012.
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