"A year ago eMarketer looked at the business of blogging and said that blogs were a one-to-few medium, and they were not practical for most businesses," says James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, The Business of Blogging: A Review. "But over the past year many things have changed, including our opinion."
In fact, it is time for business to reconsider the question of blogging.
"Currently, despite the fact that a new blog is launched every second, very few businesses blog," says Mr. Belcher. "They have hesitated entering a medium where ceding control is one of the ground rules, and as a result, well over 90% of them, both large and small, simply don’t blog."
The hurdles that corporations must overcome to blog are formidable.
"After years of meticulous branding, carefully arranged PR messages, and committee-developed corporate-speak that offends no one — especially lawyers — successful blogging requires ceding message control internally to a single, real voice, and externally to commenters whose feedback may not always be positive," says Mr. Belcher.
A growing number of businesses, however, are moving beyond the blogging-as-sales-tool mindset that hindered adoption.
"GM and Sun, notably, are blogging with a one-to-many voice that gives them one of the most low-cost PR options available," says Mr. Belcher.
At the same time, companies are learning, often the hard way, that monitoring blogs is becoming an essential part of brand management.
"A generation for whom sharing information via social networks and personal blogs is second nature will demand being addressed as human beings, without the filters applied by traditional corporate communications," says Mr. Belcher. "Marketers and PR professionals who want to remain relevant in this environment will add blogging and blogosphere literacy to their skill sets, or risk falling behind their customers."