First of all let’s say that I enjoyed attending. I have to say that the energy was there, plenty of lively discussions and so overall I say it was good to be there. I was impressed by the number of people that the show attracted. I think that the show is on the right track helping this form of media become understandable to the masses. I also felt that there is a over-saturating of the marketplace but we will get to that in a minute.
The bad news is that the event still has a long way to go, it is still in its infancy. After talking to a few social media firms there are still areas where the medium has not caught up as well. For instance we are a B2B company and while blogging is well along the way in the retail environment engaging the consumer. It still is little understood how it will impact the small and medium B2B companies who are trying to engage a much smaller defined universe of people. Many of the firms that I spoke with had two basic models:
- Mom and pop bloggers (plenty of them attended)
- Big companies with massive budgets for social media (Sony for example)
For these two groups it all makes sense. The mom and pop bloggers reach a finite audience that deals with health foods, pets, vitamins, foods, hobbies and enthusiasts. The Big companies have tens of thousands if not millions of consumers buying their products. So blogging is like having instant focus groups and users testing out products and if developed correctly creates a big R&D department which helps these large corporations understand consumer needs and wants as well as develop unique quality products that fulfill the consumer demand. So for them blogging is great.
For the small-to-medium company that targets other like businesses the picture isn’t clear at least not yet. While the value is there, creating not only relevant content but building a system that helps engage other small-to-medium companies is still not clearly understood. Everyone will try to sell you a solution, they will say this and that but under the microscope it becomes fluff and snake oil. All approaches are not the same, there are millions of blogs with tens of millions of pieces of content that are constantly posted online, there are millions of blogs not even reaching their market. If everyone was making money through blogging it would be great but that will never happen.
The reality is that blogging is more about engaging than making money, its about value-added services that can be implemented after the sale of let’s say raw materials. It is a form of customer service that can be rendered to the end-users, especially if they have questions about the usage of a certain product and its application. It is about posting information that will benefit the end-user or purchaser of the product. It allows smaller companies to build a sort of knowledge base or help section to their clients. It can be forum-based where engineers can post information regarding applications, their design and development process. It can help one understand why the product is needed and the benefits such product brings to the end-user.
I believe that blogging will become a media that will over saturate the Internet if it has not already but building a system that engages your clients or customers will continue to grow and become useful to those who rely on it. I am not a fan of all these social media companies as well as most of the people that run these events, though I enjoy attending. My reasoning is that they will all tell you how great the media is, and why not it is their bread and butter. I prefer someone who is going to dissect the media and tell me there are still areas that need to be define and there needs to be a purging of the fluff and snake oil that has become part of the media for it to be truly helpful to small and medium businesses alike.
That was my overall impression and from personal experience I have had plenty of companies call me regarding blogging applications but blogging for the sake of it is useless, unless there is an intended audience with useful and relevant content that will truly benefit the end-user.
For some more thoughts on Blog World read Nathan Lowell’s post on Blog World at: blog-world-and-new-media-expo
Tell me what you think?