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Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Value of Blogs 

For any b2b media execs and editors out there who continue to doubt the value or place of blogs, a few facts:

I started this blog last February. In January 2005, my website, which hosts this blog, had 725 visitors. In December 2005: 13,827 visitors. Traffic growth rate: 1,807%.

The last six days, during which I posted zilch, averaged 475 visitors a day.

If a blog as tightly targeted as this one can generate that kind of traffic, imagine what a blog or blogs focused on your market could do for your web traffic and your reader interaction--both of which you can use to generate revenues.

I still find too many people--even readers of this blog--who associate blogging with something sleazy and underhanded journalistically. That blogs are the purview of bathrobe prophets. That they're out-of-control. That they're somehow a lesser form of communication than you can find in a printed piece with a formal lede and nutgraf. (Well, maybe this blog is guilty on those counts, but most of the blogs I read aren't!)

I know of too many editors who continue to turn up their noses at blogs, blogging and bloggers. And I know publishers who worry about what a blog might do to their publication's reputation, and their ability to exert control over their content.

Well, it's 2006, and it's really time to put those notions to rest. Sure, there are a lot of silly blogs, scandalously-error-filled blogs, pointless blogs. But I could say the same things about just about any medium, and so could you.

Make a resolution: if you don't have a blog associated with your media properties, launch one. Launch more than one.

If you do them right, those blogs will give an adrenaline hit to your web traffic, even with RSS-feeds enabled. And I think they'll also give a boost to your content quality, liveliness and community building.

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Blog Dailies 

My friend Dick Koulbanis, about whose early-version electronic show dailies I posted here, asked me to check out Engadget's CES "show daily" blog. It's pretty good, with a nice mix of live-blogged press conferences, product announcements and mild tom-foolery.

Check out their live-blog of Bill Gates' keynote address, which features photos, key quotes and attitude. Would a formal "story" hurriedly composed in the on-site pressroom really be any better? Plus, this approach truly captures the vague senses of ennui and doom that one experiences when sitting through a Microsoft keynote.

Key Grab:

The guy behind us: "That was the longest keynote EVER."

Having attended a number of CES's in my distant past, and never really having had the time to go through the print show dailies present (except maybe to scour them for ad prospects), I find this kind of blogged show daily to be exactly on target. And it's easily readable from my web-enabled phone.

For some more thoughts on electronic dailies, see this post, especially the comments section, where Folio:'s Tony Silber debates the value of show blogs on-site (versus printed dailies). I think it's only a matter of time until the wider availability of web-enabled portables knocks the legs out from under the on-site competitive advantage of printed show dailies, assuming show venues get their acts together to provide better wireless service.

The challenge for show producers and publishers will be to find a blog daily revenue model that replaces the one generated by those shiny display ads, bellybands and inserts. And I mean a revenue model that works on portable devices, which don't have the screen size to show lots of banners effectively.

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