Monday, January 12, 2009

Blogging As A Business Development Tool

Herrmann alone is veering way off-topic here, for a post about using blogs to develop new legal business. Bexis prefers to stick to drug and device law, so he played no role in drafting this post.

A surprising number of folks have asked us whether blogging is a useful business development tool for lawyers. Here are our (well, Herrmann's) two cents worth on that topic.

First, discount much of what you hear on this subject. People who create or host blogs for a living are self-interested: They swear that blogging generates business, and they'll never be convinced otherwise.

Second, take our comments for what they're worth: It's not as though we've done an empirical analysis of blogs and legal business. We're just speaking from our own experience and the logical implications of what we've seen.

Here's the necessary background: We'd call our blog relatively successful. We've attracted some attention in the blogosphere; we have several hundred subscribers (by Google e-mail group); we've received a few awards from blog-watchers; and we typically receive a few tens of thousands of page views per month.

That's good, but not great. Widely read blogs receive tens of thousands of page views each day; we're not in that league. (And we never will be; a blog about drug and device law will never be of interest even to most lawyers, let alone to the public at large. We didn't launch this little experiment with the idea that we'd soon conquer The Huffington Post or the Drudge Report.)

In our little niche, however, we're pretty well known. To the extent that a blog of this type can generate business, we would have expected that to have happened during the two years we've been at this.

It really has not.

Here's a completely honest description of what we've seen on the business development front. (Note that we're excluding all non-business reaction to the blog. The blog has caused us to be quoted in the legal and popular press, generated speaking and writing engagements, and the like. We're talking here only about new retentions that we can attribute directly to the blog.)

First, existing clients occasionally read blog posts and then retain us to think harder about some subject on which we've posted. Second, litigants searching for amici curiae in their cases occasionally stumble across the blog and ask us to provide either paid or pro bono amicus help. Third, folks who it makes no sense for us to represent -- potential product liability plaintiffs, or tiny companies on the periphery of the pharmaceutical products world -- sometimes call, but those fish are either inedible or too small to fry, so we toss them back.

That's about it for business attracted by the blog. We have not been retained by any entirely new clients asking for help on substantial new matters.

On the whole, then, we'd say that blogging has not been a tremendously successful business development tool.

(Not to worry. We write this blog for many reasons other than business development; our lack of results on the business development front won't cause us to close up shop. Exhaustion may, but lack of new business won't.)

What's our speculation about legal blogs as business development tools?

First, blogs are the new-age equivalent of billboards or ads on television or in the Yellow Pages. Blogs effectively reach a mass audience, but they don't effectively target the general counsel or heads of litigation of Fortune 500 companies. We suspect that, if we were "Yellow Pages" lawyers rather than "tall building" lawyers -- if any guy on the street were a potential client -- this blog would have generated a great deal of business by now. But that's not our target "market," and a legal blog is a relatively ineffective way of developing business from sophisticated corporate clients.

Think about it this way: If we bloggged about "personal bankruptcy," then any person who searched on-line for a bankruptcy lawyer might find and retain us. But if we blogged about "Fortune 500 bankruptcies," it's far less likely that the general counsel of some huge, but struggling, corporation would read our blog and be convinced by our posts that he or she should retain us.

If we blogged about how to draft contracts efficiently for small businesses, we might attract small business clients. But if we blogged about "international M&A transactions valued in excess of $5 billion," we'd be less likely to succeed. In-house lawyers at sophisticated companies have many ways to select counsel, and going on-line to find bloggers ain't high on that list.

Blogs are probably great business development tools for solo practitioners. Blogging might generate business for small or medium-sized law firms, which are generally happy to accept, for example, a role as local counsel. And blogs might generate business for lawyers at large firms who routinely handle smaller matters. But we're beginning to suspect that blogs are a relatively ineffective business development tool to attract large matters to large law firms.

We're leaving open the possibility that blogging may be an effective business development tool over time, when used in conjunction with other tools. Thus: Giving one talk is unlikely to generate business; giving one talk a month for five years is more likely to work. Writing one article is unlikely to generate business; writing one article a year for twenty years is more likely to work. Blogging for a couple of years (by itself) may not generate business; blogging over time, while also giving talks, writing articles, and never dining alone, may be more effective. But it's awfully hard to run a controlled experiment of that hypothesis.

What's our advice? Same as it's always been: Blog for pleasure; blog to stay abreast of your field of law; blog to influence the public debate; blog to raise both your firm's and your personal profile in a your legal niche.

But, if you're a big-firm lawyer who typically handles large litigation or corporate matters, don't blog for profit. For lawyers in practices such as ours, there are other, more effective marketing tools.

(Now we'll kick back and watch this post get slaughtered (for heresy) in the blogosphere, while we return to drug and device law.)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've made drug and device law interesting for those not in the field. Taking a niche area of law and making it interesting even for practioners not in that niche takes some doing -- and writing well has a lot to do with it. Good sense of humor too I might add.

bc said...

Do you think that the reputation and name recognition you've developed via blogging have helped seal the deal with any prospective clients?

Eric Goldman said...

You write:

"First, existing clients occasionally read blog posts and then retain us to think harder about some subject on which we've posted. Second, litigants searching for amici curiae in their cases occasionally stumble across the blog and ask us to provide either paid or pro bono amicus help. Third, folks who it makes no sense for us to represent -- potential product liability plaintiffs, or tiny companies on the periphery of the pharmaceutical products world -- sometimes call, but those fish are either inedible or too small to fry, so we toss them back."

Maybe we need to define success before we can measure it. The fact you're getting calls you are turning down is part of business development.

Eric.

Tim Nuckles said...

Yes, define success before you attempt to measure it. Maybe your blog is not directly responsible for bringing in a new client, but the blog may have played some role. Granted, you may never know.

Also, name one other discrete marketing practice (not used in combination with any other) you've undertaken that did directly (and by itself) produce a new piece of business. Can you name one? If not, the "directly resulted in new business" standard may be too high for judging the value of your blogging effort.

Kevin said...

This is an excellent article, which doesn't denigrate blogging, but puts it in proper perspective. I've been blogging for 5 years, simply because I enjoy writing on the topics of interest to me. Not one single new client of interest has been generated directly through the blog, although many new friends and sources of information of use to me in my practice have come to me through blogging. I practice banking law, and banks don't pick their lawyers based upon what their employees might read in a blog post. My clients come through referrals and personal relationships developed in face-to-face contacts over 34 years in practice.

To answer Mr. Nuckles, I'll name three "discrete marketing practices" that are more successful for me. One, asking existing clients for more work. Two, taking a potential client to lunch or dinner and asking them about their business and issues of concern to them. Three, offering a business a free seminar on a hot legal issue of interest to them. I could go on, but you get the picture: personal, face-to-face contact.

I think blogging and other social media have a better chance of directly generating consumer and small business clients. If I had that type of practice, I think I'd see much more direct benefit from blogging. I get many requests from consumers and small businessmen and businesswomen, but turn them all down because they want me to represent them against the type of clients I serve. Obviously, some people are using blogs as a source of potential legal counsel to represent them. Regardless, blogging still benefits the lawyer who represents a different type of client, and I don't see your post as putting down blogging, but merely recognizing its strengths and limitations.

You're correct in your anticipation of the reaction of some in the blogosphere and Tweetershpere, however. Some "true believers" abhor those who don't have the mentality of the hive. I found this post through a link on my "tweet deck," from a blogger who drinks the Kool-Aid and basically called you folks the clueless "big law" types. I wonder if he'd care to compare paychecks with either of you. Anything less than effusive praise of blogging and other social media, any realistic evaluation of that media as other than the greatest invention since the Internet, is met with hostility. Not by all, certainly, but by many.

Calm, rational discussion is tough work. It takes more than a comments box or a 140 character tweet.

Ken Adams said...

I was amused to have you suggest that "If we blogged about how to draft contracts efficiently for small businesses, we might attract small business clients." For three years I've blogged exclusively about how to draft contracts efficiently, whatever the size of your company, yet my experience has essentially tracked yours.

I blog because it allows me to develop my own knowledge, keep abreast of developments, and raise my public profile. But regarding the last of those, blogging is only one of several tools: when I get new business, it's generally hard to say exactly how I got it.

But the one exception is my highest-profile bit of business to date, for a big company. It probably came to me because of something I blogged about.

Kevin OKeefe said...

Good post guys. Being that I have a dog in the hunt with LexBlog, people may look at my comments with skepticism. But you emailed me and asked me to comment.

First, Eric Goldman's points are well taken. 1) Existing clients (presumably major companies) after having read a blog post of yours have retained you to work on subjects you posted about. 2) Litigants have hired you for amici curiae on matters they found on your blog. 3) You have turned down product liability claims from people who contacted you as a result of the blog - presumably in large part because plaintiff's work is not the emphasis of your practice.

Second, I don't believe your goal going in was to to use the blog as a client development tool. The blog, to some extent, shows it and your view of a blog as a billboard on the net shows a total lack of understanding of how blogs are used by lawyers for effective client development.

I have all the respect in the world for what you've been doing on the blog. The content is generally good and you guys are fine lawyers. But because you have not mastered how to develop a blog and how to blog for client development, does not mean blogs do not work for client development.

Give me a chance to work with you, like the majority of AmLaw 200 law firms with firm branded blogs have done, and in a year I expect your thinking would be much different.

Sorry to be looking like a crass advertiser in the above paragraph, but I feel that strongly that leading lawyers seeking an effective client development tool would be hard pressed to find a more effective one than a well done blog - and that means using the blog in ways not apparent on the face of a blog.

David Stejkowski said...

If you blog for business, it shows in your content. And I would think you'd grow tired of it quickly, especially if there are no immediate business results.

Although I have been accused of being "full of it" or "having too much time on my hands" on at least one occasion, I blog because I simply enjoy writing. I have had similar experiences as you have, albeit on a smaller scale, probably because my specialty is (literally) high-rises.

The moral of the story for me? Blog because you like it or consider it a good exercise in keeping current. Consider the additional writing, speaking and clients (or declined business) a fringe benefit.

Elaine Martin said...

I've only been blogging for about 2 months, so it was very interesting to read your experiences. My practice (immigration law) should benefit from blogging, based on what you say, although Ken Adams doesn't think it has helped him. I've had one potential client who found me via my blog post. Not a lot, but my practice is still very new. I hope that the blog is increasing my online profile, and I have a lot of fun blogging.

Kevin said...

"Give me a chance to work with you, like the majority of AmLaw 200 law firms with firm branded blogs have done, and in a year I expect your thinking would be much different."

Show us the metrics, Kevin. For example, as of January 8, 2009, there were 8332 FDIC-insured financial institutions in this country. Can you provide examples of legal work given to outside legal counsel by one of those institutions as the direct result of such counsel's blogging activities? If this is a poor industry to use, given its traditional conservative outlook, then choose another. High tech, for example. Has IBM, H-P, Dell, Cisco, SAP, SunGard, Fiserv, or any other major technology service provider given legal work to outside counsel based upon that counsel's blogging activities?

How about providing us with examples of AmLaw 200 law firms with whom you've worked that have seen a direct increase in legal work as a result of your work with them, together with contact names at those firms who would be willing to confirm your good work? Like the authors of this blog, I, too, have "a total lack of understanding of how blogs are used by lawyers for effective client development." I'm interested in examples of how those with a greater understanding have directly benefited from your services.

Carolyn Elefant said...

First, I think that perhaps you haven't seen as much return from your blog because you are already so well known in your respective fields. I don't practice drug and device law, but I was familiar with Mark Herrmann's work through Curmudgeon's Guide, and would recognize his name in drug/device related cases. So if someone like me - a relative layperson in this practice area - already knew of your work, I would imagine that you are both already extremely well known and highly regarded in your field. Second, much of the material that large firms now post on blogs was previously circulated in newsletters. I receive some newsletters from firms on energy project finance and the information is far more detailed than what I've seen on blogs. I would imagine that these newsletters probably generate the same type of business for firms, and thus, the blog doesn't generate much more.

Where I think that blogs work best for younger attorneys at large firms where they blog about new and emerging practice areas - e.g., green energy, tracking Obama's new policies on drug and device law, changes in preemption, Smart Grid/energy etc...targeting companies that have not yet emerged and will eventually be seeking counsel. Dennis Crouch, who started Patently-O is one such success story (not that patents are a new area, but he was one of the first), same with Howard Bashman at How Appealing. Firms should be using blogs to showcase associate's work and to identify new fields which are under development. I think in those cases, the returns will be measurable.

Kevin OKeefe said...

This thread reminds me a little of a lawyer saying I went to conferences and lunches with clients, prospective clients, and their influencers for a year and did not get any new legal work, therefore networking with clients does not work for lawyers like me. Are lawyers supposed to then conclude networking with clients, prospective clients, and their influencers is not worthwhile?

Davis Wright Tremaine, an AmLaw 200 firm in Seattle competing for the same Fortune 200 clients as everyone has 7 blogs. When Their Attorney Kraig Baker was asked by a blog skeptic as to whether the blogs he blogs on have brought in a specific client that he can recall his answer was no. When asked if the blogs offer him a and the firm a ROI, his answer was yes, the ROI was huge.

Baker explained that DWT was not the type of firm that uses blogs as a big ad with a 800 phone number. His clients are sophisticated and retain lawyers based on a 360 view, something a blog does for them. His clients also want to work with a firm that keeps clients up to speed on legal developments. A blog does that for the firm. Their prospective clients they meet with on RFP's want the ability to see the firms dedication to specific niche's and the firm's talent in that area. Blogs do that.

Francis Pileggi, a lawyer of 20 to 25 years, at Fox Rothschild has the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court tell the audience at the ABA national conference last summer that one of the leading resources the Justice reads is Pileggi's blog. Judges come up and introduce themselves to Pileggi complementing him on what he is doing. The ROI he gets from a blog is huge.

Look at the list of AmLaw 200 law firms using blogs in the study on my blog at http://tinyurl.com/66s7qu . Those firms are blogging because of the ROI it gives the firm. They're not blogging for their health. Our company has a 96% client retention rate over 6 years. Law firms do not keep doing things that do not work.

Blogs work for lawyers who understand blogs are absolutely not 'the new-age equivalent of billboards or ads on television or in the Yellow Pages' as Herrmann describes blogs.

Some client development tools work for some lawyers while they do not work for others. They tend to work because a lawyer knows what they are and how to use them.

Seems very dangerous to conclude blogs do not offer a significant ROI as a client development tool because someone who does not understand the role of a blog is and how it is used says blogs are of questionable value for client development.

mister.thorne said...

Attorneys should also consider the dangers of blawgging. If not well done, a blawg can drive potential clients away, rather than draw them near.

Kevin said...

I'm amused by your constant accusations that those of us who disagree with you "do not understand the role of a blog and how it is used." I see nothing in the post or in my comments that would justify such a statement. Also, none of us has said that we believed that blogs weren't useful reputation enhancers and information sources, or that we considered blogs the equivalent of a billboard or yellow page listing. That same old tired refrain of yours doesn't increase in persuasive power the more you use it.

On the other hand, we are saying (or, at least I'm saying) that blogs are only another arrow in the quiver of client development and retention tools for large law firms and/or experienced lawyers who already have an established reputation in their practice niches. They aren't used by AmLaw 200 firms to make their reputation. Moreover, you admit that Davis Wright, a firm I've worked with and with whom I'm very familiar, believes that no clients have been brought into the firm directly by the blogs, which supports the point made by the post's authors.

As I assumed, you have no data to back up your claims on ROI (nor do you present any tools to measure the "ROI" of a blog) other than "everybody's doing it and they're not stupid." The AmLaw 200 is also using Martindale Hubbell ads, which you've repeatedly denigrated as being useless, and they've been using them for a lot longer than the 6 years you've been engaged in your blogging business. Merely "doing it" doesn't prove the worth of "it," does it?

Your need to sing the same old refrain of personally attacking those who disagree with you as being "clueless" is starting to sound old, Kevin, and more than a little defensive. If your goal is to make enemies of those who disagree with you, you're doing a good job of it.

Kevin OKeefe said...

This is getting sillier as we go Kevin. What are the tools you use to measure the ROI of speaking to an industry event? What are the tools you use to measure the ROI of taking a prospective client to lunch? What are the tools you measure the ROI of being quoted in the WSJ?

Wow, no tools to measure ROI? Therefore I should jump on you if you tell me those things work?

I could not agree more that 'blogs are only another arrow in the quiver of client development and retention tools for large law firms and/or experienced lawyers..' Tell folks that all the time. So maybe we are not too far apart.

Francis Pileggi said...

I am a blogging partner in an AmLaw 200 firm, and have had great success with my blog both professionally and economically, due in part to following the advice of Kevin O'Keefe. Mark Herrmann makes good comments but they are not mutually exclusive with my experience.

Joe said...

There can be many purposes served by a blog. Business development can be one, but development of the author(s) as a thought leader or domain knowledge expert are certainly valid purposes, whether or not the blog directly contributes to development of business. Furthermore, the process of blogging can expand the author's own knowledge of a particular subject.

A quick review reveals to me that James Beck is the author or co-author of nearly a dozen journal articles (I didn't check to be certain that each article was written by James Beck, the blogger in question, but the point can be made anyway). What purpose is served by the considerable amount of time and effort that goes into writing such articles? Surely the purpose is not solely business development. And, can any authors of such articles point to any client retained as a direct result of an article?

Part of the issue here, I think, is that the question was framed so tightly (i.e., as a business development tool, how well do blogs work?) that other purposes served by a blog aren't given their due.

Finally, remember back to the 90's ... did you need to see direct business development results in order to have a Web page? Can't the same be said for blogs today?

bc said...

If you blog for long enough, you start to develop a network of fellow bloggers and readers that begin to get to know you on some level and get a feel for (a) whether you know what you are talking about and (b) whether you seem like a likable person. These relationships grow over years, to the point that some of these people become friends or at least strong acquaintences.

It takes the right combination of circumstances, but eventually, one or more of the people in your blog-grown network will be asked if he/she can recommend anyone who does "drug and device" law or whatever kind of law you practice. It is then that you may get a referral that may or may not turn into business.

My point is that the blog increases your network of pootential referral sources who like and trust you exponentially if you do it well. Whether that turns into business is like most of life--you need some luck and the ability to seize opportunities.

Larry said...

Been blogging for three years or so at www.customslawblog.com. I blog because I enjoy the writing and it forces me to keep current on those things of interest to my readers.

As far as business development goes, I think my experience is very similar to yours. I hear very positve things from my current contacts and from others in the industry. I think the blog has solidified my reputation in a very narrow markets and has resulted in a number of quotes in the trade and general press. That is, frankly all I expected and somewhat more. The few new client contacts I have generated as a result of blogging are nice surprises.

Keep in mind, that my typical client is a mid to large corporation. I agree that blogging is much more likely to have a direct ROI for lawyers who represent individuals and small companies. Those are situations where the decision to hire counsel may be influenced via Google results. In-house counsel and corporate officers, I suspect, are more likely to select counsel based on past experience, referrals, etc. I also suspect that will change over time as on-house counsel positions shift to the generation of lawyers raised on search results.

Kevin said...

I don't use terms like "Return on Investment" in cases where there's no way to quantify the measurement. You need to know dollars invested and the dollars generated. That's not silly, that's a sophisticated business term that shouldn't be used as a marketing buzz phrase, or its use is essentially meaningless.

You're correct that we're not that far apart, but neither are you and Mark. Different people using the same tools can achieve different results, and those differences may very well not be due to differences in knowledge as to how to use the tools wisely, but due simply to different facts. Yet, your criticism seems to be uniformly, here and elsewhere, that those who don't achieve good results from blogging do so because they don't know how to use that tool wisely, and that they should hire you to show them how.

I realize that you make your money in that area, and, therefore, it's in your interest to sell, sell, sell, but occasionally, ease up on the line that anyone with a contrary view "just doesn't get it." Neither Mark nor I said that blogs "are of questionable value for client development." We said that for lawyers with specific types of practices, and/or with specific types of clients, they are not likely to lead directly to the acquisition of clients. Neither of us said that blogging has no value. In fact, Mark and other commenters have listed a number of the benefits other than "directly" generating clients from a blog.

Friggin' hot-tempered Irishman...

Gabe Acevedo said...

Lawyers trade off of their expertise and credibility. If your blog has done anything to enhance your expertise and credibility, which I am sure that it has considering your readership, then it has been a great client development tool. It may not be measurable to you because you are so close to the situation, which makes it hard to see the big picture.

Kevin OKeefe said...

>>Friggin' hot-tempered Irishman...<<

Blame the homeland for that. Scary thing is after a pint or two, there's no telling if I calm down or get more in your face.

Kevin said...

If you're buying the pints, I'll risk it.

Broc Romanek said...

Been blogging since '03. I believe my free blog(s) have led to large growth rate in our paid site memberships (TheCorporateCounsel.net; CompensationStandards.com; DealLawyers.com, etc.). True, my practice is untraditional - but so is blogging. Maybe those blogging should consider other ways of practicing law to capitalize on their blogging...but of course, not in the corporate & securities law area...

Anonymous said...

The benefits of blogging vary tremendously by practice. Blogging can either be a profile-raiser or a way to impart information that clients will read and then make a decision to engage you. For something like a traffic ticket or a DUI I imagine blogs bring in a lot of direct business. For any commercial dispute where significant fees will be expended, clients are less likely to make hiring decisions based on what they read (but this could change going forward). Class actions are beyond the spectrum on this side. (Although I would be curious to hear anecdotal evidence of people getting hired to do big litigation through random connections.)

You guys fit in the category where clients are less likely to make hiring decisions based on what they read on the blog, and the chief benefit from your blog is that it raises profile and awareness. Except that you guys already have high(ish) profiles as mentioned by Carolyn (particularly compared to many people who are starting out blogging). That could be the reason you're not seeing blogging through the same hyped up business development lens. People at larger firms have sort of built in profiles that makes blogging less useful from a profile-building standpoint (but this isn't true for associates starting out at large firms who could probably benefit from blogging).

I think (and my own experience) is that blogging is undeniably valuable to raise the profile for those who don't have the built in profile of having been around forever or having built a reputation in a big firm. It's also a confidence builder in a strange way.

The other benefit of blogging which is under-appreciated is that you make contacts online. They may not be lasting or deep friendships but they are contacts, and down the road they can lead to business development. There are three people who commented on this thread that I would not have "met" except for the fact that I blog. (A couple of whom I have not met in person.)

On the flip side, the costs of blogging are tremendously underestimated as well (not the monetary cost but the time involved). Maintaining a blog with high quality content that is frequently updated takes a lot of time. Being a haphazard blogger can hurt you as much as being a good blogger can help you. When I tally up all of the time I spent blogging and think of the other "business development" endeavors I could have done, that's when I wonder about blogging. Of course, the easy answer is that blogging is somewhat enjoyable. Otherwise none of us would do it! The other thing to add is that blogging is great exercise for writing and forces you to stay abreast of developments in your area.

All that said, I have no involvement whatsoever in Drug and Device law, but I still read this blog from time to time. It's a good read and I enjoy the writing style!

Venkat

Graeme Davidson said...

This is a difficult one to answer. I feel that the blogosphere is an excellent place to do business development but havinng no law experience then I am not sure.
Personally, I work in online marketing and therefore use blogging myself as a part of my overall strategy. Part of that is to maximise search rankings so that anyone searching online will be able to find my agency and therefore contact me.

Blogging is not an answer, but part of the bigger picture so that you have an integrated marketing strategy.

Great post!

Teri Rasmussen said...

As someone starting their second year of blogging, I found this post and accompanying commetns very interesting and informative. I also think anyone thinking of starting a blog should be paying rapt attention.

I've gotten a couple of "near misses" - i.e. folks who called and referenced the blog who fit within the profile of my target client but either were geographically wrong or just failed to follow up with the retainer - but no actual clients directly from my blog which is focused on business law, and more recently a little more on creditors' rights. I am a little disappointed about this, but (1) have not given up hope yet (although Mark's experience and that of some others suggests that perhaps I should); (2)like most other bloggers I do it because I really personally enjoy the experience of writing and learning about things; and (3)I DO think there is something to the idea that successful business developoment for most of us is never ONE thing and you just can't put that much pressure on your blog.

I have not given up hope yet because I think it's a manner of learning to more skillfully select topics of interest to prospective clients and because the world is rapidly changing into one in which all things internet are becoming radically more important. I know I am starting to use the internet more and more for things I would never have used it for, both personally and professionally, even a few years ago, and I have to believe I'm not unique.

I think blogging has been of some use in raising my visibility and in providing additional value to existing and prospective clients. I am happy about that. However, until I can show any measurable impact, I suspect my law firm will continue to pigeonhole my blog as part of the firm's "outreach" and we all know how much that is likely to be valued by the firm when it somes to performance evaluation time.

Bottomline for anyone considering blogging as a business development tool, as others have also said, DON'T do it unless you inherently LOVE the idea of writing a blog - to do it right DOES take a fairly substantial slice of time in comparison to the direct results you'll see and if you don't enjoy the act of doing the blog, it's just no good. Realize that just like advertising or speaking or taking clients out for lunch or sporting events or any other networking, it's rarely just one thing.

Laurence Ainsworth said...

Blimey, this has generated some comments!

I tend to agree with you that blogging and indeed SNM in general works best when you can access and influence decision makers. Its clearly the case that owners of smaller businesses are accessing SNM and bloggs in an effort to find information and purchase some products/services. In the case of B2B its effectiveness is biased to services where you can build reputations through considered blogging.

I work in the UK and with Accountants and we have reached very similar conclusions to you.

I suspect that the situation with regards to large businesses in general will only change when the senior management of these companies includes people familiar with and committed too SNM themselves.

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