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Do people really care about what you know?

February 7, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. When I started this blog, I didn’t have any expectations that anyone would read it, or give a flaming tomato what I had to say.

This blog actually began as a staging ground for content on the agency internal blog. At the time, the blog software on our enterprise solution (it rhymes with Spare Joint) didn’t cooperate very well with a mac — links and pictures had to be hand coded.

So I began writing blog posts here.

As they began piling up, I began to hit post on some of the posts. Eventually, some people began reading.

But I don’t for a second think anyone cares what I have to say. There are many, many blogs out there written by people who grand ideas about the future of marketing. Mine is one little corner of that. And in almost 3 years, a few people enjoy hanging out with me in the corner.

I tell you this because I’ve worked in the NO ONE CARES industry all my life.

People don’t care about, or want Advertising.

Outside of today’s Super Bowl, no one cares about the ads. No one buys a magazine to read the ads except for Art Directors, and they don’t actually read the ads. No one listens to the radio for the ads. If people could, they’d live in an ad-free world.

People think this even though they understand that the advertising message underwrites the content.Those 30 second spots on Today’s Super Bowl help to pay for the broadcast. And yet, no one cares.

(Caveat: This doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for advertising. “Apples 25 cents” is information that buyers want to know. Plus, one can still prefer to live in an ad free world, and be moved by a great ad.)

Which brings me to corporate blogging and social media.

There are people who will tell brands to start a blog. They will tell them that corporate blogging is the bees knees, and that progressive companies are blogging their keyboards off. They’ll point to examples from places having a lot of success, and they’ll tell you that said success is waiting for all brands.

They might be right. But one should never start with a tactic and work backwards. If those same people walked around saying you should all have Radio Spots, no one would take them seriously. But since tactics like “blog” seem new, we don’t laugh. We listen.

Knowledge is content

A blog is a tactical way to share knowledge. But so is a wiki. So is a Twitter feed. So is a video podcast.

My point is simple. Think about your target. Think about what they care about. Then carefully consider how best to communicate your knowledge.

Finally. If someone ever comes to you and says “Start a blog”, ask them why your customers would like to consume your knowledge in words.

Please understand, this blog post isn’t meant to talk anyone out of blogging. It’s meant to make everyone think hard about the tactics out there. Don’t start a blog because other people said to. Start one because your target market will appreciate the knowledge you have.

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