Here's an essay that will appear in my book The New Rules of Marketing and PR.
Blogging is my font door. Since 2004, my blog has been where I post my ideas, both big and small. There's no doubt that my blog is the most important marketing and PR tool I have as a marketing and PR speaker, writer, and consultant. Even after several years and hundreds of blog posts, I'm always surprised at how effectively this tool helps me accomplish my goals.
My blog allows me to push ideas into the marketplace as I think of them, generating instant feedback. Sure, many blog posts just sit there with no feedback, no comments, and no results. But I learn from these "failures," too; when my audience doesn't get excited about something, it's probably either a dumb idea or poorly explained. On the other hand, some posts have had truly phenomenal results, quite literally changing my business in the process. OK, I'll admit that my ravings about the importance of my blog may sound over the top. But the truth is that blogging really has changed my life.
The first time I shared my ideas about the new rules of PR, in a post on my blog that included a link to an e-book I had written, the reaction was dramatic and swift. In the first week, thousands of people viewed the post. To date, over 100,000 people have seen the ideas, over a hundred bloggers have linked to them, and thousands of people have commented on them, on my blog and others. That one blog post—and the resulting refinement of my ideas after receiving so much feedback, both positive and negative—created the opportunity to write the book I am working on now. And as I write the book throughout the rest of 2006, I’ll continually post parts of it, generating even more critical feedback to made the book better.
Thanks to the power of search engines, my blog is also is the most vital and effective way for people to find me. Every word of every post is indexed by Google, Yahoo!, and the other search engines, so when people look for information on the topics I write about, they find me. Journalists find me through my blog and quote me in newspaper and magazine articles without me having to pitch them. Conference organizers book me to speak at events as a result of reading about me on my blog. I've met many new virtual friends and created a powerful network of colleagues.
As I write and talk to these corporate audiences and other professionals about the power of blogging, many people want to know about the return on investment (ROI) of blogging. In particular, executives want to know, in dollars and cents, what the results will be. The bad news is that this information is difficult to quantify with any degree of certainty. For my small business, I determine ROI by asking everyone who contacts me for the first time, "How did you learn about me?" That approach will be difficult for larger organizations with integrated marketing programs including blogs. The good news is that blogging most certainly generates returns for anyone who creates an interesting blog and posts regularly to it.
So what about me? My blog has gotten my ideas out to thousands of people who have never heard of me before. It has helped me get booked for at least a dozen important speaking gigs around the world. I've determined that about 25 percent of the new consulting business I've brought in during the past two years has been either through the blog directly or from purchasers who cited the blog as important to their decision to hire me.
Will writing a blog change your life too? I can't guarantee that. Blogging is not for everyone. But if you're like countless others, your blog will reap tremendous rewards, both for you personally and for your organization. Yes, the rewards may be financial. But just as importantly, your blog will most certainly serve you as a valuable creative outlet, perhaps a more important reward for you and your business.