On the speaking circuit, people often ask me about blogging in other countries. Do the marketing approaches that I evangelize work elsewhere? Specifically, many people want to know if blogs are a good way to do marketing and PR in Europe and Asia. While I cannot comment on every single country, I can say that blogging is a global phenomenon and many bloggers from other countries are active in the global blog community. I've received links and trackbacks from bloggers in something like twenty different countries. It is so cool when a comment or a link comes in from, say, Germany, or Argentina, or Estonia.
Of course blogs are alive and well outside of North America! TypePad, the blog software company, offers services in the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Finland, Belgium, as well as the United States. And Technorati, the blog search engine, maintains sites in English, French, German, Italian, Chinese and Korean. My wife, Yukari Watanabe Scott, an author who writes novels, magazine articles, and non-fiction books in the Japanese language maintains a blog to reach her readers in Japan. This works great for her because her readers in Japan are half way around the world from where we live near Boston.
One of my favorite blogs is Adrian Neylan's Cablog, a hilarious set of stories about his life as a taxi driver in Sydney, Australia. This is what blogging is all about: giving a global voice to a common bloke, which then transforms him into totally uncommon international media personality. Neylan shares fascinating stories about the people in his backseat and in a funny way, tells us a little about ourselves, even if we are a dozen time zones away. I’ve been to Sydney twenty or so times and there’s no doubt that next time business takes me there, I will hire Neylan to drive me where I need to go.
For a true international blogging success story, consider the example, of Linas Simonis, a marketing consultant from Lithuania who established one of the first business blogs in Lithuania in April 2005. The reaction from the Lithuania business community was almost immediate. "People didn't know what RSS was in Lithuania at that time, so I created an email subscription to my blog," Simonis says. "By the end of first year, I had 400 subscribers, and you must remember, that less than three and half million people live in Lithuania, so the equivalent would be something like 40,000 subscribers in the U.S."
The business press also took notice. "Now I am quoted as a positioning and marketing expert because my blog," he says. "Journalists are calling me not because I pitched them, but because of my blog posts. I did some pitches a while ago, but they were totally unsuccessful. But news on my blog is picked up and used widely by the media. One article on my blog called How To Position Lithuania generated two TV appearances on major TV channels in prime time; a radio interview with the country's biggest radio station; and about a dozen pickups in print media. And this was without any effort from my side, without any pitch, all because of great blog content."
But what's really remarkable about Simonis' story is the new business that he generated via his blog. "Three months after I started the blog my company stopped needing to make cold calls to solicit new business," he says. "The blog and the company website generated so many requests, that we didn't need to actively seek new clients—they come to us. Soon after I started blogging, I was even hired by conference organizers to deliver speeches and seminars and I had calls from universities to speak to students."
Simonis has also started working with several corporate clients in Lithuania to help them establish blogs and has since started an English language blog as a way to position him with international companies that might want to do business in his country.