20 July 06 - Discussing corporate blogs and changes in technology in Florence, Oregon…
I've just returned back from a week's visit in Florence, Oregon. Aside from enjoying cool weather, kayaking on Wohink Lake, and meeting the gentleman that John Kerry saved, I answered a recurring question: "What work do you do?"
After telling all about my participation in the Cybercamp 2006 for migrant workers' children run at USC during the summer, I explained that I enjoy reviewing corporate blogs. This prompted the next question: "What's a blog?" Answering this question created a wonderful opening to discuss corporate blogs and why they are being used.
A retired college vice president then asked me how I keep up with technology. My response was that I wasn't sure that I do - but I try. And I try by reading what researchers, marketers and advertisers have to say.
The reason is because researchers and marketers/advertisers track how technology is used to reach the consumer or how the consumer uses technology to communicate their needs. Inevitably, they mention the technology with a basic explanation of who produced it and how it's being used.
I'd be interested to know how you keep up to date with changes in technology, and how you see these changes impacting corporate blogs.
20 July 06 - Google links to Seeking Alpha conference call transcripts
Today I received the following email from David Jackson of Seeking Alpha network blog:
Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I tried your page, but couldn't load it. Here's the Seeking Alpha about page:http://seekingalpha.com/article/5824
Also, Google started linking to our conference call transcripts, something which should be very useful for business school students!
Here is the link mentioned on the Google blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/stocking-up.html
This is the response I emailed David:
Thank you for this information - I appreciate you taking the time to send me the links.
What I usually do is post the information to my blog (and update the Profile).
When I initially contacted you, I was in the process of moving my blog and setting up the new Website so it is possible that you could not access the site -- sorry about that. It should be accessible now.
I studied investments and "alpha" under Joe Chen at USC during Fall 2005. Joe's website is accessible at http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~josephsc/ if you are interested in reading some of his Working Papers (intriguing!).
Thanks again for you inputs!
13 July 06 - Blog ROI question for Charlene Li of Forrester Research
On July 7, I emailed Charlene Li the following question in response to the June 5 post on her blog -- http://forrester.typepad.com/charleneli/:
Eric Kintz of HP recently referred me to your June 5 post "Calculating the ROI of blogs - it's not about the math" because I am posing the question to a number of executives to find out their thoughts/views on the topic.
Here is the link: http://bizblogreview.com/blog/2006/07/05/eric-kintz-hps-vp-of-global-marketing-strategy-excellence-on-measuring-executive-blog-roi/
My blog used to be located at http://bizblogreview.blogspot.com/ originally setup for a USC Independent Study on corporate blogs and is now located on a new site in progress: www.bizblogreview.com/blogs.
I agree with you about the subjectivity involved in trying to measure a blog's ROI. The reason I say this is because of the differences in executive blogs -- their objectives, number of posts, comments generated, and harnessing of new technologies to increase or measure traffic.
When I studied 32 corporate blogs, the data I obtained and placed into statistical models appeared 'noisy' and needed transforming -- it was still hard to make specific statements. I was looking at the success of the blog as a business communications tool.
The vast differences in the blogs makes it difficult to come up with that 'template' that one of your commenters /pd is asking for because metrics cannot be used in isolation.
How do you account for the cost that may be incurred from a blog post perceived negatively and build that into the ROI calculation?
You mention: "In my case, I believe that I can associate my blog with increased business and marketing value to Forrester because I write about certain topics only on my blog. If I wasn’t blogging about these topics, then I wouldn’t have had the content, exposure, and influence to interest those companies in becoming Forrester clients."
Determining the impact of your content, exposure, and influence on Forrester clients is tricky to measure. I am interested to know how you would go about this. If you have the time, would you give me your thoughts on this?
I look forward to hearing from you.
USC Marshall School of Business
11 July 06 - Setting up a blog creates a cultural expectation
John Cass, Director of Blogging Strategies for Backbone Media, conducted the Corporate Blogging Survey in 2005 and An Interview with General Motor's Best Customer.
The entry is titled "The GM Blog: Lessons for Customer Blogging Relations" and is found at this link:
Cass sums up that by setting up a blog allowing for comments, customers expect their questions to be answered.
Bob Lutz of GM does not answer every question on the GM Fastlane blog and has stated in a number of posts that he does not have the time to respond to all queries.
The difficulty is that not all customers read every post and know this and some are disappointed when their questions are left unanswered or unaddressed.
Recently, I asked Mr. Lutz a question on his blog about how GM measures blog return on investment (ROI) and I tied the question in with the subject matter of the post. It suprised me to see a single comment "B-O-R-I-N-G" posted and yet my question is still unanswered.
Mr. Cass's survey answers the question to a degree. Being tenacious, I explored the GM Website and discovered the Corporate Responsibility Report Contact page -- http://www.gm.com/gmcomjsp/contactus/
gmcorpcit_comment.html. I posted the same question via this page and look forward to see what comes back.
9 July 06 - Rishabh Ratnu introduces me to Starcom MediaVest Group’s Xpanse Asia blog
When starting my original independent study on corporate blogs at http://bizblogreview.blogspot.com/, an individual named Rishe would offer some interesting questions and insights on my blog, yet I did not know anything about him.
Today, Rishe introduced me to his company's blog -- Xpanse Asia --located at http://xpanseasia.blogspot.com/.
The blog is Starcom's Small Town & Rural Solutions initiative -- "We fuel brands through contact innovations based on consumer insights in the Small Town and Rural space across Asia to deliver results that make a difference to the bottom lines of these brands."
Xpanse Asia blog started in February 2006 and contains interesting information about the initiative with pictures of activities and people involved.
What I particularly like is the sense of culture conveyed. The author writes:
"Punjab, the land of gaiety and merrymaking, where festivals are celebrated with much aplomb and fanfare. Being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its fields, hardly surprising, that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season."
This blog is worth reading because it shows how such an initiative in rural India is evolving and how effective a blog can be in showing the world what companies, like Starcom, are doing and also the cultural dynamics at play.
6 July 06 - Seeking ROI — What does David Jackson of Seeking Alpha say?
On this mission to discover how companies or "if" companies measure their blog ROI, I contacted David Jackson -- Founder of The Seeking Alpha blog -- http://seekingalpha.com/.
Here's David's response:
Sorry about the delay getting back to you.
Seeking Alpha is actuallyan aggregator and filter for stock market blogs, not a single blog.
We have over 150 contributors. So I'll leave it to you to see if youwant to adapt your questions to that!
Your project sounds fun!
Adapting the question, we eagerly await David's response to this one:
Thank you for your feedback!
Do you know if any of your 150 contributors to Seeking Alpha are measuring their blog ROI?
That would be interesting to know.
I would love to post something different about you on my Profile page: http://www.bizblogreview.com/profile -- say an interest you have or something in your line of work that you would find intriguing to research further.
If you have the time to email me back that would be great.
Enjoy your day!
5 July 06 - Eric Kintz — HP’s VP of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence — on measuring executive blog ROI
Here's Eric Kintz's response to our question:
Thanks for pinging me. The ROI of corporate blogs is a critical question that generates a lot of interest in Fortune 100 companies. Can blogging be justified by the additional sales it generates?
I agree with Charlene Li (http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/2006/06/calculating_the.html) that it is difficult, possibly dangerous, to attach a number to blogging ROI because blogging is all about the relationship and the dialogue with your community.
In her words, “It’s that investment in the relationship that turns intangible, unquantifiable blogs into hard metrics”. We track traffic, links to our blogs as well as links on “influential blogs”, but these are proxies for the quality of the relationship.
I would be very interested in your findings
5 July 06 - How Does Hewlett Packard Measure Executive Blog ROI?
Recently, I asked Mr. Eric Kintz -- VP of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for HP -- the following question on his blog: "The Marketing Excellence blog by Eric Kintz":
Hello Mr. Kintz,
I've noticed Mr. Tankus is no longer blogging for HP and his blog was one that I used in an Independent Study at USC -- http://bizblogreview.blogspot.com.
Would you mind being interviewed and profiled on my new site -- http://www.bizblogreview.com/?
My new blog is located at http://www.bizblogreview.com/blog.
I am particularly interested in how companies calculate blog ROI and how the metrics differ from traditional calculations for say PR/marketing campaigns. How does HP calculate executive blog ROI?
I look forward to your response.
USC Marshall School of Business
We look forward to Mr. Kintz's response to this question!
4 July 06 - How Does GM Measure Blog ROI?
Yesterday I asked Bob Lutz a question on his GM Fastlane blog about the metric system GM uses to measure return on investment (ROI) generated by the blog and what variables they focus on. We look forward to his response.
Measuring the ROI generated by a blog is a fairly new field, even though methods of calculating ROI from marketing and PR campaigns long exists.
What I am interested in discovering is how the method of measuring ROI for blogs differs from measuring any other PR mechanism.
A report written by Heidi Cohen on July 7, 2005 titled "Corporate Blogs: Measure their value!", states that, "To date, ROI hasn't been applied to blogs."
Cohen suggests refering to how other marketing components within your company are valued (how you calculate their metrics) and to apply a similar method to valuing your business blog.
Other practical approaches include:
Direct revenues or traffic
Improved search rankings
In collating relevant costs, include direct cost factors involved in creation and operation of the blog and soft/shared costs such as executive blogging time and corporate communications.
Cohen offers the following method for calculation of blog ROI -- Combine the revenue and investment components to yield an ROI calculation as follows:
ROI = [annual profit (loss)]/investment costs
Where profit (loss) = dollar value of success metrics - fixed costs - variable cost
With fixed costs = relevant ongoing marketing and overhead associated with blog
With variable costs = costs associated with product sold
With investment costs = one-time costs to launch the blog
With the growth in corporate blogs and blogs receiving financing from venture capitalists, such as Rafat Ali's PaidContent.org blog and GigaOm.com blog, their ROI should be measured to record blog value and impact.
Knowing blog ROI is important because it can help managers make strategic business decisions.
Heidi Cohen's report is available at: http://www.clickz.com