"Thousands of dollars worth of egg on their face"

Philip Morgan

Alrighty, another member-submitted peeve! Let's get right into it, then discuss afterwards:

_Here's one that's been on my mind - the idea that creating a blog for your business is "free" and "risk free".

I know you have a more nuanced riff on this subject than I do.

But I feel strongly about it because I've seen a lot (50 to 60?) clients attempt a blog.

Earlier in my career when I had less leverage in client engagements, often the decision to blog was never even discussed. It was tacitly agreed to once a UX designer reflexively stuck the word "Blog" into a wireframe or mockup. Or sometimes the client would request it casually, without that request being evaluated. Other times, I saw observed fellow consultants directly encourage or suggest a blog.

I see this less nowadays, but that's my true pet peeve. I see it as preying on the client's "redesign enthusiasm" in order to deliver what's meant to be seen as more strategic consulting. But it can be really bad advice.

I feel pretty comfortable asserting that I have not seen more than 2 or 3 successes out of those 50+ attempts. That's a 95% failure rate :(

As you know, a half-assed blogging initiative make a company look really bad. Once the company comes to this realization (if it does), there's the painful process of admitting defeat, usually after many false-restarts. The cost in bad PR and burned staff time is enormous.

Actually, I recently paper-napkin'ed the annual investment cost of a high-quality, lead generating blog at $ 30,000/yr , minimum. I used to say $10,000 but I think the stakes are so much higher now. Anyway, having a number like that helps with my default approach – to gently help deflate content marketing ambition..."how about instead of publishing a blog, just have a simple news feed? Have a junior staffer dash off a few paragraphs once a week" (which is what the "blogging" approach often entails anyway). My paper-napkin on a quality company news feed is  $5,000/yr but with much less risk.

I disagree with some who say no one cares about a news feed; I think it's a whole lot better than nothing. Just because a prospect may not say "Wow, Amazing Insight!", doesn't mean there's not middle-to-bottom funnel value for a lead who already considering a company's offering. New item about a new hire, or moving office? Mentioned in the news? That's valuable to me if I'm considering your engaging with you; it creates some measure of trust.

And I definitely disagree with pressuring clients into pursing content marketing that's not realistic.

Of course, if a true writing habit organically evolves in response to feeding that news channel – then great. I can work with the client to turn that into an actual content marketing undertaking. If not, that's OK too. Either way, the client doesn't end up with thousands of dollars worth of egg on their face :)_

Let's summarize the peeve:

  • 95% of blogs fail to produce good business results or even to be a good blog

  • Invest $30k/year in the blog or risk compromising your results

  • A smaller $5k/year investment in a company newsfeed is a good alternative if you're not going to invest properly in the blogGreat! This is certainly a well-considered peeve. Let's use the tools I shared in the last email to think it through and see what kind of "point of view content" (PoV content) potential it has.


Is the success of a blog of high importance to your client's business? I don't think we can answer this for all companies globally, but for a certain type of company it would be, and I happen to know this member submission comes from someone with content marketing expertise, so for this person's clients, this almost certainly is an issue that is of relatively high importance. So we can place this peeve in the first row (High Importance to Your Client's Business).


Now, what about whether this peeve is core to our submitter's positioning? It possibly is, but I don't know for sure. That's really for them to decide.

Here's the bottom line: this peeve had definite potential to be developed into PoV content because it's about something that is (or should be) important to clients.

The next question we need to answer about this particular PoV is: can we talk about this PoV effectively in our marketing content or is it one that can only be demonstrated through actions?

I think it would be pretty easy to talk about this in marketing content and demonstrate it. You could talk about all of the following and support them with various forms of evidence (surveys, case studies, other forms of data, etc.):- 95% of blogs fail to produce good business results or even to be a good blog- Invest $30k/year in the blog or risk compromising your results- A smaller $5k/year investment in a company newsfeed is a good alternative if you're not going to invest properly in the blogYou could also do a pretty compelling demonstration of this PoV during a sales conversation with a prospect. You could show them two blogs side by side and ask them to give you their thoughts on which is probably most effective and then explain why they were right or wrong and then lead into how that's relevant to their situation.

So there ya go! Wouldn't take much to develop this peeve into strong PoV content.

Go get 'em,