Over the last year or so, Indian agencies and clients have come to terms with the fact that blogs are too important to be ignored. I have been part of meetings where stuff like ‘let us start our own blog’ to ‘how do we get blogs to talk about this?’. Almost every major brand today promises to implement a 360-degree approach. The inclination to be a part of this ‘blog stuff’ is real. The issue however, is the varying degree of understanding, commitment and expertise of mainline Indian agencies and clients to meaningfully use the blogosphere for their brands.
Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere confirms (if any confirmation was needed) clients & agencies need to be in this space and use it as creatively and extensively as the traditional media. Some of the highlights:
1. Brands are part of everyday conversations in the online world: in the real world, regular conversations are likely to be about regular stuff. In the online conversations, brands feature big time: More than four in five bloggers post product or brand reviews, and blog about brands they love or hate. Even day-to-day experiences with customer care or in a retail store are fodder for blog posts.
2. Companies are already reaching out to bloggers: one-third of bloggers have been approached to be brand advocates.
3. Blogs are a bigger audience that Facebook & MySpace combined: this is as per US data but there is no denying that the numbers will be mouth watering even in this part of the world.
4. Blogs are influential: 37% of bloggers have been quoted in traditional media based on a blog post. Half of bloggers believe that blogs will be a primary source for news and entertainment in the next five years. Bloggers are less bullish on the prospects for traditional media — one in five bloggers don’t think that newspapers will survive the next ten years.
5. Bloggers cannot be reached through television advertising: Influential bloggers are not getting your corporate messages through your television ad buy.
They are also much more influenced by other bloggers with 61 percent reporting that they are enticed to learn more about a product or service from other bloggers.
The other interesting nugget of information according to this survey is that the Top 100 blogs tracked by Technorati post five or more times per day, and a full 43 percent post more than 10 times per day. Phew!
As a part time blogger and full-time new media enthusiast, I found the results fascinating. The survey talks about bloggers measuring their success through by how many posts or comments they can generate on their blog. I can empathize with that! No wonder professional bloggers suffer from ‘blog anxiety’ – the urge to write about something – faster, better and more insightful than others.
For me the big take out is that here is one medium which people are passionate about. And when you are passionate about something, your involvement with what you deal with is that much higher. When you are passionate enough to blog about cars, environment, advertising, Apple and what-have-you, it shows. And when brands feature in this medium so strongly, can we afford not be part of it?