Two months ago, Charlene Li of Forrester produced a report on the ROI of blogging by comparing the relative spend on blogs to the spend required for focus group based research. While some people immediately pointed out flaws in this reasoning, it was a great first step towards trying to define a model for measuring the true return on investment for blogging at a corporate level. For individuals dedicated to creating their own microbrands and blogging to network with others in the industry, better connect with customers or simply participate in the conversation … the ROI is not likely to be tied to focus group research. Rather, the ROI in these cases comes from the opportunities that become possible through having a blog that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. These are thought leadership and brand/microbrand benefits, but they are ROI nonetheless.
Taking this idea further, it would be interesting to see blogger’s responses to what I think may be the ultimate question in helping to understand ROI of blogging on an individual basis:
Since you have been blogging, what would you consider your top five most effective blog posts and why?
To get the conversation going, here is my list of top five:
#5 – The Human Side of Search
The human side of search (everything that happens outside the almighty algorithm to organize information online) is an idea that I had been thinking about for some time and finally explored in a small presentation I gave at the Search Insider Summit event last year. Since then, the concept has really evolved in the search industry and beyond. It remains a topic I am passionate about following and continuing to do more with.
#4 – Brands I am Passionate About
I shared five brands that I truly love, and was contacted by one of them after seeing my blog post. Briggs & Riley’s team saw my post and asked me to try out a range of bags from their new line and offer feedback. It was the most significant of a few product related pitches I have received, and one that I was most excited about due to my professed passion for their brand.
#3 – Tips on Pitching Bloggers
Originally published as a thought piece on the Ogilvy PR website, this 2 page PDF has been one of the most linked on my blog and also downloaded frequently from the Ogilvy site. It has also been a great tool for our internal teams as well as a useful piece to give to clients.
#2 – Top 7 Marketing Trends of 2007
When I first published this, I figured it would be one of many trend related posts coming into 2007. There were several links, but the amazing thing is that the post continues to draw significant traffic and clicks. The image above is from the cover of Marketing China magazine, which was my most significant media hit to date in the traditional media – where our office in China helped to translate the piece to be included in this cover feature story in Marketing China.
#1 – Social Media Optimization
This will probably come as no surprise that it makes #1 on my list of most effective blog posts. Since the original article in August of last year, the SMO phenomenon has gone through a very interesting cycle of global awareness, adoption, refinement, and even a backlash within certain circles. It’s amazing to watch how far and how fast the idea has taken off.
From a thought leadership and visibility point of view, blogging clearly has huge potential for individuals and for corporations as well. To keep the conversation thread going, I am going to tag Hugh, Paul, Anastacia, Steve, and my colleagues in the Social Media Collaborative (including Charlene) to blog about their thoughts on this topic and how the ROI of blogging for most blogs might be far more about the stories and experiences made possible by blogging than by the dollar value of the traditional marketing efforts it is beginning to replace.
Suggested tag for all posts on this topic: BlogROIStories