Far be it from me to write a self-serving blog post. OK, I can't even say that with a straight face. Just about all blog posts are self-serving, whether the blogger chooses to admit it or not. That's the nature of a blog. And that's a fact of life that technology professionals need to help those who aren't as technology-savvy to understand.
Blogs are self-serving in the sense that bloggers typically have the luxury of writing about topics that personally interest them and that they have strong convictions about. That's what differentiates a blog from traditional journalism. I covered the IT industry as a journalist for 20 years, and trust me, not everything I wrote about interested me. I've written my share of failed ERP implementation stories, for example, yet I find ERP inherently boring, whether it works or not. That said, you can bet that every such story I ever wrote was extensively researched, completely balanced and thoroughly sourced.
Sometimes we bloggers take flak from readers who refer to a post as an "article" that's shoddy because it doesn't present all of the various sides of a particular issue in a comprehensive and neutral manner. To some extent, that's to be expected, because blogging is still in its infancy relative to traditional journalism. But readers who live and breathe technology in general, and online operations in particular, should be savvy enough to have figured out the distinction.
More and more companies are recognizing that, and their marketing operations are evolving accordingly. Politico carried an interesting piece yesterday about how corporate media relations departments are beginning to see "blogger relations" as a distinct job function. Here's an excerpt:
"It's becoming as common to have someone managing communications with bloggers as it was to have a press secretary 10 years ago," said Patrick Hynes, founder and president of Hynes Communications, a social media public affairs agency. The advent of blogger relations staff is a natural outcome of the democratization of information and communications over the past decade, said Hynes. "The major media organizations have gotten smaller, and yet there is more media now than ever before. There are more avenues to pitch stories and create narratives that are favorable to your side. Blogs are just one of these avenues."
That this democratization is an online phenomenon speaks to the critical nature of close cooperation between marketing and technology professionals. There's been a lot written on this topic in recent years, mostly along the lines of technology and marketing being like oil and water. That clearly needs to change.
I was at an event in New York a couple of years ago where George Colony, founder and CEO of Forrester Research, spoke about the importance of having a strong partnership between the technology and marketing sides of a business.
"I've got to tell you, in most companies, this is a bitch," Colony said. "It's breeding cats and dogs, it is an unnatural act. "But where I've seen it work, it's just been phenomenal. It has really, really paid off."
So do your company a favor by building a bond with the marketing folks. And do us bloggers a favor by explaining to them and to anyone else who will listen that a blog post should be read and considered for what it is-and what it isn't.