Can B2B Blogs Be Businesslike Without Being Boring?


Back in December, I asked the question: Can SMBs benefit from blogging?


A recently published study from Forrester Research raises a new question: Are many businesses of any size benefiting from blogging? According to Forrester, 53 percent of business-to-business companies say blogging has marginal significance or is downright irrelevant to their marketing strategies. Among companies tracked by Forrester, the number of new blogs fell from 36 in 2006 to just three in 2008, notes Wall Street Journal blogger Ben Worthen.


Forrester implies the fault may lie with companies themselves, using words like "dull" and "drab" to describe B2B blogs. Among the knocks against B2B blogs noted by Forrester: not enough personality in posts, an irregular posting schedule, and bloggers who just don't stick with it. Fifty-six percent of such blogs feature mostly press releases or other well-known news, giving folks little incentive to read them.


I'll agree with Forrester on all of these points, but wonder why it mentions sticking to business and technical topics (something that 70 percent of B2B blogs do) as a negative.


If it's a B2B blog, shouldn't it be about business? Sure, there's nothing wrong with inserting an occasional personal anecdote to help illustrate a point or otherwise liven up a business topic, but I don't want to read about the hobbies, pets or personal lives of my vendors or business partners. I've seen business-oriented blogs that read like a particularly painful holiday newsletter, with the added annoying subtext of trying to sell me something.


Forrester also presents the lack of comments on most B2B blogs (58 percent receive no more than a single comment per post) as a sign that intended audiences aren't being engaged. However, I agree with a reader named Matt who left a comment (yesss!) on an itWorldCanada.com blog post about the Forrester study.


Just because folks don't leave comments doesn't mean they aren't engaged. Like me, they may see little reason to reiterate points already made in a post or give a blogger props for a job well done. And it often just takes too much time to leave more involved comments. I may mean to go back and respond later to a thought-provoking post, but I rarely do.


Matt notes that Forrester's own blogs, with the exception of one written by Forrester CEO George Colony, don't get a lot of comment action. Oh, snap.