Monthly Archive: December 2012

Five Reasons Why Your Business Does Not Need A Blog

I’ve been writing blog posts for nearly a decade, and it is safe to say I have composed more than my share. In fact, I am dangerously over-exposed to blogs, social media and industry advice coming from every direction. Which may explain the bitter taste left in mouth by the steady stream of of experts and pontificators who suggest over and over again that small- to medium-sized businesses must find time to blog.

I could point to any number or prominent violators busily spinning their webs of opinion and deceit. Of course, the content evangelists don’t see what they’re doing as problematic in the least. Quite the contrary, the soapbox toppers of our day are doing us all a service, heckling us about the need to blog, and to share every update or fragment of a thought in social channels.

What the hell, it’s free advice. We are free to take it or leave it. Here, let me contribute one more float to the ego parade, but may it please be the anti-float (like the one in Animal House).

    Five Reasons Why Your Business Does Not Need A Blog

    1) Your prospects and customers don’t read blogs or much else on a screen.

    2) There’s not enough return on investment to justify the cost.

    3) Every company is NOT a media company. Many successful companies make widgets or muffins or whatever and create no media at all.

    4) Your “blogging voice” has an incurable case of blogarrhea and can’t stop itself from talking incessantly about the company’s great products, service and so on. Booooring.

    5) You never signed up to be a thought leader, and just want to be the best chimney sweep, pizza maker, social worker or writer of ads you can be.

Would Frank Lloyd Wright bother to write a blog post in order to further enhance his architecture brand? No. He’d simply show you the blueprints or better yet a model of the building he envisions for you. Show, don’t tell. Yet, here we are falling all over ourselves to tell it like it is.

The blogging garden is wildly overgrown. The weeds are hardly discernible from the fruits. And this clutter violates a fundamental law of marcom. In order to communicate brand value, it’s necessary to strip away all the excess around a brand. That’s the beauty of an ad — it’s compact, and can only carry one message comfortably. If you consistently bring clarity and order to your blogging, bless you. If you go on and on and in an inelegant manner, it’s time to confiscate your noise maker.

“Make Some Noise” Is Right For Fans, But Wrong For Brands

The great majority of commercial appeals that we see every day are horrible. They’re poorly thought out and hastily made. The reasons for this sad state of affairs are many, but I’d like to address one key reason here: people working in commercial art or writing are often hesitant to embrace their own artist within.

Generally speaking, designers and writers are hesitant because they are afraid of rejection, and afraid of not being taken seriously. Ergo, we overcompensate, remove our berets, put on our business helmets and prepare to do battle in the Ideas Arena.

Recently, I came across an inspiring section from Design As Art, the 1966 book from Italian artist and designer, Bruno Munari.

Culture today is becoming a mass affair, and the artist must step down from his pedestal and be prepared to make a sign for a butcher’s shop (if he knows how to do it). The artist must cast off the last rags of romanticism and become active as a man among men, well up in present-day techniques, materials and working methods. Without losing his innate aesthetic sense he must be able to respond with humility and competence to the demands his neighbors may make of him.

Munari asks artists to get down off their high horses and endow the commercial sector with their refined sensibilities. Of course, the world has changed since 1966. I think there is less of a stigma today for artists and writers who choose to work in advertising. For me, the more important part of his challenge is holding on to our identities as writers and artists, or what Munari calls our “innate aesthetic sense.” Not just to save our souls, but also because it is good business.

Years ago, I used to advise aspiring copywriters to stop being writers and start being problem solvers for brands. Because that’s the job, and it is crucial to understand what the job is. Today, I see the need to adjust my line of thinking. Today, you must know what the job is, and know who you are. In other words, do not drift too far from Art’s sandy shore. Or phrased another way, do not focus on career to the detriment of craft.

If you do choose career over craft, you may have mormoney in the bank, but you will have deprived the culture (and your clients) of your unique skills and point of view.