Copywriter Misunderstands Weblogs, Feels Threat to Livelihood
Bob Bly, who's been a copywriter forever, doesn't like weblogs.
Expressing that opinion would be welcomed if Bly had a proper understanding of the platform. After reading his article about the topic on DMNews, it is clear he has no idea what he is talking about.
Bly writes, "The first is that most blogs I encounter are rambling, streams-of-consciousness musings about a topic of interest to the author, largely bereft of the practical, pithy tips that e-zines, Web sites and white papers offer." Apparently, Bly has only reader the Xangas and LiveJournals of teenage girls. There are many fine, business focused weblogs with valuable and intelligent content for business professionals published today. For a taste, visit Rick Bruner' s Business Blog Consulting which is a compendium of business weblogs.
Bly then writes, "The second problem involves distribution. With an e-zine, once the reader subscribes, he gets it delivered to him electronically every week or month or however often you send it. But with a blog, the reader has to go out and proactively look for it. And since your contributions to your blog may be irregular and unscheduled, he has no way of knowing when something new of interest has been added." Mr. Bly has obviously never heard of RSS or newsreaders which deliver the content of a weblog, post by post, to a person's desktop in real time without all the baggage in most HTML e-zines. Not to mention the need to sift through spam just to get to the email. By the way, didn't the term "e-zine" go out with the 90's? Bly digs himself in even deeper, "And thats another of my complaints with blogs in particular and the Web in general: the ease with which people can post and disseminate content. "The best thing about the Web is that anyone can publish on it; the worst thing about the Web is that anyone can publish on it," a computer magazine columnist once observed." Mr. Bly one of the most powerful things the weblog publishing platform does is enable many voices to be heard. It's called Citizen's Media. Why should voice a opinion be limited in any way? We can certainly understand why that might threaten your multi-million dollar annual fees earned by writing all those overpriced newsletters for major corporations.
Further illustrating his misunderstanding, Bly writes, "Blogs are, by virtue of being a form of online diary, like diaries: rambling, incoherent and more suited for private thoughts than public consumption. If you have something of value to share, many better formats exist for doing it online than by blogging, including white papers, e-zines and Web sites." Blogs are only rambling incoherent diaries if they are written that way. The weblog publishing platform does not perpetuate a particular writing style. It just makes it easier to publish thought - good or bad. And white papers? Who reads those anymore? All you get out of white papers is high level marketing blather and who needs that? Oh wait, you do Bob. Writing them pays your salary.
UPDATE: Business Blog Consulting's Rick Bruner makes the case for weblog's contribution to ROI.