I fear conversations just like this are happening all over the country right now:
Employee: “Boss, I think we should launch a company blog. Lots of companies have them now, even a couple of our competitors!”
Boss: “Yeah, I keep hearing more about companies using blogs. How much will it cost us?”
Employee: “Nothing, the ‘software’ is free!”
Boss: “Oh! Wow ok, lets do it then!”
Employee: “Boss I know we want to have the site redesign completed by the 1st of the year, but I really think we need to invest in having someone look at our site and make sure it’s optimized properly for search.”
Boss: “Yeah I have been hearing about how companies are investing in SEO when they redesign their sites. How much would it cost us?”
Employee: “I’ve gotten some estimates and the average figure is around $50,000.”
Boss: “Whoa, that’s a lot of money, what will we get for that?”
Notice that when the boss sees an upfront investment being necessary with SEO, then he automatically wants accountability for those efforts. But if the blog is free, then cool, go for it. There isn’t the urgency to measure and qualify the efforts that will go into the blog, because it’s ‘free’. Yet with the SEO expense, you better believe the company will want to talk with the agency and will have to understand how they are going to benefit from that $50,000 SEO expense, before the boss signs that check.
Even IF you can launch a blog for your company and even IF the only expense is your time, you STILL need to quantify and measure your efforts. You can’t fall into the ‘well it’s free so it doesn’t matter if we measure it’ trap. Yes I have been harping on the topic of measuring your blogging and social media efforts a lot lately. Because it’s damn important.
If you don’t measure your social media efforts and make them accountable, then no one will take them seriously. Period.
I think that is a common trap that many companies fall into. They jump on the bandwagon only to have it fizzle out shortly thereafter when they don’t see any results. If you don’t define your goals and what you are trying to achieve then surely it is hard to measure anything. Another thing I’ve noticed for the many B2B blogs that I follow, is that not many have a content strategy. They jump in and just start talking about themselves (basically re-posting press releases) which is only interesting for so long.
Mack Collier says
Sandy you are exactly right. They usually don’t see results because they don’t know what the results would look like! They have no idea if traffic is up, if traffic to the website is up, or anything, because they aren’t measuring anything.
Excellent point you make here. It just kind of struck me because I didn’t expect what you said there at the end.
We should look at all of our efforts and ways we use our time and make sure things match up and things are getting done and progressing. If they’re not, really, what’s the point?
Take care! 🙂
Mack Collier says
Thanks Eric! Seriously, if you aren’t measuring your efforts, then how does the boss/company know that you are accomplishing anything? If you treat the company blog like a hobby, so will your boss. How much time do you think your boss will let you spend on your ‘hobby’ when there is real work to be done?
Measure, show the boss the results so they understand the value.
Maddie Grant says
Great post. (People pay $50k for SEO??? Holy crap.)
Mack Collier says
Some companies pay that much for social media 😉
An Bui, DocuSign Social Media says
Mack – great points. If there’s no accountability for a project, there’s no way to determine success, failure, or justify additional investment. Even if it’s “just” time. Time on a blog = time away for other projects.
Time is a resource, just like $$
Srinivas Rao says
I was tasked with building a blog for our company because we’re launching a new travel booking engine. But, since the development efforts are taking a bit more time than we expected my boss asked me to run it as a blog.
One of the things upfront that I was given was a budget to work with of $2500.00. In its second month it’s had over 6000 visits and 12000 page views. I think without a budget to hire writers I would have never been able to pull this off. I’m in the process of writing a case study on how to build a brand new business blog and allocating money for it is absolutely going to be something I talk about. Being able to show my boss traffic growth has ensured that I get freedom to operate and keep running all of the social media efforts for this site.
Marjorie Clayman says
Again, I have to sadly say that many of the conversations I’ve had do not involve excitement about social media because of the cost (or lack thereof). What’s on the minds of people I talk to is the time. “How can I come up with enough content to keep a blog going?” “How can I do all of this interacting on Twitter?” “You want me to do how many things with my Facebook page?”
From there, the conversation goes to whether the company should hire a Social Media expert. That’s a brand new salary. That’s more company time. The “free” really doesn’t seem to win many people over, at least in my experience. Maybe that’s a good thing, given your post. It’s interesting though!
Great post Mack! I enjoyed reading this because I’ve recently heard a lot of people say that SM is actually free. And every time I hear it I want to bang my head against the wall because really, it isn’t. Even if you do EVERYTHING yourself, it’s going to cost you a tremendous amount of time. The saying “time is money” exists for a reason. No-one’s time is free these days, not when it comes to business anyway.
I’m still a blogger newbie and trying to get accepted in the world of Social Media. I get asked a lot why I do this. I usually answer because I love writing and have an intense interest for SM. So people nod and answer “oh well, I guess it’s an easy thing to do.” Really, it isn’t. It takes so much time and effort and if I truly didn’t enjoy what I am doing, I would have given up after a week. And that’s where I see the mistakes of the company blogs that do fail – or for that matter, the SM strategies that fail. They lack the joy and the will to learn and invest. Whether it’s money or time to learn or measure their efforts.
So next time I hear that SM is free, I will direct them to your post. 😉 Thanks for a great read.
Mack Collier says
Thank you Antonia! Yes, time is money and money matters. So time matters 😉
Ari Herzog says
Your kicker is in the final sentence and the word “measure.” Many believe social media is about an action, doing something; and not about another action, measuring that action.
Measurement should be done first, and monitored over time. Failure to measure causes that second conversation.
Mack Collier says
“Failure to measure causes that second conversation.”
LOVE this point!
Marianna Chapman says
Good comments here. The money left on the table by not measuring and learning how to improve the “free stuff” blows my mind on a daily basis – especially when I work with small businesses and know that small improvements would mean big things for the business owner.