Does This Blogging Stuff Even Work?

I am planning on putting together a major post for September in which I honor organizations and people that have influenced me in some way, shape or form regarding my B2B lead-generation or marketing ideology. The idea is to make this an annual post called “The Top of the Funnel” awards. Gosh, I love that name.

Anyway, I regularly cruise the Web searching for ideas on what to write so I committed myself this weekend to looking at new blogs and sites. In my searches, I found what I thought was a promising name: The Marketers’ Consortium, the blog associated with big-time marketing-automation company Unica Corp.

What I found was this message: “Unica will be ending The Marketers’ Consortium. It’s a bittersweet day. We’ve loved having the blog.”

So, I pose a question: Do B2B blogs help their organization’s goals?

Let’s take the case of Unica. Unica is a legitimate marketing-automation vendor, a seemingly a perfect fit for a marketing blog. They did it right, having covered all the important bases:

  1. Great Name: The name “Marketers’ Consortium” drew me in. Plus, “Unica” wasn’t included in the title, so it didn’t look too salesly.
  2. Thought Leadership: Unica got some of the best and brightest to guest blog, further accentuating the look and feel of a third-party expert blog. Guest bloggers included Elana Anderson, former VP of research at Forrester Research; Don Peppers, noted author, speaker and founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group; Pat LaPointe, managing partner of MarketingNPV LLC; Liz Roche, former VP of research for META Group and creator of My Life as a CRM Diva; and the very popular Chris Kenton, social-media maven and president of MotiveLab.
  3. Traffic: Take their word for it: “… more visitors than we ever anticipated and a steady stream of regular readers.”

So what happened? According to Unica, two factors motivated the blog shutdown:

  1. No ROI (return on investment): I can attest writing a blog is a massive time-suck. The metrics coming out the other end for them did not make sense, so they shut it down. Considering they liked the traffic, Unica probably tied their metrics to lead-generation goals.
  2. Lack of Marketing-Executive Readership: Marketing executives just don’t read blogs yet. This hurts considering the fact that I like to believe they read mine!

There’s still hope for marketing blogs, though. Take famous blogger Brian Carroll of startwithalead.com and his success as an example. Brian’s blog is number one on Google organic for “B2B lead generation”; he is the most quoted, most recognizable (you see his darn photo everywhere) marketing blogger; he is on every Webinar and podcast imaginable; he wrote a book … I could go on. I believe his social-media activities are impressive and something that all of us should strive for. What’s funny is a lot of us read him and trust him, yet don’t even realize he runs a business. His credibility had to help sales (he may be one of the most famous guys in B2B lead gen), but the proof is now in the pudding: InTouch Inc., his company, was bought by Meclabs. I’ll be investigating the deal in later posts.

OK, I have one final thing to say. Brian runs a call center — that’s right, telemarketing. Besides Rainmaker Systems Inc., these companies don’t get bought. Meclabs bought Brian. So, I would say Brian Carroll believes that his blog helped his organization’s goals and then some.

I’d like to hear more from other B2B folks on whether their blogs work for them (metrics-wise and qualitatively). I hope this blog post, as well as my question on LinkedIn, solicit some feedback.

And keep your eyes out for Part II of this post.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter