Reviewing Charlenes ROI of Business Blogging Research
Charlene Li sent me copies of her recently published Calculating The ROI Of Blogging from Forrester. It also included a PDF A Case Study A Look At The ROI Of General Motors' FastLane Blog. Given my interest in the topic, she knew Id give a fair review, and has given me permission to discuss it without giving the document away to others.
Previously, Ive been very involved in this discussion, earlier this month I stated that corporations still require justification for business blogging (Ive been talking to quite a few folks in corporations lately) in fact I even stated that you cant measure the ROI of blogging until you can measure the value of other marketing activities.
How the formula works
Chalene and the Forrester crew did basic operations analysis and applied it to business blogging, it wasnt too difficult. If youve figured out how to measure ROI around other activities at your corporation (such as that onsite cafeteria or dentist) then you should already be able to measure ROI for blogging. Dan Farber sheds some light on how this formula can be applied to any communication medium. (more discussions on techmeme)
Reservations on methodology
Its not perfect however, as it cant fully measure (and nothing can) the holistic goodwill and emotional impact business blogging can have to individuals. There are still some folks that throw caution into the wind, be sure to read KD Paines reservations and comments on scope of cost. Ive had debates on ROI for blogging many, many times, and often while on stage.
My unbiased opinion
After spending time reviewing her documents, and based upon my interface with those that are deploying these programs at corporations, heres my honest opinions on Forresters document. Depending on your situation, I recommend and dont recommend the document:
This document is best suited for:
I recommend this document to corporate folks that need to deploy Business Blogging (like I did at Hitachi) only if youre at an impasse to prove to upper management. For many corporations, $375 is a small amount of money to pay for the report.
You may not need this document if you have:
Already successfully deployed a social media program at your company, and its already deemed a success. Management is pleased with you, and youre already obtaining more budget. If youre already able to prove the success of your programs (without having to compare against costs) then you may not need this document, just continue forward. Even if you dont need to bring to the table an ROI metric, you should still be measuring. Also, this way, if you have a change in managements opinions, you can apply the measurement over the cost, and spend some time to obtain an ROI metric.
Focus on Social Media Measurement
PodTechs clients are asking for this, so its toward the top of my interest levels. Ive been very interested in this topic, as I was trying to measure while deploying in my previous corporate role. In my current role as a consultant, many of our clients are asking what does success look like and how do we show this to management. Ive also been involved with Factiva and thought leaders from our industry for a roundtable. View all my posts tagged Social Media Measurement.
Thank you Charlene for sharing the report with me and letting me provide an unbiased opinion. Excellent work, Forrester has helped to move our industry forward yet again.