Kicking and Screaming

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Blogs. They’re time consuming, difficult to get feedback and comments on without an existing and wide distribution network, and they have a terrible, terrible name. “Blog” passes into the air haltingly, unnaturally. It’s a silly word.Is that the reason for industry reluctance? Is it all in a name? Nobody would ever admit that, but let’s face it: financial services isn’t known for being particularly hip to the phrase du jour (whatever that may currently be), and blogging drawbacks are few and manageable compared to the benefits. The scoffs may well be based on a simple unfortunate choice of moniker…which is, ironically, almost as silly as the word itself.

Talking to virgin professional services bloggers, there are two reactions to the suggestion that they pick up the practice: skeptical interest and dismissal. This is a fascinating case of denial, as blogs are now completely rampant in the social sector and getting there in consumer industries. However bizarre it may seem, inane video bloggers are finding mainstream fame, creative YouTube posters are being inked to advertising deals, and according to search engine technorati there are over 70 million blogs tracked as of March 2007.

And yet…still the cold shoulder.

Here’s the truth: it’s going to come from the outside in. ROI cases just aren’t going to be there before the fact, so firms are going to have to make a small investment of time and energy (and virtually no money) to tap the upside. And these progressive and open firms are going to start making money not because they keep blogs, but because their end users show them the value of their efforts.

The VC community seems to be building a nice case study of this, as Scott Kirsner investigates here. This makes sense, doesn’t it? VCs are looking at skilled and balanced entrepreneurs, who will in many cases be forward thinking and aggressive. Start-ups want money and relationships, and one smart way to kick both those things off is to engage in dialogue with the right VCs. Blogs are one more way to make that happen; on the other side of the keyboard, VC bloggers can openly discuss their industry on a level playing field with targets.

Done right, everyone wins. Done first, “early” adopters pave the way.

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