Why Blog – Not for Press Releases

I got an email from a close friend last night in response to my recent post of Stratify’s press release.. His comment – which follows – struck a chord.

You’ve begun to illustrate one of the problems with blogs… now I go to your blog and half of it is stuff you’re trying to promote (e.g., your companies, WIT). So it’s already only 50% as interesting as it was when you started. Think about it — you actually are a smart guy with stuff to say, and half of what you’re doing is spam. What about people who have nothing to say but lots to sell!

While part of my goal with my blog is to keep “you” (where you = “you, the reader”) informed on stuff that I’m interested in and working on, I realize that simply reposting press releases without any insightful commentary is not necessarily useful or interesting (ok – it’s probably bordering on spam). So – I will solve this two ways. First, whenever I post something about one of my companies, I’ll make sure that I’m commenting on what I’m posting – so it’s actually “my view” of what’s going on and is relevant, rather than simply a canned press release. Second, I’ll set up a separate press release page on my web site (which is now framed within a Movable Type blog) and create an RSS feed for this page separately for anyone that wants to get these press releases.

In addition, I’m very interested in feedback like this as I continue to evolve this blog and tune it to what’s interesting to “you, the reader” (as well as what’s interesting to “me, the writer”. One of the problems with blogs is that there are no particularly good user profiling or feedback information build into the blog infrastructure yet (other than comments, which we all know are pretty lame). For now, my only real feedback mechanism is email, so please use it if you have anything to say (good, bad, or what you are interested in).

  • I think this commenter suffers from “anti-commercialism”. I don’t understand how promoting your projects or portfolio is any less interesting than random thoughts.

    A lot of work goes into executing an idea. More than goes into writing a rant. So, I actually think it is more interesting to see what a VC is funding and what projects/companies are executing and how they are executing.

    There are a lot of people out there that don’t like it when people use blogs for commercial purposes. I think these people should just be happy on their part of the web. Or just wake up to reality: People need to make money to put food on the table.

    I agree it is nice to get some commentary with a press release. But I certainly don’t mind “just” a link to a press release. And to equate publishing a press release to “spam” is absolutely ridiculous. This reader doesn’t have to subscribe and doesn’t have to visit your site if he doesn’t like it.

    You do an excellent job on your weblog. I wouldn’t worry about a bit of half-cocked criticism.

  • I like Fred’s answer; his “house ads.”

    The thing is…no one’s blog is going to satisfy someone else’s needs. Seth Godin is mostly an ad for himself…but it’s never boring, right?

  • I don’t mind people plugging their stuff on their blogs. If I don’t feel like being reading their schpiel, I can move on to something else. You’re competing with 2 million other blogs for eyeballs, a lot of them written by really smart, engaging people. It’s a competitive market out there.

    Remember back when you were a kid when there were only 3 TV channels, and you’d end up watching the Dukes Of Hazzard not because it was any good, but because it was the least of 3 evils (the other two being Lawrence Welk and Facts Of Life)? This guy forgets the blogosphere doesn’t have that trouble.

  • Dave Jilk

    Wow, only five months living inside Boulder city limits and I’m already “anti-commercialism”, need to “wake up to reality,” and providing “half-cocked criticism”… sounds like I’m turning into a liberal!

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