Blogs Wiki’s – What’s Your Market?

In the past few weeks I’ve noticed a lot of posts on “blogging” or “the blogging experience”. It is interesting that big and small bloggers are all writing about this. They want to know who their readers are and how to serve them better. ( I’ve got a list at the end of this post.)

Friends/Colleagues – It has been my experience that my readership largely consists of close friends/colleagues ( 1-degree-of-separation ) and the people I meet via blogging are 2-degrees-of-separation away. For example, I met Andrew@Nyquist via blogging and it turns out that I’ve worked with many of his colleagues. It is rare for anyone outside of 1-degree to contact me. This experience similar here and inside of my office (where I edit a research blog/wiki with much more content than out here). Getting readers beyond friends is difficult.

? Executives don’t read blogs ? – I particularly like WRKoss’s comment “that people responsible for the development of leadership talent in companies, do not read blogs.” I think this has a lot to do with the fact that executives have long been in a group that subscribes to “news aggregator” services. They did not lose them during the cutbacks of the early ’00’s. I find that this group often comments that blogs & wiki’s are “too noisy” and/or “I already get all that stuff”. In general, they ascribe very little value to them and do very little to support them. Most blog/wiki software inside corporate walls are “rogue” installations kept far away from IT staff. It is a rare Exec who supports them publicly. Luckily for me a few do exist. Given all these obstacles I chose to ignore this group. They are well served by the existing media. That said — many execs do read my blogs & wikis.

Non-executives – I’ve been focussing on serving this group for over a year now. To them blogs are a “gift from heaven”. They can get regular updates on their markets and have a way to build a quick database of this information (with wikis). Many in this group have responsibility to track news & markets in a detailed way. There is huge benefit to them. They tell me this on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately, this is “good news / bad news” for most bloggers. Good news is that there are loads of under-served people in this segment and Bad News is that these guys don’t cut checks.

Conclusions/Actions – (If my experience is commonplace) This is a big challenge for bloggers looking to monetize their content ( ie the Om Malik’s of the world ). I think he’s got the attention of the non-executive reader to the tune of 10k’s of readers, but will he be able to keep it up if execs are not reading? For guys like Fred Wilson who’s first circle is great and really know how to make friends on-line – the blog world was made for them. For the rest of us, there are lots of readers out there who are very under-served. Extracting value from them, in corporate status and in $$$ is difficult, but I don’t think that is why we’re blogging.