Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blogging the Killer Application?

The search for the killer marketing tool is still on says Ibtisam Al Faruji, Director of Marketing at Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) and organizer of the quarterly Digital Nation seminar program.

Blogging and other web 2.0 and social media platforms are now maturing to the point where local businesses are really starting to take the medium seriously. Intilaaqah’s Abdullah Al Jufaili will be one of five speakers presenting on the blogging panel at Monday 10 November’s Digital Nation seminar at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel. Al Jufaili will be talking about how businesses are turning to blogs to market themselves.

“I’ve maintained for some time now that the best way to use blogging in a business environment is as an architecture and a marketing tool, not a business in and of itself. For example, if you were doing a direct mail campaign, you wouldn’t expect to make money from the mail. You’d expect to make money from the sales that it generates. Blogging is the same. Most businesses shouldn’t expect to make money by selling ads or sponsorships or t-shirts on their blogs. Indeed, they should use blog architecture to make their websites more dynamic and search-friendly. In my opinion, blogs are an excellent marketing tool that can drive interest and sales in a company’s product or service. That’s where I think businesses will get the most use out of blogging. Is it a killer application? That’s something we’ll be discussing on Monday night.”

“But there are danger areas with blogging,” suggests Al Faruji. “One of the big problems with blogging is that it’s too easy. Twenty seconds on and any employee can start posting to the world at large without having to talk to a single person in the company’s IT department. How you blog, the tone, look and feel of the entries all have to be on brand. Say something counter to the company’s positioning and you can damage a brand overnight.”

As Al Faruji points out, “there’s a big difference between simply blogging and blogging well, and that’s why businesses probably aren’t necessarily seeing the kinds of results that blogging hype has promised them.”

“There really is value to be gained from blogging, but it’s all about the kinds of conversations you start and the relationships you build,” suggests Al Jufaili.

Monday night’s Digital Nation seminar aims to provide a forum that will allow Omani bloggers to gather together and talk about blogging and the Omani blogosphere. It also aims to introduce the concept of blogging to Oman’s corporate sector. The seminar is free-of-charge and open to all.
“We’re delighted to have Anwar Al Asmi (pictured), Creative Director of Muscat-based RealityCG moderate Monday evening’s panel, with panelists drawn from e-commerce; telecommunications, oil, print media and education it should be a really lively session,” remarks Al Faruji.

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