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People Don’t Trust Your Blog

You Better Give Them A Reason To

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[ Social Media]

Forrester Research has released a report (you must fill out a form to get it) that details how much people trust different information sources. At the top of the list is email from people they know. At the bottom are company blogs. This is precisely why company blogs should be treated more like emails to friends.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly what Arianna Huffington told Jon Stewart last week on The Daily Show, as she was trying to explain the concept of blogging, as Stewart was confused about the difference between it and other forms of writing.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is the same basic concept that should be applied to business social media efforts as well, as I have discussed several times this week. Perhaps if more company bloggers followed this type of mentality, the trust from readers would grow and the company blogs category would move further up the list in future reports of this nature. The problem is that there are still so many people who just "don’t get it," as Jon Stewart illustrated on national television, and as company blogs all over the web illustrate on a daily basis.

Information Sources and Trust

There are plenty out there that do get it though, and the reputation of their medium is being dragged down by the masses. Richard MacManus at Read Write Web has an interesting analysis of the Forrester report, and thinks there are some problems with the research firm’s own take on the subject. He writes:

The Forrester report seems to be having its cake and eating it too – if your corporate blog is successful and meets its goals, keep it going; if it doesn’t, can it. But that is true of any blog, corporate or not.

To the larger point of whether corporate blogs are trustworthy, it depends on so many things that it’s difficult to make a sweeping judgment. For example, I trust some Microsoft blogs more than others – depending on the person blogging and perhaps even the department they work for. It depends on the style of blogging, the content that’s published, the way the blog is promoted, and so on.

I agree with MacManus. I could probably go through each of the media listed in Forrester’s graph and name sources I trust more than others within that same medium. Classifying an entire medium based on how trustworthy it is, is pretty much pointless to me. Not that I fault Forrester for this. They’re just supplying data, which I still find interesting, and if nothing else, highlights the need for company bloggers to improve their strategies.

On a Separate But Related Note…

Another thing I find interesting about the data is that way more people trust so-called "online content sites" than do company blogs or personal blogs, yet many of these content sites are becoming more like blogs in their own reporting. Could it be that people are trusting brands over writers? If that’s the case, it’s just ignorant of the individual writers’ reputations, and motives. Why is an independent blogger more trustworthy when he starts writing for the New York Times, CNET, or somewhere like that? When he suddenly has to keep a brand’s collective reputation in mind when he writes?

That is the power of branding.

People Don’t Trust Your Blog
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