Should Health Of Blog Community Align To ROI?

I had a post all ready for today, and then @TheJackB spat all over my blog in comments. I could not let that slide, so this post is a compilation of his musings and mine. (You get co-authorship, TheJack, but just not in the byline…heh.)

The Sales Lion wrote a post yesterday about why community is not Holy Grail of blogging that I’m sure is creating a slew of comments, not the most of which is Gini Dietrich (although I’ve not been over to comment myself). Marcus said something to the effect that “Gini shocked the blogosphere admitting her business almost went bankrupt in 2011 in spite of her healthy blog, Spin Sucks, and its huge community with lengthier commentary.” (paraphrase)

IMHO (In my humble opinion), Arment Dietrich is a service firm; it delivers professional services and seeks clients to pay it to stay viable. Gini is the point person, face, poster child, CEO, founder, biz dev artist for her firm, and, oh, yeah, she’s chief cook and bottle writer for her highly popularly ranked and accoladed blog, Spin Sucks. Her new product, Spin Sucks Pro, for which peeps will subscribe to content and teachings via webinars and writings from around the ‘sphere, launches soon (after a one-year delay during which she had to fire a tech team and start from scratch). (Never write sentences like these two.)

When you’re running a successful digital marketing/PR shop with staff and expensive headquarters near the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and you’re launching a brand new online moneymaker that fails and requires an immediate new investment in tech dollars and clients refuse to pay you for six months and the economy sucks (like Spin), then what’s so surprising about a firm nearly going belly up (in spite of a successful blog and community)?

This dilemma is one many successful entrepreneurs face —  how to clone oneself. We are the brand and brain power clients wants, hire and require. Using Gini Dietrich was a poor example to showcase that a profitable business has nothing to do with a healthy blogging community, and here’s why:

The target audience for Spin Sucks Pro are PR, marketing, social media peeps; a healthy community of such is required to ensure that Gini’s new $ venture succeeds. Can you imagine if she had attempted to launch Spin Sucks Pro without putting all the sweat and tears into building a healthy and growing community at its precursor? Right.


Here’s what THEJACKB had to say in comments here yesterday:

Yep, I commented on Marcus’s post. I was half awake at the time and uninterested in picking that post apart but I am not convinced that there is a relationship between Gini’s biz and comments.

Fact is that if you can demonstrate to brands that your blog reaches the eyeballs that they want to get in front of then you can make money blogging. It happens, and any one of us has the opportunity to make it happen. It might not make sense for some of us to pursue that path but the opportunity is there.

Let’s circle back to comments and community. You and I (Jack and Jayme) have talked about this, and I’ll repeat that I don’t see comments as being currency. They aren’t always useful social proof for whether a blog is popular, influential etc.

But that doesn’t apply across the board. Fact is that many of the people that speak at blog conferences get their positions as faculty because of their community and the comments. It is not impossible to get a gig without, but it is much easier when you have it.

Data mining is useful for bloggers. When you start to break down who your readers are you can learn all sorts of interesting things. During the past four days more than 4k uniques took a moment to read my post.

Two PR agencies and several brands were camped out on that post for extended periods of time. I don’t believe that they hung out there solely because they loved the writing. There is something more going on. My job is to figure out why. Maybe it is because they are looking for a writer or maybe it set off a keyword alert, but I’ll put money down that there is a money making opportunity tied into it.

Let’s circle back to the question of can you make money and approach it in a more direct manner. Let’s pretend that blogger XYZ has a product/service that they sell and that there is a valid value proposition tied into it.

Blogger XYZ needs to learn how to close. Ask for the order. Stop pussy footing around with “you might be interested or want” and ask for the sale. Remember Alec Baldwin in Glen Garry Glen Ross- “Always Be Closing.” (Excuse me while I reconnect the IV, the coffee drip just ran out.) (Indeed, Friend, you exhausted yourself with that spittle.)

What say you? (This is edited; thank you, Marcus.) Are business success and community related? Need you have a thriving blog community to also have a thriving business?