Business blogs survive

BY EMILY LE COZ

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A recent Gallup poll showing blog readership either stagnant or declining hasn't stopped diehard business bloggers from, well, blogging.

Despite waning excitement for these online diaries, written by high school kids and corporate CEOs alike, Tupelo business blog consultant Paul Chaney thinks the medium remains a viable marketing tool.

“I would say that blogging's growth is very much on the rise, speaking from a business perspective,” said Chaney, contributing writer for the book, “Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies.” “If we're speaking about blogging overall, with family blogs and personal blogs, that (decline) might be true. But where business is concerned, there is a good growth curve there.”

Just ask Patti Thompson, owner of Tupelo's Way-Fil Jewelry. Thompson has blogged about her business since November 2004. At first she answered commonly asked questions and shared information about jewelry.

But when a fire engulfed her West Main Street store late last year, the blog became a vital took for Thompson to maintain contact with customers and express her feelings about the fire.

“I think we're getting a lot of hits from it, because we'll have people who read it or saw it and they're wondering about how to handle an insurance agent or adjustor or how did I get through the night,” Thompson said. “This is very much a good complement to our business.”

That might be the case, but most Americans never read blogs, much less know what one is. The Gallup poll, conducted in December, found that 66 percent of Americans never read blogs. That's fewer people than February 2005, when Gallup found that 63 percent of Americans never read them.

Frequent blog readers remain steady from both polls at 9 percent.

In Northeast Mississippi, that rate might be even lower. During a small, informal survey last week in Tupelo, none of the participants said they read blogs. Only one in 10 of them knew what a blog was – and she just found out five days ago.

“They were talking about blogs in Sunday school,” said Tupelo resident Vanessa Hendrix. “If you would have asked me last week, I wouldn't have had any idea what they were.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com

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