Inside-out: Industry Analysts on their Blogs

BarbaraAnalyst relations, analysts, Industry analysts, social media

Five industry analysts speak candidly about their blogs — past, present and future — in this supplement to Tekrati’s Special Report: The State of Analyst Weblogs.

QUESTION: Why did you start your blog?

Carl Howe, Blackfriars blog: We started our blog because we were commenting on interesting articles and data verbally with our clients, but had no venue to pass on those insights to our broader Internet audience other than a two-page opinion piece. Further, we wanted a way for visitors to our Web site to provide comments and suggestions to us without necessarily sending us email. A blog felt like the ideal solution.

Rob Enderle, Technology Pundits blog: It is targeted primarily at the media. Due to travel and other commitments, we often had difficulty getting back to them on a timely basis. In addition, they never really could be sure what we were prepared to cover. We felt a blog could address both concerns more effectively, and that, if we did it as a team, it would become a more compelling site.

David Schatsky, JupiterResearch Weblogs: We embraced this new medium to reach a wider audience with our research and analysis and to gain first-hand experience with blogging and its impact on business.

Michael Sampson, Shared Spaces Briefing blog: I wanted a free form method for publishing daily news items, perspective pieces, and links to research. I wanted to encourage engagement with the significant others in the community, such as partners, colleagues and clients.

Amy Wohl, Amy Wohl’s weblog, Wohl Associates: It seemed like a good way to more directly communicate with my world — my newsletter requires a web wizard to publish.

QUESTION: How would you characterize the feedback you’ve received from your blog?

Carl Howe, Blackfriars: We can track visitors to the site, and we know they read the blog, but so far, we haven’t seen many comments at all. Maybe we’re just not controversial enough.

Rob Enderle, for Technology Pundits: Very good, we are, however, asked to contribute to it more often.

Michael Sampson, Shared Spaces: The majority of my posts to date have been a report on daily happenings, and as such that presents minimal opportunities for engagement. The posts that present a position, an opinion or a perspective give much greater latitude for feedback, and I’ve been encouraged by the comments that I’ve received.

David Schatsky, JupiterResearch: We’ve been widely praised for launching the blogs. Many clients and non-clients have found the information we provide valuable, though not everything our analysts post is universally agreed with of course. Traffic to the JupiterResearch analyst Weblog has grown rapidly since we launched it.

Amy Wohl, Wohl Associates: Good — I hear from a lot of people who don’t read by newsletter and I’ve gotten new readers for both — we link each to the other.

QUESTION: What kind of impact, if any, has the blog had on your client, vendor or media relationships?

Carl Howe, Blackfriars: I wouldn’t say that the blog has had any significant impact on our relationships other than increasing our Web site traffic a bit.

Rob Enderle, for Technology Pundits: Clients are somewhat mixed, some would rather this be more exclusive while others see it as more convenient particularly since we started the RSS feed.

Michael Sampson, Shared Spaces: I have visibility and a voice that I didn’t previously have. It’s been great.

David Schatsky, JupiterResearch: We’ve long advocated that our clients adopt a multi-channel strategy to reaching their customers. The blogs have worked for us in this way. Our clients are loyal readers, as are non-client vendors as well. The press had made JupiterResearch’s blogs a regular stop, and frequently quotes our posts.

Amy Wohl, Wohl Associates: I don’t know that it’s had any relationship on my client relationships, except that I’ve had one specifically blog-related engagement. It’s had lots to do with which vendors come calling and what the press calls me about.

QUESTION: What role, if any, will blogs, wikis, RSS and podcasts play in your 2005/2006 model for research deliverables? Longer term?

Carl Howe, Blackfriars: I don’t see any changes in our business deliverables based upon these technologies. My belief is that professionally-edited written material will continue to carry the majority of business value. These alternative media provide more color and flavor to those traditional deliverables, but I don’t see them becoming the primary value that clients pay for.

I think Wikis have great potential for community development of content. Again, they’ll do best when they have strong communities watching over them and controlling their evolution. But I think they will democratize content creation by removing some of the technology barriers that stand in the way today.

Podcasts are a similar democratization of traditional one-to-many radio broadcasting. Again, the challenge will be having a story to tell that people will devote the time to listen to.

I believe the largest challenge associated with these new technologies is the one that the Internet at large presents: how do you find useful information in the midst of a tyranny of too much information? It’s an ongoing battle. Every time we provide easier ways for people to make their voices heard world-wide, we create more noise to sift through to find things we want to hear. And no matter what the technology, each of us has finite time to spend searching for information. Voices that are clear, insightful, and distinctive will always stand out, but we’ll need more and better ways to find those voices amid the ever-growing tsunami of information we face.

Rob Enderle, for Technology Pundits: It will become a bigger portion, a way to drive the dialog rather then just respond to it. Longer term, we will revisit this towards year end and likely make decisions based on how well this has worked for all of us.

Michael Sampson, Shared Spaces: The Shared Spaces blog will continue throughout 2005 and 2006, and will increase in depth, with a higher number of opinion and research viewpoints. I will link to all new Shared Spaces research on the blog, and encourage participation in forthcoming research programmes.

David Schatsky, JupiterResearch: No specific plans to change our paid deliverables.

Amy Wohl, Wohl Associates: I’m thinking of having both a public and perhaps a private (subscription) podcast this year. We’re working on the logistics now. We’ll continue to use blogs… we may try some private ones (for specific clients).

The Complete Special Report:

Reprinted from Tekrati