As promised at our recent Blogging For Business conference, here is my first E-consultancy blog post. I’ve been set up as a blogger on our system for three months, so why haven’t I blogged before?

Well when I looked at Debbie Weil’s list of reasons people give not to blog I had used nearly every one. No time, nothing to say etc. The real reason it simple – it’s just harder than it sounds. You can’t make someone blog who doesn’t want to.

I think there is a serious point here and one mentioned by both our first speaker Andy Budd and by Debbie Weil – you can’t make people blog, it has to be something that comes from them. So don’t go running off telling your CEO that he is now a blogger. It just won’t work.

What else did I personally take out from the day? (I’ll leave it to others to comment on whether it was a good conference or not as I’m slightly biased)

Andy Budd from Clearleft opened the day and had some very interesting things to say on how blogs have evolved, and the social etiquette behind them, but the thing that stuck in my mind was simply:

“People are not connected by geography anymore. Your tribe is defined by what you do and what you like. Blogs simply help you communicate with your tribe.”

That’s a pretty neat summary of why blogging is – and will continue to be – important. It feeds on the desire among humans to belong to a tribe.

Heather Hopkins from Hitwise showed us some of the data behind blogging, and her stats on how people find blogs (mainly via search engines and social media) and where they go afterwards (News and Media and Shopping/Classifieds). This proves beyond doubt the value of blogs in the customer journey and how key they have become in the research process.

Making sure you were part of the conversation was the key thrust of the next presentation from Debbie Weil. Her well constructed argument is that people are talking about your company online right now so not being involved is not an option. Some great case studies showed the price being paid by the ostriches among us.

We finished the day with Mark Rogers from Market Sentinel with a very thought-provoking presentation. The key message for me was the importance of understanding your network of influence so that you could apply resources appropriately.

There was also a warning not to think of popularity as necessarily being the same as real influence. Lots of blogs acquire links because the are funny or have a useful tool included  – that is not the same as saying that they genuinely influence the network.

All the presentations and blog links can be found on the E-consultancy site, except for Heather’s blog.