For the first time ever, the recent Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere report looked into consumer attitudes towards blogs.
The findings were very interesting and show that blogs have significant influence on buyers. While blogs have not replaced traditional media, they are becoming a trusted information source, while consumer trust in traditional media is dropping.
45% of consumers reported that they trust blogs as sources of information. This is not that far off from friends’ recommendations on Facebook (51%) or from magazines, news websites and print newspapers (about 60% each).
Another interesting finding: When asked, “What is your likelihood to purchase a brand, product or service from these information sources,” 42% of consumers said they would purchase from a blog, compared with 46% for a print newspaper.
Of course, gaining consumer trust means that bloggers must not abuse that trust. The FTC rules regarding disclosure on blogs make it very clear that bloggers must disclose any gifts or payments they receive in exchange for writing product reviews. Just like in traditional media, editorial must be kept separate from ads, and ads must be clearly labeled.
I fully expect consumer trust in blogs to keep rising steadily over the next decade. Some traditional media outlets may still consider blogs as the enemy, or as inferior to traditional media, but consumers obviously don’t share this view.
While all of these interesting findings certainly apply to companies who use outside blogs to promote their products, they also apply to corporate blogs. No doubt a corporate blog will be regarded with more suspicion by consumers than a personal blog, but even corporate blogs, so rich in information and written in a direct, lingo-free, conversational tone, should generate more trust than almost any other form of marketing.
So, if almost half of consumers trust the information they find on blogs, can your company allow itself NOT to have a blog?