By Karen J. Bannan
Seattle-based WhatCounts Inc., an e-mail service and technology provider, recently released BlogUnit, a server-based technology offering that enables users to create corporate blogs and integrate their e-mail marketing and blogging programs.
David Geller, president-CEO of WhatCounts, said BlogUnit’s e-mail compatibility is designed to help the company’s customers, which include publishing companies, retailers, nonprofit organizations and political firms, to rise above in-box spam and clutter.
"We cater to people who have permission-based e-mail lists and who use our platform to publish for them," Geller said. "Using the technology, users can automatically create blog entries from e-mail campaigns."
WhatCounts customers create one marketing message, storing it in a content management system. Their subscribers can select exactly how they want to receive messages: via e-mail, Web page or a newsreader program. BlogUnit serves up the content or ad automatically. It also tracks click-through and page visits in real time so marketers can keep track of how many people visit their blogs, read newsfeeds and click through to additional content.
While most blogs chronicle an individual’s thoughts and experiences, using them for advertising gives marketers an edge, Geller said. The real benefit of blogging marketing messages is reach, he said. An ad isn’t just a promotional message once it’s blogged; it becomes content, gaining in credibility and validity. This increases its significance, Geller said.
"It’s still early, so we’re going off of anecdotal evidence; but we’ve seen in some cases that customers have near 100% penetration and participation," he said. "If 100 people subscribe to the newsfeed, everyone is reading the feed and clicking on links."
The reason: Blogging encourages a type of audience participation—readers can comment on blog threads and add their own comments and links—that can help create buzz and encourage loyalty.
"Successful bloggers can really take advantage of the medium and various feed engines to promote their content, and get it talked about, and linked to and commented on," Geller said. "It creates a community around your advertising message."