Can a blog create fans?

In response to a post by Mack Collier, a conversation emerged about whether a blog can create fans. View the conversation here by reading the comments. (Special hat tip to CK for her views too!)

Here’s my take. A blog about a product cannot create fans. Fans of products are created from the experience the buyer has once they have used the product. The product creates fans not the blog. That doesn’t mean a product blog is useless, far from it. What a product blog can do is create excitement and intrigue and help persuade a person to purchase the product. But it can’t create a fan.

On the other hand, if the product is a human-being and his views and opinions (think Seth Godin), then yes a blog can create fans. The difference here is that blog readers are experiencing the product by reading it.

So before you make your pitch to your boss or client that a blog will create fans, think about what you’re implying. Be sure you’re not setting false expectations.


7 Responses to “Can a blog create fans?”

  1. 1 CK June 13, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Well hello there…I have been grappling with this myself–and while I’m a huge (!) social-media advocate I very much advocate watching our words–and expectations–with our clients and bosses. In sum (but you summed it up best):

    1. To create fans is marketing 101: create a superior product/service/experience. Amazing how much that takes care of 99% of the battle for fans.

    2. Provide feedback loops and communications channels (e.g. blogs) for fans to be able to give recommendations and/or stay up-to-date.

    3. Support the ‘organic’ initiatives of fans (their own blogs/wikis) and provide them with that they want and need to grow THEIR communities (not YOURS…believe me, you’ll get the money).

    4. Create a customer advisory board (you’ll hear me say this A LOT in the future) where your fans will tell you what they think and want. And what will you do? Listen. And then act on it and love them for all the free advice, time and money they invest in you.

    Sorry to be so mouthy. Great posts here and at Mack’s.

  2. 2 CK June 13, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    btw, I agree with this: “On the other hand, if the product is a human-being and his views and opinions (think Seth Godin), then yes a blog can create fans. The difference here is that blog readers are experiencing the product by reading it.”

    I wouldn’t say my blog has brought me fans, but it’s brought me many readers, colleagues and friends that otherwise wouldn’t know me or I them.

  3. 3 Michael June 13, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the great breakdown and the kind words CK.

    I like your 4th point. I’ve noticed a lot of companies who have created customer advisory boards this past year. Many of them seem to be providers of online services such as It’s a simple concept that can really help companies not only improve their products but also their reputations.

  4. 4 Mack Collier June 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    A blog can not only create fans, it can create an entire movement:

    Something else to consider is the Google affect. A company blog means that your products will likely move up the Google search results, which means more exposure for your blog, and your ideas. Getting the customers to know about you is half the battle.

    The bottom line is that customers want to buy from companies they can trust, obviously. A well-written blog can serve as an invaluable tool help establish and grow that trust.

  5. 5 Michael June 13, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Great point Mack.

    I’ve given the same advice (start a blog!) to a friend who’s a professional photographer. Not only will it help him increase his search engine ranking, it will help build trust and show his personality with prospective clients.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. 6 activegreg June 13, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Great post,

    Dan Schawbel also offers some unique twists on PR and Marketing over at Personal Branding Blog.

    I’m following you guys closely and will point my readers at Blog Marketing Tactics in your direction as well.

    Keep up the great work!


    I also like your quote at the top!

    Greg White

  7. 7 Michael June 14, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for joining the conversation Greg.

    Can you give us the URL? The link doesn’t work for me.

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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