If you own or work for a bike company and you're on the fence about whether or not to start a blog, consider this: If you don't, you're at the mercy of Google.
Simply put, Google loves blogs
and other forms of Consumer Generated Media like forums and review sites. They get placed high in search results very quickly.
In many cases, a blog entry about a certain brand will be ranked just as high (if not higher) in Google than the brand's own, corporate site.
Blog and PR guru Steve Rubel pointed out
that a Google search for "kensington locks"
returned his post in the #3 position. And guess what, the post was all about their recent, Kryptonite-esque crisis.
Here's a bike industry example of the same phenomenon:
If you work at Raleigh and you're doing some search engine research and you type in "Raleigh m80" just to see what comes up....guess what the results
look like? The entire first page is blogs and entries in forums and customer review sites. The third result is a review from a blog
. This review happens to be pretty harmless, but it could just as well have been very negative (whether the bike warrants a positive or negative review is beside the point). The point is, this sort of thing will happen more and more as consumers start to lead the conversation and realize the power of publishing blogs give them.
The moral of the story is that the best defense is a good offense. Join the conversation, start a blog, empower your employees to join online discussions about your products and the niche they operate in, train them to become respected experts in the online community. BUT, do it carefully and do your homework, because without the proper etiquette and knowing the "rules of the game" you could get burned.