- Category: Our Blog
- Written by Brent Williams
Many companies struggle to understand what a blog is, so fail to understand the relevance or importance a blog could have in their business.
Why Blogs are important? The internet is the first place people come to research purchases - period! Regardless of how they heard about you, how much you spend on advertising, trained your sales people or even if they haven't even heard of you at all. If someone is seriously contemplating buying, the first thing they will do is hit the internet and search. Then they will look for
and "consume" just about everything they can find. A blog is one of the most effective ways (or tools) you can become part of this process.
Today’s marketing success comes from self-publishing Web content that people want to share. It’s not about gimmicks. It’s not about paying an agency to interrupt others.” David Meerman Scott, Author, The New Rules of Marketing and PR
The biggest challenge it presents is that it causes marketers to show what they can do upfront. You’re an expert on Shakira? Really, where’s your video? Where are your audio files? Where are your images? If they’re not on my search engine results page I’ll assume you don’t have them. The days of digging into a site to find media are over. Either you show it to me immediately or I’m bored. Lisa Barone
4 good reasons why Blogs should be a core part of your marketing effort.
1Search: A blog will increase the search ranking of your site. Three main reasons. a) Google places a huge emphasis on freshness of content when deciding if your link is more important than a competitors.b) the number of (back) links your page (or site) has, particularly if the back-link is on an authoritative site like a .gov or .edu and c) their velocity or a constantly increasing number of sites in which your back-link appears. A blog that you a continually adding to will achieve these requirements, much more so than a static or corporate/product type of site (aka brochure-ware).
2Reach: A blog allows for easy redistribution of content. This not only serves the needs of google (as above), but also serves the needs of customers. You need to move outside your box and start engaging with people in the marketplace. Don't expect them to come to you. It's ironic that many organisations, particularly retailers (who should know better) don't get this. They may have their 'bricks and mortar' businesses on strategic high-streets and malls but fail to take their online business to where the people are. Facebook, Twitter and what not should be viewed in a similar way. Posts on blogs can be automatic published on your facebook or twitter pages, but more importantly a blog allows the ability for people to share information on their own page. The intention is to develop content that they will want to share "like" or "retweet".
3Brand development: The trend in brand development is now about the ability of “brands” to tell stories. This is an effective way for you to more clearly position your brands and create differentiation from competition. There are many examples of busiesses and brands doing this. Early examples are large multinationals like Ford and Dell or industry disruptors like zappos.com who has taken the US shoe industry online, probably putting a lot of traditional shoe-shops out of business.
4Demonstrate industry leadership: A primary reason for people to use the internet for researching (and deciding purchases) is to find out the best or cheapest products or services. A blog is one of the strongest methods you have in achieving a leadership position. In many cases it has tipped the sales model on its head, where the buyer is in control of the sales process. In many cases the purchaser will know more knowledge about your, and your particularly products, than your sales people - regardless of how well you think you have trained them. Buyers have access to information about competing features, benefits, price and most of all how it actually delivers - through reviews ratings etc. Many businesses fail to comprehend that the sales process has been turned on its head, the buyer is in control. For those that do 'get this' they do not fully grasp how they can bring control back in-house. A blog is able to do this by allowing you to get key information 'out-there' in front of competitors. It also allows you to tackle less direct attributes of your product/service which may be a salient selling point for niech groups of consumers. Things like your organisation values, ethical or sustainablility messages, your involvement in the community etc. Even your company picnic (with photos) could be communicating that you are: an organisation that values your employees is in-sync with the purchasers sense of family or cultural values: an equal oppertunity employer etc.
Writing tips to get you started
- Write about: what you know, write about things you like, write for an audience of one. Don’t get hung up about what to say, if you know your subject well and are passionate about it, your message will get across. Focus on communicating the more competitors or subjective attributes (outlined above) of your product, brand and more competitors your company and it's people. People like to do business with people they know, use your blog to develop personal relationships and foster engagement. Ford is a good example of this - google 'Scott Monty' head of social media. Social-media forms a strategic component of Ford's marketing effort and comeback. Also notice that these relationships are with actual, real live the people and not brands. This point is often lost by traditional Ad. Agencies who shudder at the though of losing control of brand guardianship to the people inside their clients organisation.
- Start slow: but try to get to the point where you are writing about 2-3 articles a week. Each article probably taking about 45minutes to research, edit and publish.
- Plan ahead: choose topics that will be relevant to the audience (needs) and your communication goals. Then set out a publishing schedule for the month.
- Use technology to make you efficient: There are good tools and aps for the iPhone and iPad that can help you write. It also helps if your technology is integrated, i.e. the ap talks nice to your blogging platform. Try to write or prepare a draft during off moments. While commuting or traveling, coffee break or in the evening.
Where to write
- roll your own: There are several ways you can setup and manage your blog. Through online services like Tumblr, Typepad or google’s Blogger. Or you can install something, like Wordpress, on your own server. This would acheive better integration with your website. (Not wanting to distract or risk loosing you in a hyperlink, I’ve put links to these sites below.)
- or pass it around: There are many industry blogs, communities and forums, in which it's also worthwhile making a contribution. Do not forget to include a link, back to your own website, to help your own search ranking. Also, don't forget to use meaningful link-tags i.e. not just including the name of your business or website, but also some key words about what you do)
How NURVE can help.
We can help is several different ways.
- Help you to work-out if and how a corporate blog will help your business
- Develop corporate guidelines and policies to keep you out of trouble
- Install and set-up any necessary infrastructure
- Train you, or your staff, how to use the technology
- Help you create a content and publishing plan
- Identify key influences, people who will be interested in your stories and redistrubute through tweets etc. PR people or industry related bloggers.
Places where you can setup a blog:
- new and hot, tumblr everyone is talking about it!
- Blogger owned by Google, so "rumored" to help ranking on Google search
- a paid for service, but Typepad is very sophisticated but easy to use (if it means anything to you, Seth Godin uses it!)
- Wordpress, you can use a paid for subscription service (.com) or download your own for free (.org)
Other things you may be interested in
- Don't write anything till reading Yahoos style guide http://styleguide.yahoo.com/
- Copyblogger.com a great blog about writing copy for blogs, with many tutorials and tips.
- Calculate your blogging cost in 9 easy steps
- What Has Your Blog Done for Me Lately? 11 Tips to Provide More Value!
- 10 business blogging best practices
- Hubspot have a good site that explains some core concepts of inbound marketing and relevance of blogging for business
- Mashible, another good general reference site. Here’s their list of 15 good examples of “great” corporate blogs
- Developing corporate or company policy and guidelines for how to blog
- Telling your brand story. There is a lot of information about this, just google for it and see here is one good example from entreprenur.com
Also note, and case in point, how many of these articles are from blogs? Although you may not have transacted with any of these businesses your patronage just helped increase their google ranking, for those that might!
NURVE is an internet marketing agency. We develop mobile friendly websites and on-line marketing using, email, social-media and blogs. We also increase site traffic through Search (SEO & SEM) and online advertising campaigns. Based in Napier we service clients throughout New Zealand and are committed to help you reconnect with your customers – in their space and on their terms. We are a friendly and easy bunch to deal with, so don't hesitate in contacting us to see how we can help. Read more...