We have all heard the hoopla around the value of writing a blog for our business. Blogs create a focal point in a community of potential customers, provide a hub for social networking, invite participation and interaction, build relationships, help increase SEO, boost traffic to your blog site (and web site) and help establish you and your company as an industry expert. So you decide you will jump on the bandwagon and start writing a blog. You take great pains in creating interesting and valuable content but you can’t understand why no one is visiting your blog. Why?
The answer is simple. In order for someone to visit your blog, they first have to know it is there. Do you know how large the internet is? I read somewhere that it would take 57,000 years to read the entire internet. Certainly more time than I have. Now picture your blog in such an immense arena. How can you expect someone to find you? Well, that is where social media marketing comes into play.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your blog but the first and foremost step is to visit and comment on others’ blogs. If you play in their sandbox first and make relevant and constructive comments, eventually they will come and play in your sandbox. The “eventually” part is the stickler here. Society today doesn’t like that word.
The concept of delayed gratification is not universally accepted or held in high regard by most. We don’t like to wait. We want things now! Gone are the days of going to the music store, sifting through the various music selections on whatever media was relevant at the time. Why should anyone have to wait?
They can download any music they want immediately from various different Internet music sites – some even for free Cell phones are no longer just for talking. You can play games, surf the net, take pictures, record videos, etc. and most cell phones have literally become an extension of our bodies.
Teenagers have become incredibly adept at carrying on a conversation with many people at the same time and have become extremely proficient typists as they text faster than I can even see the letters on my cell phone. There are gadgets that can record your favorite TV program from anywhere when you forget to set up the recording before you leave the house.
How about those “smart houses” that have highly advanced automatic systems for lighting, temperature control, multi-media, security, window and door operations, and many other functions? A New Digital Storefront Partnership was recently announced as a consortium of publishers including Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith, and News Corp. The group is being overseen by Time Inc. executive vice president John Squires who said “The lesson that we’ve taken from smartphones—the iPhones in particular—is users want to read in digital form.” (http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/pressed/2009/12/08/john-squires-on-new-digital-storefront-partnership/?ana=e_pft) It is amazing what society can do these days at the touch of a button or the flick of a switch. So why does social media marketing, including blogging, take so long to see results?
First of all, it doesn’t have to take as long as one might think if carried out correctly. If you focus your energies in your industry niche, are proactive as well as reactive, and if you are consistent with your efforts, it will take you less time than someone who doesn’t apply the aforementioned tactics. But, even if you do everything right, seeing results will still take more time than it takes to flick a switch. Why?
Because blogging and other social marketing techniques are about relationships and building relationships takes time no matter how you slice it. Would you agree to marry someone you met for the first time? I doubt it. You would want to get to know them through many interactions, learn about who they are, what they do, see if you share the same values, decide if you trust them or not, see if you have anything in common with them, determine if your needs match theirs, etc.
The same principle applies to blogging. You have to earn your reputation, play in others’ sandboxes, provide helpful, relevant content and develop relationships in order to see a return on the investment of your time.
Facts, Do’s and Don’ts of Blogging Facts:
1) Blogs are active while websites are passive
2) Blogs are a powerful medium that tap into the power of social media
3) Blogs allow us to reach our targeted marketing niche
4) Blog are akin to meeting others for a cup of coffee to exchange ideas
5) Blogs are now the most trusted media source for useful information according to a Blogads survey of over 35,000 readers. Value was compared against newspaper, radio, television, direct mail and magazines. It is estimated that in the US 27% of the people read blogs on a regular basis. (source)
6) Blogging has potential access to a large audience
7) Blogs provide instantaneous updates via RSS feeds
8) Blogs encourage participation and interaction
9) Blogs offer the opportunity for bloggers to respond to negative comments or concerns of customers and/or potential customers in a controlled environment.
10) Blogs are far more cost effective than most traditional marketing campaigns like direct mailers
1) Encourage contribution rather than just comments like “nice article”
2) Humanize your blog. Make it personality-driven. Use your own voice and your own style; show the person behind the posts
3) Use your blog to improve your customer service. Listen to what your customers and potential customers are saying and asking. Remember, it is their needs that you need to focus on. It is their perception of you and your company that matters which might not necessarily be the same message you think you think are you relaying
4) Provide valuable content to your target market.
5) Write posts that improve your reputation, give you credibility, and prove you are an expert in your industry
6) Drive traffic to your website: you should have a link to your website and can also offer special deals or discount programs using a link back to your website. Of course, using effective keywords in your blog posts and your website will improve search engine rankings for both sites.
7) Be sure to post relevant and timely information on your blog to keep your visitors interested enough to come back and to build a following of loyal readers
8) Consistently and regularly create new posts
9) Be honest and straightforward in responses to comments. Remember, it is literally your reputation on the line
1) Don’t preach about how wonderful your product or service is or use your blog for self/company promotion only. This is a great way to turn your readers and potential customers away from your blog
2) Don’t rely solely on blogging in your marketing efforts. Be sure to use an integrated approach including other Internet/social techniques as well as traditional marketing initiatives such as attending trade shows and other industry events.
3) Don’t write posts just for the sake of writing. Be sure you have something relevant, interesting and/or important to write about. Content is king!
4) Don’t only respond to positive comments. Read, listen, and understand the negative comments as well. Respond in a respectful manner with facts and substance to support your response.
5) Don’t publish someone else’s work and call it your own. If you find a post you would like to share with your audience, be sure to give the credit where it is due – to the writer of the blog post.
6) Don’t make commenting a difficult task
7) Don’t not answer the comments on your blog
8) Underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to your blog; don’t expect too much too soon
9) Don’t forget about the relationship you are establishing with your readers
10) Don’t treat your blog like a press center
11) Don’t blog about something you don’t know anything about
12) Don’t take comments personally, get insulted and post your retorts in a nasty tone