April 30, 2005
Build Your Personal Brand With a Blog
Jackie Huba at Church of the Customer points to a great example of a blog used by an individual to help build a personal brand and connect with the customer (in this case football fans and, I suspect, a few prospective girlfriends)
He's the rookie quarterback who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a best ever 15-1 record last season and was named NFL's Rookie of the Year.
Roethlisberger has been blogging for exactly a year, albeit sparsely at first. Posts reflect his down-to-earth persona, wandering from the current weather in Pittsburgh to cleaning his house to house training his new puppy Zeus. Those posts probably won't be picked up by Sports Illustrated anytime soon but fans love it. One post generated 786 comments.
"And my favorite point from Huba - Some believe that blog posts must be witty, grammar-perfect and professional. Eh. Roethlisberger proves that blogging works when it comes from the heart."
Sidebar: Jackie and partner Ben McConnell are the authors of Creating Customer Evangelists - a book I have on my must read list for small business marketers.
Now being the starting quarterback for an NFL team has its advantages when it comes to getting your blog noticed, but I think the marketing savvy real estate agent, insurance salesperson, financial planner or attorney can accomplish the same - build a personal brand and connect with prospects - using a blog
April 28, 2005
Who Else Blogs In Your Town
Have you ever wondered if you were all alone in this blogging thing. That nobody else in your city blogged. Now a handy little service called BlogMap can provide you with the answers. In addition to finding other blogs in your community, you can use this service to create a map of your blog and other blogs around you. I'll leave it to your imagination to come up with some practical uses for this tool but it certainly fits in the fun category.
Finding and networking with like minded marketers in your town may be one of the best uses for BlogMap.
Using BlogMap you can geo-code your blog, browse already geo-coded blogs and search for blogs. Once geo-coded, you can get your own BlogMap location using a simple url!
Here is a list of things you can do with BlogMap:
* Geo-code your blog feed using the submit page (and get your own BlogMap badge).
* Browse blogs by location using the browse page.
* Search for local blogs using the search page.
* Find bloggers in your neighborhood!
* Get local BlogRoll in OPML format.
April 26, 2005
Time To Remodel Your Blog
Probably misled some of you rabid bloggers out there with that headline but I have found yet another innovative small business using a blog.
A remodeling contractor has set-up a blog to follow the real life progress of a bathroom remodel. The site features posts from the homeowner, remodeling contractor, project manager and designer. Schloegel Design Remodel calls the blog Reality Remodeling.
To me this is a perfect example of how a blog can help small businesses differentiate themselves from others in their industry or town. Time will tell, but this blog promises to allow prospective client inside the real organization to have cup a coffee and a conversation. No make-up, no marketing gloss.
The blog format is unique in this way. People want to make a connection with the companies they buy from. The Internet and technology can actually make that process more difficult. Blogs seem to bridge the gap - High tech, but high touch at the same time.
April 22, 2005
More Mainstream Publications Chimes In On Business Blogs
Forbes did it, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and now Business Week Online and Inc Magazine have a good little stories on blogs.
April 21, 2005
Great Reading from the Sherpa Library
If you are not familiar with the Marketing Sherpa group of sites you might want to wander over and check it out. Anne Holland and staff do a fabulous job producing great content.
- Three useful MarketingSherpa stories about marketing with Blogs:
- Case Study: How to Build Your eretail Business with a Blog (6-8% of Readers Convert to Buyers) http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2806
- Case Study: 7 Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2937
- How to Discover & Get Mentioned in the Most Powerful Blogs for Your Industry http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2765
April 20, 2005
Nobody Blogs In Your Industry
There are whole bunch of folks out there that still have not heard of this thing called a blog. Now, if you have heard of blogging and the benefits of a business blog, but are resisting because nobody in your industry has blog, please smack yourself in the head once.
Here's the deal. Blogging is here to stay and will only get much bigger in the near future. Take the opportunity to grab the lead in your industry. No matter what size your business is, you can begin to use a blog to establish yourself as a thought leader in a niche. PR opportunities will roll at your doorstep. Magazines will laud you as a visionary. Okay, maybe some of that is a bit far fetched, but don't look a gift blog in the mouth.
Here's an example. A company that produces labels for food and beverage packaging has a blog that teaches readers betters ways to use and buy labels. Now, that's an industry without blog saturation. Ted Williams writes the blog and calls himself the Label Guru
Use this quote from a Wharton School of business research paper to give you inspiration.
Two things are certain: Blogging will remain disruptive to the traditional media, and new uses will surface. "You are going to see blogging move to video and instant messaging," says Werbach. "It's just the beginning."
April 15, 2005
Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Podcast
One of the latest Internet crazes is this thing called Podcasting
I must admit that on the surface it sounds pretty cool, but then the hype started. . .and I got suspicious.
The Internet marketing folks want you to believe that this is the next great way to make a bundle but nobody seems to notice that podcasting isn't some new form of content it is just another way to distribute content. Upon further study you will notice that most podcasts are little more than mp3 files.
But here's the real problem I have from a business use. The people who have time to listen to audio files all day long already do so. True, now they can listen on their iPod and so maybe there is value in packaging up some information that can be accessed this way but stick to your blog to really tell your story and develop your market.
April 11, 2005
Set-up a Blog Referral Network
One of my favorite referral marketing strategies involves forming a network of businesses that can help your clients and formally finding ways to refer those providers when your client needs them.
So, the electrician has a handy list that includes a plumber, heating contractor, roofer, landscaper and anything else his clients need. Then, since they already trust him, they trust whoever he refers.
Now, let's add blogging to the mix. What if you were an accountant and you started a "Small Business Survival" blog and invited your most trusted advisors to author blog posts on ideas that pertained to their expertise. You would cover taxes and accounting and you would invite a marketing pro, lawyer, financial planner, computer technician and executive coach to add content with you.
Your target market gets the benefit of great content and you and your referral network become the preferred small business resource. Oh, and I'll bet you can get the home town business paper to write a story on this unique marketing approach.
Most of the blogging software allows for multiple authors. The Professional version or TypePad does this quite well and still allows you to maintain control of the blog.
April 09, 2005
A Nice Blog Resource
Dr Anne Clyde teaches Internet marketing and blogs at the University of Iceland (lots of "spend the day around the old computer monitor" weather up there) She has put together a nice list of blog, rss and related resources.
Completely useless point: Iceland has a great country Internet domain - .is - the possiblities are endless - www.what.is, www.all.that.is, www.h.is
April 08, 2005
Financial Advice from a Blog
Any industry that relies heavily on providing structured advice and education to prospects and clients can benefit greatly from a blog. In my mind that just about describes anyone in business, but it certainly describes those in the business of providing financial advice and planning.
I'm a little surprised at the relatively small number of financial blogs that seem to exist out there. Explaining sometimes complex and evolving financial strategies is just perfect for the blog environment. My guess is that compliance issues in this industry are slowing the rush to blogging.
As a financial professional you don't need to give advice and recommendations just explain what the Department of Labor is up to with regard to retirement plans, outline the Prudent Investor Rule, round-up news bits from the publications you read. You can even focus on one very narrow area such 401k plans. Nothing screams expert like a narrow focus.
Here are few pretty good examples of financial professionals using blogs to educate and explain.
Financial Professor - A discussion page of Finance News, Academic articles, and other things from FinanceProfessor.com and from pretty much everywhere else. Remember Finance is FUN!!!
Kim Snyder - Kimmunications
Anumati - Tools for investors: financial data, analysis, forums, and more!
Estate Legacy Vault - Helping people take care of the business of their lives more easily and securely and by so doing enlarge their legacies and keep their affairs in order for their families.
The thing that these sites all have in common is what makes a blog so powerful - lots of good, useful, ever-changing information.
Disclaimer: These blogs appear for information purposes and do not constitute an offer to by or sell anything and if you get bad advice anywhere it's not my fault!