June 29, 2005
The Power of Blogs Defined - from a techie!
I ran across one of the most concise explanations making a marketing case for blogs on a software development blog from a company called Visionpace.
From a business perspective blogs are no different from marketing channels like video, print, audio or presentations. They all deliver results of varying kind. The kind you can expect from blogs is mainly about stronger relations with target groups important to you. Below are a few blogging advantages we hope to benefit from. . .
Read the rest from the Visionpace blog
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 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 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 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 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!
March 31, 2005
Bloggers Under Contract
Quite often people want to know if they can make any money with this blog thing. To this I currently have two answers: yes and maybe so. There are many ways to measure the success of one's blogging efforts and an announcement by AllBusiness.com demonstrates a growing trend in the "mainstreamness" of blogs. A number of bloggers (Okay, including me) have entered into an agreement to blog for All Busineess, a small business portal. Look for this type of business writing and opportunity to grow.
AllBusiness.com, an online media and e-commerce company that operates one of the leading business Web sites, today announced the launch of its new AllBusiness Blog Center at http://www.allbusiness.com/blog/.
Blogs in the AllBusiness.com Blog Center include: “Bizz Bang Buzz,” a legal blog by Anthony Cerminaro; “Duct Tape Marketing” covering marketing issues by John Jantsch; “Just For Small Business,” a running a business blog by Denise O’Berry; “Management Craft,” a management blog by Lisa Haneberg; “Only Once,” a blog about day-to-day activities of running a business by Matt Blumberg; “Sales Diva” by Lori Richardson, which covers the sales process; “The Small Business Blog” by Doug Kersten, covering business news; and Denise Wakeman’s “Your Project Partner” blog, focused on internet marketing.
March 29, 2005
What Would Jesus Blog
Spreading the gospel, even the company gospel, is a great way to use a blog and it should come as no surprise that ministries are flocking to blogs (sorry) as a great way to preach.
Now, add to that the Podcasting craze (Podcasting is simply a way to syndicate something like an MP3 file to a reader that dumps it onto, say, an iPod.) and you've got some serious tools for spreading the good word. (Disclaimer: I'm offering no opinion on this blog about what the good word is - you decide that. This is just to make a point.)
March 24, 2005
Teachers With Blogs
Imagine firing up your favorite blog and finding out that your history paper is due today. Kind of frightening for those of us that usually waited until the last minute to turn in their homework.
Blogs have become very popular with teachers and it's no real surprise.
Most teachers like to write and blogs give them easy access to a public forum. Teaching blogs have been springing up at a tremendous pace.
Homework assignments with expert commentary. Reminders of upcoming events or what happened on this day in history. The blog format has much to offer the education world.
Here are some examples of teachers with blogs or blogs in the EduSphere. http://stevensdl.motime.com/ - http://explorelearning.blogs.com/blog/ - http://www.ahistoryteacher.com/blog/index.html - http://www.beaconschool.org/~clehmann/MT/
March 16, 2005
Add Keywords To Your Posts
One of the things that I find that many business bloggers don't quite grasp is that your blog entries are treated like individual web pages. . . no matter how long or how short. This provides you with the opportunity to build keyword rich web pages that can stand on their own in competing for search engine traffic every time you make a post to your blog.
Your posts need to contain those search terms that you know your target audience is using. Make sure as you write that you pay attention to using those keywords and phrases often. You will find that there are indeed many ways to say the same thing and keep it interesting.
Think of each post as an ad. (Even if you aren't selling a product you are competing for the reader's and the search engine spider's attention) A good ad starts with a good headline. The headline for a blog post is your title - Don't waste it being cute, make it powerful, to the point and keyword rich.