John and I presented a webinar awhile back, at the request of a client, about blogs. When it comes to blogs, the most frequent question we get is:
Should we start a blog?
It’s important to analyze the goals of your organization’s overall marketing plan to see if a blog fits into it. A company blog, like any other communication initiative, is a commitment. Blogs overall take time and energy to run, but they can provide a great payoff if they’re done well.
Here are 5 key questions to ask when thinking about starting a blog:
Who is my audience?
Who else is competing for my audience’s attention?
What will be the blog’s focus?
What are the goals for the blog?
How will these goals be measured?
If you have those answers established and decide that a blog should be a part of your marketing plan, check out the presentation from our webinar below, or watch it on YouTube to get more information on the ins and outs of getting a blog going. And of course, our team is happy to help you get a blog off the ground as well!
Blogs can play an important part in your overall marketing plan. By integrating them with other marketing tools like e-newsletters, other social sites and your existing website, as well as offline activities, you can enhance your efforts and results.
I have found that we are getting more activity as far as page views on our blog than our website.What’s more important is that I have regular readers who view my posts via RSS feeds and everyday, new readers find the site through key word searches.
We have also gained insights into our readers, and by their responses, we know what they want to hear more about. We even use surveys and polls to help us get answers directly from the readers as to what is important to them. We can look at monthly results to see which topics are having more traction than others.
Our long-term plan is to gain the readers’ trust and become their go-to resource when it comes to marketing to the professional tradesmen. By being informative, creative and reliable in what we say, and the examples we give, we build trust with our readers.
Ultimately, we want to gain new business opportunities, and a blog helps you do that. We recently won a few pieces of new business from companies that were following us on our blog. Many are virtual clients who feel comfortable doing business with us even though they never met us in person because they like what we said on our blog.
These are a few things you should expect from a company blog. We use it as a marketing centerpiece that we position our other activities around.
I’d like to hear some of your success stories around your blog successes.
Blogs are a great way to build thought leadership within specific categories. While personal blogs have stalled in recent years as consumers move towards social networking and microblogging, company blogs are on the rise. Maybe you’re missing an opportunity.
According to Paul Verna from eMarketing.com, over a third of companies have a public blog used for marketing and it’s anticipated to rise to 43% by 2012.
“Studies had shown that marketers perceive blogs to have the highest value of any social media in driving site traffic, brand awareness, lead generation and sales – as well as improving customer service,” said Verna. He also said that smaller companies are embracing blogging at greater rates than larger firms due in part to more constraints whether it be legal, regulatory or other reasons.
So what does this mean for manufacturers? Those who get on board now will have the advantage long term since they will be developing relationships through thought leadership and will become a “go to” resource for customers and potentials.