Tag Archives: blogging for business

Know your content marketing priorities

If you’re a business-to-business marketer, you probably create a variety of content to promote your product through direct mail, email, Twitter and blogs, just to name a few. Sometimes, the trigger behind making a change in content can be motivated by the wrong reason.

MarketingSherpa recently surveyed a group of content marketers to find out what was the typical trigger that sparks a change in content. They compiled the results and created their latest Chart of the Week, titled “You’re a Publisher, Like it or Not.”

Content marketing: You're a publisher, like it or not

Content marketing: You're a publisher, like it or not

If one of your goals is to become a thought leader in your industry, you have to start thinking like a publisher, according to the gurus at MarketingSherpa.

“Above, we see that it’s often the wrong trigger. To be a thought leader is to think like a publisher – to think about the people at the other end of your white paper, Web event, blog or podcast. They’re not necessarily interested in your new product or feature (unless you happen to work for Apple); they’re interested in what’s happening in the industry or economy that’s inspired that product or service.”

The best reasons to update content fall in the middle of their survey results, including news, trends, events and research. Each of these reasons are focused on the reader.

Of course, the Sherpas also advise to take a look at the performance of each form of content to determine if you should make a change.

“Newspapers may be dying, but the need for compelling niche content is growing every day. To fulfill that need and sell your products, remember that you’re asking for the time and interest of your customers, and make it worth their while.”

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How to find industry experts in social media

Yesterday we asked, “Is it ‘appropriate’ for business to business organizations to use social media techniques?

Our answer: It’s not just appropriate, it’s critical to the success of your B2B organization that you get involved in social media.

Even if you don’t have a company blog or a Facebook business page, there are still ways to connect with customers and experts in your industry through social media and networking.

The easiest way to get started is by reading blogs dedicated to topics that relate to your specific industry. Tools like Google Reader make it simple to keep track of interesting blogs and stay on top of the latest industry buzz.

Setting up Google Reader is simple, what’s tough is finding the blogs you should be following.

Here are some great places to start:

  • Google Blog Search. Google Blog Search narrows your Google search and only returns information published on blogs. It helps you find industry buzz on whatever subject you search for.
  • Alltop. Called the “online magazine rack” of the web, Alltop helps you find what’s happening in all the topics that interest you. The site collects headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs in each topic. Topics range from HR, science, politics, automobiles, careers, to hundreds of other subjects.
  • Blogrolls. When you find a blog you like, be sure to pay attention to their blogroll. A blogroll is usually found in the sidebar of a blog that lists other blogs the author follows. They usually cover similar topics, making it a simple way to find new blogs to read.
  • Google Alerts. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your topic of choice. You control the type of sources you want to monitor (news, blogs, etc.) and how often you would like to receive updates.

Social media is all about getting involved in the conversation. Find interesting blogs in your industry, make some comments and get the discussion going.

Using facebook to promote your business blog

You may think Facebook is just another social networking site dedicated to young college students, but you may be surprised how Facebook’s demographics are changing.

In the years since it’s creation in 2004, Facebook has become a major meeting place for adults in the working world, according to a new study by O’Reilly Media featured in a recent SHRM article.

O’Reilly Media found that since September 2008, the number of Facebook users between the ages of 35 and 44 increased by 51%; those ages 45-54 grew by 47%, and those 26-34 increased by 26%. More than half of the 140 million Facebook users are out of college.

“With web sites and social networking tools like Facebook, companies now have the ability to be the master of ceremonies and create communities for their customers to join,” Scott Townsend, marketing director with United Linen and Uniform Services, recently told The Examiner-Enterprise.com. “And customers have the opportunity to become a fan of your Facebook page. If you are a small company, you don’t want to reach the whole world; you just want to reach those customers that are jazzed about your business and what it is you have to offer.”

As Facebook continues to attract older professionals, it is becoming one of the best places to promote your business blog or website.

In a recent guest post at ProBlogger, Steve Schwartz, a professional LSAT tutor explained how he has used Facebook to promote his blog and expand his community of readers.

The social network gives his blog readers the opportunity to interact with each other in a way that comments can’t. Facebook’s discussion boards allow users to exchange messages and interact through conversation.

Here’s some of his advice on how to get started:

1. Create a Facebook group. Don’t make the group about your blog directly. Instead, choose a broader topic so people searching on Facebook for a certain topic will feel welcomed to join.

2. Invite your friends. Some of your existing friends may want to join your new group, and some may not. Either way, the invitation will show up on your friends’ news feeds, turning it into a viral marketing mechanism.

3. Tell your blog readers about it. Post a link to your Facebook group in the sidebar of your blog. Write a brief post on your new group for those who didn’t notice the new link. Tell your readers how they will benefit from becoming a member.

4. Join other groups. Look for Facebook groups related to your blog topic. Post messages on their Wall or discussion boards notifying the group’s members of your group and your blog. Spread out the information over a series of posts to make sure you don’t get banned from the group for spamming.

With his efforts, Facebook quickly became one of Steve’s biggest sources of traffic, without having to spend much time on maintenance.

“In order to get more readers, you need to have a presence where they are. For me and for many bloggers these days, our present and future readers spend their time in social networking sites.”

Tips from the White House on how to do business online

Along with President Barack Obama’s weekly web video addresses, appointments and nominations, executive orders and slideshows, marketers can use the new Whitehouse.gov as a great example of how to do business online.

At exactly 12 PM ET, as Obama was giving his inauguration speech, his official presidential website has switched over to a new design.

Adding to all the information available on the Obama administration, the website of the President has something that no other presidential site has had before – a blog.

The first post, written by the White House director of New Media, Macon Phillips is titled: “Change has come to Whitehouse.gov.”

Phillips explains how the initial new media efforts will be centered around three priorities: communication, transparency and participation.

From the post:

“Millions of Americans have powered President Obama’s journey to the White House, many taking advantage of the internet to play a role in shaping our country’s future. WhiteHouse.gov is just the beginning of the new administration’s efforts to expand and deepen this online engagement.”

“One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

They’re also taking suggestions on how to improve the website by asking visitors: “what sort of things would you find valuable from Whitehouse.gov?” Anyone can send questions, comments, concerns, or well-wishes to the President or his staff by filling out a simple form.

How cool is that?

Whitehouse.gov is a great example of how to do business online. It succeeds by keeping customers (citizens) informed, involving customers in business decisions that affect them and engaging customers in conversation directly with the CEO.

Have you seen the new Whitehouse.gov? How could you use some of the engaging features in your own organization’s website?

Fun with links: Social media predictions, business blogging, recession marketing and more

There’s just too much out there right now to write a post on just one, lonely topic. So, I decided to share five small snippets of the latest and greatest information for business to business marketing on the Web, and here it is:

  1. What does 2009 hold for the world of social media and content marketing? Nobody may know for sure, but many, 42 to be exact, have made their predictions. From getting cheap to a backlash against social media, read what the Junta42 Top 42 bloggers have to say about social media in 2009.
  2. Just because you build it, they won’t come. Social media has the potential to bring success to many businesses, but not every company is meant to blog. Read through the 5 musts of business blogging at Drew’s Marketing Minute to find out if blogging is a smart endeavor for your company.
  3. Are you on Twitter? Are you still trying to figure out why you’re there? Whether you’re there or not, people will be praising and complaining about your company with each other on Twitter. Learn how to engage with the Twitter community and win over the hearts of your audience in this post from TwiTip.
  4. Blog marketing could quite possibly be the cheapest form of marketing out there right now. With a blog, there’s no need for expensive print, radio or TV ads and the uncertainty of their effectiveness. Learn why blog marketing is cheap marketing and effective marketing in this recent post by Remarkablogger.
  5. We’re in a recession and things are changing, including how we get our products and services to market. Cutting marketing budgets during a recession may be the worst idea marketers can go through with when tough times hit. During a recession, learn how to market better instead of marketing less in this post from the Marketing Hive.

Why should you add a newsletter to your blog?

Every time ProBlogger extraordinaire Darren Rowse writes a post on the importance of having an email newsletter to accompany your blog, he’s bombarded with readers’ questions asking:

  • Isn’t email old fashioned?
  • What about social networking – isn’t that more effective than email newsletters?
  • Isn’t building a ‘list’ as a way of doing online marketing a thing of the past?

Rowse still believes in the importance of newsletters, saying “if I had to name one technology or medium that has had the greatest impact upon building my blogs readership – newsletters would be right up there.”

In a response to all of his readers’ questions and concerns, he wrote a blog post on the subject: 8 Reasons to Add a Newsletter to Your Blog. Here are a few reasons why one of the best in the industry thinks newsletters should accompany blogs:

  • Loyalty. Most people who find your blog will stay for a few minutes, read a little, move on to the next site and are likely never to return. Newsletters “hook” people by giving visitors the option to be reminded to come back to your blog.
  • Trust. Because of the frequency and intimate nature of emails, newsletters allow readers to get to know you on a deeper level. “Not only do emails build relationships and intimacy with your readership – they build trust.”
  • Improved traffic. Rowse has found that on the days he sends out newsletters are some of his best traffic days. He suggests to send out a newsletter for an additional “burst” of traffic to your blog for an upcoming event like a product launch.
  • Community. “Those who subscribe to a newsletter are often among the most loyal and committed members of your blog’s community.” This group has given you permission to contact them and enjoy knowing they’re the first to hear about the latest news from you.

That’s only half of why Rowse thinks everyone with a blog should develop a newsletter along side of it. Head on over to ProBlogger and read the full post on the 8 Reasons to  Add a Newsletter to Your Blog.

Learning from the biggest mistakes in social media history

It’s true, even the most talented social media guru has made a mistake or two in the Web 2.0 world. Don’t feel bad if you think you don’t know what you’re doing every time you take part in social media, because even the most experienced have made their fair share of social networking blunders.

Thankfully, David Spark at Mashable compiled a full list of some “all star errors in judgment from some social media all stars,” for all of us to learn from. Here are just three of the biggest social media blunders in history:

Responding to all negative comments. Staying on top of what people are saying about you in social media is a good practice, but don’t lose too much sleep over the negative comments. From Spark’s personal experience, “I wasted a lot of time putting far too much effort into defending myself to these anonymous naysayers than they put into attacking me.”

Don’t engage with people who only push their own initiative. Personal and corporate agendas have a way of taking over online communications. Ross Mayfield from SocialText, first ignored these self promoters, but has now realized that they’re only trying to create an association with you and your business. “You really want to engage with every conversation that relates with your brand,” Mayfield advised, “Even if you don’t want to necessarily draw attention to the existence of a competitor.”

Assuming what your customers want without talking to them. Deb Schultz, social media strategist for P&G, made the mistake of assuming their audience wanted a site full of features and functionality. She now admits that she should have spent more time talking with customers instead of adding more content to the site.

Read the Mashable article for the full list of social media mistakes and take a note from the Web 2.0 history books on how to avoid these blunders in your own endeavors.