How Do We Market Using Blogs?
Marketing using blogs is very powerful and many very successful entrepreneurs are using blogs
to make huge amounts of money. How it works is not at all obvious. I figure if how to market using blogs is confusing to me, it is confusing to other IT professionals too.
I’ve read many descriptions of Social Media and how Social Media Marketing
should work, and usually I walk away thinking “I understood all the words, but
I just don’t get it.” For example phrases like “Content is King” make a lot of sense
if you understand a number of background concepts and make no sense if you
don’t understand the context. How people market using blogs was one of the
“I jsut don’t get it” topics.
After considerable research and digging, I think I have come up with a reasonable
description and I thought that I would share.
The Marketing Steps as they Apply to Marketing Using Blogs
We all know that social media is made up of social sites like Facebook and Twitter
and the question that marketers are getting a handle on is “How we market using these sites?”
Let’s start by agreeing that selling is still traditional selling. All of the things that thousands
of books have been written about are still true. The objective of our marketing is still to
put interested consumers in front of our products, services, or networks so that they
will buy or buy in.
One difference that is very recent is that users are wanting more and more to stay
inside their platform. If they like Facebook, they don’t want to be shuffled
off to a website outside Facebook.
The first step is to start with a product, a cause, a group, a network marketing company
or something that you want to market. It is important that you understand your
“Product” and how it might be modified or how descriptions might be modified to
meet the needs of different groups. This hasn’t changed.
The next step is to have a good, user-friendly “call to action.” This might be a store,
a restaurant, or more often with social media, a web site or possibly a Facebook Page.
Again, (except for the “stay inside Facebook trend”) this hasn’t changed. All the books
on creating a good user experience on your web site or arranging displays to maximize
sales in your store are still exactly the same.
Traditionally (wow – it is strange to use the word “tradition” to describe the world wide
web which started in 1994), anyway traditionally we attracted people to a web site using
advertising. We used (and still use) print, radio and TV. On the Internet we used Banner
ads, then pay-per-click ads and more recently “being found” by search engines like
Google. This hasn’t changed either. Search engine optimization (SEO) is still critical
and you should still be working to get people to your “call to action” using combinations
of these means.
What has changed is that we now have a new way to get people to the web site or into
the store – Social Media – and more specifically blogging.
I’ll start by saying that traditional ads (.e.g. “here is my product – click here and buy
it”) does not work in Social Media. So what does work?
Here are the steps as I see them:
- Start at the back end by having your product and your web site/store clean,
user-friendly and functional. It should be Search Engine Optimized in order to
attract as many people as possible by being displayed by search engines.
- Now, go to the complete opposite end of the process and identify groups of
people that you feel would be good candidates for your product or service.
This is a critical step since the groups must have some common characteristic
that causes them to join groups or read certain articles. You may want to segment
your target audience into sub groups.(Many times you start with this step and
identify a group and find out what they REALLY need.)
- Figure out what types of information your target groups would find useful.
What problems do they want solutions for. This is a tough decision as well.
You need to be comfortable with the topic and willing to be interested enough
to search out new information and write about it.
- Identify your role in the Social Media – either “trusted friend” or “expert.”
- Finally you create a Blog and begin providing your “interesting/useful
information” for your target audience. You want them to be interested enough
to decide to “follow” you. This means that every time you write something new
they will want to see it. They can opt to be notified every time you post new
content. Now they are “following you. (Building this list is one of the most
critical parts of how you market using blogs. You can email offers to your list
IF YOU HAVE A LIST.)
- Part of the Blog is a subtle pitch to go get information about your product or
service at your web site. This pitch should be a minor part of the Blog posts.
- You work to get followers in Facebook and Twitter using the Blog posts as
a way to attract your target group’s interest, for example “The most common
mistakes people make with XYZ, (link).” More on this later.
- Part of this strategy involves making comments and replying to other Blog posts
and on Twitter and Facebook. Some of these comments point to your “useful”
information in the your Blog.
Summary of How to Market Using Blogs
There you have it in a nutshell – identify a product, prepare to sell the product, identify a group who
would like the product, identify something the group would like to read about, provide that information
and include references to the site where you are selling your product, organization or cause. They
are reading for the useful information – NOT to see if they want to buy your product. You are
writing to attract them to a place where they will see your ads and trust you when they are ready to buy.
Let’s go back to “Content is King.” Now that we know the whole context, this statement means that
people find you (using search engines) or follow you (on social sites) if you provide them with
new, “useful content” – the key word is useful. You want them to follow you because they have a
relatively high probability of conversion to a sale when they see your ads. They want to follow
you because you are providing useful information.
Traditionally we get together because “I want to sell it and you want to buy it.” Now is more “I want
to sell it and so I give you useful information relevant to it. You like the useful information and
when you are ready to buy you are more likely to see one of my ads and buy from me.” How to
market using blogs is simple once you have the concepts all in a row.
How to Market Using Blogs – an Overview
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