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5 Things Marketing Gurus Need To Learn From Bloggers

The other day I made this comment on Mike Sansone’s post My Struggle With Web Developers.

…I face the same uphill battle but from a different group…so called marketing coaches. Three of my four top referring sources think negatively about blogging. They see it as personal journals about useless stuff. I have a heck of a time convincing referred clients about the benefits of blogging. But the tide is turning. I have enough knowledge now and hard data to show the huge benefits that blogging can bring to business. It’s an uphill battle, for sure. Luckily I’m more interested in helping my clients build their businesses than I am sticking to some marketing coaches program.

Now I don’t want to bad mouth marketing coaches/consultants/gurus. In fact, there are many good ones who are blogging. And there are many really good marketing gurus who don’t get this blogging thing.

Many marketing gurus know that to have a successful businesses you must build a relationship with your target audience. They often suggest using carefully crafted website and newsletter content, free giveaways and teleclasses to build interest, low-level loyalty and trust. This works, I’ve done it. It’s just that there’s so much more.


So I’ve put together my list of 5 things that marketing gurus need to learn from bloggers:

  1. Blogging is about relationships. Be it with other bloggers and/or your readers, blogs offer a unique relationship building forum that no website or newsletter content alone can match. Once blogging, what business owners soon realize is that they now have a chance to actively engage with their target market. This way, your readers get to know you, converse with you, learn to trust your advice – even become raving fans before they ever become clients.
  2. Blogging is about linking. It used to be that when you got a visitor to your website you’d want to keep them there at all costs. So you rarely linked to other sites and certainly never to the competition. Successful business blogs, however, are built on linking to other blogs – especially those offering similar services. Linking to other great posts is actually one way to rapidly grow readership on your blog.
  3. Blogging is about co-opetition. Competition certainly exists in the blogosphere. Yet there is more cooperation happening than competition. Bloggers want to help each other. They want to inform their readers about other bloggers, blog posts, products and services. They know doing so adds value to their blogs and often builds loyalty in their readers.
  4. Blogging is about feeds. Sure, newsletters are a great form of marketing. You like them, read them and probably write one yourself. But we all know they’re not free – they cost you your email address. Their arrival to your inbox interrupts your life and work. And since you’re likely on many lists, how often do you really read them? Feeds (RSS/ATOM) change everything. Now you can easily subscribe to my blog updates AND you don’t have to pay me with your email address. With a feed reader, you can scan scores of blog titles in minutes (as of this morning I have 163 feeds in my reader). But best of all, your life doesn’t have to be interrupted with an email in your inbox. Best yet, RSS is pretty much spam proof.
  5. Blogging is about traffic. You can have the best, most clearly crafted marketing message ever. But if your target audience doesn’t find you, it’s useless. Blogs offer some amazing opportunities for building traffic, and with little or not cost. Today is officially my 44th day blogging. I’ve already increased my traffic by 400% over any 44 day period last year when I only had a static website. And all my other business metrics are up as well. For small business owners, looking for traffic, blogging can certainly help.

I could go on and on about the benefits of blogging and what marketers need to learn from us. But I’d like to hear your ideas. What do you think ‘traditional’ marketing guru/expert/consultants need to learn from us bloggers?

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Comments

  1. Wendy Piersall :: eMom says:

    Consumers are demanding the ability to interact with brands and businesses on their terms, and on their turf. It’s Web 2.0 (don’t normally use that term, but nothing else fits at the moment).

    The businesses who don’t want to play along are going to get left behind. It’s kind of like back in 1995 – when the question was, should my business put up a website? The silly answer in hindsight is, “YES, stupid.”

    Ten years from now, we will laugh at companies who are still wondering if they should engage their customers online.

    The answer still today is, “Yes, stupid.”

    πŸ™‚

  2. Wendy

    I fully agree with you. People want to connect with each other. And they certainly want to connect with potential service providers. This whole Web 2.0 concept is quickly and easily helping people bridge the communication gap. And it works.

    Personally, I went into blogging after quite a bit of research. I spent a major part of the last year lurking, reading, watching and learning. So I hit the ground with both feet running. Yet, I’m blown away by how much my blog as changed my business focus and client interactions.

    Just this week I landed a nice-sized contract because of my blog. My client was comparing me to other web design firms – me being the only one who blogs. He chose me mainly because my posts helped him see that I’m an expert in web-based business building. So my blog directly landed me this deal.

    ‘Nough said.

  3. Chris Cree

    Thanks. I’m fine with your friend not being hostile. I know that blogging takes marketing in a different direction than most marketing folks are used too. Some find it difficult. Some get it right away.

    Suggest to him to begin a blog himself – maybe on WordPress or Blogger where he doesn’t have to pay anything. That way he can gently get his feet wet.

    And, if he wants to contact me, I’m certaily fine with that.

  4. Wendy Piersall :: eMom says:

    PS – I see I’m meeting you in May in Chicago. VERY cool! πŸ™‚

  5. Excellent post, Dawud!

    I’m passing the link on to a Marketing Coach/Guru friend of mine who hasn’t jumped onto the blog wagon quite yet. He’s not hostile, mind you. He sees some of the value. He just hasn’t seen enough to get started yet.

    I know he will soon, though. Because I know how smart he is. πŸ˜‰

  6. Stuart Baker says:

    Dawud, this is powerful stuff. I think one of the main points is that blogging can be really significant, vibrant exchange among people, and it can take place so quickly.

    I am a brand new blogger, at your urging. I find that writing blogs is both cathartic and illuminating for me. It is helping me be clearer about what I am offering, and the potential is high for quick feedback and fine-tuning of what I am doing. Got my first response yesterday (supportive), which is already encouraging me in a rich direction.

    Nice work! Thanks.

  7. Some excellent points. I not qualified enough to answer your summary question regarding traditional marketing gurus, but can address it from a more general perspective.

    Successful bloggers are skilled at online community relations. Forming a community online holds many similarities to offline, such as friendliness, empathy, conversation skills and others. So in that regard, people from any background, let alone traditional marketers, can learn something from successful bloggers.

  8. Wendy

    Quite likely. It’ll be great to meet you.

    David

    I agree whole-heartedly. I don’t think learning to blog is that large of a leap. The group I’m speaking of have a tough time with blogging for different reasons. Yet, they all boil down to the same – it’s different than what they do now. Willingness to change becomes the real key.

  9. Stuart

    Great to see you here. Thanks for your comment.

    Blogging is pretty powerful stuff. And it does take a shift in consciousness to get it. Then it takes a bit of work to make it work for you. I’m definitely proof that it works. You just have to know where to put your efforts.

  10. Hi Dawud

    Over the last few months I’ve reading lots of business advice books, some are foundation blocks (as I call them), some are building blocks. Some written by ‘marketing gurus’, some not.
    My intake on it all is that indeed building trust with you customers start with conversation. Informative newsletters are a on-way street, having a business blog makes it a direct two-way street (or if the conversation really gets gowing a multi lane highway?) Favourites among those books on ‘conversation’ are Citizen Marketers and The Long Tail

    Our own FAQ blog gets found more and more (also through our ‘normal’ websites) and the great thing that is happening now: ‘visitors/readers’ are using the blog to ask their own questions. Conversation is starting, trust building is beginning.

    How simple πŸ˜‰

  11. Karin H.

    Absolutely.

    For me, when you’re talking about business, there’s nothing that ‘must’ be done. Everything you do needs to fit into an overall scheme – a plan and strategy.

    Yet what I see often with marketing gurus is that they dismiss blogging altogether without understanding how it can benefit their clients. That why I say that marketing gurus could learn from bloggers.

  12. Hi Dawud

    Well, that leaves the following questions, doesn’t it?
    Who decides who the real marketing gurus are πŸ˜‰ ?

  13. Karin H.

    Oh, great question. One I’m so glad you asked…

    I’ve always been amazed at people calling themselves experts or gurus or similar. When I see that, I ask them the same question – who’s told you you’re a guru?

    For me, the title of guru or expert is left to be decided by everyone else.

    As a for instance…I know a ton about what I do. Some might say I’m an expert in web-based small business building. But I don’t think it’s right for me to call myself an expert. I don’t feel I’ve earned that right – nor will I ever. If people want to hang that title on me, that’s fine. But I won’t hang it on myself simply out of respect, courtesy and an attempt at humility.

    In my opinion, I can’t decide whether I’m an expert. And I don’t feel anyone else can decide that for themselves either. Expertise is left to be decided by your peers, prospects and clients.

    Thank you so much for asking this question.

  14. Your more than welcome πŸ˜‰

    I had the same ‘problem’, but my mentor ‘solved’ it perfectly for me/us. As a business we do have a certain expertise in our trade (as any honest business should) adn he insisted we mention our ‘expertise’ on our website. That didn’t feel well with me.
    So he came up with the following:
    http://www.wood-you-like-diy.co.uk/tips.htm
    (first paragraph).
    Now ‘authority’ sounds better, feels better, much ‘softer’ IMHO.

    Come to think of it, my mentor is a real guru (still undiscovered by many) πŸ˜‰

  15. Yes. I see you used “acknowledged authority.” That’s great. Gives you credibility without being presumptuous. And I would guess that you could support your claim that you’re ‘acknowledged.’

    See the change in focus? It’s off you self-proclaiming and onto others recognizing your authority.

    You could even write, “a number of our clients have referred to us as experts in our field.” Again, taking the focus off your self and putting it on your clients.

  16. Told you my mentor is the real ‘guru’ πŸ˜‰

    Signing off now, time to go home (5pm over here).

  17. Yep, see how it works. You, the client, is calling him your ‘guru.’

  18. Dawud,

    Found you through Mike Sansone. Good post and excellent comments (or conversation as the case may be!)

    My thought re what “marketing gurus” can learn from blogging is: Never stop learning. Way too many so-called experts never learn anything new and so they continue to push outdated tactics and obsolete technology. For example, there are still those who advocate cold calling and email blasts (ouch.)

    I posted on this guru/expert quandary rproblem – “Why I have Trouble with Experts” while back – read if you like.

  19. And, apparently I blew the link.

    Here it is in all its lengthy HTML.

    Click here.

  20. Mary

    Hi. Thanks for visiting and commeting. I really like Mike’s stuff.

    I know what you mean. So many people – marketers or not – learn something well and then spend the rest of their lives ‘peddling’ that one thing. They don’t continue to grow and evolve. Which is fine for them. I have no judgment of them.

    I just hope and pray that I’m different.

    I’ll get to your post shortly. Thanks for leaving it.

  21. Karin H.
    [quote comment=”811″]Many ‘experts’ are followed only in talking about it, training about it, writing about it: but the one big thing missing is the implementation of all ideas.[/quote]

    Yes. That’s the rub. I know a number of marketing gurus who have great ideas and great products, accept that their products don’t walk you through to success. They theorize and give vast amounts of information, but they don’t walk you through to success – step-by-step.

    I’m finding the same problem with blogging books.

    This whole conversation inspired me to write another post, Who Else Wants to Be An Expert?.

  22. Morning all (10.45am here)

    Mary, read your post and fully agree. I’ve been reading Hard Facts, dangerous half-truths and total nonsens, I really recommend it to you, because it goes in even deeper on this subject.

    At the moment I’m reading: The knowing-doing gap from the same authors and I’m totally hooked. Many ‘experts’ are followed only in talking about it, training about it, writing about it: but the one big thing missing is the implementation of all ideas. This book is exactly about the ‘missing-link’ in this.

    Do I now become an ‘expert’ on which business books to read πŸ˜‰

  23. Liz,

    True, preach on, sister. I’m with ya.

    People will come around – they’ll have too. But why wait? It’s obvious that people want interaction, relationship and community from the web. Blogging/social media give them that. And for a business, wouldn’t it make sense to go where the people are?

    Karin H.,

    Only if you call me one! I wouldn’t dream of calling myself a guru/expert.

  24. Stuart Baker says:

    Hi Dawud,

    I have been following this thread. I like how you humbly note that the title of guru is to be bestowed upon; you don’t claim it.

    Stuart Baker

  25. How interesting it is to visit a party late. I’m I missed this, but also glad at the same time.

    In Australia, they have a saying, The maketing gurus are “past their sell by date.” A guru-ism (or is it a guru-dom) is like a brand — conferred by customers or followers. So in that respect, Seth is a guru as well, I would think.

    Maybe there more marketing gurus like Seth than we are counting. Maybe our view also needs to change??? I wonder if we stand back a little further to look again what would we see?

    Sorry again to be late.

  26. Liz,

    Welcome to the party, Liz. No worries – you’re probably just being causually late.

    Guru is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Seth, definitely. I know there are many marketers who are up on the blog thing. And, there are plenty still who see blogging as unnecessary and even irrelevant to marketing a business.

    Blogging and social media are still quite young, yet it’s easy to see that the future of the internet is moving toward social media. Don’t you think it’s unwise for marketers not to consider it?

  27. Those who don’t consider blogging are to me like those who imagine that all people think in the same way or are stupid.

    Those who don’t consider blogging don’t seem to understand that there is more than one reality — that virtual reality is here NOW and bloggers live in it.

    Yeah, I’m with you . . . unwise

  28. Does that make you a Guru now, then? πŸ˜‰
    (On blogging and reality I mean – I think you do)

  29. πŸ™‚

  30. I know Guru spells G-U-R-U πŸ™‚

    Dawud I love the circle of friends you’re creating. Stuart, Liz, and other complete strangers, I say hello!

    I’m an expert “Goofball” and a recovering self help junkie.

    I’ve helped myself enough for several lifetimes.

    Dawud, thanks for lighting the way. I’m still unpacking my blog and loving the day by day learning.

  31. Stuart,

    You got it. Whether we’re talking marketing or spirituality, it’s one’s ‘followers’ who decides how much someone is guru or expert.

  32. Stuart Baker says:

    Jason, you sound like a gas. I have heard good things about you. Also Liz and others. Hello back!

    You are so right about the circle of friends that Dawud is gathering and expanding, and the light he carries.

    Have you all seen the 6 minute video that Dave Schoof recently made available on thedisquiet.com blog? A rather frightening piece on the expansion of population and technology. It made me want to expand my heart and connection to others, and honor the Creator.

    A community like this one through Dawud and those of other deep-hearted people promotes true connection.

    And this brings me to contribute that I think that a true guru is stunning in
    their humility and sharing.

    Thanks, Dawud. Thanks, all.

  33. Jason,

    Thanks Jason. And here’s your official welcome to the blogosphere. You’re gonna enjoy this…

    Stuart

    The video Dave put up is pretty cool. I made the link to it live so everyone could find it.

  34. Cristian says:

    Great post, Dawud!
    Blogging is about relationships

  35. Cristian,

    Thanks. Yes it is. Relationships and conversatino.

    Tell me a little bit about what you do.

  36. The tips not only helpful to marketing gurus, but I think also to new bloggers.

  37. Alan,

    Certainly. We all can learn something from each other. I just happen to know a few marketing guru types who haven’t learned these lessons yet.

    Thanks for your comments.

  38. Thanks for this great article. I totally agree: Just like marketing needs to find out what it is that the customers REALLY want from a product and find a way to put this into words and action (distribution, price, quality, etc.) in blogging you need to make sure every aspect of your work aims at your visitors, at what they need or want from your site … because this fulfillment is the only thing that will have them coming back!

  39. FincherFanatic,

    Absolutely. And there’s a huge trend, not only on the internet, for consumers to have more control over what they experience. Marketing is becoming ever-increasingly about niches. And once the larger companies figure that out, I think you’ll see a massive shift in how products are advertised. Until then, just poke around the blogosphere.

    Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

  40. thank you for the tip. its a big help for new internet marketeers and new site owners.

  41. chay,
    Certainly. There is always room for us to learn more…me included.

  42. “They see it as personal journals about useless stuff.”

    In the real estate space, bloggers tend to blog about stuff that is useless to the consumer. The bulk of the traffic (and comments) many of them get is from other bloggers, so they write for the instant gratification, missing the real audience entirely.

  43. Bob,
    That’s the key, isn’t it. When you’re running a business that you’re promoting through a blog, it can be misleading to just have traffic and comments. Instead, you need to be sure you’re reaching your target audience so that you’re having the conversations with potential clients.

  44. Anna Young says:

    Hello,
    I have just stumbled upon your site via emoms via dosh dosh via technocrati, which I just yesterday really delved into.
    I have recently (11/07)developed a website, working with my father in-law (Doc G) where he blogs about various celebrities pertaining to their Personality Styles. I am currently getting ready to do my big marketing kick-off (end of Jan 08) and was looking for information that would help me address some concerns that I had re: kick-off. Your information has been very useful in reference to the social word of mouth that can turn users on to my site. I will continue to check out your information for more ideas/things to consider. Being new to this I am excited of the opportunity, eager to get going but aware that I can stumble getting out of the gate.

    Thanks for sharing your valuable information with users like me.

  45. Anna,
    Thanks. I hope I can help in some way.

    And I love the path you took to find me. What a joy. Thanks for sharing it.

    I’d love to know what you’re doing.

  46. I couldn’t agree with you more. In my professional life as a web marketer AND my ‘other’ life as a martial arts coach it has become clear to me that ‘marketing’ in the next few years is going to shift radically from the ‘one-way message” of marketeers DELIVERING a message to clients, to a two-way exchange of INFORMATION and ideas.

    The new model for sales will be more symbiotic than ever.

  47. Dunken,
    Exactly. The key to me is that modern marketing (as I’m beginning to call it) takes the control away from the marketer and puts it i the hands of the consumer – where it should be.

  48. I am an official beginer. I want to get up to speed quickly on how I can launch a new business with the internet of course being a major pipeline. I believe in the numbers. But I am feeling hesitant as I put my ideas to reality and relly do not know where to begin. What should be my first mission in starting a new business whichi I expect my web page to drive traffic in many directions? My web is not created yet.

    Lauren

  49. I agree with your

    The most important thing though is that blogging is a medium of real business. With affiliate marketing, many marketers are now using blogs as their main money making site

    The phrase ‘blogging for profit comes to mind

    Step Bystep guide| Create a blogger blog

  50. There’s nothing like what the blogosphere creates in terms of marketing know how for any business. Great article!

  51. Blogging is a very important thing that marketing should be consider, on this it will lead you to a success. Great article though.

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