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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?