Would You Read Your Blog?

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Good blog writing, most of the time, has more to do with the message than the form. Sure, we all love great grammar and attractive layouts. But as we scroll and click our days away, it’s the blogs with a memorable message that stick with us — the ones that we send, share and pin. Corporate blogging shouldn’t be any different. Yet it’s easy to just pump out facts and marketing mumbo jumbo when blogging for business. Somehow, many bloggers equate business blogs with boring. Well, we think that’s just wrong. After all, shouldn’t your company blog be something you actually want to read?

“Would you read it?” was the question a creative writing guru of mine once posed to me after I had been grappling with a certain project I was unsure if I should pursue. This, at the time, was a real head scratcher. “Of course I’d read it!” was my immediate reaction… but after taking a long look, I wasn’t so positive. Honestly, it was sort of uninteresting and it didn’t really sound like me. Plus, I think I was writing it for other people based on some idea of what I thought they should like. So would I read it? The painful answer was no.

But out of such a “no” slowly emerges the truth. The truth for me is that I wasn’t writing something I was proud of. Seeing this, I could head in the right direction and work on something I would want to read. It’s the same for blogging. The truth for blog marketers is that we want our company’s blogs to be interesting and for people to actually read the darn things. It isn’t solely about keywords and SEO. It’s about putting out a message that really tells readers about our business. Interesting blog posts equal interested followers/customers. Makes sense, right?

So, dear readers, it’s your turn to answer: Would you read your own blog? If yes, tell us how you got to a place where your blog is something to be proud of. If no, tell us what about your blog needs fixing.

Candy Makers Hand Out Tasty Viral Treats

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Is it just us, or did the big-time candy companies go all out this year with online video creation? It seems like every treat factory on the map is desperately trying to create viral gold during this haunted time of year. From brain-shaped Jell-O molds to Halloween-themed Cliff bars, there’s no shortage of stuff aimed toward the little ones and every kitschy Halloween product has to have a great online video, too. Yet during this crowded commercial season, two spots really stood out as spooky hilarious holiday hits.

Cadbury Creme Eggs are legendary Easter favorites, and their commercials are classics. For this season, however, the decadent delights went rotten. With a bright green yolk and the moniker “Screme Eggs,” this springtime staple got all dressed up for Halloween. As clever as the repackage might be, Screme Eggs knocked it out of the park with its smart, silly and scary spots. The three online smash hits pay homage to horror movie classics like Dawn of the Dead and are clearly marketing to Halloween junkies who have a darker sense of humor. The stop motion eggs act out a variety of spooky scenarios. What makes the series a standout, though, is the creativity and inventiveness which helps online ads break apart from the pack.

Our second pick is Snickers. Snickers has some pretty big shoes to fill after its 2010 Grocery Store Lady became an all-time Halloween classic. Certainly one of the best Halloween commercials of all time, “Grocery Store Lady” was a tough act to follow. In fact, the company didn’t even bother last year with a new viral campaign choosing instead to rerun its home run from the year before. This year, however, Snickers is back. While we can’t say for sure if the “Horseless Headsman” will have the same staying power, it’s certainly a valiant and hilarious effort. In it, a giant head tries to scare some trick-or-treating kids who quickly correct him. Hunger causes confusion, the kids point out and give the large noggin a Snickers. The punchline to follow is a good one, as is the last laugh over the logo. With “Horseless Headsman,” Snickers’ Halloween viral ads are now a seasonal thing to look forward to — and that’s special, indeed.

Both candy empires are doing what every brand — regardless of size and genre — should do. Savvy online video creation need not be over-the-top or pricey. It just needs to highlight your brand well and there are billions of ways to do that without relying on too many tricks.

Blog Like Big Brands: Goodwill

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Blog creation and blog marketing have become super-effective secret weapons for non-profit organizations. Blogging is a low-cost, low-risk marketing technique, making it perfect for fundraising organizations and community-based charities. Goodwill Industries is one non-profit that has really embraced blogging and all forms of online marketing. And no time of year is busier at your local Goodwill than Halloween. The multi-billion-dollar Halloween pie gives a sizable chunk to Goodwill and other thrift stores that have honed in on our collective desire to wear ridiculous costumes without spending a ridiculous amount of money.

Today, Blog Like the Big Brands looks at how Goodwill uses blogging to help scare up business during this spooky season — and all year round.

Goodwill is more than just a place to pick up some cheap knick knacks. Goodwill provides job placement, career education, recovery services and more for communities in need across the planet. So the main Goodwill blog presents all of this with an easy-to-read newsletter style befitting a non-profit organization. Posts that integrate what Goodwill does with current headlines along with profiles of Goodwill supporters and volunteers create a clear outline of the company. But in the fall, Halloween is king at Goodwill and the blog reflects that, too. From spooky tablescape ideas and Halloween shopping tips to expert advice on how to find a costume at Goodwill from fashion bloggers, the brand has embraced its most popular time of year. Goodwill even tweaks all of its other digital branding efforts — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — to reflect the company-wide love of Halloween. Thrift stores have been a holiday secret for years, and Goodwill has taken it out of the closet and into mainstream marketing.

Bumping up your blog for a busy season is a great how-to takeaway from Goodwill. Naturally, if you’re a retailer, your blog should feature your Christmas merchandise. But other businesses (like landscapers, ski resorts, restaurants and flower shops) that have busy times of year should use their blogs to cater to the seasons, too. Blogs are great place to show off holiday promotions, decorations and gift ideas.

Other non-profits can learn a lot about blogging from Goodwill, too. Blog posts are a succinct way for non-profits to express their mission statements while talking to their followers in an informal way. Posts rich in photos or videos like those from Goodwill are more effective than boring pamphlets or press releases. Plus blogs can be updated all the time, which is great for ever-evolving organizations.

Cheap and unique Halloween costumes and community empowerment isn’t exactly a natural combination. But thanks to great online marketing and blogging, Goodwill makes it seem easy.

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Welcome to the Five Things You Might Have Missed, your one-stop resource for the new and noteworthy stories from the world of online marketing. Giveaways gone wrong, content marketing explained and oh-so-much more await you, so let’s get cracking!

1.) Buzzkill: Kicking off our list this week is a story that many of us can relate to. Sure, most of us haven’t tried to give away vibrators on the street only to be met with disdain. But we’ve all had marketing ideas that didn’t pan out exactly like we wanted. Trojan went back to the drawing board last week after the mayor of Boston said “hell to the no” to Trojan’s vibrator giveaways in his fair city’s plazas. Although free speech prohibits shutting down Trojan’s buzzworthy blitz, Mayor Tom Menino has played the family friendly card and is currently persuading Trojan to go elsewhere.

2.) Uprising, Tweeted: In a country known for oppression, a powerful yet underground revolution is happening — on Twitter. If you missed this story about how Twitter is being used in Saudi Arabia, it’s worth a look for both marketers and newshounds alike. We’re constantly amazed how Twitter is changing the way we communicate, and this little revolution illustrates that beautifully.

3.) Bounce that Bad Blogger: So you’ve paid someone to handle your blog and it just ain’t working out. Follow the lead of CouponCabin.com and fire them! The deal-centric site announced last week that it would no longer be using the blogging services of reality star Kate Gosselin. After 11 months, CouponCabin reportedly wasn’t happy with the diva’s blogging style. We say “nicely done,” CouponCabin! Life is too short for bad blogging that doesn’t work with your brand. (P.S. We just so happen to know some folks who can blog circles around Gosselin.)

4.) Is Anybody Home?: Does your company’s Facebook Like page feel like a ghost town? A recent study says that you’re not alone. According to Napkin Labs, a puny 6 percent of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook page. The study shows that engagement on Facebook is more challenging than ever, but who doesn’t love a good challenge?! Brands are forced to be more creative when engaging on Facebook, and that’s always a good thing.

5.) Contented Content: Wrapping up our list this week is an infographic that really gets to the meat of content marketing. How do we judge the success of content marketing? How can we tell if it’s working? And should we even bother? These questions and more are thoughtfully answered by BitRebels and Pardot in Content Marketing Metrics — a must read. And for more on content marketing, be sure to read our four-part series entitled “Crash Course in Content Marketing” coming to these pages in two weeks!

Facebook’s Puzzling Yet Popular Viral Ad

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Online video creation and viral marketing can certainly put a brand on the map. Over the years, we’ve seen odd foreign companies, tiny undiscovered brands and perhaps otherwise ignored individuals positively explode thanks to a great viral campaign. A new and highly-watched spot for Facebook had us scratching our heads, however. As more money gets sunk into viral advertising by big brands, we’ve started to wonder: Just because it’s a hit on YouTube, does that mean big profit follows?

The short answer is “heck, no!” You think everybody who chuckled at the Old Spice ads rushed out and bought a bottle of the stinky stuff? Yet Old Spice’s viral campaign did manage to put a forgotten company back on the map, which is sometimes even more powerful than huge sales.

Facebook’s new ad, we’re guessing, won’t have the same effect. Entitled “The Things That Connect Us,” an all-knowing voiceover tells us that chairs, door bells, bridges and even the universe are all like Facebook. With nearly a million views in less than a week’s time, the ad is certainly viral. But comparing your product to essential items when it’s already a product under fire for being a pain in the neck seems like a big mistake. We’d even put money down that comedians and SNL are already prepping spoofs of the pretentious spot. Facebook, especially in the viral arena, would do well to lighten up and laugh at itself instead of scaring you into thinking it’s some all-seeing evil being.

When doing our own online videos, we want to make sure our brand is approachable and that our videos are unique. In our opinion, this Facebook ad fails on both counts. But you tell us, dear readers: Is this majorly viral Facebook ad a big deal that will turn into a big leap on the stock market, or is it just a big mistake?

4 Hot Blog Trends for Fall

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

It’s that time of the year where new meets old. Old leaves turn new colors. Old products get new makeovers. Old seasonal recipes have new revivals. Old Halloween costumes become new again on young trick-or-treaters. And everybody is looking to infuse the same-old, same-old with new trends. It’s no different in blogging for business. Nobody wants an out-of-touch blog that looks more like a history book than a news-maker. In the spirit of embracing newness, we’ve come up with a list of easy-to-implement hot blogging trends.

Tell it: Almost daily, we try to hammer home the point that a corporate blog should be more than a clever commercial. Blogging is a great way to share stories about your company and brand. Heineken is one brand that gets how important this is. Storytelling and sharing stories with followers is the whole idea behind the beer-maker’s The Heineken Story blog campaign. This interactive short film series tells the history of the company and beer in general. Not everybody can employ pricey filmmaking techniques, but everybody can use blogs to let consumers get to know their company’s story.

Illustrate it: Enough with the stock images and stagnant news photos! This year’s big blogging trend has been illustration. Elle magazine has tapped into this trend and regularly features fashion illustration. But why stop there? Art masterpieces, architectural drawings, blueprints and comedic diagrams can all be easily obtained (some even for free with no copyright drama) and add a certain sophistication and character to an ordinary blog.

Click it: Emerging info from marketing research firms confirms that when it comes to blog sharing on social media, personal photos are a big hit. Photos get shared and reacted to on Facebook more than anything else, so why not use this trend to your company’s advantage? Pictures from parties and events, photos of new products and snapshots of your staff members make for great sharable blog posts.

End it: Brands like Audi have recently have said “sayonara, sweetheart!” to time-specific blog campaigns, and we love this trend. Not all types of blogs are meant to last forever, and we think it’s wise for companies to take this time of year to clear out campaigns that have run their course. This way, brands are now free to focus blogging efforts on fresh directions for the approaching new year.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Macy’s

Follow Us

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Hey Mr. Old-Timer with the ancient business who brushes off blog marketing as something for the kids: It just so happens that custom content — like expertly-written and thoughtfully-crafted blogs — can transform any business, new or old. Just look at Macy’s. The 154-year-old iconic department store chain continues to stay fresh and relevant, and much of that has to do with an endless pursuit of creative ways to use online marketing. Naturally, Macy’s has been blogging for years. The company has dozens of blogs and blogging ideas that can inspire even the oldest and crustiest marketers among us.

Just by glancing at Front Row, Macy’s super stylish Tumblr blog, you’d never guess that Macy’s opened their doors for business in 1858. Front Row aims to give fashion fanatics a first look at Macy’s newest clothes. The stark white layout allows for the stunning bright colors in Vogue-type photographs to really pop. Given that it’s Tumblr, the text here is appropriately scant.

For shoppers who want more scoop, Front Row routinely gives a shoutout to the company’s granddaddy blog, Mblog. Mblog is a comprehensive online Macy’s magazine. Here fans of the brand will find multiple posts on fashion, home decor, accessories, beauty and in-store happenings around the country. Every category is easy to find and the blog is incredibly simple to use considering the sheer amount of content. With so much ground to cover and so many things to blog about, it’s crucial that Macy’s uses that department store-type of organization. Mblog does this perfectly, and it’s the kind of thing all brands can try.

Smartly-chosen categories, accurate keywords and simplified blog headings can truly make a blog a more enjoyable thing to read. Macy’s has a place for everything on its blog — therefore, readers never have to search for what they’re interested in.

Also, Macy’s isn’t afraid to embrace new things when it comes to online branding and blogging. Constantly innovating and changing, Macy’s is always willing to try new marketing techniques in order to reach younger audiences. Front Row is an excellent example of this, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Macy’s has video blogs, dozens of Pinterest accounts and a lightning fast Twitter page.

So, Mr. Old-Timer, if an old gal like Macy’s can do all that, we think you’ll be just fine with blog marketing. Who knows? It might even make you (and your brand) feel ten years younger.