Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

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Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

 

Most business owners now understand the importance of blogging in terms of raising the profile of their business, both online and in their local community. But even those who were early adopters of blogging as part of their marketing strategy for their business don’t always think of the following three benefits:

1. Ward off competition

It’s true: Blogging can help your business stave off a competitor. Let’s say you run a small consulting firm specializing in helping companies save money on their telecommunications bill. If you’re doing it well, your blog is full of stories of satisfied customers and tips that make it clear that you’re the expert in a particular niche. Why would a potential competitor want to have to try to prove that she is more awesome than you when you’ve already cornered that market?

2. Attract investors

In the same vein, having this record of your thoughts and experiences can also lead to someone saying, “That company has a great business model and is led by a fabulous person. I’d like to meet with them and see if I can be part of their future success.” And once you sit down with this potential investor, they already feel as though they know you, your dreams and your company’s raison d’être.

3. Organize your own thoughts (and get feedback!)

Kind of like keeping a journal, a business blog helps you keep track of ideas that you’re considering for your company. Better yet, they’re ideas that your audience can weigh in on. Say you run a small chain of coffee houses in a tri-state area and you hit upon an idea: What if your stores hosted an open mike night or a poetry slam? By blogging about it, you can both record your idea and gauge potential interest in these events. Maybe your readers aren’t that interested in either idea, but they would like to see you make room for a mother/daughter tea event. There’s extra revenue, just like that.

We know what you’re thinking: “Man, I have GOT to get on this blogging thing, even though I have no time!” Don’t worry… we can help you out. We work closely with our clients to go beyond informative blog writing — we study your industry, learn its acronyms, talk about your dreams. In short, we capture your voice.

So when it’s time to finally start that blog, or turn your existing one over to a professional who can be sure it gets updated more than once a quarter, give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or shoot us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com. We’ll have your blog working for you in no time!

Behold, the Future of Content Marketing

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Behold, the Future of Content Marketing

The current formula for turning web content into a viral sensation may be tried and true, but the future for that kind of content marketing is limited, according to digital analyst, author and futurist Brian Solis at Altimeter Group. Solis recently spoke with Technorati about the future of content marketing, reserving his harshest criticism for clickbait articles and current engagement measurement practices, and reinvigorating our faith in quality content.
Solis expressed his exasperation with clickbait articles that promise to “blow your mind” without offering real value to visitors. Sure, these posts capture a good deal of attention, but as people learn how empty the promises are on the other side of the click, their popularity will die a quick death. This model simply is not sustainable, Solis notes. Tricking visitors into jumping through a hoop only tires them out, he explains. Rather than clicks, the goal should be interaction, engagement. Visitors should think about and share the content, he adds. But that all starts with good content rather than sensational headlines.
Another frustrating thing about content marketing practices today is the continued emphasis given to impressions rather than expressions, Solis says. Getting eyeballs on your brand is the low-hanging fruit of content marketing; meaningful engagement is key. But just what is meaningful engagement? In a word, it’s a relationship, he notes — meaning interactions between companies or brands and their target audience need to be both two-sided and genuine.
We here at Brandsplat couldn’t agree more. But that kind of relationship building takes a lot of time and energy. It requires companies to write and promote engaging blogs plus stay on top of their social media feeds — all while presenting a consistent message in one voice to their audiences. If you’re running a small- to medium-sized business, this is probably one of just 17 hats you rotate daily. And that means it’s not being done well — or at least that it’s not being done as well as it could. If you’re tired of losing customers to your competition, reach out to us. We’ll take a look at your digital presence and recommend what changes you could make to increase your engagement (hint: the first one will be to let the experts do it for you so you can focus on the rest of your work).

Compelling Collaboration Creates Confidence, or, Why You Should Have a Blogging Partner

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This is a Guest Blog by William Cain.

Blogging has come a long way since the days of the teen’s personal Livejournal account. Blogs as journalism, blogs as advertising, and even blogs as storytelling have become accepted parts of our society. However, there is still a perception that a ‘blog’ is a creator’s own property, driven by a singular voice. There is certainly something to be said for this approach, but there is a more collaborative effort that should be considered as a way to develop a lively, interesting, and prolific blog presence.

Consider the website Gaming as Women, which examines issues of gaming culture and the roles women have in that society. They tackle larger issues such as the nature of anti-harassment policies at large conventions, smaller ones such as the best way to handle difficult subject matter in a gaming environment, and more esoteric fare such as releasing a game built around the concept of sweeping social change.

This is a lot of material to cover, but to be fair the topic they have chosen for themselves is indeed one with broad implications. As a result, the blog has become a platform for multiple authors. Each has a different area they specialize in, but all comment on every issue in some measure. The effect is very similar to the Op-Ed section of a large newspaper, with essays steadily being presented on a number of issues, but with no one author being asked to ‘carry’ the site.

Another example is Skeptic Blog where a collection of some of the bigger names in the new Skeptic community (including Brian Dunning, Michael Shermer, and Steven Novella) cover issues ranging from debunking paranormal tv shows to the dangers of modern medical quack therapies.

Skeptic Blog is a great example of a thriving collaboration, particularly because it has such a lively comments section. Since many of the articles are about controversial topics, the comments are a source of extensive debate and criticism. Of course, each comment is a visit to the site, and high readership drives successful blogs.

So how should you approach building a collaborative blog?

First, start with a theme. Collaborations are more difficult to pull off than singular efforts because each party brings a different perspective and desires to the table. If there is a core theme that each of the writers is passionate about (BEFORE they start the blog), then getting them to work together on-message is much more effective. Develop a theme each of the writers you bring on is comfortable with and eager to write about, and you have a solid start.

Next, with the understanding that the content is to be written within the core theme, let each author develop their area of special comment. This isn’t to say that only this author writes on such things, but rather that they should be allowed to focus their content on a particular sub-theme of the site’s main message. People tend to be better at writing content they are eager to focus on, so allowing this kind of specialization will help their writing grow. In addition, each writer’s focus on a particular field of content will allow them to attract a particular subset of readers who enjoy their work.

Third, engage with your fellow authors. If a collaborator writes an article that resonates with you, perhaps go beyond making a comment and writing a response expanding on  their idea or analyzing a specific part of it. This kind of dialog will increase your content and give your readers a reason to check out multiple authors on the site.

Finally, each author on the site should have their own individual blog as well. This allows for a synchronicity among the readership. Readers of their individual blog can be referred to the collaboration, and vice-versa. The personal blogs don’t even have to be about the same specific subject matter as the collaboration – this allows someone interested in the specifics of Michael Shermer’s science education on Skeptic Blog to discover his writings on other materials, and creates a ripple effect of discovery.

As always, there is no magic formula that will make a blog succeed over others. If you get a good team with great chemistry together though, you might just find that lightning strikes and you have a real winner on your hands.

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William Cain is a freelance writer living in Apple Valley, California. He specializes in branding and blogging content, and is available for traditional and ghostwriting assignments. Check out his personal blog or contact him at wcain [dot] applevalley [at] gmail [dot] com.

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