Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Hot tips on blog marketing? We got ’em. Hot buzzed-about online video creation? We got that, too. In fact, our weekly list of five things you might have missed has a little something for everybody. Let’s get started, shall we?

1.) Do it Like a Bluth: So much Arrested Development hype, so little time. One could barely turn on their favorite electronic device without being bombarded with news, opinions and reviews surrounding the return of the cult sitcom on Netflix. Yet this blog post from Kristin Kovner for ClickZ is worth checking out if you missed it. In it, she gives four Bluth-inspired marketing lessons sure to satisfy Arrested Development fans and marketing gurus alike.

2.) Share a Coke: Coca-Cola is pretty much tops when it comes to creating terrific digital content and memorable videos for a global audience. Each of the soda giant’s recent videos perfectly capture the brand’s sense of fun while cleverly playing with the viral marketing platform. This recent little bit of ambient advertising goodness features the first sharable can of Coke and is sure to put a smile on your face.

3.) Blog Title Badassery: Having a hard time getting folks to care about your latest blog posts? Maybe you need to start with creating eye-catching titles to get folks to stop and read. After all, how many times have you personally slowed down and read something just because the title piqued your interest? Lucky for you, Business2Community.com has 6 must-have tips for writing awesome blog titles in this great post you might have missed.

4.) Dance to the Brainwaves: Smirnoff Vodka has a new campaign doing something unexpected: using brainwaves to make music. Working with a brainwave expert and an electronic music producer, Smirnoff helped folks with disabilities who cannot play musical instruments to make music with their mind by controlling musical software. The song created with brainwaves can be purchased online and the proceeds go to Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.

5.) Have You Heard the One About the Hitler Tea Pot: And finally, no recap of the week’s biggest marketing stories would be complete without mentioning the silly kerfuffle that swelled up around a tea kettle folks said looked like Hitler. The kettle in question, which was featured on a billboard for JC Penny, became a social media phenomenon and sold out online in a matter of days.

Blog Like the Big Brands: BMW

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Stalled out with your company’s blog content management strategy? Has your blog marketing run out of gas? Well, perhaps we can help. Each week, we examine the blogging habits and styles of some the planet’s most powerful and influential brands. This week, we take a gander at how luxury carmaker BMW uses blogging to get car enthusiasts drooling over its latest models.

Blogging for a global brand like BMW could potentially be a scattered, ADD-inducing affair. After all, with thousands of products in different markets, what on Earth do you begin to blog about? Wisely, BMW sticks to delivering the goods: cars and plenty of them. Upon entering the BMWBLOG, visitors get a glimpse at dozens of cars through slide shows, videos and lots of images. For folks fluent in BMW, the company delivers in-depth pieces about test drives, safety features and industry reviews. For novices just learning the ropes in luxury car land, BMW goes back to what works: more pictures of those glamorous cars.

Editors of the BMWBLOG have clearly written the text of each post with the curious and well-researched car buyer in mind, however. The posts do not back away from giving specifics about each car and its features. Chassis, headlamps, kidney grills and lower front ends are the kinds of terms you’ll see dropped casually on the blog, and clearly it works. The BMWBLOG is routinely ranked one of the top automotive blogs on the web.

As a takeaway for businesses of all types and sizes, BMW certainly inspires us to take pride in our companies and to blog about them proudly. BMW assumes that visitors to its blog want to read “car lingo” and wordy technical reviews, and it delivers these things unapologetically. Branded blogs should feel free to brag about the products and services that put them on the map and that they want new customers to know about. Blogging, with its online magazine feel, is a fantastic way to do that on a regular basis.

Yahoo Buys Tumblr, Bloggers Mumble

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It was the shot heard ’round the hipster blogging world on Monday when it was announced that Yahoo! was buying super-stylish blogging platform Tumblr for a cool $1 billion. For marketers bent on über visual blog creation, Tumblr has been tops for years. Unlike any other blogging channel, Tumblr caters to visual arts, design, memes, GIFS and, most importantly, that elusive younger demographic. So how will this deal effect Tumblr devotees and marketers? What changes can blogging-for-business experts expect? And how do Tumblr users feel about this mega branding blogging collision?

For its part, Yahoo! has loudly and proudly already vowed not to mess with Tumblr.

“Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,” Yahoo! said in a statement.

Yahoo! contends that everything users and brands love about Tumblr will stay exactly the same. The purchase, insiders say, had less to do with Yahoo! wanting to improve Tumblr and more to do with good, old-fashioned cash. Reports estimate that Tumblr brings in about $13 million in revenue annually, and for a sagging company like Yahoo!, this was a wise purchase.

“Tumblr in terms of users and traffic is an immediate growth story for us,” Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said in an interview with Reuters earlier this week.

For marketers currently rocking Tumblr for their clients, they too can expect things to stay the same. Or so Yahoo! promises. Tumblr lovers are not so sure. Longtime users/fans of the site certainly have their doubts about the merger and have naturally taken to the Internet to express their concerns. “The beginning of end” and “they’ll ruin our home” are just a few of the Negative Nancy comments left on Tumblr and Twitter regarding the news. While others compared it to the unpopular Facebook/Instagram merger of last year, some have already vowed to leave Tumblr immediately.

Regardless of how you feel, Yahoo!’s purchase of Tumblr is bound to be watched by users, blog marketing professionals and business reporters alike. So readers, you tell us: Tumblr and Yahoo — match made in blogging heaven or hell? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

 

Blog Like the Big Brands: Patagonia

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Some of the most powerful companies in the world use blogging for business to reach out to new customers, communicate with employees and help create powerful web content. And every Monday, we profile one of these bigwigs in hopes of inspiring you to start an amazing blog marketing campaign of your very own. This week, we look at how outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia elevates blogging into something pretty amazing.

The byline at Patagonia’s blog simply reads, “The Cleanest Line: Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.” Yet this company blog is more than a corporate newsletter or boring product pitch disguised as a blog. The Cleanest Line transforms our old ideas about corporate blogs by creating an online magazine that reads more like NPR or GOOD then a commercial for hiking boots. Journalistic in style, the writing at The Cleanest Line is high-quality, interesting stuff. By blogging about the things that are important to them — like mountain climbing, responsible clothing manufacturing practices, independent documentaries and environmental causes — Patagonia tells us more about itself as a brand in a few posts than a billion press releases ever could. While the blog does feature images, clearly the point here is to read and get Patagonia’s message.

In addition, the simple design and layout make it easy to kick back and read several posts. Again, this is surely intentional. The Cleanest Line is company blogging built on a brand’s message and philosophy and, best of all, it’s actually interesting to read and enjoy.

Marketing magazines and SEO blogs have long shouted the praises of The Cleanest Line and Patagonia’s blog creation innovations. We can easily see why. What Patagonia does so brilliantly is use its blog to provide a company narrative. This smart move is something all of us can use blogging for. Try not to think of daily entries as “Ugh! Another blog post!” but as more opportunities to using blogging to spread your ideas and beliefs. Let The Cleanest Line inspire you to take blogging to new heights.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Bigelow Tea

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Each Monday, we take a look at the blog writing and blog marketing habits of some of the world’s biggest brands. From airlines and luxury jewelers to social networks and toy companies, we’ve seen how brands of all kinds use blogging to connect with a global Internet audience. Even brands thought of as “old-fashioned” are taking to blogging with resounding results. This week one such brand, Bigelow Tea, is using blogging to take the company into the next millennium.

Constant Comment is the tea flavor that put Bigelow on the map, and still is the company’s top-selling product today. To pay tribute to this fact while nodding to the very nature of blogging, Bigelow has cleverly named its company blog “Constant Comments.” The cleanly-designed and image-rich blog has more of a food magazine look and feel than a boring old blog blabbing about tea. As tea is often associated with relaxation, the uncluttered design and short, easy-to-read posts are surely intentional. That isn’t to say the blog posts are uninteresting, though. The company is obviously passionate about tea and it shows in the varied and entertaining posts. Customer contests, recipes, tea-themed party ideas, profiles of Bigelow-sponsored events and behind-the-scenes videos are the kind of dynamic posts featured on Constant Comments. Bigelow has taken a lot of care in curating the kind of posts its audience will like to read.

Every detail is thoughtful and well-executed here, and that’s inspiration any size blog can take away. Thinking about your brand’s image and personality before you start blogging is a wise idea and really helps your blog’s message be clearer. Consider your branding, your logos, your other ad campaigns and images and then integrate those idea into your blog. Using already existing ideas and language also helps alleviate the stress of creating a blog language from scratch. Bigelow’s brand thoughtfulness in regard to its blog pays off in a well-written, great-looking and fun-to-read blog which lines up perfectly with the rest of the company’s image.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Urban Outfitters

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I’ll say it: Managing blog content day after day can be a difficult task. Coming up with engaging and dynamic content on a regular basis takes a lot of creativity, persistence and stamina. The very thought of having to create new blog posts every day is enough to scare many companies away. But we’re here to tell you it can be done. More than that, company blogs can be terrific reads and incredibly fun to create. Just look at the blog of hipster clothing emporium Urban Outfitters. This entertaining and sassy blog is chock full of great ideas that just might inspire your own blog.

From pot culture and music festivals to the latest 20 something-marketed films and fashion trends, the Urban Outfitters blog looks like a Tumblr and reads like Nylon magazine. Urban Outfitters isn’t just selling skinny jeans and overpriced hand painted sneakers, it’s also selling a lifestyle, so the blog is designed as such. Too cool for school? Sure. Too snarky and self-aware? Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter what we think. The blog succeeds because of its great content, strong brand messaging and wise editing. This blog knows its demographics and writes only for them.

The photos, blog design and videos are pitch perfect for Urban Outfitters customers. The blog also features interviews with celebs and Urban Outfitter employees alike. Interviews make for great blog fodder and are something any brand (regardless of how cool you are) can add to your blog.

Video chats with employees, email Q&As with product designers and interviews with favorite customers are just the tip of the iceberg. Why not interview conference attendees, local celebrities and artists who shop at your business and fellow leaders in your industry? The best blog interviews are short and easy to read, which means interview questions can be emailed days in advance and published to your blog whenever. Just make sure your questions are interesting and give your interview subject a lot to talk about. A few well-placed interview posts can help turn your blog into something all the cool kids want to read.

 

Great Posts vs. Lots of Posts: Which One Wins?

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“Content! It needs more content!” is something we blogging-for-business experts seem to bark endlessly. We preach this message primarily because we’ve seen first hand how brands can transform their web presence by creating lots of dynamic blog posts. The more content, the better, right? Sort of. Blogs with spammy, uninteresting posts and websites with tons of poorly-written content aren’t doing brands any favors. Then again, neither are the brilliantly-written but never updated blogs we see out there. So we wondered if, once and for all, we could answer the burning question: When it comes to blogging, what wins — quality or quantity?

In a perfect world, the search engine super solution consists of blogs that have lots of great-written posts. Super blogs like Huffington Posts and Mashable have seemingly unlocked this formula. Consistently ranking in the top five most-read blogs on the planet, these two powerhouses are highly read — but that doesn’t mean every story is a winner. Recent headlines tracking celebrity sideboob and online cat videos prove that even the big dudes have bouts of lameness. But what keeps these mega-blogs on top is the never-ending output of new posts. After all, the No. 1 killer of company blogs, hands down, is the inability to keep up with new content production. So it’s better to have lots of something than tons of nothing and therefore quantity wins, yes? By default, sure.

But don’t count quality out entirely. We are in no way giving you a hall pass to create tons of crappy blog posts. Quite the opposite. Brands that want their blogs to be taken seriously have to do both — produce lots of content which is also interesting to read. The quality of your content — whether it be on social media accounts, your product descriptions or your blog — should be a top priority. You are, after all, using digital marketing to introduce consumers to your company and therefore want the impression to be nothing short of awesome.

Blog Marketing Basics: Social Media Synergy

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There comes time in every blog content management strategy when it mixes with our social media management strategy. Not to worry; this a totally natural merging of two separate but similar worlds. Social media is a perfect channel to promote our blogging-for-business efforts. Posting links to our latest posts on Facebook and Twitter is something your brand should be doing already (if you’re not, please start — now!). But maybe social media marketing can help our blogs even more? Our final look at Blog Marketing Basics involves putting social media in the spotlight to find new ways to put these popular platforms to work for you.

Believe it or not, there is social media life beyond Twitter and Facebook. Posting your blogs on these sites is incredibly simple and takes just minutes. Thanks to dashboards like Hootsuite and TweetDeck, your blog posts can get scheduled out days in advance to reach your Facebook and Twitter followings with very little stress or effort. But why stop at Twitter and Facebook? Study after recent study shows that consumers are interacting with brands of all sizes on different social networks. Promoting your company blog on Tumblr, for example, takes just a few minutes. Being a unique mix of social media, image sharing and blogging platform gives Tumblr extra oomph for promoting blog posts. Embedding existing blog posts onto your Tumblr takes a little finagling, but is a breeze once you get the hang of it. This post by Social Media Examiner gives a great tutorial on how to do it.

If, perchance, your business’s blog is filled with awesome photos or nifty ideas, then Pinterest is a natural place to pimp out your posts. We talked about Pinterest last week, but it’s worth another look for your blog, especially if your company is all about visual marketing. Posts with eye-catching photos should be pinned right away. Pinterest users love passing it on and can really keep links alive a lot longer than most social media sites. Google+, LinkedIn and social blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger are more great channels for blog posting, depending on your consumers and followers.

In the end, when it comes to blog marketing on social media, it really is about throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Religiously and thoughtfully posting your recent blog brilliance on social media will, in time, bring readers to your blog. You just have to put it out there.

Readers, now it’s your turn: Tell us what blog marketing techniques work for you in the comments section below!