While using single marketing tools can be revolutionary and powerful, combining multiple tools really brings out the best in each tool. Wheels are tremendous things, air conditioning is wonderful and everyone loves a comfortable seat, but simply having all three isn’t the same as having an automobile.
The same holds true of an online branding campaign. If you treat it as a bunch of distinct tools, you will gain some effort from it, but not as much as if you combine all these elements into a distinct and coherent system that meets your branding needs. Each tool can accomplish a different task, of course, but they all must be used in the service of brand promotion and name recognition if the campaign is to succeed.
Part of good online branding is building an audience for your blog. This requires an operation within a campaign… its own system of efforts built into the larger structure of the campaign as a whole. In order to do this, you must take advantage of tools such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks if you want to build your audience steadily and profitably.
Method One: The Blog
This may seem obvious, as there isn’t a lot of point to doing promotions without something to promote. However, the content you promote must be worth promoting if you want to succeed. There are many sources promising to take any content out there and promote it successfully. These people are known as hucksters. For every one in a million story of someone’s blog about stream of consciousness writing, one can find hundreds of failed blogs.
Therefore, focus first on producing solid, quality content. The audience can wait – the Internet isn’t going anywhere, trust us.
Make sure the blog’s author is passionate about the subject and committed to a regular update schedule. Build up a posting buffer of a full week consisting of topical but timeless pieces such as opinion articles or reviews that won’t necessarily be dated immediately upon release. On the other hand, be ready to quickly adapt a story and post a quick update if something in the news pops up that affects the topic of your blog. Above all, make (and keep) the content entertaining, insightful and consistent.
Method Two: Twitter
Twitter is a natural second step for a cross promotion effort. The format is perfect for providing a link and a short message about the blog, as well as for getting the information in front of your whole Twitter audience quickly.
The key here is to develop the ability to summarize in clever and topical ways. Do not make the mistake of simply putting up a link. That’s a waste of time – people have interests that they’re already pursuing, interests that you have to interrupt to get their attention.
Develop a talent similar to lede writing from print journalism. Find a way to quickly punch in the important who/what facts that you want to get across.
If your blog post is an interview with a local author, include his name, the fact that you interviewed him and his book title along with the link to the interview. If your post is a news story about something touching on your brand’s domain, consider something such as “for fans of…”
Also, take advantage of habit-building behaviors by updating your Twitter feed at the same time every day. In the first case, this will get people used to checking it at the same time. In the second, it means unscheduled announcements will seem that much more noteworthy.
Method Three: Facebook
While people still have the broad perception that Facebook is for teenagers looking to find friends on the web, its real strength lies in the fact that it can easily combine various media into “snippet” packages for people to observe.
If your blog has a video component, you can link the video on your Facebook page. This allows people to watch the video and follow the link to your page at their discretion.
Additionally, you can post the first excerpt of your new blog entries on Facebook, giving people a teaser of the relevant information without spoiling the whole story.
Finally, Facebook has the ability to bring groups and hobbies together. If you find a group on Facebook that seems to be a natural audience for your brand – and do not force this, ever – consider joining up.
Method Four: Remember All-way Traffic
It’s been said before, but it cannot ever be stressed enough: The web is not a one-way street, and it is not even a two-way street. It is an all-encompassing omni-entity that can and will spread word about the things it loves and the things it hates to every corner of the globe. You have to be willing to cooperate with this effort, or your brand will be mocked and dismissed. Participate in the communities you join, don’t simply join and throw blog links at them. Join the discussions, share ideas, comment on others’ videos and provide links in your blog to pages you like.
If you prove yourself a good neighbor on the web, people will notice and you will benefit. If you simply try to take advantage of communities for your brand without cooperating in the effort, then you have no business using the web for your brand.