Blogs - Diamonds In The Rough?
Blogs are a potential diamond in the rough for your businesses marketing effots. The material posted on an ongoing basis to blogs are a veritable gold mine of insights for readers, provided by business leaders, market leaders, innovators, philosophers, marketers, political commentators, and many other opinion makers who never before have enjoyed such easy access to a simple and unmoderated public forum in which to share their opinions, ideas and insights.
These leaders have taken to using the Internet to publish their thoughts for the same reason they make public speaking appearances; to build credibility for themselves and for their company, and to become recognized as a resource, usually with the expectation that it will lead to sales. Blogging presents them with an easy, non-time consuming, and inexpensive way to quickly reach thousands of interested parties all around the world.
The effect that these individuals have had in posting their thoughts and musings online has helped evolve blogs into powerful viral marketing tools. Blogs allow you to quickly and easily reach people who are not in your direct network, and greatly expand the number of people you and your company reach.
Are you an expert in your field? Do you know things about your favorite subject that you would like to share with others? Do you write articles for newsletters, like this one, and want to help the publisher expand their reach? Then blogging may be right for you, and your company!
Have you never looked at a blog? Are you sure? A lot of articles and content on web sites is currently blogged. But if you are looking to see what a blog is, here are some interesting ones to look at.
If you want to start your own, and your company doesn't offer one, try these tools, and link to them from your site:
While sometimes you can find blogs that are interesting, some of them simply are not. Some are downright silly, or just meandering, obtuse, commentary with little purpose or benefit to anyone, except maybe the author. For them it's almost a release - just writing to get things off their chest! This usually happens when the author / contributor either has nothing of interest to say, or has nothing to add to the facts they are reporting.
However, blogs that are maintained for extended periods are more often than not, filled with interesting and often humorous commentaries. That's to be expected; the person blogging is enjoying seeing the world, and allowing you to share in their vision; it reflects a joy for living.
So how are blogs a diamond in the rough, ready to be polished and turned into a gem, capping a marketing gold mine?
You might be surprised, but many people have found ways to make money off their blogs, just by making sure it's up to date, interesting and relevant.
Just like any other web site, blogs allow for traditional Internet revenue streams such as affiliate programs and banner advertising, etc... Now, I don't know that you can add a Google adsense banner or any other banner for that matter to your blog if it's third party, but if you are hosting your own, the possibilities are enormous. But that's just one way to earn money from a blog. The best way, is to have it lead to new sales for you and your business.
But for any of these monetary systems to work, you need people to find your blog first.
How Visitors Find Your Blog i.e. How You Can Make Money Off a Blog
As you are building your blog, you need to be conscious of other web sites, and blogs. Remember, yours is not alone. If you read something interesting somewhere then "blog it." In more traditional terms, just link to it. Link to a lot of other blogs and news sites. The people who run blogs, also tend to read their own web site traffic reports, and will notice the traffic your blogs are sending. They will read your blog, and if they find it interesting, they will blog it. If you see a news story in another blog, link to it as your link to the article.
Some people maintain a list of their favorite blogs within their own blog. It helps paint a picture of what the author finds interesting, and also helps your blog gain goodwill from other blogs.
When I first created my blog, one thing I did was submit it to a bunch of blog search engines. I used:
* Blog Search Engine
* Blog Catalog
* Ice Rocket
Some of these tools crawl the blogs hourly - so your content will get out there quickly. Others take longer; just like the mainstream search engines!
Many independent blog tools, automatically offer RSS/XML feeds of your blog. You just need to ensure that they are turned on. They make it easy for you to get syndicated.
I saw a note recently that there are now over 4 million blogs around the world with a new blog being added every 10 seconds or so. By comparison, there are 10 million new web pages being added to the Internet daily - or 116 a second. This means that blogspace is less crowded than the rest of the Internet.
So, what are the disadvantages to building and maintaining a blog? Well, they vary from individual to individual, and company to company. But here are my thoughts:
1. You need to contribute regularly. I notice some people make updates many times a day. That's wonderful, but it's also a time commitment.
2. You better have something relevant to say. If you don't keep it interesting, people will not keep coming back for more!
3. Does the person writing your company blogs have good writing skills? Are you happy with the quality of grammar and vocabulary?
4. Are you, or is the person writing the blog for your company, representative of the company's perspectives? Do they enunciate a coherent vision of, and for, your company? That's a risk you take when you assign a blog to someone else. If it's your own blog, are you the right person for the job?
5. Does the blog offer a valuable perspective, or just some ramblings?
In the end, the value proposition in a blog is the same as in any other content you or your company publishes. Is the content valuable? Is the information worthwhile? If not, if you have nothing to say, or add to a conversation, don't speak. Do you enjoy the company of people who just speak to hear themselves? Probably not. If a blog leaves you with that same feeling, then it's probably not going to be successful.
But, if you consistently maintain an interesting blog, people will recognize it, and you. That's where the real value proposition, and the opportunity to make money off a blog lies. The real value in blogs is in getting your word out. If you have something meaningful to say, and the better you do it, the more likely someone is to reference your blog, and eventually your corporation's web site. This will lead to increased sales. Just don't expect it to happen overnight.
I would highly recommend that you have some sort of publishing strategy for your business. Whether it ends up being a blog, or writing newsletter articles as I have done here, sharing good, coherent information with interested parties will help you and your business build credibility. Publishing will go a long way towards building your professional reputation, one word at a time.
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About the Author:
Richard Zwicky is a founder and CEO of Metamend Software. Metamend's cutting edge Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technology and software has been recognized globally as a leader in its field. With successful clients on 5 continents, and over 50 countries worldwide, the company has experience in a broad range of markets and marketplaces. Metamend's client web sites rank near or at the top of the search engines for their respective search terms.
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