In a Business Week article from February 2008, blog tracking firm Technorati Chairman David Sifry said that his company indexed about 112 million blogs, with 120,000 new ones created each day. Were you one of them? He clarified, however, that of those millions, only about 11 percent of them actually included new posts.
Sifry contends that about 99 percent of blogs aren’t delivering useful information (e.g., a mom blogging about her kid’s first day at school, spam blogs), but that still leaves a healthy helping of new blogs sprouting up every day that are gathering readers, fans, and potential leads for the businesses that have committed to using this viral marketing tool. As a blogger, you could (and should) be promoting your business and your ideas to existing customers and employees as well as prospective buyers.
Blogging is not a fad. The phenomenon that Sifry cited is still gaining momentum a year after Sifry quoted those statistics. So, what are you going to do with this valuable information?
If you’re like me, you don’t like to hear yourself talk too much, let alone put your thoughts on paper (or computer screen in this case) for the entire world to see. But isn’t that the point? You want to spread your ideas to build your platform as a resourceful and innovative VAR. Blogs, done correctly, can do this for you.
When blogging started to become popular in 2005, I know I was one of the skeptics who thought, “Who would want to just listen to someone’s random thoughts?” It seemed that blogging was either self-righteous, self-serving, or politically motivated – none of which appealed to me. I deemed this task to be time-consuming and very low on the ROI scale. But now, blogging has gone mainstream. Visit the site for any established company and you’ll likely see a blog page there. You have to ask yourself, if it didn’t work, would they all be investing their time in blogging?
Blogging should be an integral part, if not at the forefront, of your web and marketing mix. Blogs will change your world. Here are a few reasons why you should leap onto the blogging bandwagon:
- Blogging provides a casual way to communicate with your current customers as well as potential new customers. The conversational tone allows you to initiate and engage in a discussion in a very soft-sell manner, where you can showcase your strengths, products, and services without screaming “buy me!”
- The personal touch helps to cultivate relationships that will, in turn, build loyalty between you and your customer.
- A blog where your customers and visitors can interact with you presents the exceptional market research tool to actually learn what your customers need and then use that information to deliver the goods. Your customers are happy because they have found instant solutions, provided by you!
- Blogging involves very minimal investment. Some blogging sites are free; others may charge a fee. Ultimately, though, you want to have your blog on your website to benefit from search engine optimization. The major investment is your time in being vigilant about writing and posting your blogs. Frequency and consistency is key to success here.
- SEO and blogging go hand in hand. Search engines are looking for websites that are constantly being updated with new content and useful information. Be sure to incorporate tags and keywords in a relevant manner. These are simple words that people will use to search your topic on Google or Yahoo! Updating your blog frequently (every two to three days) and creating topical tags will garner a higher search engine ranking.
Statistics show that more and more adults are using the Internet and paying attention to blogs. Consumers use the product reviews from bloggers to assist in their buying decisions. They either bookmark their favorite blogs or receive them daily into their email via RSS feeds. Blogging is an opportunity to reach out to the masses, yet make it personal. It builds credibility about you and your brand and positions you as a thinker, leader and a resource. Your thoughts will become a direct link to increased leads and sales. And in this tough economy, blogging is one of the economical ways to market. You can’t afford not to blog.
A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.
Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)