Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category
What terms someone can use your content? Can they post your articles on their blog? What if the blog is commercial? What if they don’t give attribution? Can they share it on Facebook? What about printing out copies to give to friends?
If you don’t have a clear, ready answer for these questions, your visitors won’t either and that, in turn, means they will make mistakes. Whether they are taking liberties with your content you don’t approve of or avoiding sharing content in ways you do want, they will make mistakes with your content and hurt its chances of being used properly.
As such, you need to quickly and easily convey to your readers what your rules are regarding your content if you ever hope for them to be followed.
Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t think about content licensing and the issue doesn’t come up until they find their work on a spam site or plagiarized on another blog. By that time, however, it’s often too late as the situation is likely already out of hand.
This makes now, before there is a problem, the time to think about content licensing as tomorrow may simply be too late.
The Internet has made our society the trendiest in the history of the world. New companies, ideas and ways of communicating rise and fall within months, if not weeks or days. Even our cultural linchpins, memes, are best-known for their short-lived nature.
This is a dangerous trend for bloggers and a nearly impossible environment to work in. If you’re trying to establish a blog that will be here in five to ten years, the trendy nature of the Web is a maze of dead ends that you can not afford to get lost in.
Unfortunately though, many bloggers do just that and they pay for it dearly. They hitch their sites to services that go nowhere, put their blogs on hosts that close down and generally run their sites into walls while trying to catch waves.
If you’re trying to build a blog that lasts longer than your average fad, this is not a pitfall you can ignore and one you have work very hard to try and avoid.
As you write content and participate in online conversations to directly and indirectly promote your blog, you need to understand the difference between two fundamental marketing theories to ensure you’re publishing the type of content and comments that will help you reach your blogging goals.Â Those two theories are push marketing and pull marketing, and they’re at the basis of all marketing strategies.
Following are overviews of both push marketing and pull marketing, so you can see the underlying differences in the types of communications and content you should be publishing online to market your blog effectively.
1. Push Marketing
Push marketing works exactly as the name implies.Â Businesses (or you as a blogger trying to grow your blog’s audience) push messages to consumers in an attempt to pique consumers’ interests in a product or business and make sales.Â Most often, the business controls push marketing strategies and has a very specific end goal in mind.Â Traditional advertising is a form of push marketing where companies try to craft messages and images that will motivate consumers to take an action such as making a purchase. Similarly, pushing a discount message out to your audience via Twitter or another form of social media is a push marketing tactic.Â Consumers may not have asked for such a discount, but you’re pushing it in their direction with the hope that they’ll be motivated to make a purchase. Read More
If you want your blog to be successful and still have an audience in a few years, then you need to focus on quality, not quantity.Â Building a successful blog that has a lifespan longer than 12 months and an audience that continually grows depends on your ability to put long-term sustainable growth above short-term traffic spikes.
While it’s always nice to publish a link bait blog post and drive a burst of traffic, more often than not, the majority of that short-term traffic disappears faster than it appeared.Â However, if you devote your time to pursuing activities that position your blog for organic growth, you’ll be able to reach your ultimate blogging goals.
Think of it this way:
It is it better to have 10,000 Twitter followers who follow you and then disappear (i.e., they never retweet your content or engage with you again) or 1,000 Twitter followers who actively engage with you, converse with you, retweet your content, and so on. Read More
If you’ve read the previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, then you’ve already set up your blog and your other branded online destinations and interlinked them to surround consumers with your content.Â Next, you need to begin creating shareworthy content to begin creating your reputation as an expert and the go-to-person for information, discussion, and questions related to your blog’s topic.
Creating your online reputation can’t be done from a silo.Â In other words, you have to branch out across the social web and get involved in the ongoing conversation.Â Imagine you’re at a crowded party or business networking event.Â If you stand off in the shadows or alone in a corner, you won’t make the connections you need to advance your social life or career.Â Instead, you need to dive into the conversation, introduce yourself, and add value.Â The same rule applies to creating your online reputation. Read More
So far in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, you’ve learned what marketing is, what branded destinations are, and what brand positioning is.Â Now, it’s time to link your various branded online destinations so you can effectively surround people with your branded experiences from which they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand.Â Ultimately, all of these destinations should lead back to your core branded destination, as discussed in Lesson 2.
There are a wide variety of ways that you can use to link your branded online destinations, which I discuss in my book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, and I’ll touch on a few of the heavy-hitters here in Lesson 4 of the Blog Marketing How-To Guide.
First, make it easy for visitors to your blog to find you across the social web by prominently displaying links to your various social media profiles in your blog’s sidebar.Â You can use social media icons to draw attention to your other branded destinations.Â Alternately, you can include links to your most recent updates and activities on other branded destinations using Facebook and Twitter widgets.Â There are even tools and WordPress plugins available to help you stream content from your YouTube channel, Flickr profile, SlideShare content, and more directly in your blog’s sidebar or footer.Â Not everyone likes to read a blog, but if they find your blog, you don’t want to lose them. Therefore, it’s essential that you offer different ways to interact with you and find your amazing content.Â Don’t bury those choices!Â Instead, prominently display them on your blog.
Second, make sure your blog and Twitter content are available in your social networking profiles.Â Use the tools available to you in Facebook and LinkedIn to automatically update your profile, page (for Facebook), and groups (if groups allow the news feature in LinkedIn) with your most recent blog and/or Twitter content.Â It’s just one more way to offer your amazing, shareworthy content and give people another way to interact with you and your brand.
Third, make sure all of your branded destinations offer a clear way to get to your core branded online destination.Â That could be through a link in your bio or profile, sharing content, or any other method you choose.Â The point is to make your core branded online destination easy to find from any other branded destination that you maintain.
Fourth, use a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically feed your blog content to Twitter.Â Take a few minutes to set up your autofeed with a compelling introduction and shortened URL that you can track.Â Twitterfeed offers these options and more.
Fifth, don’t forget to lead people to your branded online destinations (particularly your core branded online destination) from your offline communications and marketing efforts as well.Â For example, be sure to include links in your email signature line, on your business card, on your invoices, and so on.Â If there is an opportunity to include an extra line of text with a link to one or more of your branded online destinations in any communication you create, add those links!
Again, theses are just a few key suggestions to help you begin interlinking your branded online destinations, but it’s enough to set you up for long-term blogging growth and success.
Stay tuned for the next lesson from the Blog Marketing How-To Guide coming next week here on BloggingPro!
Read previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-to Guide:
There is a reason why niche blogging is such a hot topic.Â I include an entire minibook about niche blogging in my book, Blogging All-in-One For Dummies, because it’s a topic that bloggers hear all the time but don’t fully understand.
The Internet is a very cluttered place, but you can stand out from all that clutter by establishing your niche and offering amazing, shareworthy content and conversations related to that niche on your blog.Â In simplest terms, a niche is a very specific area of focus. Believe it or not, the concept of using very focused blogging to give yourself an edge against the competition is not a new one.Â In fact, there is an entire area of marketing and branding that is dedicated to this very concept.Â It’s called brand positioning and by establishing your niche in the blogosphere, you’re positioning your blog brand against all the other sites and information available online.
Branding theory teaches marketers that a highly focused brand is more powerful than a broad brand.Â The same is true for your blog.Â The more focused it is, the easier it is for you to carve out your niche in the crowded online space and become the go-to person for your blog’s specific topic.
In other words, by choosing your focused niche, you can position your blog as different from others and offering some form of added value that other blogs are not delivering.Â For example, if you write a blog about gadgets, are you writing about every kind of gadget known to man?Â If so, you have a lot of big, popular sites to compete with.Â However, if you narrow your focus and contract your brand to position your blog as the source for information and commentary about iPhone apps or another more specific topic than the generic gadgets topic, you’ll be better able to compete in the online space and set your blog apart from all the other blogs and websites out there, particularly those with deeper pockets and more manpower.
The key is defining your niche and patiently and persistently establishing your position in that niche so there is no confusion among the online audience about your blog’s purpose and what they can expect to find there.Â A key part of building a brand is meeting consumers’ expectations for that brand with every branded experience or interaction.Â That rule applies to your blog just as much as it does for any other brand in the world.Â Create those expectations and then deliver on them consistently to build loyalty and your own band of brand advocates across the Web.
Up next in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide – Linking Your Branded Online Destinations.Â Stay tuned!
Read previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-to Guide:
In Lesson 1 of the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, you learned what marketing is and why it should matter to you as a blogger.Â Lesson 2 teaches you how to get started with building an online presence and developing a brand that can benefit you in the long-term and help you reach your blogging goals.
One of the most important common features among powerful brands is their focus on creating branded experiences that surround consumers with opportunities to self-select how they want to experience that brand.Â You can do that with your own brand online thanks to the many tools of the social web.Â The trick is creating a core branded destination to act as the central hub for all of your activities.Â In other words, your goal in all of your social media activities should always be to gently nudge your audience back to your central hub.Â Think of it this way:
All roads lead back to your core branded destination.
I talk about this extensively in my upcoming book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing.Â In fact, the graphic shown below is taken from that book and gives you an idea of how a business (and if you’re using your blog to either make money or grow your company or career, then that blog is a business venture) could set up its own core branded destination in the form of a blog with all other branded destinations leading back to that central hub.
While your conversations and content across the social web might vary (and it should in order to effectively communicate with different segments of your audience who are likely to want to hear very different messages from you), your audience should be able to easily find your core branded destination where they can discover all of the additional information about you that they might want.
In other words, don’t re-tell your story everywhere and anywhere.Â Instead, tell a snippet through your content and conversations on other sites (including your own secondary branded destinations), but always make it easy for the audience to travel over to your core branded destination.Â This allows you not only to build more meaningful relationships with audience members, but it also allows you to have more control over conversations.
Building relationships with your audience is essential to blogging success.Â Relationship brands are the most powerful brands in the world, because when people feel connected to a brand emotionally, they will vocally advocate it and defend it, which gives you an amazing amount of word-of-mouth marketing for your brand, blog and other branded destinations.
In other words, an integrated marketing and branding strategy is critical if you want to grow over the long-term.Â Don’t allow your audience to get confused.Â Instead, allow them to create expectations for you and your brand through consistent communications and an easy path to your core branded destination where the party can really get started!
Keep in mind, your core branded destination doesn’t have to be your blog (although for most bloggers it will be).Â It’s up to you to choose which of your online profiles or destinations you want to set up as your central hub.Â Just remember, that core branded destination should be the place online where you can tell your complete story, continually add value to the online conversation, build relationships, and share your messages.
Stay tuned for Lesson 3 in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide Where I’ll talk about positioning your blog against all of the other online destinations that people can choose to visit each day.