Media Hints, Part 2: Back to basics with blogging

December 3, 2009

I realised the other day that it’s been six years since I managed content for my first client’s blog in the UK. How the blogosphere has changed since then – and in some ways, it has remained exactly the same. Here are a few thoughts, hints and tips around blogging, and why (I believe) blogging will always be one of the most effective online content tools available.

Blogging has become synonymous with online communication in the modern marketing mix, but for many marketing managers, setting up a blog can still seem to be a risky, unprofitable decision. The main reasons to set up and run a blog include:

* Become the established authority in your sector: an effective blog can, over time, give a company or individual market share and set them up as the thought-leader in their industry through the blog posts and direct interactions with customers.

* Blogging enables the marketing department or individual to identify opportunities: a well-monitored blog can offer insights into forging new customer relationships online, and via great content, to also convert interested readers into raving fans.

* Search engines love bloggers: because content is updated regularly on blogs, the search engines value blogs and will reward page rankings accordingly – as well as generating inbound links to a blog.

* Search keywords can be placed: regular content into a blog is the ideal opportunity to place industry keywords into the content, adding further value to the microsite and assisting your positioning online. And for free.

* Great blogs all point somewhere: and this is usually to the company’s or individual’s main website, where readers can find out more about services and products. This saves a huge amount of time, effort and budget on less- effective methods of attracting visitors to an online presence.

* Your competitors are doing it: it is likely that your competitors are either blogging, considering blogging, or are watching your blog and wishing they had been the first to dominate the niche online.

Blogging history

Given the scope and power of a well-managed blog within your marketing efforts, it’s worth a potted history of blogging. Context is everything. The rise of blogging merits attention.

Back in early 2000, American corporates such as General Motors and IBM started looking at ways of engaging their customers more directly, and also to utilise a huge online resource in the shape of customer feedback and insight.

Companies such as GM and IBM lead the way, introducing corporate blogs packed with information, one-on-one dialogues with the audience, and increased their online readerships rapidly.

These corporate blogs became significant online presences in their own right, attracting thousands of clicks per week and generating an incredible pull back to the main websites of the blogging parent firms. More importantly, as reputation-builders, blogs were unrivalled.

Different audience, different message?

The movement of corporate blogs from America to Europe (and the UK) has been of the slow and educational variety. It wasn’t until 2005 that British firms got on board the blogosphere and started to experiment with instant, relationship-enhancing blogs.

The pick-up of UK blogs remains uneven, largely due to the perception by marketing managers that blogging as a marketing tool requires a huge input of time and effort for very little tangible return. This is not the case.

A well-written, engaging, transparent, honest, reader-centric blog is one of the most dynamic and powerful tools available.

Measurable, dynamic, powerful

Blogs, like any other web-based marketing medium, are painless to monitor and measure. The main platforms, Blogger and WordPress, offer analytical tools which provide a huge amount of information to marketers regarding visitor stats, page links, trackbacks and associated detail.

Blogs have taken off since 2008, and the proliferation of company blogs currently in existence is mind-boggling: according to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report:

‘The blogosphere has continued to expand, and we are now beginning to learn more about what powers the blogging community. Though growth has slowed, bloggers are apparently becoming pretty savvy at making money while pursuing their blogging interests.’

In terms of statistics, 133 million blogs have been tracked by Technorati between 2002 and the end of last year. This number is almost double the 72 million tracked as of March 2007, and it appears that the growth of new corporate blogs has slowed alongside the rate of new blog posts on blogs. As is so often the case, audiences are favouring quality not quantity.

Blogging enables the marketing department to identify opportunities.

Quality not quantity

Quality is always linked to content, and the most popular corporate UK blogs such as Innocent Drinks and Virgin remain focused on providing their readerships with innovative, up-to-date, engaging content – regularly.

The result is that a well-written, engaging, transparent, honest, reader-centric blog is one of the most dynamic and powerful tools available in the online arsenal of communications mediums.

Conclusion

Blogs provide an important element to any online marketing campaign, and due to the nature of their conversational, open, transparent format, many customers find them of significant added value in their perceptions of the parent blogging company.

Are you ready to blog?

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6 Responses to “Media Hints, Part 2: Back to basics with blogging”

  1. […] Media Hints, Part 2: Back to basics with blogging […]

  2. lucythorpe said

    I too enjoyed this post and would like to hear more. Do you use

  3. lucythorpe said

    Apologies my computer is playing up.
    I would like to hear more, do you Twitter/ accept e-mail subscriptions ?

    • bristoleditor said

      Hi Lucy

      Pleased you’re getting value from the blog! You can also catch me on twitter @bristoleditor

      Best wishes,

      BE

  4. […] Top tips for journalists Blogging: The Bristol Editor goes back to basics on blogging and provides some good advice on how you can use it effectively to communicate with your audience. Tipster: Judith Townend. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver […]

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