How Can Blogging Help My Company Grow?
It is an indisputable fact that the world's economy is moving
more toward the online model of exchange. Amazon and Google stand
as icons of companies that began as small projects, only to grow
into massive successes, largely due to the successful marketing
of their services. The question then arises, how can a small
business take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Web
in order to make a profit?
Same as it Ever Was
At its core, online marketing follows the same principles as any
other means of marketing - a provider has a product or service
they wish to sell, so they advertise in order to draw potential
customers' attention to the information they've put together.
Just like television commercials, online marketing has to be
creative and informative to truly catch the attention of the
discerning customer. We've all heard of popup and banner ads
that do nothing but hog resources and annoy potential customers
rather than attract them to the product, and that result is
hardly healthy for any business.
And Now for Something Completely Different
One method that sidesteps the click-away tendency is the use of a
blog to market the product. Blog is a shorthand term for web log,
and refers to a serial, online journal or record intended for
regular viewing. Examples of blogs include noncommercial ventures
such as personal diaries posted to Livejournal, the daily record
of campaign events for the more tech-savvy politicians, and
'hobby' blogs that cover an activity such as cooking or model
airplanes. However, they can also include outright commercial
ventures, such as a blog intended to promote a new product,
consisting solely of video posts explaining the various
advantages to the new product.
It's Easier Than Herding Cats
Some blogs strike a balance between these two extremes. Consider
the highly successful LoLCats website. This site began solely as
a hobby, posting humorous images of cats. However, due to
effective word of mouth promotion among people with similar
interests, the site grew quickly, spinning off additional sites
and generating an extraordinary amount of advertising revenue.
The site has grown so much that Time magazine reported the
company was purchased for two million dollars in 2007.
Now, this result is obviously not the norm. For every cheezburger
success story, there are thousands of blogs that toil on in
obscurity, accomplishing nothing at all. The differences can be
many, but they can be boiled down to concerns relating to
Give it the Old College Try
Let's say that a user named Ron has a passion for low budget
college cooking, and wishes to make money writing about it. Ron
starts a small blog, using the popular Wordpress blogging system,
and begins posting two or three times a day. He posts recipes,
money saving ideas, and 'bet you didn't know' material,
building a decent sized archive. To get an audience, Ron begins
visiting and participating in cooking and college related forums,
mentioning his blog and its goals to his audience, gathering new
users with patient, active efforts.
Eventually, Ron takes two steps toward commercial success when he
monetizes the blog through an advertising revenue program (such
as Google's AdSense), and by using the blog to promote his new
eBook, "Collegiate Cuisine". To hook readers, he promises not
only recipes he's already included on the site, but special tips
on inexpensive ways to get cooking tools and a few new recipes he
hasn't shared yet.
Will this model work? Perhaps. If Ron is too pushy, he might turn
people off to his product before they ever come to his site. If
he's too timid, his message will get lost in the tide of the
Internet. If he chooses poorly in the ads he allows on his site,
users won't click and the ads will generate no money. So the
second key is research and careful attention. Ron and other
blogging marketers have to study the market, pay attention to
peoples' needs and input, and adjust their presentation
But is There Any Money in it?
To return to the point that there is money to be made in
blogging, one would be remiss not to pay attention to the
successful Problogger. In the classic 'make money teaching
others to make money,' tradition, this is a blog that makes its
revenue by teaching users how to make money through professional
blogging. Many other sites, such as FreelanceWritingGigs, swear
to Problogger's integrity and efficacy and the site does provide
a great deal of information. So there clearly IS money to be made
in the blogging-as-marketing world.
Back to the Basics
The key to blog marketing is the same key to any business
venture, appropriateness. The savvy businessman will evaluate
their entire business, and do the research to determine if
blogging is a vital addition to what they're trying to
accomplish. Blogging allows for a wider audience than local
advertising, which could lead to expanding into nearby cities, or
shipping to distant locales. It is an option that should
seriously be examined, and approached with the same degree of
research and caution as any business venture or proposal.
Enzo F. Cesario is a Copywriter and co-founder of Brandsplat.
Brandcasting uses informative content and state-of-the-art
internet distribution and optimization to build links and
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