Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blogging and Social Media - Content is King (Part 2)

If you read Part 1 of “Blogging and Social Media - Content is King” on our blog the Week of November 5, you know our take on blogging surrounds the fact marketplaces are breeding grounds for interactions, and marketing is foundational upon participation. In short, B2B and / or B2C marketing involves engaging with customers, rather than merely marketing to them.

Continuing in the process of building and maintaining truly beneficial blogs, business professionals stand a good chance of developing new and stronger relationships with customers and others who can reflect well upon business objectives. A solid business blog accomplishes a few important goals. To start, a blog that is oriented for B2B or B2C purposes provides a voice for a company, one that allows for ongoing, open conversations between the persons behind the blog and those who turn to the blog for information and engagement. With that in mind, blogs that provide valuation encourage customers to use or follow the content as it yields new conversation threads. In due course, well-planned and managed blogs offer a nontraditional, nonthreatening platform for free-form dialog. This ability to connect with people whom might otherwise be unreachable leads to guiding positive brand perceptions and addressing customers’ predispositions and assumptions.

However, there are still many businesses not taking advantage of blog relations simply by implementing their blogs as if they are the usual form of marketing communications. Yes, that old familiar norm of marketing is to push-out the message to the customer audience. You know the type: newsletters with one-way offers of specials and discounts; direct mail cards with two-sides of written information but sent with one-way intentions; print brochures featuring written copy infused with hoped-for calls to action. Now, before thinking we do not endorse the aforesaid means of marketing, let it be said all of these marketing forms have value, to be certain. Though, today’s marketing calls for a more communicative and forthcoming information exchange.

In terms of modern marketing, it is no longer sufficient for all assemblages of promotion to be based upon outgoing messaging. With social media and its easy, fast access to everything under the sun, customers now expect to be enabled to interact with their favorite brands, retailers, product manufacturers, growers, designers, etc. They have questions and needs, and they demand answers and solutions – quickly. And, what is wrong with that? - Sounds good to us. How about you?

Whether your company has a blog or is considering one, we recommend consistent development and maintenance with a predetermined B2B and / or B2C approach. Conversely, stray from the usual mentality that every blog post must come with a specific sales offer. Blog content that helps companies connect with their customers – on emotional and supportive levels – leads to augmented exchanges between the two. Liken this to a verbal conversation with a group of customers or industry peers at a meeting or trade show forum. At times like this, you converse peer to peer and share practical experiences that bring about a sense of unification. In the same manner but with a different format, business bloggers can open the door to building trust in their brands, products and companies. By writing and posting blog content that avoids sermonizing or the mere administering of information, companies can simply supply helpful intuitiveness to customers. Facts, figures, trends, ideas, and suggestions are all needed and coveted acumen from which customers can benefit. And, you can contribute all of this as well as participate in the resulting online discourse. During the process link back and forth via other helpful and relative social media channels, connecting the dots of inviting and accessible communication for your company and customers.

Of course, even the best laid blog plans can go awry given busy schedules and business deadlines, so keep your blog on course with a schedule of activities, assigned content to colleagues, and, most of all, collaboration with management and staff members. If you take the necessary time to plan based on your customers’ needs, applicable blog content will become more easily evident. Following through, concentrate upon open-ended subject matter that produces discussion and dissection of multifarious topics of interest. Ultimately, when dedicating your blogosphere responsiveness toward the manifestation of listening, observing and sharing, you play the coveted role of emcee or moderator. And, your customers will slowly but surely desire to partake in the conversation.

~ Don

2 comments:

  1. I just read parts 1 and 2. Our business is a combo of lawn and garden products- both manufacturing and retail. I agree blogs are important and need to offer good information to many audience members. Hard part for us is content that covers all the different customers and needs but this information was a good help.

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  2. Hi Charles, I saw your post and wanted to tell you right away not to feel alone with the issue of diverse content. Working to write and post targeted blog content as well as interact with bloggers across various markets and product lines is not for the faint of heart, I like to say. While it takes true dedication, which it sounds like you well know, it is very possible. A suggestion: Try to subdivide your blog posts spanning your market segments. A calendar or schedule outlining posts for each segment, all products or collections, and your multiple market groups' concerns or touch points can help break-down the effort. We find once all of this is scheduled, with of course some level of spontaneity for good measure, the rest is simply knowing and "talking" with our peers, clients, the media, etc. Best of luck with your ongoing blog. Let us know if we can help in some way.

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