According to estimates by the Blog Herald about the number of blogs out there on the Internet in July 2007, the UK puts out 2.5 million blogs, but the French are ahead of us with 3 million.
The US figures are vague – between 15 to 30 million blogs. World wide, we are talking 70 million.
Blogging is not a fad – it is here to stay and growing fast, and there are good reasons why.
Blogging is the next big thing and has emerged, almost overnight, as not only a great way to network and communicate ideas, but also as one of the easiest, fastest ways to increase web site traffic and boost search engine rankings in the UK or the USA. This is great for SEO and generating additional web pages, as the search engines like Google and Yahoo love getting fresh content on a regular basis.
Internet Marketeer David Van Sertima explains that when this is done with the right formula, such as having a customised, integrated and optimised blog, all of those hits and higher search engine rankings convert to earnings.
People who are “in the know” can earn hundreds, even thousands of extra money for their company from their blog. What is most striking about Blogging is that a person can accomplish this regardless of whether they have a business online or a brick’s and mortar business.
Blogging is a great, informal way to keep in touch with your customers and subscribers, where they can even leave comments and feedback for you.
But what are the real marketing advantages of using this medium?
In his blog on Web Strategy, analyst Jeremiah Owyang believes that “many marketers get social media wrong, they apply traditional marketing tactics (yelling) to the new tools, and miss the biggest opportunities – letting customers tell the story for them.”
Companies like Intel are applying it to events, interacting with customers in communities such as Open Port, hosting blogger dinners, have a presence in SecondLife and are creating many videos and podcasts. For the most part, Intel gets it right, social media is being used by a wide group of marketers, and with varied levels of experimentation.
Jeremiah agrees that of course there are risks in letting you clients talk about your company openly. “But with it comes rewards of authentic testimonials from customers, nothing is more powerful than that. Negative feedback? Consider it free customer insight, where you can then use it to fix your products, and come back to customers and show them the impact they helped you make. Develop a comfort zone by setting expectations up front to management and internal teams.”.
On the good side, if 25% of a customer base prefer your services, let them sing your praises to the other 75% via blogs and social networks. “The company should be a supporter, echo and amplify customers, not force them into a corner.”
You can have blogs that are Integrated, Customised, Optimised and Interactive.
By way of example, at CertainShops we have created two blogs – one as a way to catagorise and collate all the excellent business articles we publish so that you can access them as a free resource. The second blog covers more general, work/life balance topics. If you take a look at them you will see that they have been branded to be part of CertainShops, customised to our requirements, optimised so that Google will like them, and most importantly, they provide a platform for our users of the site to interact with us and share their views and questions with others.
So if you are starting to think that using online social media would be a smart move, or you want to make your exising online marketing work better for you, you could consider doing two things:
One – take time to create a full integrated marketing strategy with measurable outcomes, and make sure that your blogs and online social networking are serving the values and vision of your business. Nik Butler specialises in this area and can give help and advice on creating a online social networking strategy.
Two – make sure your blog represents your business well. You can do this by:
Creating a customised blog, that looks like your website.Getting Your blog integrated, so that it sits on your website server, so any visitors will be good for your main website as well.
Optimised your blog, so that it can be found on the major search engines.
Allow your blog to be interactive with clients and potential clients.
David Van Sertima can do all of this for you, and more, since he is also skilled in the use of Google adwords and all forms of search engine optimisation.