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“Marketing with Corporate Blogs”

May 19th, 2009 by

John Cass presented “Marketing with Corporate Blogs: Customers are willing to talk if you are willing to listen,” at the New England Expo. I’m his intern so I am pretty much forced to go- but I am really glad I went. Here are the cliff notes in case you missed it.

John started with three numbers; 78, 62, and 92.

78 million baby boomers

62 million Generation X, which live in the shadow of theBaby Boomers

and 92 Generation Y who are changing the landscape of business and media

John explained that these Generation Y digital natives grew up with the internet, social networking and blogging. He posted statistics (John loves numbers) that people got only 10% of their news online in 1995 as opposed to 2005 when people got 60% of their news online. The changes in media have created problems for internet users, but companies who work to solve these problems will go far with customers. Today, people need to cut though an incredible amount of information on the internet, are bombarded with many interruptive advertisements, and hold a natural distrust for corporate messages. Instead, John advocated for permission marketing, which, as Seth Godwin put it, means sending people information only if they want it. But, to become a resource for customers and connecting with Generation Y online, you need a strategy using content marketing and social media engagement using social media platforms like blogs.

This begs the question; what makes for compelling blog content? John gave two examples of good blog content; Microsoft’s Scobleizer and Indium’s Dr. RonLasky.

The culture of Scobleizer fostered a culture of openness about Microsoft because it had both criticism and excitement about products, featured voices from inside and outside the company, and it changed customer’s perception of Microsoft for the better. Dr. Ron Lasky’s blog on Indium had great transparency because he talked about his granddaughter, archery, and his work at Indium which added a human element to a stiff and untouchable company.

John said to think about four things when starting a blog:

1. Time: Understand the level of commitment needed to start a blog, read what is going on in the wider community, and comment on other blogs regularly.

2. Dialogue: The key to building trust through authenticity is fostering conversations between bloggers and community members.

3. Entertainment: Write with a style and personality that brings readers back to your page. (Here is when I apologize for the lack of punchy humor in my last three blogs.)

4. Content: Use compelling content to engage a Generation Yand your audience, because what works for Generation Y will work for the Baby Boomers and Generation X.

Why blog, you ask? Blogging is a content marketing strategy that combines search engine optimization tactics with social media to bring interested organic traffic to your website. Blogs are perfect for how the ecosystem of the web works because they are indexable, have compelling content, and foster links between sites in the natural course of dialogue in the community.

To create a blogging infrastructure, John said to create a blogging plan based on goals (sales, SEO traffic, customer support). Do a blogging assessment based on keyword research, blog rolls and tools for research and monitoring. Also, he said it was important to keep the company culture and capabilities in mind when creating a blog.

His biggest success example was the NokiaN90 Blogger Relations Campaign where people wrote about the campaign and phone on their blogs. The worst example was DellHell, the Buzz Machine, where one blogger ruined Dell’s reputation.

John left off that the main thing is to remember that blogger relations is not media relations: it is a conversation and community management. The goal is not to get out a message, it is to engage and sustain evangelists and community members. Be a human.

One Response to ““Marketing with Corporate Blogs””

  1. […] measures success by comments, RSS subscribers and traffic. But as I found when I began writing for corporate blogs, measuring the success of blogs written as part of a content marketing strategy is very […]

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