Blogs are about sharing a real voice. An honest voice. And honest voices have steadily lost their place as marketing and advertising today has become much more about "advertainment." The Superbowl, the world’s shining example of Advertainment is just two short weeks away. Yet blog marketing, done right, offers the chance to add something that has long become missing from most marketing efforts … the honest voice. As word of mouth marketing becomes more and more popular, blogs are taking their place as the most visible and potentially far reaching channel for word of mouth marketers to use. As with any emerging channel, there are also emerging rules of the road. Marketers that violate those risk bad publicity, or worse – retribution from a tightly knit community of vocal andopinionated individuals.
A few thoughts on what works:
- Be honest. Without honesty, no blog marketing effort will ever work. People find out about deception, and bloggers love to reveal it and vilify those who attempt it. In the world of blog, honesty has it’s rewards.
- Become a part of the community you want to reach. Nothing fails worse than an outsider coming into an established community and trying to sell something without offering anything else. If you care about reaching a community of influentials, read their blogs, post comments and launch your own blog in this world. Be a part of the community and you can count on honest feedback, and help from bloggers in spreading your message.
- Don’t be afraid to say if you’re selling something. Dancing around it, or trying a Nike swoosh style of subtle brand advertising doesn’t work with blogs. If you want people to try something out or help you spread the word, ask them. You’ll be surprised how many will take you up on the offer.
- Give ’em something to talk about. Getting past the "who cares" threshold requires having something interesting to talk about. Controversy is interesting. New ideas are interesting. Exclusive access to information or products is interesting. The more you can offer, the more buzz you will generate.
- Maintain and foster your relationships. Comments, trackbacks, blog posts can all be dead end communications – happening once and then fading away into online archives. Keeping new relationships fresh helps you to tap into these streams of influence on an ongoing basis. It is sometimes too easy to focus on a big bang blog strategy that gets a few big hits and then disappears.
3 thoughts on “Marketing with Blogs”
Very good and very timely, Rohit. I have been having some discussion about the possibly corrosive influence of PR on blogs. The conversation – particularly on Robert Scoble’s blog – has been about giving or lending bloggers products and services to try. As is the case with regular journalism, inevitably the PR is hoping the blogger will say good things about their product. I just wonder how resistant bloggers will be to the corruptive influence of freebies.
My particular interest is in blog marketing and the travel industry. So here is my (rather rhetorical) question. How often will the “honest voice of the blog” stay pure and unsullied when faced with lure of a weekend in a five star resort?
A very relevant question, particularly with the growing influence of individual opinions on people’s travel decisions. I think that the same phenomenon that has propelled eBay to success will start to play a larger role here. Integrity can be compromised secretly, but reputation is a public thing – and something that will continue to matter heavily to bloggers. Ultimately, we have to hope that the best moral guideline will come from bloggers wanting to protect their own personal reputations.
Good point but in the newspaper world, it takes a lot – something really major – to dent a columnist’s reputation. Certainly something more than writing nice things about a free trip. I wonder if, eventually, A list bloggers will become similarly bullet proof or if the blogosphere will police them more closely.