You are now in marketing: the content perspective

Do you have a blog? Have you told all your friends about it yet?

Chances are you’ve done both. In case you’re not a marketing fan, yes, you were marketing your blog. You may think “well, I haven’t told anyone yet because after all I’ve only published two posts and I’m not sure they’re that good”.

Tell you what: you are not off the hook for being too modest for marketing. I didn’t advertise this blog when it had only two posts. So you’ll get over it too I expect 😉

At some point you will:

  1. find out who wants to read (or even buy) your stuff
  2. make a plan to get them onto your blog (“I really should ask all my friends and colleagues” is enough of a plan for a non-marketer)
  3. go do it (stick to your plan)
  4. watch what happens next to find out what works and what doesn’t so you can:
  5. change what you’re doing until it does work.

If you’re doing the marketing jig for the first time and this is actually your plan you’ll be happy to know you won’t blow a hole into a 40M budget if it all goes pear-shaped 🙂

Let’s see what marketing tells you about your blog!

Outbound marketing

Traditionally, advertising your stuff in all forms has worked a treat – and it still does, to an extent. So by all means tell people about your blog.

Marketing prism: multi-faceted subject
Marketing facets:
Which is your favorite angle?

There are a few issues:

  • Relevance. If you’re looking for a title like “4 novel ways to wear sandals”, you don’t read this post even if it’s in your mailbox. Serendipity alone does not overcome “Not this, not now, not ever”.
  • Ever wonder why companies don’t ask you after 5 years or so if you still read their mails? Maybe they don’t want to know? Keep in mind to ask your subscribers after a while.

The balance is shifting to inbound marketing

We (as consumers) are morphing into ‘inbound traffic’ as we speak, calling and emailing when we‘re ready. Even if you’re an old school marketer yourself, I’ll bet you’re no different when you’re on the buyer’s seat. Companies are trying to steer us after we hit their radar, some more successfully than others.

Marketing match-making

An article I read a few days ago mentions 4 ways outbound and inbound marketing can work together. I’ve filtered the marketing talk out:

  1. Re-use the best stuff on your blog and send a “top 5 posts of the season” in a newsletter to your readers and everyone you think might be interested who’s not yet visited your blog.
  2. After you meet someone at an event, don’t send them a standard ‘nice to have met you’ email: mail them (part of) a post on your blog (or someone else’s) about a subject you discussed. Or put the link in your request to connect on LinkedIn. Make whatever you send worthy of the recipient’s attention. Come on – you want to be relevant, don’t you?
  3. Your emails, ads, LinkedIn profile should all give readers a chance, and if possible a reason, to visit your blog by following a link provided by you. A link, mind you, to a post that is relevant for anyone who just read your email, ad, or profile.

The article I just referred to leads you to a single destination which it fails to mention:

Content marketing

With all the writing on the web it’s no surprise I found an article while I was drafting this post that asks the question what’s so special about content marketing.

It focuses on the fact that:

High-quality content that is super relevant to readers will end up winning the game.

A couple of hundred articles on the internet will more or less tell you this, so you’re excused for not being completely amazed.

Relevance sounds too obvious, doesn’t it? But it means different things depending on what you’re looking for.

If you’re not a marketer but you do think you ought to get interested, this post may be just about as much as you can stomach (or too much). A pro might have left after the first glance if he/she even bothered to click the title.

What can you do for your blog right now?

A few examples for you to chew on:

  • If you’ve spent the past year business blogging like a maniac without seeing the kind of results you were aiming for, you may be doing something wrong in marketing terms. Perhaps you’re relevant for other people than the group you tried to reach. You either find out using marketing basics like the 5-step list above, or accept that your blog is really a personal blog – not a business blog.
  • If what you’re doing is Pinterest-on-a-blog, and if you’re getting exactly the types of response you might get on Pinterest if you upload a picture of a pretty dress (don’t get me started – I’m a ‘business’ user), you are definitely selling products but probably not ideas. If that wasn’t your goal when you started blogging, it’s time to change tactics.

Brian Clarke (a.k.a. Copyblogger) said during a recent presentation: content marketing is a bit like stand-up comedy. You get an idea, you try it out on your audience, you find out what they love and what they hate, and then it’s “dial up what works, dial down what doesn’t”.

If you blog, I hope I’ve given some idea of the marketing jungle out there. If you’re an experienced marketer I hope my post was entertaining 😉 Either way please comment. Suggested further readings are also welcome!

+ If you found this post to be of interest, please share it.

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