Blogging for Brand, personality, customers, ideas
Blogging for Brand, personality, customers, ideas is a real necessity in the current context. Social media are all becoming paid models. Digital ‘clutter’ increases, and paid ads content brings lower, than expected, results. Google has become a tough game, to stand-out. So, you need to focus on your own media space and especially invest heavily in Blogging. For your own web Space, Voice, and Difference. It pays out in the long-run.
Blogging for Brand, personality, customers, ideas
Since 2007, in PR agencies and in-house, the first advice to my customers was “…and a blog-post“. It was coming from within, as a self-reaction to the realization that internet isn’t a fad, it’s here to stay, and so, ideas need to spread. It was 2007 when I’ve started my first blog, treating it of course as a mere own notepad of thoughts on Leadership and Innovation.
We were already miles away from the ‘mass media’ practice, which as I know first-hand handling more or less 500 million euro ad budget, was delivering limited sales growth, and low perception correlation and results. When I moved corporate in-house the routine suggestion was still there: “let’s blog” for employer brand, company’s thought leadership, vision campaign and customer marketing.
I was explaining to every Brand and Campaign owner, that awareness is fine, but only followers, dialogue, and advocacy will take your business and message to the next level. Everybody was nodding, like my advice was accepted; like “I know what you mean“. But they all returned to their 90’s mass-marketing routine and actions.
After 10 years, in 2017, I was proven right
In 1999 there were 23 blogs on the Internet and by 2011, 173 million (Statista). Technorati now says that every 7 seconds a new blog is created around the globe! Kids, schools, gamers, experts, corporate teams, brand managers, digital agencies, device-reviewers, journalists, influencers, VC’s, consultants of any kind, and brand offerings off-and-online are blogging every day!!
In the last decade, blogs have become an integral part of our online culture and an important tool. Even with the introduction of social media channels, blogs remained a relevant tactic.
Blogging today extrapolates terabytes of shareable Content marketing and it even progresses ahead with the new forms of vlogging and podcasting. Sound and Video and Words all together create a chaotic clutter. You can find valuable ideas, bullshit-clickbait-ideas, fake news, and internet ‘scams’, but this is how the world communicates.
People in search of ideas want to learn more, wish to get what do you stand for, and if you stand for this X thing for long. This is the intro-equation of credibility, respect, and thought-leadership. From an engineer prototyping an innovation, up to a food blogger for healthy living advice.
Blogging is an investment in stamina, belief, and (many) hours
My customers who didn’t blog were primarily lazy to do it. The brand managers who didn’t do it, assigned all of their sales’ hopes to the paid and earned media and their agencies. And the agency teams that didn’t, unfortunately, didn’t have much to contribute to the profession. It’s a serious investment in stamina (doing it over-and-over), in your belief that it worths the effort, and it takes many, many, many hours.
I’ve restarted blogging again in 2017 and now I know that it is a full day business. The process is: google trends, keywords, interests, title, intro, body-copy skeleton, find the sources, find the right picture, edit it, size it, write, correct, adjust length size, preview, check sources, and upload. To write a worthy blog post, you definitely need 5 full hours, even if you have planned your editorial calendar.
Why should I do it, since they don’t read?
Now, let me wear back my advisory suit to answer to this my suspicious reader… Yes, the internet is jam-packed. Attention is perhaps the most expensive (and tough) thing online. According to published (and my own) analytics, people read for 7-8 seconds, let’s say, the 30% of your blog post (basically photo, title, intro and second paragraph).
But all these, my distrustful friend, are excuses. If the content is compelling, then browsing shows a completely different behaviour. Example: the #borrowmybrain new blog gets visited for 2,3 minutes max, in its first two months. But when it comes to the blog post Insights, Content Marketing, Skills form Brand experiences the duration was raised in 9.56 minutes. You see? The online world is dynamic…
If you don’t blog, you don’t own any web, mental, perception, dialogue, community place in the digital era. So, what do you stand for? For what issue, product, solution, or experience you wish to be seen as unique and Trusted? As simple as that! And if that question pertains a Brand, what else are you my dear brand, other than promotions or press releases? Why should I follow you?
My last argument is, that people online search for themes, subjects, keywords; they don’t look for brands per se anymore. It’s the peer-to-peer behaviour and the education they get from marketplaces, devices, apps, and recommendations. It’s time to leave behind the tactics that worked yesterday.
Should I blog with my existing external communication content?
The answer is NO. You can’t simply adapt your online campaign title and a paragraph into a blog post. Although Content creation is the sine qua non of online success, you can’t just fool around with Content adaptation. They need your advice, opinion, something they didn’t know, give them an answer.
If you want to speed up things and save time from your blogging, then the question is whether there’s a type of web content that is “one-size-fits-all?” Many times big companies churn out high-quality content in adapted forms of a blog post, infographic, video, social messages, as a tool for lead generation. It is basically the same Content, re-packaged… Doing this, they know that using a one-way approach to content creation, in today’s age of big data and visual culture, will take them nowhere.
Stimuli to discuss and share
Cisco doesn’t just have one blog — it has over a dozen, boasting an entire network of an industry- and tech-specific sites geared toward its various customer segments. It’s a smorgasbord of content produced by Cisco employees that covers everything from new division hires to marketing tips and insight into trade news. With this amount of material, many blogs would be at risk of overwhelming their users, but Cisco’s unadorned, utilitarian design gives its customers everything they want and nothing they don’t. Sometimes, the best blogs are those that don’t let bells and whistles detract from the good content.
Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s known for her ability to distil and convey complex ideas with humour and clarity, in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience. She’s the author of many books. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold almost three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. She’s been interviewed by Oprah, eaten dinner with Daniel Kahneman, walked arm-in-arm with the Dalai Lama, had her work written up in a medical journal, and been an answer on the game show Jeopardy!
GE also offers a number of blogs, but it takes a very different approach when it comes to delivering content. For this company, blogging is about telling a visual story. Its data visualization blog is my favourite, providing infographics of its turbines, medical imaging equipment, surveys, and stats.
By leveraging visual media, the brand highlights innovation and showcases its products in a memorable, meaningful way.
John & Sherry! In their blog, you’ll find nearly 3.000 free DIY & decorating projects and updates, from painting & home improvement to crafting, organizing, furniture makeovers, & more. They entertain, provide solutions, partner with companies, and their hobby has become a strong voice in the DIY segment.
When is a blog more than a blog? When it becomes a community. The American Express OPEN Forum aims to help grow and sustain small businesses, but it’s also a social forum and a hub for shared knowledge. The site reads as an online magazine, with posts split into content sections like marketing, leadership, customers, and money. Readers are encouraged to join the community and share their thoughts on stories. Video supports social sharing functionality in making the blog feel highly engaging for its readers.
Clean My Space is your destination for all things home cleaning related, including DIY house cleaning products, home organization and decluttering ideas!
The Danish container ship and supply vessel operator Maersk knows how to tell a good story online. On its Maersk Stories blog, the company uses it as a publishing platform to share stories about retrofitting ships to reduce CO2 emissions, and how its employees work to help important causes. Through superior copywriting, Maersk connects stakeholders with its corporate culture, mission, and people. Users can search content by category (Maersk Oil, Technology, Sustainability, and so on), and all posts are easy to read and share.
Today’s world requires a different leadership style – more collaboration and teamwork, including using Web 2.0 technologies. If you had told me I’d be video blogging and blogging, I would have said, ‘No way.’ And yet our 20-somethings in the company really pushed me to use that more.
John T. Chambers
You have a point, but I’m not into selling
Irrelevant. In the global community’s search, your “digital ID” is your own, permanent, credible, rounded, profiling, and opinion space. Your website, your blog is seen as the official-You area. It’s not the same as commenting or sharing something on social media. Here, it’s me and #borrowmybrain. Judge it as a whole, but this is the Brand, the belief, the Idea, the movement.
You can blog for sales, or for connections. You can blog for presenting the antiquities of a tourism destination, or for a social cause. You can blog for how to raise your kids, or for teaching sports’ techniques to youngsters.
You can blog about the secret ingredients you cook with, or you can blog for culture. But for any reason, be there, stand for something, help others stay close and add value.
Your blogging purpose: Them!
Write for them. I’m writing now for you, as my blogging teacher did for months. I had the privilege of being part of a closed community called BlogSuccess created by the Greek mom-blogger AspaTsamadi.com for Greeks and Cypriots. She was working on Content for the students. She was responding to Q&A’s and Facebook Lives for our development problems. But she was doing it for 10 years, and her blog was my Trust criterion to click-to-buy her blogging lessons. For 10 years, every single day.
Start thinking how to gain this valuable Trusted perception in your field. It will be a game-changer. AT&T started blogging with tremendous discipline. I have them as one of the best case-studies because they report biannually above $40 million from blogging (their ‘door-opener’ to influencers, community, sales leads, and co-creation partnerships)
Blogging for Brand’s personality, customers, and ideas is a real necessity in the current context. Social media turn users to paid models. Digital ‘clutter’ increases, and paid ad content brings lower, than expected, results. Google has become a tough game, to stand-out. So, you need to focus on your own media and especially invest heavily in Blogging. For your own web Space, Voice, and Difference. It pays out in the long-run.
I’m the CEO, but I don’t have resources to blog
Aha! My dear CEO, we all want (and expect) YOU! before all others, in your company, to blog. You should lead by example. I remember the impact when Hans Vestberg, Ericsson started microblogging internally: engaged employees, proud teams, strategy adoption and so many more goodwill effects.
In the latest PWC 2018 CEO’s survey (always a valid stimulus for understanding the context and think of future changes), CEO’s reveal a mix of issues with increasing worry about broader societal developments: geopolitical uncertainty, climate change, ethics impacting changes in consumer behaviour.
This leads me to my final thought: all positive human, social, and market opportunities, but worrying challenges as well ask for Leaders, like YOU, to take a stand. Be open, charismatic, and people-caring. Show what you believe. Drive influence to media, analysts, shareholders, authorities. Now, I’m being conceptual: take a stand as a product, as an influencer, as a person who adds to the public dialogue.
You’re a CEO of something that should matter: a better product, a new idea, a social inclusion response, an ethical financial reporting process. Tell the world how you lead. They will follow. It will influence the internal engagement of your company’s employees, their adoption to your strategy more times and intensity than any in-house organ does.
I’ve asked my agency to ‘ghost-write’ and they aren’t good at…
I know what you mean. You’ve just sent them an “OK” e-mail to blog for you, and the poor the young community manager of the agency was assigned to write without knowing the brand strategy or scope. So he will be blogging for events’ reporting, for an announcement, for something trivial. That’s what usually happens, or at best a technical product manual is attached in .pdf.
Hear me out, as a long-agency guy: “garbage-in, garbage-out” when it comes to Briefing for any project. That was the opening quote of a former Unilever global chairman speaking to its Brand managers, for marking the importance of briefing and guiding right the global agency teams. When you have inferior or incorrect materials, information, instructions, etc., at the beginning of a process, will yield inferior or incorrect results.
It is true: there is a gap in between Brand teams and agency digital teams; they speak a different language. It’s a gap of know-how, a gap of different tools, scope, and a huge gap in proper cooperation, to say the least. So, blog yourself. Once a week, it doesn’t need to be more. Assign colleagues to blog on their expert function, or in their opinion. Turn employees into Brand ambassadors.
Final advice: blog or ‘perish’
A blog is entirely under your control. Establish strong and for long your own media channel. Make it the hub of connections with the various shared social media, partners, PR activations, internal communication, customer marketing for your company. Your own media have less risk than being only on social media (read my Facebook algorithm changes post and you’ll understand).
Boost SEO and traffic. Your blog post is an indexed page more. It leads attention to the company/brand / personal website and the content can be shared with others. I know that Google has become a tough challenge, but it’s your company/brand/profile after all! Companies who blog get 97% more links to the website.
Blogs drive Brand affinity and meaningful interactions. Blog for awareness, expertise, entertainment, or a product. But add value: write for the “how-to”, and the “why” of your audience. It’s for them that you’ve started communicating in the first place.
Blogs are another Brand experience and touchpoint. Besides offering insights into your company values, and Culture, blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online info. According to AdWeek, the 63% of people claim they would buy from an authentic brand. Are you an authentic Brand? Can I search on your blog to find things I care about?
It’s time we take seriously the brand online presence and our Content marketing efforts. From an online retailer, up to a policy-maker. From a blogger for funny stories, up to personal sales’ effort. Make it a strategic, long-term, reputation and engaging corporate and communication DNA-based strategy.
It’s not enough to buy clicks, people should “buy-in” your promise. Trust me and do it for your brand’s personality, your customers, and ideas. Be vocal, loud, and contributing. We will al be in favor of such Brands and Personalities.
This post is also available in: Greek