are millions of blogs
AOL recently launched AOL Journals to capitalize on the current popularity
of blogs. What exactly are blogs and how can you use them as a marketing
tool for your business? That is the focus of this newsletter.
Blog is short for weblog. A blog is an online journal that is typically subjective and opinionated – not polished and edited like most business communications. A blog contains commentary as well as links to related content and other blogs on the Web.
There are standalone
blogs and hosted blogs, with the latter being more community oriented. A
standalone blog is a software application that is installed and operated
in your own environment. Movable Type
is an example of a standalone blog
application. The hosted blog exists on a Web site where the hosting and
configuration details are handled for you. There is much less involved
with getting a hosted blog operational. Blog*Spot
are two popular blog sources. According
to the NITLE Weblog
standalone blogs tend to be the highest in terms of
An active blog is usually
updated daily and it is this sense of immediacy along with the informal
presentation that generally construes blogs as being honest sources of
information. Bloggers, or the individual who maintains a blog, can be
powerful in influencing the decisions of the reader.
Tips & Techniques
On their own blogs will
not serve as the foundation to an entire marketing campaign, but they can
make valuable contributions to and extend the life of your marketing
efforts. As blogs mature and new, quality products are introduced into the
marketplace so to will the marketing opportunities
- Search engines favour regularly updated content, which make blogs
very attractive. Blogs that link to your Web site and get indexed by the
major search engines can effectively increase your link popularity.
Google in particular likes links and blogs are full of links!
Keep in mind that an active blog can be a source of targeted
traffic to your Web site in itself. It is important to note that a
typical blogger wants to share information with the reader base and as
such will provide links to other blogs and Web site resources if they
offer value to the reader.
- Blogs spawn viral marketing. If you are operating a blog that is of
interest then people will share it with others or even launch their own
blog to offer their own commentary. As can be expected, not everyone is
going to share your point of view. People will not always have good
things to say about your commentary or your business, but that is a part
of blogging that goes along with the territory.
- Blogs used in the business environment open a channel of
communication with your employees, existing customers, and potential
customers. This creates a new interactive touch point with your target
market that can be used to harvest honest feedback from customers and
help you with product improvements and future marketing campaigns. This
is an excellent opportunity for companies with products or services that
are particularly specialized in nature or in an industry where this is
little media coverage.
- Blogs can be used to lengthen the life of your newsletter or
electronic publication. You can create a link directly from your
publication to a blog where a conversation with your target market can
- Blogs represent an immediate means of publishing information. You
may issue a newsletter once a month, but should you wish to communicate
with your target market on a whim a blog provides you with the perfect
launch pad to do so.
- Perhaps you regularly field questions on a popular or controversial
topic. Rather than read and respond individually to hundreds of emails
that come in, the creation of a blog will save you time and increase
your reach with your target market. In this example a blog can be a
significant traffic draw for your Web site. Not to mention, it adds
- Including a Blog on your Web site can help position your company as
a topic expert in its field. This boosts the credibility of your
company, plus it gives employees a chance to shine.
is a good opportunity for companies offering complex products or
services. It is a value-add that can be executed to obtain a competitive
advantage online, which in turn could lead to your next sale! On January
13, 2003 Jupitermedia Corporation announced the launch of Jupiter
Research Analysis Weblogs. This is a great example of a blogging in
use in the professional environment.
- Many bloggers sell advertising sponsorships. If you are considering
placing an ad on a blog then first consider its reach, frequency, and
targeting capabilities. I am not convinced that there many worthwhile
blogs offering advertising opportunities, but it is a marketing
opportunity to investigate.
In summary, I do not see
blog marketing as a sole source of targeted traffic in itself; I see it as
a value add opportunity that can support your ongoing marketing
initiatives. Blogging is a means of communicating with your target market
and if it fits with your business objectives then you should certainly
consider it. Many members of the media publish blogs as a means of
providing online commentary.
Tools & Resources
Check out the following
Web sites that feature blogging solutions and resourceful
Blog Software and
Blog Resources and
- The Microcontent
News Blogging Software Roundup
- As The Blogs
Churn (Blog usage statistics)
- BLOG Resource -
Demystifying what a BLOG is and how to best use
- Blogging Resources
: Books, Tools, Sites
- Blogging Resource
Links (lots of articles, tools, and reviews)
- NITLE Weblog
- Lblogcount - How
many blogs and bloggers? How big the
- blog - a
Visit my Web site at http://www.susansweeney.com