Why the “Reasons Your Company Shouldn’t Blog” are Bogus

Recently someone sent me a link to this article:

Top 10 Reasons Your Company Shouldn’t Blog

They thought the article raised some good points – and it definitely does. However, the conclusion I draw from these points isn’t that companies shouldn’t blog, but rather that companies need to find cost-effective blogging solutions.

Blogs definitely don’t pay off instantly, but over time they are great for boosting search rankings and building relationships.

Some stats from an awesome powerpoint you should check out (http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/marketing-charts-graphsdataapril2010slideshare):

  • Companies who blog have 55% more web traffic than those who don’t.
  • B2C companies who blog generate 88% more leads than those who don’t.
  • B2B companies who blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.
  • Companies with >51 blog articles experience a 77% lift in median monthly leads.

How to Have a Successful Blog

Companies should hire a skilled blogger/blogging company/ad agency to write the blog. That person/company needs to figure out what will interest the audience and how to deliver the company’s messages in ways that will be engaging – this is already our job as advertisers.
The best way for a company to integrate a blog into their online campaign is to:
  • hire an outside blogger
  • identify a small group of people within the company who needs the blog who stay up-to-date on industry news & trends.
  • each of these people can send an e-mail once a month to the blogger with article ideas.
  • the blogger can then compare the ideas with their keyword research, and check out online how viable the best ones are.
  • then the blogger writes and markets the thing.
  • this should happen AT LEAST once a week.

Ideally, an internal blogger would be hired or the ad agency the company already uses would be skilled enough to perform the blogging so that they can ensure the blog is integrated into all possible components of the marketing campaign. However, this won’t be financially feasible for many companies.

For companies in such a situation, I’d recommend hiring a good freelancer by posting an RFP on a site like Elance where you can check the writer’s credentials, samples and references. I don’t think it would be a stretch for a company to get a really good weekly blog for under $150/month.

Oh – and this article is absolutely correct that the blog WILL NOT produce results quickly and IS NOT a substitute for advertising. The blog is an investment that will pay off over time if it is properly integrated into a solid online marketing campaign.

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Express Makes Entire Catalog Shoppable On Facebook

With the crazy weather in Central New York, we girls have gotta wear long pants about 10 months out of the year. Booooo. This brings me great annoyance because I have freakishly long, skinny legs and can’t find pants to fit me. I’m sure by saying that it seems like I’m trying to highlight a positive physical attribute in a phony endearing self-deprecating kind of way – but I’m not. I’ve got an odd bod.

ANYWAY, I turned 30 in March but I abandoned the idea of shopping at Express long ago. Their brand is just a bit too sexy for me to identify with (again, odd bod). But I recently discovered that the pants at Express run long and some of them actually fit me. Plus, they’re called things like The Editor, The Journalist, The Columnist, and The Illustrator. I can identify with that.

So, in short, a few weeks ago I became an Express fan.

Then, Yesterday, I became a fan of Express on Facebook – but for an entirely different reason. An article posted  on Mashable informed me that Express began selling its entire catalog on Facebook. They’re one of the first major U.S. fashion retailers to do so.

Of course, I immediately had to check this out and see how it works. And it is awesome. There’s loads of potential in this initiative to build brand advocates. Some of the things they allow users to do (without even having to ‘Like’ the page):

  • Actually make purchases.
  • ‘Like’ articles of clothing.
  • Make wishlists.
  • Recommend items to friends.
  • Post purchases to wall.
  • Post comments on items.

And the list goes on.

Express’s shopping tab is definitely a great use of social media and I’ll be interested to follow how it works out for them. I expect to see Express’s competitors following soon in their footsteps and to see more Facebook clothing shopping options popping up soon.

The only question is, will anyone other than a few teenagers and sorority girls actually make use of all the social media features Express is offering? Given the fact that Express’s demographic is composed of trend and style enthusiasts, I think the sharing options will work out great for them. But would it work for other clothing brands?

Part of the appeal of Facebook is that users get to cultivate an online image and feel like they can control what others think of them. So I’m wondering: will shoppers be too vain to allow themselves to look vain? What percentage of shoppers would feel comfortable saying to all of their ‘friends,’ “I just bought these 3 tops” or “I wish I had this dress.” It’s kind like broadcasting to the world, “I care about what you think about me” and some might just find that to be embarrassing.

I got to thinking about this because my husband has this quirky, adorable habit of pointing out any new item of clothing I might be wearing if we’re hanging out with people. And I hate it. To me there’s something very private about buying clothes but again, maybe that’s just me. How would you feel if your significant other suddenly asked a group of people, “Do you like my wife’s new pants? They’re called The Editor?”

Facebook Deals is Here! (Well, not actually here in Central New York.)

But, as of today, it is launched in San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego. And social media marketers are calling it “the Groupon killer.”

How does it work?

Users who opt into Deals are geo-served deals via e-mail and news feed. Each deal has its own FB landing page, and users can “Like” it, or buy it immediately with a credit card or – here’s the kicker – FACEBOOK CREDITS.

Mashable said it best yesterday when they wrote that Facebook is “paving a smooth path between a virtual currency and real-world goods and services.”

CRAZY!

My Favorite Social Media Blogs

It’s no shocker that there are thousands and thousands of social media blogs out there. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:

TopRank Online Marketing. The writers of this blog have been around the block and their ideas are always backed by solid research and interesting case studies.

Web Ink Now. Love his writing style…and he always seems to be ahead of the pack.

Jeff Bullas. This writer loves lists. And so do I. And therefore I love his blog.

CK’s B2B Blog. Killer use of multimedia. This blog is one to follow if you’re looking for B2B info.

Robin Dickinson. Another blogger recently wrote that this blog “is in itself a social media case study.” This guy really knows how to run high-powered conversion-focused online marketing campaigns.

Karen Swim. For some reason, I always leave this blog in a good mood. And always with new ideas or a better understanding of something important. Those qualities, to me, equal a darn good blog.

What’s so great about Twitter?

This is a bulleted list that I ranted off the top of my head in an e-mail. Sorry if it is confusing! Someday I’ll revisit and make a proper article of this. 🙂

I love Twitter because:

  • The more I use twitter the more personalized it becomes because Twitter will dish up people it thinks I will like based on who I’m following and what information I seek. Plus, I weed out what I don’t want.
  • All the information I want (want being the key word) comes right to me in one stream. There could be something from a comedian I’m following, a couple of articles from a news source I like, a bunch of different articles on children’s lit that might be useful for my blog, the special at Nola’s, parenting and seo articles, etc all on one page. And it’s not watered by a bunch of stuff i don’t want because i can delete anyone who is posting things that don’t interest me..
  • I get connected with people who are actively interested in very specific things I am interested in, and we have discussions on it. For example, I have another blog about children’s poetry and lit. I’m connected with a bunch of people on twitter who are also interested in this and are constantly blogging about it so I am constantly getting fed current information. Plus, people use hash tags to mark specific conversation topics, so i can type in or click #kidlit or #poetryshare or something and will find all the comments anyone on twitter has made about the topic recently, whether i follow them or not.
  • Many of the people on twitter want to be followed by a lot of people, so that gives them the motivation to provide quality content. The better the content you put up, the more people will share it with their followers and the more followers you’ll get.
  • You can gauge how you’re doing and how useful the information is to the people you’re targeting based on how many people share it. Experimenting like this allows you to learn what kinds of messages and information your people like. Plus, trying to get more followers based on the quality of my info challenges me to constantly be creating quality posts.
  • Being connected with a group of people who know about things you are interested in gives you access to answers. If you have a question, you can put it out to your followers. and then they might come back with an answer. For example you might say: “has anyone had any success in getting FB followers by building custom facebook tabs for clients?” They will type back:  “@mpwdubbs: yes, i have. got tons of followers for a pizza place and a toy store recently.” you will see this because there is a tab that allows you to see mentions of your name. or they might direct message you for your e-mail address so you can
  • It’s nice that you are only allowed 140 characters. it would be too overwhelming with more.
  • It’s less personal than FB, but can be more personal if you want it to be. the focus is more on information sharing than anything else.
  • it is a great way to drive people to things you want to drive them to. i got a lot of hits on my blog from twitter because a majority of my followers are already interested in the things i write about on my blog. you can create a brand and build its credibility to a very targeted demographic on twitter by being consistent and providing good information that they want.