How Blogging Impacts Mainstream Marketing
Because I'm a journalist and copywriter who also reads and writes blogs, people who don't use the Internet as much as I do have started to ask me some searching questions of late. Some of them sound worried. They have heard a lot about blogging and the impact it could have on traditional marketing. One person even asked me (perhaps a little concerned) if PR teams will be replaced with bloggers. I don't see it, I reassured them. PR is also about managing people and that will always be important.
The mainstream media isn't about to disappear, and the majority of the population probably couldn't care less about blogs. For all the hype, blogging should be seen as a potential addition to a marketing portfolio. The place blogging may have its biggest impact is on areas of the trade press. There is a revolution in publishing taking place, sparked by the new forms of advertising such as Google ad sense. This has made it possible for someone running a blog site, with a staff of one and overheads of almost nothing, to start earning a living from their publishing.
If the blogger can get readers, then Google places the ads (relevant to the content) – and you have a publishing business. This gives a lot of people an incentive to provide great content – so that they get more readers, and more money from ads. It's just like the traditional press, but without the need for offices, advertising sales teams, HR departments etc. This works best in niche areas. Soon, there may not be much need for magazines about new gadgets, or mobile phones, or ride-on-lawn mowers or whatever. Because the blogs have it covered, providing more up-to-date information and readers who are ready to buy – and can simply click on the advert. The everyday bloggers have a new-found power and are not about to go away. Some blogs now get millions, even tens of millions of readers a day. They are rivalling the mainstream media – and if the US government can't control them, what chance does a small company or even a big enterprise have? Companies and blogs It's still pretty early days for companies using blogs, and the whole thing is evolving. It will probably settle down into one more piece in the jigsaw, another communication channel that companies can use.
The style used in company blogs needs to be less "written by committee" and more personal and spontaneous. Companies that try to use too much subterfuge in the blogging world are exposing themselves to a potential backlash. There's a great emphasis on honesty in the blogging world – for example bloggers will often end a post with a "disclosure" note which mentions any conflict of interest. At a simple level, blogging can be seen as simply another way of publishing information on the Internet. It's useful because it is so fast and it's easy to get a range of people involved quite quickly. However, there are real skills involved to good blogging. Not only does the writing have to be engaging, colourful, funny, informative etc, but the writer also needs to take account of search engine optimisation techniques – which basically means using the right keywords to ensure the blog shows up in the search engines. At it's most sophisticated, blogging is being used to create "viral marketing" campaigns – to create a "buzz" around a product as though this were coming from ordinary people. This is a whole new field of marketing / advertising….
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