Blogging tips and tricks to make money.
Chrysler uses Blogs to Check under the Radar
Following on from my post
about how blogs can be used to get great feedback from customers, Chrysler marketing executive recently remarked that he monitors
blogs as well as chatrooms and forums to get frank customer feedback.
Recognising that excitement for a new model can begin at grass roots level through blogs and web forums is similar to the way sites such as the Internet Movie Database
have changed the plans of Hollywood marketers.
Hollywood looks to Blogs for Advertising
that Hollywood is finding that moviegoers are easier to reach on the web than TV
. Even more interesting is that Producers of political thriller The Manchurian Candidate
chose political blogs such as Instapundit.com
and The Truth Laid Bear
to place advertising for the new film.
Data from Jupiter shows that one-third of all adults now prefer to get movie reviews and listings online over newspapers, television, magazines and radio. Furthermore 47% of 18- to 24-year-olds prefer new media to old for information on movies.
Could Blogs replace Consumer Reports?
I was recently directed to a blog that has a detailed report
on Mr Clean Magic Erasers. The author is ecstatic about the effects of the eraser: "Overall, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser more than lives up to the claims. It is an outstanding product that works exceedingly well."
First glance and you may think "dude, get a life" - but really this is a great piece of free advertising for the Mr Clean product. A totally independent Joe Public gives your product a rave write up. This is a great example of how blogs can be benefit businesses - instead of writing your own blog, you can instead harness the speaker's corner mentality to have bloggers report on your products in the same way that movie makers have been using the independent critics on the web. Scroll down the posting and you will see many comments from readers who agree, they are further building the brand's reputation. Over time this praise will spread around the internet like a virus.
Using Blogs to create a personal Brand
We all have a brand that we manage - and this brand is one that we have been managing since we were born: our personal brand. When we apply make up or style our hair in the morning we are thinking about how we appear to the rest of the world - our brand image. All of us have a brand but we are not all in the habit of increasing awareness of our personal brand, with the exception of job-hunting.
When someone is looking for a new job, that person is marketing themselves to prospective employers. Many people use portfolios and/or resumes to showcase their talents. However these advertisements are normally sent to specific targets - akin to direct marketing. We rarely expose our resumes to the masses. Even when one has a resume on the web, it is likely only read by those searching specifically for information contained within.
Job interviews can be pretty frustrating as you have limited time to express yourself and demonstrate worthiness. What if you could walk into an interview with an employer and command the same respect as an established journalist whose reputation precedes them and has already had their talents exposed to the employer through their public work? I bet they never get asked questions that aim to prove knowledge of their chosen sector.
Weblogs can provide a means to not only advertise yourself to potential employers but also to provide extra info that the interview missed. Even if you are not trying to get a job in journalism, you could use a blog to demonstrate knowledge of your field of expertise. Once other bloggers see how good your writing is, your blog will be referenced in many places in the web, thus increasing the exposure of your personal brand. There is even a specialist blog hosting provider, jobsearchblogs.com
that will help job-seekers create blogs to achieve this.
Hiring managers expect to understand the applicant within 10 seconds of reading each resume. A blog gives you extra staying power and builds the strength of your own personal brand.
Google ads not as interesting as Ask Jeeves?
Once again, Google has ended up king of the hill on customer experience in a recent search engine survey
, with 89% of users reporting positive experience of using the search giant; second best Ask Jeeves managed just 68%.
YAWN - tell me something I didn't know
How about this:
"Google tripped up on the report's 'ad activity index' with users more likely to click on sponsored links on Ask Jeeves and Lycos....Ask Jeeves also generated the most 'click-throughs' while Lycos generated the most awareness to its sponsored links according to the survey."
Google vs Spyware
Google have put a lot of thought into improving the online experience of its users. They are alarmed at the growing disregard for computer user's rights by unscrupulous spyware software that tricks you in order to serve you pop-up ads, connect your modem to expensive toll numbers or hijack your browser from the site you're trying to visit.
So what are they going to do about it? Google has stepped up to the pulpit and pledges to do their best to remove spyware from the internet through a new "set of principles we[Google] believe our industry should adopt and we're sharing them to foster discussion and help solve the problem."
Sounds good? Hang on, why are Google doing this on their own. Surely they should be lobbying the internet advertising trade bodies first? Maybe they have, maybe Google believes as internet pioneers they need to set an example for others to follow, regardless of the well-meaning agendas of the trade bodies?
Perhaps not - it looks as though Google is tapping into the democratic nature of the internet and realising it not just an audience of consumers at the mercy of marketers. If they spread the word amongst the internet populace then the people can rise and put an end to the "spyware" oppression.
Google Corporate Information: Software Principles
Search Engine Dos and Donts
I do a lot of travelling, and tend to book the hotel and transport sepereately. No packages for me at all. Quite often sites such as Expedia or Travelocity give me all the info I need to make my purchasing decision. Last year I went to Merano in the Italian Alps. I found a nice looking hotel on Expedia, but I really wanted an objective review. I googled said hotel and was presented with many travel sites offering me reviews - the search listing even named the hotel, so I thought I had found the info I needed. Not so. I clicked on each URL only to be told that the info did not exist.
I was slightly annoyed at having my time-wasted like this. Initially I blamed Google for giving me bad referrals, only later realising that Google was duped into believing these sites contained the info I needed by adding hidden text, etc. including products(hotels) they did not actually offer. Naturally some sites offered me hotels that "might be of interest", except these were all in Rome or other Italian speaking parts of Italy (Merano is actually a German speaking town). As a result I made a conscious decision never to click on links to these travel sites in future holiday research.
They alienated me as a customer before I even had a chance to consider them.
WhenU were unceremoniously dumped from Google and Yahoo last week for using "unethical" SEO tactics. Perhaps these tactics where similar to those adopted by my friends in the travel industry. WhenU blamed the SEO consultant - who does the SEO consultant blame?
There is always a big press when major companies, such as Google or Microsoft set up a research hub or call centre in India. The labor market is cheaper and there is a highly-skilled workforce. The world renowned business consultancy Mc.Kinsey and Co. have their presentation packs created by a company in the sub-continent. The consultant makes some graffiti on a whiteboard, the scribbles are scanned in and sent to Madras; the next day said consultant comes back and has a Powerpoint sitting in his inbox. Voila.
Wouldn't it be great if one could do the same with traffic instructions for an agency or publisher? How many times have you (I am talking to the account managers here) been faced with an issue at the end of the day, only to be told by traffic: "sorry, no can do" either for reasons of understaffing or time constraints.
Wouldn't it be great to do the same as the guy from McKinsey? Give the traffic brief to a team that will not
demand overtime and work overnight? Furthermore would it not be great to just cut the cost of a traffic head when it is not a customer-facing role that needn't be in the office 24/7?
The administrative side of the Media Sales business has almost always been kept in-house. Except now that is. Companies such as Trafficmac
offer cost-effective alternatives to a costly in-house traffic team. How do they do this? Their traffic dept. is based in Mumbai. The economics are simple: the average desk space in London (England) costs $7K, whereas Mumbai (India) offers desk space for less than $1.5K.
Agencies have recently been through cost-cutting exercises, and Media Week explores the idea of exporting ad buyer jobs to Bombay. They can do their jobs based on recorded information (pricing, performance indexes, etc.) so why not sit them next to the traffic guys in Mumbai?
Of course the media buyers will be on a higher floor than the traffickers, but that's another story....
How to Benefit from Internet Fads
Fellow commentator on Business blogging, Wayne Hurlbert mentions on his Blogbusinessworld Blog
That writing about a current Search Trend in its early stages is a good way to boost traffic by riding on the wave of the trend
Wayne gives the example of the recent Janet Jackson Boob flashing story at the Superbowl. Many surfers looked for info on this story, and any bloggers commenting on this will have grabbed quite a few eyeballs as a result. However, in its later stages most Search Engines will be pointing surfers to the most popular sites mentioning this topic. If you are lucky, you can catch this wave of searches by being one of the first to write on the subject, and if this results in high click-thru, Google should adjust its ranking of your blog to feature highly even in these later stages.
How do you become first to such a Search Trend?
You may think this is similar to the manner by which reporters get their "scoops" for newspapers - investigations and good speculation to unearth a good story. Well, the internet works a bit differently, and these trends can be identified quite quickly and easily. Often these trends will be either started or perpetuated by Blogs that discuss the topic and other blogs discussing it as they too discover other blogs reporting on the topic. These sites all provide a listing of the most discussed topics by bloggers:
Its a good idea to regularly check these sites and look for new trends that are relevant to your own blog. Also, make sure you have a good headline and the first few lines of the post are strong enough to hook the surfer - search engines will display this text in the search results listing for your blog. If you get that part right, and you get the timing right, you could get a great boost to your traffic during brief life of this trend.
More on Blogging Jobs
Blogging can not only help you in your job-search, it can become your new job in itself. Is there much difference between a blogger and a journalist? Not really. The Blogger Forum Blog reports on the story of Simon Willion
, whose blog was noticed by SitePoint
as a being a great source of information on web development topics and was hired for "a boatload of money" to blog for them. As blogs become more popular as a mainstream publishing format for the web, and more and more big time blog sites such as Marketing Wonk
are created, bloggers will have a great chance to launch a new journalistic career, with these bigger blogs becoming launch pads to more establishment sites.
Let your Reputation Precede You
Over on John Robb's Weblog
he lists what he believes to be the 7 ways to build reputation.
My Blog Promotion 101 post
from last month has been publicly criticized by some fellow bloggers because it misses what they feel is the most important element of a successful blog: great and timely content. The point being that your Blog will become popular because your content will command a strong reputation. I cannot argue against this, however one needs to get the blog in front of eyeballs in order to start building that reputation. The Blog Promotion 101 was not intended to be the be all and end all of blog success, merely a means of gaining a head start. A strong reputation is of course the path to success, but there is no point in writing great content if no-one can find you.
Blogging to get a New Job
A Blog can be used to raise awareness of one's business, or to demonstrate expert knowledge of your target market.
Can a blog help raise your personal profile?
Yes it can using the same principles as a business does to benefit from a blog. The term "to google someone" is becoming more and more popular as people use Google (or other search engines) to discover information about people, not just companies, products or research topics. For example the Bel-air hotel in Los Angeles googles guests to find out information that they can use to create a personalized service
, such as assigning a room with morning sun for guest that like to go jogging at dawn. For those that would potentially google YOU, ablog would be a useful source of that information.
You may think this would never happen to you, but apply this to a situation where everyone need to market themselves - the jobhunt. How many times have you felt short-changed by having such a small amount of time to impress your interviewer and feel the resume format isn enough to really showcase your knowledge? Everyone has felt like this at one time - and a lot of people get asked the question "what is your knowledge of this industry?" which is often difficult to demonstrate in an interview. If you had a blog where your wrote about your chosen or target industry, you could always invite them to read your blog which they can digest over time after your interview. I mentioned my Internet Marketing Blog on my Resume once and was impressed to have an interviewer once remark that they are an avid reader of my blog and they brought it to the meeting to show to the other interviewer. Well respected blogger, Robert Scoble claims that his blog helped him get his current job with Microsoft
. In response to whether blogging played a role in the selection process, Robert remarks:
"Yes, weblogging played a major role. For one, it helped get me noticed. For two, it helped people inside Microsoft see how I thought without needing me to come up for an interview. For three, during the interviews, we were able to really get to the point of things, since they already knew my strengths and weaknesses."
As you can see blogging can help improve your jobsearch and help you in those awkward interviews where you don't feel you really did yourself justice. Blogging can make you famous, fame leads to increased opportunities.
How to make your Affiliate Deal with Amazon better
For those bloggers out there that have taken up the option to add affiliate links to Amazon may be finding it a bit of a grind to keep the site updated with relevant links back to Amazon products. BlogFuel
is a great new site that gives tools for British and American affiliates to create quick and great looking product links. Check it out.
I have mentioned previously that blogs can benefit a business greatly when the blog is considered to be a rich source of knowledge for the field that the business occupies. There are of course business that already offer expert services: consultancies and marketing agencies. Many consultancies and agencies will only become successful once prospects realize they are knowledgeable. Take a look at many websites for agencies and consultants and you won't get much that actually proves they have this knowledge. Adding a blog to such websites enables the "experts in their field" to give small tastes of what they consult on. Jupiter Research is a good example. The company supplies marketing research, and some of their analysts have their own weblogs which contain commentaries on the areas they work on. As an internet marketing professional myself, I am very interested in what they have to say about internet advertising, and the weblog for Gary Stein
is a regular read for me, as well as being a great example of good use of a blog by a consultancy. He never gives too much away, otherwise one wouldn't need to buy one of his reports, instead giving the reader a view to how he thinks and to demonstrate that he really does have his finger on the pulse.
Another good example I came across recently was the blog werbeblogger
, which is a German blog about the Internet advertising industry. In fact the blog is written by German advertising agency Breitenbach and Partners and demonstrates that they are experts in that field. Agencies can also demonstrate the success of their services by creating good case studies, or by customer referrals, but this takes time. Creating a blog which demonstrates your agencies knowledge of the field can help get a foot in the door of potential clients. Add to that the fact that a blog is likely to help improve your business' visibility in search engines and blogs can provide enormous upside to your business. For a lot of agencies and consultancies this does not require too much extra effort, as these companies are often providing guest articles for trade press or conferences.
What if Google didn't like Blogs?
Google likes Blogs. Blogs do well in Search Results Listings on Google. This is because Blogs contain fresh content and are richly interlinked, despite their relatively small audiences. Some would go so far as to say that Google over-represents Blogs
. I personally don't think Google over-represents blogs, blogs just happen to adhere to the formula for a popular webpage. Regardless, Blogs are a great way to increase search rankings for your site on Google, and thus Google is a great tool for increasing the reach and visibility of your blog.
What if Google didn't like Blogs?
Imagine if Google gave less weight to blogs. They could tweak their algorithms to place less importance on content found in blogs as a reflection of their small audiences. They could even relegate blogs to a separate search engine option, like they have done with newsgroups.
If Google did not give such favorable results to blogs would they still be useful commercial tools?
Yes, they would still be useful tools. Blogs would still accrue traffic from other blogs, and as many blog readers go from blog to blog via links your blog will still benefit from the grapevine marketing effect that blogs have. Blogs can also give surfers reasons to visit your site other than an interest in your products. If you were to write a blog that provided a commentary on your industry, you will attract other surfers and your image will also be boosted in the resulting perception that you are an expert in your field. Your blog also gives you a method for improving customer communications - take the Macromedia example, where the corporation actively encourages employees to blog about their products
so they can help customers out with any queries they may have. Another advantage is that Blogs allow you to add regularly updated content to an otherwise static site. If you have a fairly static site you would be foolish to invest in a costly Content Management System (CMS). The available CMSs for blogs are all relatively inexpensive and provide a polished layout for your content with minimal maintenance.
In conclusion, there are many reasons other than increased visibility in Google Search Results that a blog can benefit your business. Google is highly unlikely to add any handicaps to blogs in their algorithms. If they did it is likely results on Google will just be full of commercial websites, devaluing Google as a useful research tool. This is how Search Engines looked before Google came along and revolutionized the way Search Engines function. Google will continue to be a strong provider of traffic to your blog, however just doing well in results will not get users to your site. Google provides a small taste of your blog in the results listing - if this doesn't taste good to the web surfer then they won't come to your site at all. You need to make sure that you write good meaningful and original content with quality headlines or titles.
Can your Blog Posts become a Valued Commodity?
Many mainstream websites are feeling the pinch from a depressed advertising market, and are looking to diversify their revenue streams. Many sites are turning to the paid access model. It has been often predicted that blogs could turn to such a model as a means of making money.
This doesn't work for Blogs.
The Blog format is not yet a mainstream publishing model, and is mostly used a means to create regularly updated content with minimum effort, thus enabling the blog author to spend more time thinking about what they write than on page layouts. You could argue that blogs are like fanzines or college magazines, and despite their less polished look and feel (in comparison to mainstream magazines) do appeal to an audience and that audience is willing to pay for this. However, the web has provided for many a relatively cost-free method of publishing; fanzines do have production costs. This lowering of production costs has also developed in web users an expectancy that content is mostly free on the web. If one blog charges for access, it is likely there are other similar blogs that could be read for free instead. As blogs often comment about each other, or are simply news clipping services, it is also very likely that another blogger will have paid for access to the premium blog and you can read about the content there instead.
Another reason why blogs cannot charge for access is due to the relatively small audiences. The general rule of thumb for publishers taking their websites from free access to paid access is that, at best, only 10% of their current audience will subscribe to the premium site. At least 90% of the audience will be lost, and this is for sites that have a well known brand and often have an offline presence too.
It would also be difficult to attract new subscribers if the site does not have a strong brand or an offline presence. You will also have your referrals from search engines cut down to zero as they cannot index pages hidden behind a subscription wall. Blogs benefit a lot from their high visibility on search results.
That said, one can argue that if a blog has a faithful readership then there is a clear demand for the content. I cannot disagree but for the reasons above there seems to be no business sense in making blogs subscription sites only. What you can do is use the "free sample" model. Each of your posts are not going to be extensive essays, and are mostly just small insights into a blogger's thinking. If you go into a supermarket and try a small sample of cheese at the deli counter, you will likely buy a larger piece, rather than just going for a free sample each time you visit the store. So you have the bait to hook your readers into your blog and appreciate where you come from. Why not offer them a more in-depth view of what you blog about? Marketing Wonk currently offers in-depth reports on various aspects of web marketing, from their free access blog. Seth Godin often writes about the content of his books without giving too much away - wanna find out more? Buy his book. This is the commodity that can be sold - however in order to get to this stage you need to have been publishing quality content to a niche audience that cannot find these reports elsewhere for free. Alternatively existing Authors and Analysts can use the blog as a means to create a dialog with existing customers and spread the word to new customers.[...]