Why Blogging Can Build Your Brand Online
Zipingo is a website that allows you to rate businesses online. The website is provided as a service to Internet users by Intuit. The Zipingo website has a companion blog. The blog drew my attention today because one of the blog writers mentioned the Backbone Media Corporate blog survey.
Zipingo Kim wrote a post, "behind the curtain," about corporate blogging. I commented on the post because Kim took a quote from the survey, relating to the issue of receiving indirect sales promotional benefits from the process of blogging. Kim thought that their post would not receive any marketing benefits. I commented on the blog and suggested that Kim might be conducting marketing for the company even though their posts might not be promotional. Though Kim you did link back to the Zipingo website. ;-)
Which gets me to the point of this post, why blogging can build your brand online. Marketing is not just about promoting a product and making a sale. A lot of marketing is about understanding your customer's needs and wants and making sure you build a product that satisfies those needs and wants efficiently and profitably. From my research on blogging it's not a good idea for corporate blogger to drone on about their products and services, rather the better strategy is to discuss their customers' issues and concerns. If you receive customer feedback and change your product, that builds a better product, you have just built a better brand online. Customers are more likely to evangelize when the customer helps develop the product.
Every request should not mean a change in product design, but it is important to explain why a design change is not possible. Your customer's will typically respect your reasons for not making the change, especially if it would have increased the price. Though you may find sufficient customer interest amongst your customers for a price increase that it makes it worth your while to make the change. But if you don't ask them you will not know that their exists the opportunity to make additional profit and satisfy a number of your customers.
Use your blog for customer feedback and discussion about your product and services and you will help to build your brand online.
Posted by johncass at May 1, 2006 4:05 PM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
>> Kim thought that their post would not receive
>> any marketing benefits.
Actually, that's not entirely true. I challenge the notion that a non-promotional blog post -- especially that one, which was way off topic for our team blog -- would have a direct effect on the volume of business reviews posted to Zipingo.com. I can crunch numbers to see how much draw my personable ramblings generated, but how conclusive is it, really?
So much of "blog buzz" ROI is intangible, much like it's older sister "marketing buzz." Or should I say, blogging is more art than science. I knew from experience I needed to send pings, add trackbacks and related hyperlinks to stimulate blog readership. Then I went back in (i.e. "blogger's remorse") and whittled down the links, since I had been too exuberant. (Revealing confession: My blog posts always need pruning after the fact.) Yep, like bloggers who give credit where credit is due, I was more focused on blogospherical fairness than WOM visibility.
So, in essence, the real test of a blogger's mettle may be whether she is blogging for the blog community or the bottom line. Sure, in the end, we're all PR ambassadors and marketing deputies. But as a community developer, I want my blog writing to evolve into useful yet stylish altruism.
Posted by: Zipingo Kim at May 3, 2006 6:11 PM
Well your post might get me to use Zipingo.com. :-)
It seems to me you are following the right strategy, one of conversation rather than focusing on the goal of getting leads, and that your efforts you will produce some great results for Zipingo.com.
That's the irony to me about effective blogging, your company might ask why should we do blogging? What's the value to the bottom line? Yet you follow a content strategy that seemingly has little to do with getting additional customers. I think you can measure the effects of blogging in terms of traffic and higher search engine rankings, and many other intangible factors should as being recognized as being a thought leader in your community.
I suggest if you blog for the bottom line you will not build a community, but if you blog for the community it will help you're bottom-line. Effective blogging is often all about non-promotional blog posts, and this shift is a big change for many company and marketing managers. And one reason why in my research I've seen that product managers and customer service managers produced excellent results. Backbone's case study on Macromedia really illustrates the example I think, where by product managers at Macromedia asked for feedback from customers and that feedback produced better products, new customers and higher SEO results through the very tactics you use on the zipingo blog.
Marketing is partly about building brand; and brand is about value for the customer. To me marketing is about customer service, and building products a customer wants and needs. One of the reasons why I think intuit is so effective at blogging is because the departments that blog came to blogging not from PR or marketing but from customer service and product development. Those professions have always had less emphasis on selling and more on providing value efficiently and profitably.
Posted by: John Cass at May 4, 2006 8:52 AM