Musing on the Blog – a new tool in the marketers’ armoury

As an unashamed techie I appreciate technical terms can be banded about freely without understanding. With this in mind I will not jump into a jargon filled appraisal of the blog and what it means for marketers.

Technology has changed marketing markedly in the last 10 years. Where would a marketer be without understanding e-mails, websites or texting?

Indeed, would it be possible to be an effective marketer without an appreciation of how new technology is changing a marketer’s role?

So what is a blog?

It is a weblog – a diary, a journal. A chronological series of notes about whatever you choose to write or I should say blog about.

So this begs the question, how can this be of any use whatsoever to a marketer?

Perhaps I can demonstrate by example – the biggest marketing campaign there is, the US election. The last American election is considered by many to be the election of the blog. Why? Because many voters chose to make up their minds or sway their countrymen through this new method of communication. Using more established media – newspapers, TV and radio – to push through information can have the reverse effect. Few really believe the information and can push against the intrusion and overkill of the campaigns.

Blogs are democratic in nature and change opinion by inviting comment and exchange of views. The next election promises to be focussed more on this battleground.

Every day there was an opportunity for reasoned argument, analysis of the latest polls or the most outrageous venting of spleen. The viewer can access what they want in the voice that they prefer. The Washington Post carries a list of the readers’ favourites from 2004 below:

Washington Post

You might argue that the general public don’t really read access blogs. You’d be wrong. And even if you weren’t wrong, opinion makers in many different fields certainly do read blogs. And contribute.

Blogs are all about connecting, not being feed information as marketers and media used to do, but about discussing information. That is a very powerful tool, especially if used well. And a very powerful tool if used against you.

So how can this translate to a business? It depends whether you back yourself as something of an expert. If you do and you can regularly tap out a few words every week then there’s a good chance that someone out there is looking for your insight and business intelligence.

Maybe if you provide valuable information they will start looking at your blog regularly. They might tell people about it – a great way of doing viral marketing. And with time they will view you as someone they can trust professionally. And if they do you have potential customers.

So lets assume that your blog gets read and receives some feedback as well. That’s great news for you but there is better to come. At its most basic, getting ranked in search engine listings is a case of matching the searchers text query with the text on your site. Or, if the words that someone writes in a search engine query match with words on your site, you are in a chance of them finding you.

In the process of writing a blog, you are going to intuitively develop text content that is very specific and very niche. That niche content may well be the answer to an obscure question a potential customer is stumped by. If they then find your blog, see how you do what you do, then the chances are they’re going to give you a chance at their business. Isn’t that a superb bonus for a little regular effort?

I have only touched the surface of a trend that marketers should be recognising or need to recognise if they want to compete for the attention of their market. Information is being shared online. And the word is “shared.� Information is being exchanged and sought after. Blogs are just one aspect of the way we are beginning to interact – one that effective marketers cannot afford to ignore.

About the author

Simon Wharton is the managing director of Virtuaffinity, a digital media company based in Manchester