Besides reading as many books as I can get my hands on about marketing I read several blogs, 14 to be exact, on marketing. I also subscribe to other blogs that fall under other categories. I believe I subscribe to about 65 blogs total. There are some real gems out there in the blog world. When a blog article grabs me, I will save it so I can reference to it later. If there are any fellow Google Reader users out there here is my shared feeds.
So over the last year I have came across some true words of wisdom online through blogs. Many times blogs tend to repeat themselves as people copy other people or ideas from other blogs. You have to take the information that is presented and find the best way to get through it fast. Before I get into what I learned over the last year let me touch on how I do this.
First, I look for compelling titles and well written subheaders. It has to grab me. My subconscious mind has to stop me as I am grazing through blogs in my feed reader. Usually well written blogs use good graphics that match the emotion of the blog. These things combined have to grab me in order to get me to stop and read the first paragraph.
So, well over a year of reading marketing blogs and here is what I have comprised from most of the bloggers out there that seem to be doing well for themselves.
#1 Community is everything:
One trend that I have noticed on all blogs that seem to do well is that the writer engages with his/her readers. As I reach the end of the article I see collaboration happening in the comment boxes as people discuss what the writer has touched on. The writer revisits his blog and posts comments below and will even post a new blog should some of the readers request a more in depth look at the topic. I believe that a good marketing campaign should do the same. In today’s market we all want to feel reached out to and spoken to on an individual level. Adverting is just going to become more and more customized to fit our individual needs as time goes on. Community is happening on every level of online communication right now from blogs to niche social networks. Myspace is old news to many because they have moved on to something less general and more specific to their individual lifestyles. I can honestly say that I spend a fraction of the time on Myspace that I used to and if it were not for the fact that many of my Photography clients are my friends on Myspace I would never get on Myspace.
#2 You have a personal brand and you don’t even know it.
You may say that a brand is something that only applies to companies but I beg to differ in the world we live in today. Anyone who is online and has a profile somewhere is taking part in personal branding. All of us are differentiating ourselves in so many unique ways and sharing that information with the world. Before this online movement to social media you would only know an individuals interests, beliefs and morals is you asked them. Now it is all on display on the Myspace, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Every move we make online is added to our public time line and it allows people to understand us almost completely with out even knowing us personally. We attach ourselves to other brands, images and ideas which are exactly what brands are made up from in the first place.
My question to you is, what is your brand made up of?
#3 If They can do it, I can do it.
The blog movement has made writers and journalists out of all of us. We all know there is a lot of garbage out there and one of the reasons I started this blog over from scratch is due to the fact that I had reblogged many things that were already out there. If somebody was to look at my old blog and try to understand me as a person, they would have a hard time. The problem with many websites out there is that they end up looking like the junk drawer in the kitchen, many items buried under each other. Often times you can’t find what you are looking for. When I started the iPhone App Podcast website it became more clear to me. All of these bloggers and book writers I read started to make sense. They have been telling me to find something I am interested in and not only share it with the world but share it well. Be the best at it. I finally decided to do that and the Podcast is very successful. I have had a few blog article success moments on my old blog where an article got Stumbled and saw 1000’s of hits in a 24 hour period. It’s easy to get off topic because we think the world may want to see something we came across.
Find your passion and when you do share it with others. Whether it be in business or blog writing, be one of those people that others look at in envy of your passion.
#5 Get Educated
I don’t necessarily mean go back to school, I mean do some reading. You have already made it this far through this blog so that is a good start. When I got into business which is now 8 years ago, I knew I did not know anything, so I bought books. I read books, whatever business books I could get my hands on. When blogs started to get popular, I started reading those too. I would get so enthused about business and growing my network after finishing a book. There were times when I did not read for several months and I would notice a decrease in desire to be the best I could in my industry. Over the last year or so there seems to have been an increase in people telling us to read more. Not just reading for the sake of reading but reading to grow in your area of interest. No fiction reading, simply business related books. That is all I read. I can’t get into fiction books. I love reading marketing books, I get into them and can’t wait to share the info I just read with someone else. Reading blogs is great also because they are direct and to the point. Many good gems are waiting for you to uncover them inside of blogs. Do yourself a favor and read for an hour a day in the morning and see what it does to your day at work.
#6 You can be the next big thing, right now.
Your passion, idea, art, concept or anything for that matter can be the next big thing in today’s market. Websites like StumbleUpon and Digg.Com are known for taking an average Joe with a good idea and blowing them up over night. So much that there is a term called the Digg Effect, which happens when a website reaches top placement on Digg.Com which results in so many visits to the destination’s website that the server crashes. You could have your 15 minutes of fame or launch a great marketing campaign with little or no money up front, simply let the world do it for you.
#7 How not to do things
Just as the old adage says that good customer experiences never get talked about but bad ones can kill a business such is the same with marketing. If a bad marketing campaign reaches the right person, it will get bashed. Even books are written about marketing failures. We are consumed with desire to see what we should not be doing. I can only see this as a good thing. The world wide web in it’s vastness provides us with enough information and “fail” articles to make us want to think twice before launching our campaign.
#8 Listen and Relate
If there is one thing going through our heads when we see a national ad campaign it’s the thought that they have no idea what we really want to hear. Sorry Burger King but your Diddy commercial did not make me want to come get some late night snacks at Burger King. I’m sure I had already lost respect for him before the Pepsi Truck Commercial but the only thing these commercials says to me is that Diddy is way beyond selling out. Advertisers need to listen to their target audience and provide content that they can relate to. You may think that you know your target audience but from what the world has shown us, changes are you don’t.
#9 Outsourcing is a good thing.
I used to hang on to every aspect of my job because I believed that if I know how to do it I should not be paying someone else to do it. That resulted in me never leaving the office until I had completed a job. Then once that job was completed I would get out again and network because I had nothing on my plate. How unproductive is that? I now outsource items that I know could be done better by a specialist and focus on what I do best. This frees up more time which allows me to work on my personal brand and to network with others much more frequently. I may be paying someone else to handle certain aspects of my work but I am out reaching new clients and coming back to the office with more signed contracts because I am out networking more often.
#10 Be careful what you apply to your life, research everything. Be yourself because that is what differentiates you from everybody else.
There is so much junk out there that there are websites that do nothing but report on the junk. How crazy is that? Because of this you must be careful not to read something and then apply it to your life or business with our carefully thinking about what the possible outcomes could be. Just because something worked for somebody else does not mean it will work for you. Just as fast as you could become the next viral thing to reach all corners of the web you could also spoke of in a negative light as well. Be smart about what you share with the world online. The internet is a deep pit of archival hell that is very hard to get out of once you fall into it. As I mentioned above in my second point, watch how you brand yourself. Do what you can to protect your name because you can ruin it online in a minute. Be unique, you are already unique because nobody else was created like you, so don’t try to be like others.
Do you read a lot of blogs online? What are some general observations you have made? Share them with me.