Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) is a digital and social brand consultant, blogger, and speaker. Her knowledge of business strategy, passion for creative expression, and marketing technology helps businesses achieve the remarkable. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.
Marketers are being held increasingly accountable for delivering positive, measurable results that align with their businesses’ goals and objectives. Of course, in order to do this these same marketers must simultaneously learn to adapt in a social media ecosystem that is in perpetual evolution. Budgets are tighter, goals are higher and the lingering economic uncertainty creates tension that can interfere with strategic planning and results.
In this rapidly evolving, customer-centric landscape, marketers are challenged to elevate their game by raising the relevance of their companies’ offerings, communication and engagement. While today’s CMOs face a variety of new challenges, they must encourage their companies to seize the opportunity and create relevant content for their brands. Unfortunately, many corporate executives are still in denial over the profusion of branding opportunities that these social media activities foster.
According to Nielsen’s “The Social Media Report,” social networks and blogs are the top online destinations for Internet users, accounting for 23% of the time Americans spend online. Pew Internet and American Life Project’s August 2011 report states that nearly two-thirds (65%) of all adult Internet users now use social networks.
Forrester’s Brian Kardon encourages executives to play with social media, to “experiment” and to not be afraid of testing out new ideas or opportunities. “You can always take it down,” according to Kardon. Marketers should banish the thought that everything is permanent. With over 156 million published blogs, there is a tremendous churn. “Some work really well and some don’t survive,” says Kardon.
“No matter what, the very first piece of
social media real estate I’d start with is a blog”
Chris Brogan, Keynote Speaker, Founder New Marketing Labs
While most companies are moving in the right direction, many companies stand on the brink of blogging, but are unwilling to take the plunge. However, as they say in sports: you can’t win if you’re sitting on the bench. And it’s all about winning. There’s no doubt business blogging has a tremendous influence on business growth.
In a 2011 HubSpot ROI Study, 69% of businesses surveyed said that blogging attributed to their lead generation success. The study also found that 75% of businesses believed SEO was a primary factor. Finally, the study found that companies who blog attract 55% more website visitors than those that do not.
Marketing Your Blog is Critical to increase ROI
Marketing your blog is just as important as writing great content. The end goal of all quality writing should be to foster thoughtful communities. Unfortunately, many enterprises and small businesses fail to build these communities because they fail to promote their content.
Creating communities begins with offering great content that is not only engaging but relevant. Streamlining this content is often easier than many realize. Just as syndication is a source of profit for TV and radio producers, “curation syndication” also functions to maximize profits for businesses of all sizes. This approach has proven extremely important for mid-to-small businesses for website traffic and lead generation. SMB’s lack the luxury of big business budgets to publicize their blogs. As a result, “curation syndication” is the secret sauce that brings an explosion in traffic, engagement and lead generation for SMB’s.
Tom Pick, in his article, “How to Get More Blog Traffic,” credits “curation syndication” sites B2B Marketing Zone, Social Media Informer and Social Media Today for building his website traffic, although he also notes that the best syndication sites will vary by industry.
Now considered to be one of the top 25 small business blogs and one of the top 100 overall business news blogs, Business 2 Community (@B2Community) syndicates over 2,000 contributors and posts up to 50 blogs a day. Co-founded by Michael Brenner, Brian Rice and Dan Criel, Business 2 Community helps marketers deliver value and awareness to their target audience in an affordable new approach. “We are looking to add a newsletter, a directory for our bloggers to list their businesses, job listings, additional community opportunities and maybe even some form of gamification,” according to Brenner. Brian Rice’s Business 2 Community’s goal is to “create an open community where professionals and businesses can connect with one another and the consumers of their products and services.”
Nick Robinson of Social Media HQ claims that since syndicating content to Business 2 Community, he has seen a significant unique traffic increase of 50%. More importantly, he credited Business 2 Community with boosting his conversions by 16%.
John McTigue of Kuno Creative claims that since syndicating with Business 2 Community their website traffic is up over 40% and leads have increased over 30%. Referrals now account for over 15% of all traffic and leads.
Join a Tribe
Another secret to building engaging communities is Triberr, co-founded by Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo. In Mark Schaefer’s article, “Four Reasons Why I Finally Joined Triberr,” Mark talks about his initial negative experience, but after the site underwent several system changes he now recommends it as an innovative way for bloggers to meet like-minded writers and expand their reach exponentially. Dino Dogan likes to think of Triberr as an “Industrial strength content distribution network built by bloggers, for bloggers.”
Blog analytics gives marketers remarkable insight into their marketing campaigns and helps to increase their blog performances. In HubSpot’s article, “10 Amazing Blogging Insights Your Analytics Can Tell You,” you will gain actionable insights to increase your conversation rate. Information overload can overwhelm most marketers, but HubSpot offers a free Ebook to help you improve your marketing effectiveness and optimize your marketing efforts.
Today, companies are sitting on a gold mine of data that can help them create powerful blogs and ignite their businesses. It’s a simple process: just start by creating valuable content. Soon, people will spread the word for you, and the customers will be sure to follow.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. Your clients and potential customers want to know that you’re human. In fact, you could even consider your own fallibility as part of your blog’s charm. We human beings are wonderfully imperfect creatures that want to relate and form a bond. If you portray your brand as a giant faceless corporation, you will never succeed. Take the plunge, start a blog, but more importantly create a community. Take your company to the next level and become a social brand.
If you’re meeting resistance from your boss to get on board with social media, you may enjoy watching this video.