Here is the second (and final) part of an interview that I held with John Zagula of Marketing Playbook. As mentioned in the first part, John Zagula is a highly successful businessman who, with his business partner Richard Tong, has written a book on marketing, called the Marketing Playbook and set up a great business blog with the same name. Like the first part the questions focus on the importance of the blog to building both awarenesss of their book and blog.
I'm sure that you have developed a whole new network of friends and colleagues – are there any stories you can share?
This really is true. There are a lot of examples of folks I feel I really know because of blog interactions. So I'll just highlight a few. As mentioned it has been great to get to know Hugh MacLeod. What a great attitude. Also, Ignition invests in consumer and media technology stuff amongst other things so having blogs (Geek Fishing , Tong Family , The Ludwigs) as a firm has been great for finding and vetting stuff of interest. Mark Ramsey is a very cool guy who knows volumes about radio and what is happening in the wild, wooly world of digital music. We did an interview with him I think even before the book came out and then he reciprocated. A lot of fun. Also, even though we used to work in the same company it was great to finally meet Robert Scoble at our book launch party. Great guy doing great things for Microsoft's image with his blog - [see Economist article].
Has the blog taking you down any new paths which you may otherwise not have envisaged?
My first girlfriend from college recently found me on my blog. Really nice to hear from her. There may be some others I would rather not hear from though.
How different is the blog today to when you first started?
Quite different actually and much the same. A lot less about the book I guess, we have already outlined a lot of the core concepts and
promoted the book a lot. Now it's mostly about interesting stuff we see happening or folks writing about.
How have your traditional PR activities rated alongside the blog?
Really well actually. We got some terrific traditional reviews. And I have to admit, as much as I like the whole new realm of virtual relationships, I actually like being around real people. So speaking and workshops have been great.
Any negatives associated with the blog?
Sure, the biggest is time. Hard enough writing a book when you have a full time job, a spouse and kids, but add blogging to that and, well. Blogging is highly addictive. I have got to believe there are a lot of blogging widows/widowers and orphans out there.
Also, don't do it if you are private or brittle person. People are incredibly vocal. And you are totally exposed to whatever they think – about you, your book, what you say on your site and what you do. And they can be sensitive too. I learned a lot early on about blogging etiquette.
What would you say are the key elements in writing articles for blogs?
Boy it seems like there are all different kinds of blogs that all have different characterstics and points of interest. It depends on what you are writing it for. But whether for business purposes, for journaling, or whatever, it seems to me that the best blogs have a real voice of their own. They reflect the real perspective and personality of the author. They are different and fun and have a unique perspective.
But if you are trying to reach people and persuade them or market to them in your blog I guess I would stick the core concepts in the playbook. Look at the playing field. What are the gaps, in the market, in what is covered already, and in what people like and don't. Then try to target someone and be distinctive. Do your XYZs (the only X that does/has Y in Z unique way). Be something, fit in a category X. Know your audience Y. And have content that matters to them and is diffentiated Z. Don't be overbearing though. If a blog is just one big ad it gets boring pretty fast.
Finally, keep it going and read lots of other blogs.
How do you see blogs evolving?
It is already happening, further and further encroachment on traditional media.
Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of podcasting. Now anyone can become a DJ, announcer nationally and internationally.
Any advice to would-be bloggers?
Be yourself. Have fun. Be open. Go for it. Don't worry too much about the critics. But keep your life in balance.
Read Part 1 of the Marketing Playbook Interview