The other day someone left a comment on one of my articles asking whether I thought it a good idea to hire a blogger to promote the benefits of a company. Apparently, a company called Inkspress has paid Jeremy Wright, a prolific blogger, $3350 to develop a blog for them and to write between 5-10 articles a week (over 3 months). It looks like Mr Wright had auctioned his talents off at eBay: Blogger for Hire - Start or Improve Your Blog. On further inspection I noticed that quite a few people were auctioning their blogging services on eBay.
Here's what Darren Barefoot, another blogger, has to say on his auction, Rent a Blogger - Online Marketing and Technology Expert
What do you get for winning the auction?
? If you don't have a weblog, I'll set one up for you. See below for my qualifications.
? Three months worth of blogging, with a minimum of five posts a week. These posts will typically include company news and events, tips and tricks about products and services, industry news and opinion pieces.
? Consulting services on blogging and, more importantly, monitoring the blogosphere. Learn who's talking about your company, and respond appropriately to what they're saying. I'm able to begin blogging as soon as you're ready. Feel free to email me with questions regarding the offered services or any other aspect of this auction.
In reply to the question, yes, I do think it a good idea to hire someone with expert knowledge of blogging to put the foundations in place for the development of a blog. Developing a blog can take a lot of time and effort and it's a good idea to ask soemone who's been there before how to do it.
However, in both the above examples the people will only be in place for a finite period of time and it will then be down to the company itself to take over the reins. In order for a blog to work it has to be able to produce content that resonates with the target audience and it needs to be updated quite frequently. It will be interesting to see how the bloggers get on outside their field of expertise and, as importantly, to visit the respective blogs once they have 'left the building'.
Here's an interesting article with David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, which discusses the technology behind the website and its plans to compete with bigshots like Google.
Tracking the net (Source: Red Herring)
In the words of the company themselves, "Technorati is a real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere — the world of weblogs." In fact the website is able to track what is being said on the web within minutes of content being published. Test it out: try and find this article on the site!
Here are some stats from the Technorati site: "Today, Technorati tracks over three million weblogs* up from 100,000 two years ago. The Pew Internet study estimates that about 11%, or about 50 million, of Internet users are regular blog readers. A new weblog is created every 5.8 seconds, which means there are about 15,000 new blogs a day. Bloggers — people who write weblogs — update their weblogs regularly; there are about 275,000 posts daily, or about 10,800 blog updates an hour."
* 4.8 million latest figure.
Here's an interesting article from Blog Business World about the use of keywords and content on blogs: Links and content: Blogs need both. Wayne Hurlbert reckons that Content is King but you shouldn't forget that Links are Queen. Though most issues have been covered on Marketing Tom, its always worth reminding ourselves of some of the key elements of Search Engine Marketing. Here are Wayne's observations:
[On Linking] "For off page linking benefit, it’s considered good practice to use theme related anchor text to lead to your blog. The anchor text should be some targeted keywords, specifically directed to the page being optimized."
[On Content] "If possible, fit your chosen search terms into your blog’s title, description, title tags, and URL. After that, place them in the headlines of your articles, and highly positioned on the page, whenever you are able. When you write your content, be sure to use your targeted keyword(s) on your pages. In longer articles, you can slip them in as phrases two or three times. The search engine will calculate them to be important search terms for your search. As a result, your blog should rank much higher for those words."
Robert Scoble, one of the most profilic bloggers on the Web and a Microsoft blogger to boot, offers some thoughts on blogging on Microsoft's Business Solutions section. Here are the questions that they put to him in an article entitled, The Four-Letter Word That Can Get People Excited About Your Products:
What is a blog, and how can it help companies promote products?
What are the practical advantages of a blog from the customers' point of view?
Why is blogging becoming so popular?
What are the dangers of blogging from the company's point of view?
What makes a blog work from a company's point of view?
For those about to set up a blog, you may want to read this article from MarketingProfs.com:
Straight Talk About Blogs: Do You Really Need One?. It should help you decide whether it's worth you, or your company, develeloping one. If you're looking to sell the idea to management, the author lists some key benefits which you could use in a report. Some of the hurdles that BL Ochman identifies are:
? Blogs are writing intensive
? It takes time, effort and skillful promotion to build an audience for a blog.
? A blog that isn't well-written and frequently updated will simply be ignored.
Though these are some of the benefits:
? Blogs can help you get better search engine placements.
? A blog can be seamlessly integrated into your site's e-commerce.
? Blog software is so user-friendly that it frees you from the tyranny of the IT department.
? Blogs can bring in business.
Just came across an interesting article from Red Herring about Joyce Park, a blogger whose musings on her blogTroutGirl, managed to lose her her job: No Friendster of mine. It appears that she wrote a couple of articles about her company, Friendster, and its website which they took a dislike to and promptly decided to fire her. What's interesting is that a number of bloggers have come out in support of her and asked people to boycott Friendster. The good news is that a number of Silicon Valley companies, some competitors of Friendster, have already offered her a job!!
The Blogger on the Payroll
I had a recent post to my other site, Mad About Madrid asking for more details on how to go about domain name mapping - I think Marketing Tom is a better forum than the other site to discuss this issue. Here is a definition of domain name mapping from TypePad (the people who power this blog):
Domain Mapping is the process of pointing a registered domain name to a TypePad, weblog or photo album. Domain mapping is more than domain forwarding, because your permalinks and URL contain the address of your domain (www.example.com), and not your TypePad sub-domain (example.typepad.com).
In my case the domain name www.marketingtom.com maps to madrid.blogs.com/marketing_tom and all sub-pages are displayed under www.marketingtom.com. Since I last spoke about domain name mapping, the control panel on Godaddy has changed. This is the new procedure you now need to follow:
Once you are in your control panel you select 'manage domains'
Click on the domain name that you need to set domain name mapping up on
In the bottom right-hand side of the page click 'Total DNS Control'. Then click Manage DNS Zone File' and add in the details.
From here, you can following the instructions on TypePad Domain Mapping
Apparently, there are over 2 million blogs out in 'cyberspace'. Here are 2 that I particularly like and which are also good Internet Marketing examples.
What's Your Brand Mantra?
This blog is written and developed by Jennifer Rice of Mantra Brand Solutions. Jennifer is a brand strategy consultant and uses the blog to discuss a wide range of issues related to branding. The site is simple, clean and focused and rarely wanders away from the subject of branding. From the comments on the site and references to other brand consultants, you can work out that Jennifer has built up quite a nice community. In fact, as a result of the blog she is working on a business project with another branding consultant. Like many business people who maintain their own blogs, she is not out to directly promote her own business, Mantra Brand Communications, yet anyone who has bought into what she says will undoubtedly make their way to her corporate site.
The Food Section
This is a fabulous site. Josh Friedland is passionate about his food and writes with passion about it. The Food Section includes articles on recipes, trips to food establishments and news on food events and practically every article invites comments from loyal FoodSection readers. Visitors to his Web site come in through a number of different routes, from links on other sites to food articles and obviously the search engines. The site has won praise from a number of food magazines and has got in to the well-known Yahoo! Picks Hall of Fame.
Search Engine users a huge variety of keywords to come in to the site, using words as varied as 'new york oyster festival' to 'soup dumplings', with Google listing 1,050 links to the Food Section and Yahoo! Listing 19,400 (Admittedly, both of these will include multiple links from the same blogs). However, through some searching you can see that a huge amount of ‘food bloggers’ have links to this site.
The key ingredients (oops!) to both these sites are:
1. A passion for what they write
2. A high-level of knowledge of the subject matter
3. An engaging writing style.
The rapid rise of web logs (blogs) over the past year has not gone unnoticed by companies, and especially by people involved in Marketing and PR. These people are now involved in developing their own blogs to talk up/add value to their own products and services and also using other people's blogs to promote or discuss them. However, not all companies have actually worked out how to use blogs effectively yet. Here are some articles that offer good advice and guidance for would-be business/PR bloggers:
Gadget blogs gain in popularity and corporate PR begins to take notice
In Post(er) Boy, Robert Scoble a blogger who works at Microsoft offers companies some tips on blogging that can help them succeed online.
James Horton has written a good paper - Marketing And Blogs: What Works - which contains this useful tip:
Successful marketing through blogs creates or enters a community of interest where readers are involved in the use and lifestyle of a product or service. Blogging sparks interactive communications using low-cost self-publishing and syndication of content. It is not a way to make money or shill products. Blogwriters who believe they can sell musings by subscription have been disappointed, and companies that have used blogs to sell overtly have so-far failed and generated protest.