It’s No Secret Why Blogs Fail

This week I’ve had some interesting conversations with clients about their social media strategy.

During a discussion on  blogging, one of our clients pointed out that everything they see on blogs is BORING, longwinded, and is more like stream of consciousness thoughts vs. useful information.

If you Google “Why Blogs Fail”, you will get more than 89 million links to articles, many of them blog posts to this very topic.  The reason blogs fail is not a secret, and some statistics claim  that 95% of them do.

  • Blogs fail because the organization has not made a real commitment to resources
  • Blogs fail because there is no clear content strategy
  • Blogs fail because the author doesn’t know if anyone is listening

What is considered blog success?
If your blog

  • contributes something of value and demonstrates your expertise regularly (at least once per week)
  • set you apart from your competition
  • has visitors who read your content (how many depends on what share of the audience you want)
  • gets comments and starts conversations

you can feel pretty good that your blog is going in the right direction.

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4 Steps for Evaluating Social Marketing: Using MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing ROAD Map as a Guide

Last week I wrote a post about MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook which included eighteen lessons I learned from the report.

This is a true story. Yesterday morning I met a friend for coffee. She’s owned and operated a business in the design industry for many years where she’s worked with both B2B and B2C customers, and lately has grown more curious about social marketing.

My friend told me that she’s always been an early adopter of technology and has even been a little surprised that she hasn’t considered social marketing earlier. Like so many other business people, she hasn’t known where to begin.

It wasn’t until driving back to my office after the hour we spent together that I realized I had used the ROAD map as a way to walk her through the basics of social marketing. As a refresher, MarketingSherpa identified ROAD as Research, Objectives, Actions and Devices.

Here’s how we approached the topic together for her first time:

Research: My friend told me that she reads a number of blogs in the creative design industry and has for some time. There are blogs she’s come across which she thinks are excellent and others that in her opinion, don’t provide any value. This is a great first step and I suggested that she take it  further by trying to identify what she thinks are good about those blogs. What could she emulate in her own blog if she were to start one? What would be the topics and focus? What content would best demonstrate her firm’s expertise? What would set her company apart from others? Ongoing research of blogs and other social media channels will be an important part of the process.

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Nonprofits Need to Develop a Social Media Strategy

nonprofit, social media, Simmons CollegeEarlier this week I spoke on a panel of social media professionals to 70 executive directors and marketing staff of nonprofit organizations at Simmons College in Boston. The subject was Social Media: Tips and tools for using social media to build support for your mission. The event was organized by the Center for Non-profit Success.

We had a great group of panelists who provided a balance of tools, case studies and strategy. My task was to present on strategy.   While everyone had a Facebook presence, only two or three audience members had a strategy to back up their social media activities. This is common amongst most nonprofits and many for-profits.  Unfortunately, without a strategy in place, these organizations may not be creating content that serves their audience, delivers on their organizational objectives or have the triggers in place to understand how successful their programs are.

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18 Signposts I Learned from MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Signpost

The title of MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Handbook, Social Marketing ROAD Map, is not only a clever analogy referring to the territory marketers must navigate to map out a social media strategy, the acronym is memorable and quite right-on. ROAD stands for: Research, Objectives, Actions and Devices.

I know writers are supposed to resist the temptation to use clichés—but I can’t help it—so indulge me here for a moment while I offer you a personal perspective. For me, someone who fears getting lost, my Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed my life with its turn-by-turn voice directions. The ROAD Map Handbook offers the comfort and confidence that I’ve come to rely on from my GPS. I think you too will find great direction from the guidelines, best practices and tactics, templates, suggested resources, worksheets, list of social media platforms, and comprehensive glossary.

Whether you’re a marketer just starting out in Social Media or have been traveling these roads for some time, you’re bound to find many valuable tips and strategies in MarketingSherpa’s Social Marketing Road Map Handbook.

You’ll want to read the Handbook yourself to receive the full benefit but to get you started, here are some of my favorite marketing signposts. Continue reading

Social Media Leaders and Laggards: Healthcare, Retail Sprint Past Financial Services, Energy

It may be early on in the race to Social Media marketing success, but there are already some notable leaders and laggards emerging.  Which industries are the ambling tortoises, and which are the speedy hares?

In this post, we will review the findings of a recent report from intelligence provider Social Media Influence (SMI), and share our own analysis to help you handicap this race to success.

In their June report entitled “The State of Social Media Jobs 2010,” SMI surveyed the marketing departments of all Fortune 100 companies, to find out whether they have in-house social media resources, outsource their social media campaigns, or have little to no investment in social media marketing.

The graph below shows the results of their survey.  The blue line represents the total number of companies in that industry, while the red line represents those companies in that industry that SMI deems “social media-savvy” (i.e. they devote significant in-house resources to social media marketing efforts).  As you can see, the leaders of the group include Tech/Consumer Electronics, Healthcare, Retail and Automotive.  On the flip side, the laggards are Petroleum/Energy, Financial Services/Insurance and Utilities.  (Click to enlarge image.)

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Advice for Bloggers: Write for the World

Internet's universe...

In the new book, The Yahoo! Style Guide, bloggers are advised to “write for the world.” We’re reminded that the web is a worldwide medium and “site visitors probably come from more than one country and more than one culture. Collectively, they probably speak several languages.”

I review the analytics for this site on a regular basis and am often intrigued to see the far-reaching range that posts can have. This past month visits came from 47 countries/territories and 23 languages. (Drilling down a little further I could even see that one recent post was picked up and cited on a blog in Brazil and then viewed most heavily in Sao Paulo.)

So what’s a blogger to do?

• You can start by following five best practices from the style guide: 1) Keep the sentence structure simple, 2) Include “signposts”: words that help readers see how the parts of a sentence relate, 3) Eliminate ambiguity, 4) Avoid uncommon words and non-literal usages, and 5) Rewrite text that doesn’t translate literally.

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How To: Get the Most Value from Your Blog Posts

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...

In a new post by Denise Wakeman she suggests repurposing your blog posts into different formats to “get more exposure and more value from the time you’ve initially invested in creating the content. Not to mention that you can drive more traffic back to your home base.”

What can you do with the post once its been published on your site? Denise suggests turning the content into different formats such as “reports, white papers, articles, slide shows, videos, podcasts, teleseminars, ebooks, etc.”

One place where you can repurpose your content is in your email newsletter by including a few lines in a short piece and linking back to your blog. That way you’ve not only repurposed the content but possibly have taken your non-blog reading client to your posts and demonstrated to them what they’ve been missing. Include too, a call to action to to sign-up to receive updates about your posts via rss feed or by email subscription.

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