Social media is a great way to share a few quick thoughts, but what if you want to express a complete idea with your sphere of influence? Bring in the blogs!
Marshall Mcluhan once said that the medium is the message. In other words, how we communicate impacts what we communicate. These days, much is made of neo-modes of communications. Texting, with its vowel-less syntax; Tweeting, with its truncated grammar; and social media status updates that combine both. While many marketers are enthralled with ‘headline-news’ marketing, there’s a wide open a space for something more powerful to engage consumers:
After fighting to get your audience’s attention, then distinguishing your message in a crowded competitive landscape, sales and marketing professionals often struggle to get prospects to understand their ideas. And consumers really want to buy ideas. Ideas reflect things they value. It’s not just the features of a product that count – like how many buttons or bathrooms. It’s the idea your product or service represents – like convenience or status – that consumers really want to buy.
Few of today’s neo-marketing mediums do justice to some of the wonderful and smart value propositions in the market today. Their mediums struggle to convey much more than their message.
Enter the power of blogging.
While nobody wants to read novel-length marketing pieces, blogging fills the gap between ‘instant messaging’ and story-telling. There was even blogging long before the internet: Think of the television infomercial. It fell somewhere between an investigative report and the short-break ad. The concept tried to balance the attention span of the consumer with the information capacity of the medium. Infomercials worked extremely well.
Once the eyeballs moved from television to the web, the medium evolved into what we know today as blogging.
Don’t misunderstand. Blogging doesn’t have to follow the cheesy infomercial-style that worked on television. But understanding how blogs work as “intermediate mediums” on the web is important. Blogs reduce the work consumers have to do to learn about your company’s values, and even its products and services. More importantly, they do so better than the what-did-they-mean? status updates that dominate social media.
Skeptical Gen X consumers like blogs because they’re looking for more than just catchy slogans, flash animation or half-baked feature-claims. They want to know “the rest of the story,” including how your company’s values mesh with theirs. As for Gen Y, whom we’re told doesn’t read anything in their text-message-existence, we do know they engage good ideas through blogs, as long as the blogging is done by video.
The key to leveraging blog marketing is to complete an idea in every post. Unlike “gotcha” marketing methods, readers or viewers of blogs expect their time to be well spent. They appreciate brevity, and sometimes levity, but they always demand integrity. When they’re done engaging your blog, they want to have received some value. That’s how they will judge your company’s value, and then decide to buy.
Blogging works technically, too. Many readers subscribe to a blog, which means they receive direct email alerts when you add new content. This eliminates managing a separate email marketing list. Some readers may monitor your blog’s RSS feed, which instantly updates a web page or smartphone with your new content as you add it. Best of all, blogs foster dialog: Readers and viewers can engage with your company’s ideas by posting comments, asking questions, and sharing your content with their sphere of influence via social networks. Modern consumers like to feel like they can “participate” with the companies they spend money with, and blogging can create a deeper dialog with current and potential customers.
Blogging is often underrated in the “latest-feature” hyped news cycle of social media technologies. Certainly social media can be used to distribute your blog; it’s a great instant-delivery mechanism direct to prospects. But from a marketing perspective, the under-use of blogs in comparison to status-updates is unfortunate. Some of the best brands are built around stories that customers relate to. And the best stories revolve around ideas customers like.
If you want to get customers to hear more than just a message, or get caught up in the techno-geek of the medium, try spreading your ideas using a blog.