Thinking about Starting a Corporate Blog?

Blogging is a valid tool that can:

  • Help customers who are searching the Internet find you, thus increasing traffic to your corporate website (MarketingTango, 2013).
  • Raise your company’s website’s SEO by paying attention to key words when writing blog content (MarketingTango, 2013).
  • Bring customers back again and again for new content, when they begin to recognize your company as an expert source (MarketingTango, 2013).
  • Help to improve customer service by providing another means for customers to engage. If a customer can’t reach you, they won’t be customers for long. (Steinkirchner, 2012)
  • Allow customers to get to know the company or product brand at a more personal level and build community (Steinkirchner, 2012)

Great blogs are:

  • Easy to read, both in content and in visual appearance, and filled with strong, relevant copy that’s organized in a logical fashion (Urban, 2009).
  • Easy for interested readers to find through key word searches (Urban, 2009). The stronger the SEO, the more readers a blog attracts and the more readers a blog attracts, the stronger the SEO becomes.
  • Integrated with other social media, making blogs a seamless addition to a marketing plan (Urban, 2009). By using various forms of social media to advertise and even populate a blog, more readers will come. By enabling readers to share the blog with others via social media, still more readers will come and the conversation will continue to grow.
  • Topped with memorable, attention-getting headlines. Great headlines help to cut through the clutter to get articles and, by extension, blogs noticed.
  • Filled with appropriate photos and graphics. We live in a visual culture and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using photos – like those from Instagram – can raise your profile and get your company’s message noticed more. Articles with images get 94% more views (Bullas, n.d.). It was this logic that caused me to incorporate photos into all of my blog posts.

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-why-you-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic/

http://www.marketingtango.com/3-big-reasons-to-blog-for-business/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sundaysteinkirchner/2012/08/22/5-ways-to-improve-your-customer-service/

http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/10-important-traits-of-a-great-blog-design/

5 Emerging Media Trends for 2015

Looking into my crystal ball for new emerging media trends for 2015, I see:

  1. Mobile platforms will become more social media-friendly, a welcome thing because a growing number of us engage in social media only via mobile devices.
  2. Storytelling will build buzz by driving more traffic in emerging media, adding brand value as the word spreads.
  3. Social media will become smarter and more personalized with optimization.
  4. Mobile payment will become accepted by both retailers and consumers.
  5. Use of the social space more as a collaborative tool to encourage conversations with customers.

What are your top 5 predictions? Share them here!

Somebody’s Watching You

Mobile tracking allows us to keep tabs on our homes and our children. Through our cell phones, we are notified if an intruder enters our home while we’re away or if there’s a fire. We can find out whether we remembered to lock the doors and can even turn off lights remotely. We can keep an eye on our kids via nanny cam feeds which can be viewed wherever we happen to be, and we can even locate our children by employing GPS tracking on their phones.

But what happens when the tables are turned and it’s US that’s being tracked? That’s exactly what some retailers want to do.

Big Data Hits Real Life

Retailers can use signals from mobile devices to better inform their business about store traffic and can even use the data to predict things such as intent to purchase.

But is this right? Should we be able to be tracked without our consent? According to consumer feedback, the answer is no. 77% of U.S. adults with smartphones surveyed said they do not want to be tracked by retailers when in stores. 

Their reasoning?

  • 69% worried about the security of their personal data.
  • 67 said that it feels like spying.
  • 61% said only the retailer benefits.

So what do you think? Would you opt-in to retailer tracking if you you benefited in some way? What if it was your favorite retailer asking? Why or why not?

And what of that consent? How many of us are so accustomed to hitting “agree” when we haven’t closely read the agreement to know to what it is we’re agreeing? I think these privacy agreements need to be written with consumers in mind – they need to be in clear, easy-to-understand language and ideally, they’d be interactive and engaging, asking questions along the way to ensure consumers understand what it is they’re agreeing to.

Remember, some users are children, who should never be tracked by anyone other than, perhaps, a helicopter parent.

Eager to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Storify, or How to Herd Cats

Sometimes, getting your arms around a story is akin to herding cats. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about storytelling and about a couple of new storytelling tools I found that I thought might help me tie up some stray news items that tend to escape notice, allowing me to round them up into a cohesive marketing message.

Today, I decided to play around with Storify to better understand how the tool works and its potential.

First, I checked out the stories compiled by others to see how the tool is being used:

A look at the accusations against Bill Cosby

Christmas festivities in Nashville

Protests in NY and DC

2014 in tweets

As you can see, users have the opportunity to search by topic and gather related “news clips” from all across the web — web links, Google +, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube — and drag them into a document. They can then move these parts around and write copy around it, making the piece their own story.  The story can then be published on Storify and, if the user wants, pushed out to broader audiences via Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

In a nutshell, this is a fantastic tool to use when you want to get your arms around everything that’s “out there” on a given topic. Writers can use it privately as a means of collecting notes on a given subject when preparing to write. Those who journal may find their creativity sparked by their ability to gather tidbits from here and there. Marketers can use it both as a tool to provide a snapshot of the conversation about a product or company and can even use it as a means of telling the story about the product or company by incorporating what others are saying along with their own messaging. This allows for a more rounded, transparent perspective.

I did my own — Emerging Media and Marketing: Trends in 2015 and Beyond — and I’m trying to figure out how to turn the story itself into a blog post.  I’m not sure that’s doable, so in the meantime, I’m sharing both the link and the PDF I was able to create. Do take a look — there’s some exciting stuff there.  I’ll post on that in a bit and would love to hear your thoughts!

emerging-media-and-marketing (PDF)

What Does Your Digital Footprint Say About You?

Because I recently blogged about digital footprints, I thought my readers might enjoy reading this from Coffee and Marketing.

Coffee and Marketing

What happens online…stays online! Although your online activity appears to be seeminglywhat-happens-online-stays-online private, it is near impossible to achieve total privacy. Every website or digital platform you visit leaves behind a trail (footprint) of data and personal information. Think of it as a trail of bread crumbs that navigates directly to you. This data is transmitted from emails that you send, various social media platforms, company websites, blogs, and any information you submit online. Every status update published on Facebook, every Tweet posted on Twitter, every Pin pinned on Pinterest and every photo shared on Instagram contributes to your digital footprint. The more time that an individual or brand spends on social networking websites, the larger your digital footprint will be. Just because you hit that delete button does not mean that the data was permanently deleted.  So do you know what your online activity say about you?

How Does Your Digital…

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Spreading a Virus by Jingling Your Bells

It’s flu season. Whether you’ve armed yourself with the flu shot or the nighttime-sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-so-you-can-rest medicine, the virus is running rampant. You might even say that the virus has gone viral.

Going viral is the rapid spreading of disease – or an idea – or something – from person to person. In terms of social media, it could be a video being viewed by a large number of people in a short period of time, or a blog post striking a chord so it’s spread from person to person until thousands or even millions have read it.

Examples of things that have gone viral include:

  • The Blendtec blender commercials, in which the company’s co-founder blends all kinds of things – from golf balls to iPhones – to show the strength and durability of the blenders
  • Metro Trains Melbourne’s public safety campaign, “Dumb Ways to Die”, which pairs a catchy tune with cartoon characters dying in crazy and bizarre manners
  • K-mart’s Show Your Joe commercial, which shows a line of men in black tie and boxer shorts jingling their bells

So what do these successful viral campaigns have in common?

  • They’re easily sharable;
  • They elicit emotion;
  • They provide something unexpected;
  • They’re simple;
  • They tie in somehow with current events or pop culture;
  • And – to make sure they’re not just a flash in the pan – they follow up with additional material, including blogs, bloopers, etc. to help keep the conversation going.

Marketing with Instagram

Once, it was just an app used to share photos with friends. Today, Instagram is another tool in the marketing arsenal, used to:

Introduce new products

No, you’re not dreaming – White Fudge Oreo cookies are here.

A post shared by OREO (@oreo) on

Host contests

Encourage followers to post their own branded photos

We’re seeing stripes everywhere! Show off yours for @rmhc to help celebrate their 40th anniversary. #forRMHC

A post shared by McDonald's (@mcdonalds) on

Offer a “behind the scenes” looks at the brand

Backstage the real "behind the scenes" thank you Miami. #TheLifeYouWantMia

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on

Offer promo codes

Learn more about its followers through the real-life photos they post

Can you put on your marketing hat and think of any other ways Instagram can be used?  Be creative!  Post your best answer in the comment section below!