Marketing Through Blogging

5 Minute Read

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs… They are everywhere and you may not even realize it. Blogs are the marketing tool of the time and blogs are giving newspapers and radio advertising a serious run for their money. In order for a company to effectively use blogs as a marketing tool, a company has to have a solid understanding of what social media means for businesses today and how they can utilize the social media world and blogging to benefit their long term strategy.

Blogging has broken out from the conventional blog hosting sites and is now on all of our social media platforms.  If the criteria for a blog is: regularly updated articles, one or more authors and typically focused content written in an informal or conversational style then blogs populate Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pintrest and many other platforms. When you like and share an article or a post you are GVessentially marketing for someone and perpetuating a blog. Today, social media and the internet allow companies to have direct relationships with their consumers that were not possible in the past. Companies can now interact and engage easily with their consumers just as consumers can now easily engage with their favorite companies. This dynamic has some companies scratching their heads while it has other forward thinking companies developing strategies around it.

Two forward thinking companies I think that are effectively utilizing blogs as a marketing tool are Coca-cola and Gary Vaynerchuk with Vaynermedia. Both have set up an amazing web of blogs and social media content that keeps the attention of their consumers and maximizes interaction and impact.

Both companies realize that the use of blogs as a marketing tool is a long play. The effectiveness of blogs relies more on the quality of its content and the relational depth a company has with its readers than the number of followers alone. A good blog should not push sales, it should give value to the reader. Nobody wants to read blogs that are always pitching a sell to them. A reader wants value from the content in the form of entertainment or knowledge. Essentially a blog is a marketing expense that is used to give your customers value in the form of entertainment or knowledge. That sounds like an awful play but if you consider the blog as a relational investment in regards to the integrity of your consumer base then it makes sense. Effective blogs are relationship and trust builders. Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “If you give more than you take then you have leverage for life”.

CokeCoca-cola has positioned their blogs as a form of engagement and interaction while providing stories and product updates through their blog “Unbottled”. The content is not overwhelming or pushy and articles can be easily searched and found through filtering. Coca-cola wants to reach and keep the attention of as many consumers as possible in order to fabricate a lasting loyalty from them. Their focus is rooted in retention through attention and Coca-cola quickly cycles numerous pieces of content that are broadly appealing and shareable.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the CEO of Vaynermedia, a 600 employee media and strategy company that boasted over $100 million in revenue last year. He is a pioneer in the digital and social media world and an incredible entrepreneur to say the least. Gary started his career after he graduated college in 1999. He took over operations at his father’s wine company and increased the annual revenue from $3 million to $60 million annually through the use of an incredibly effective e-commerce and e-mail marketing program. He started one of the first online video blogs in 2006 called Wine Library and in 2009 he and his brother started Vaynermedia. Gary hustled his way toG.png the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see what they want is the greatest gift anyone can have. With that gift all you have to do is deliver and Gary understands that today’s generations require interaction, online relationships and above all else… attention. The social media climate is driven by attention. That is why we have like buttons and share buttons. It is why we post pictures and stories for people to read and tell us how great our lives are. We crave attention and Gary is a deliverer of attention, value and motivation. Gary also blogs to maintain his personal brand as an industry leader. His blogs means more followers which result in credibility. Credibility sells books and authors get paid to speak. That type of notoriety can lead a company such as Vaynermedia which sells various media products and provides services such as social strategy and social media management to many fortune 500 companies.

As you can see blogs allow a company to be more up close and personal with their consumers than ever before. If a company understands what they want to achieve through blogging they can begin to develop a strategic plan and begin the long game strategy. The first step is to create shareable content that readers will find value in. Then listen and be empathetic to their needs and deliver to those needs. Interact and keep their attention and the number of followers will increase. If a company can remain consistent and present, then they will gain the trust and loyalty of their followers and that is the goal of any company or blogger.

-Brent Devers

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Wild Slang

Have you recently looked up the average number of text messages you send every day? If you have, have you checked to see in how many of them you used abbreviations, incorrect grammar, slang, or no punctuation? As texting and social media have been on the rise over the past decade everyone has adjusted to simplifying their ideas, with grammatical mistakes, as much as possible. After we continuously make grammatical errors or simplify our thoughts in our posts or texts it becomes a habit. This habit of informal communication has begun to take over the world.

Knowing when to use formal writing and correct punctuation is very important. Using incorrect punctuation can reflect a negative image on a person in certain situations. For example, if you are trying to get a job and you wrote a resume using incorrect punctuation, slang and abbreviations then that could foreshadow on whether you receive the job or not. We should all know to use correct punctuation and proper grammar when dealing with professional topics. If you are writing to your co-workers, bosses or teachers it is important to know the difference between their and there or your and you’re. Writing an email, letter or memo with incorrect wording or improper punctuation can create a different meaning then what the sender is trying to portray. Make sure you proofread every piece of writing that’s supposed to be important and sound professional so you can make it correct.

The interesting thing about slang and informal communication is that it has grown so much during the past decade. Most of these improper writings come from the younger generation in the world. The older generation is better at knowing the correct times to use the correct language. Most of our grandparents and even some parents do not understand what this “slang” means half the time. It is easier for them to use the correct language and punctuation because they grew up using it. The access for electronics, social media, and texting starts at a very young age now-days. Repetitively reading and replying to slang at a very young age creates the bad habit of informal communication during this young age. Everyone should know that doing something over and over from such a young age is hard to change when you get older. We all need to constantly remind ourselves that it is okay to talk and write informally, but we also need to practice formal writing at times.

Any time you have the chance to write formally you should take advantage of it. Writing formally makes you look professional and educated. Correcting as many mistakes as possible in your texts and social media posts will help form the skills of correct writing for appropriate times. Next time you see someone make a mistake point it out and make sure they understand the difference in what they wrote and what they meant. Being corrected might be embarrassing at that point in time, but impressing someone with correct grammar, punctuation and word usage in the long run will bring a great feeling of accomplishment. Language can be confusing, but hey so are the electronic devices you use daily. If you can succeed with figuring out all the new technology then formal communication won’t be too big of a challenge for you to understand.

– Trevor Armel IUPUC Business Finance Major

The Meta Post: Effective Blogs from Successful Companies

Sometimes when writing for blogs like this, I find myself asking “How would X write this?” or “What would the readers want X to say?” It’s no secret that the information we post on the internet directly effects how people think and feel about us. Naturally this leads us to want to post the best information we can and do so in a way that makes us seem positive, intelligent, and rational.

Companies that use blogs to communicate face the same pressures, but we the added constraint of the business’s reputation and potential profitability being placed on the line. Knowing this, companies that blog have found a great way to balance a solid informal blog that also presents the company as being successful and a place their customers want to keep doing business with.

So let’s put two highly successful companies on the spot and observe what it is that they are posting on their blogs and how the readers react. We should also notice if there is a trend to blog posts and see what members of the company are posting.  Finally we should take note on the visual appearance of the blog and if it influences the reader’s interaction with the blog.

To start off, we’ll take a look at Facebook’s Official Blog, which can be found at http://blog.facebook.com/.   As of this posting, the front page of the Facebook blog is covered by posts announcing new features that are being implementing into Facebook and posts discussing some the impacts involved with usage of Facebook.  The blog also makes sure you can clearly see feedback from users about the blog, including a widget that shows the “Most Popular Stories” from the blog. The most popular post as of this posting is discussing additions to Facebook’s Timeline feature. This post has over 35,000 likes and almost 40,000 comments with over 1500 shares.

Facebook as a company is well represented by the various posts, with posts by development team to posts from the CEO. All in all, the Facebook blog leaves me with the impression of company that wants to proudly share its work with its members as well ensure the members continue to enjoy their experience.

Our second entrant is Google’s Official blog, which can be found at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/. There is a huge contrast between this blog and Facebook’s. Notably is moving graphic that is found in the upper right side of the page, which responds to mouseovers. Also, we see a different tone than that of Facebook’s, in that this blog seems to be more focused on its content rather than its reception by readers. The posts vary in topic from information about Google products to stories about endeavors the company has taken part in.

Again, like Facebook, Google has varying departments that contribute to the blog, from engineers to corporate members. The impression I get from reading Google’s blog is that of a company that prides itself on the sharing of knowledge and educating its readers.

Hopefully through this all too brief post, I have shared just a bit of insight into how companies utilize blogs and the internet to promote themselves. Though I cannot speak for either company, I believe having these sources of information available to their customers is greatly helping their businesses succeed.

By Alex Colson, CNIT Major Purdue University