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

Bias on the news and the Internet – what is the impact on society?

There is a funny phrase that has become fairly common in American society that states, “They can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true. Who told me? The Internet.”

Since the year 2000, there was a 566.4% increase in Internet usage. That equates into roughly 2.4 billion users from all over the world, with eight new users every second. Next to that, there are roughly 1.4 billion users on Facebook worldwide and not all are individuals. Some are large corporations, news outlets, religious organizations, and so on and so forth. That is 11% of the world’s population and that is just Facebook alone.

The amount of information we receive daily from our Facebook feeds, Twitter tweets, and Pintrest pins is truly amazing. With access to the Internet anyone can broadcast their views and beliefs and anyone can project their version of a national news story. So how do we see through all that distraction? With so many competing views, the central message becomes convoluted. For example, Fox News and CNN compete daily to provide their own, ‘fair and balanced news’ to the hungry masses. It is no longer as easy as reading the Wall Street Journal or watching your local news channel after dinner.

For the common reader the question becomes, “how do we know which news source to believe?” Everyone wants to get his or her own message across, and what this becomes, is not an easy question to answer. This is because what Fox news reporters might say may differ heavily (and it usually does) from the content-based website of Reddit. Our favorite source-gathering site Wikipedia, on the other hand, hosts over 17 million different articles, which are modified by users to anyone curious enough to dive in. Even our favorite search engine Google offers daily news, albeit gathered from multiple news sources.

Biased opinions on the news and Internet do an excellent job of creating argumentative ‘sides’.  Everyone has a right of speech here in America and everyone has the right to broadcast his or her views. Anybody can log onto CNN and strictly follow the flow of news that is being ejected at an alarming rate. Your choice of what you view and post on the Internet is strictly yours.

Let’s look at the most recent and controversial government shutdown as a textbook example. A highly conservative based news outlet such as Fox News will explain that this stalemate lies with Obama and his liberal agenda. Fox would exemplify Republicans as the ‘white knights’ of congress fighting to uphold democracy. While Reddit, a mostly liberal user-posted-content website, takes a different stance. Broadcasting the opposite, claiming that the actions of the Republicans are destroying what America was founded on. Of course it is all much more complicated that that, but the differences are there. We take this information from all sources and post them publically to our friends, family, and coworkers. The results we find are typically Internet arguments, which in turn become pointless shouting matches over why/why not Obama should be impeached.

It still goes deeper than that. Americans have a pretty good understanding that a lot of the news we ingest is biased in some way, shape, or form. As stated in an article from the University of Michigan’s The Medium, “On the Internet, there is little control over what gets published” (umich.edu). On the Internet there is no limitations to time or space so, we can find well-written and polished articles there. These provide so much more information than a 30-minute wrap-up with a few sound bytes. On the Internet we get the ‘full story’ or so we are led to believe. Hidden in the text, between the lines, we can find agendas and propaganda; and I don’t say that in a bad way. It is a brilliant tactic that the Internet provides for reporters who can write a clean and refined story and still ambiguously pepper it with anti-liberal ideals. As viewers it is important for us to understand the news we are reading, where it is coming from, and the purpose it is trying to achieve.

So how do we detect this bias? Well simply put, the same way we would check the bias of any other news source. We analyze the sources of the article. We should check if the sources are two competing views or if they are strong-sided. Diversity is key in an unbiased article. The article must exhibit both sides of an argument. Watch out for double standards by researching opposing views or different examples of a situation. Loaded language is huge in reporting; the difference between the words devastated and damaged can carry a different weight. Biased articles are easy to spot once you know where and how to look into them.

News on the Internet has a huge societal impact on us. People who share our views and beliefs no longer surround us; in its place, we can now make two clicks and find an atheist’s argument for morality or a conservative case against abortion, and the world becomes ever more interconnected. The question for the individual experiencing this plethora of information is not, “How do I avoid all this information?” but instead, “How do I construct a viable view from all that is offered to me?” The information is ours for the taking, but we must decide on how to utilize it.

The Internet is possibly the greatest resource we have. Two clicks with the mouse, a keystroke, and we can find almost anything we can imagine. The Internet has a dizzying amount of content and has enhanced the way we digest news. We can find a story that provides good insight into LGBT rights, then turn around with a Google search and find its counterargument. Even still it does not stop there, we can then log onto one of the hundreds of social media networks and find our friends, family, and coworkers and view their opinions and their friend’s counter-opinions and so on and so forth into the opaque vastness of the World Wide Web. The possibilities are endless.

Works Cited:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

http://www.umich.edu/~newsbias/medium.html

http://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/

How Technology is Impacting Information Gathering & Storing – Is This the End of Traditional Libraries, Bookstores, and Newspapers

What is a library? Merriam-Webster says that a library is a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale, which is very true. Libraries do loan out books, manuscripts, films and so on to patrons on a daily basis, but that is not all a library does. They are centers of knowledge and learning and do more than just loan out books. They can serve as a place for people to escape from the world or to receive help for a problem they may be having. And at the backbone of every library is its librarians and library assistants. They are the people that help the patrons access all the knowledge that is held in a library. They do everything from helping you find a book to helping someone file for unemployment. Libraries are not just places for books anymore, they are a place that people can go to use the computer if they don’t have one or a safe place for teens to hang out while they wait on their parents to get off work. That’s how libraries have changed so far. They have gone from just loaning out books and movies to helping entire communities adapt to a more digital age.
In today’s world, we use computers, tablets, and smart phones to do the majority of our reading and studying, and some would say that because of this, libraries might go extinct. But I say nay! I believe that libraries will evolve and adapt to this age of smart devices. There are a couple cases of libraries already doing just that. A brand new library just opened up in Bexar County, Texas and it is an all-digital library named the BiblioTech. Another example is in Washington, D.C. where the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s Digital Commons has outdone itself in what could very well be the future of libraries. So what is the difference between these new digital libraries and the traditional ones? Well for one, these new digital libraries do not have to wait to get new material. If someone comes in with a request for a book, they can just add the book to the collection immediately rather than order a copy and wait for it to come in. Also, you don’t have to worry about returning books on time. Once your rental period ends on the book you downloaded, it just stops. No need to worry about those silly fines ever again. These digital libraries may eventually become the norm, but probably not for a while. Believe it or not, there are still many books that are not online, one example would be school text books.
Libraries are a great part of our culture and they help many different people in a myriad of ways. In this ever changing world we live in I believe that they can adapt and possibly even evolve into something that may be extraordinary.

Works Cited
Cottrell, Megan. “Paperless Libraries.” American Libraries Magazine. American Libraries Magazine, Sept.-Oct. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Peterson, Andrea. “The Digital Age Is Forcing Libraries to Change. Here’s What That Looks Like.” Www.washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Webster, Noah. “Library.” Def. 1. New Collegiate Dictionary. A Merriam-Webster. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam, 1953. Web. .

Junk Mail: Like It or Hate It

 Have you ever received junk mail for something and thought, “Why the HECK did I receive this? This is irrelevant for me and my family.” The definition of junk mail according to the Encarta World Dictionary is “unwanted mail: unsolicited mail, especially advertising material (Encarta World Dictionary, 2009).” You receive junk mail because you have given out some personal information to a business or have put some personal information on the internet. Junk mail is liable to get you when you give any personal information out. Remember that word travels fast.

Many companies use junk mail for advertising purposes. If you show any interest in something, such as clothing, that is the time for a business to pull you in and advertise to you other products they feel they can get you to buy. They try to keep you coming back to their business. You may also receive lots of junk mail that you have no interest in or is completely irrelevant to you. Companies try to get anyone and everyone to come to their specific business, due to competition in their market. Many companies also rent out their information lists to other companies. Renting lists is a big business for many companies (Privacy Right Clearinghouse, 1192-2011).

Junk mail comes in many shapes and forms:

• Mail: You may receive junk mail through the US postal services that is delivered to your house or business. This may include flyers, magazines and advertisements.

• Email: Due to technological advances, we also receive junk mail through email.

• Text: Many people that text receive forwards of long sayings. Some claim you need to send to a certain number of people or something will happen to you. This is also considered junk mail to me. It is unwanted and unnecessary.

• Newspaper: The inserts in the newspaper are also a form of junk mail. This is an easy way for companies to get their advertisements out to a large number of people.

• Internet: Internet even has some junk mail through blogs and other forms and comments.

• Landline/phone: Telemarketing phone calls are considered junk mail.

Many families may receive all of these in one day. According to Mike Volpe, “In five days we produce enough junk mail to reach the moon. Junk mail produces ONE BILLION pounds of landfill each year (Volpe, 2008).

I personally get extremely annoyed with junk mail. I have lost complete control of my email due to junk mail. I’ve got a ton of college junk mail. I have been in college for two years now. I have one on my email about tricking my brain to learn a language in ten days. Facebook has blown up my email as well.

Most junk mail serves no purpose but to take up more space in your trash can. Although there is not a lot of junk mail that is useful, I do receive junk mail that does serve a purpose for me. An example of useful junk mail for me is clothing stores that have coupons and some of their products that I may be interested in.

Junk mail can be fun to look through and sit and think, “What are they trying to tell me? Why did they choose me?” Just keep in mind that it was YOU that gave YOUR information out. Remember that word travels fast and businesses love to try to persuade you to buy their products. If junk mail really irritates you, there are many ways to get rid of the junk. You can contact different businesses by phoning or writing a letter to explain to them you do not want to receive junk mail. Next time you receive junk mail ask yourself, “Who all has my personal information?”

Works Cited

Privacy Right Clearinghouse. (1192-2011). Retrieved 11 5, 2011, from Junk Mail: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs4-junk.htm

Encarta World Dictionary. (2009). Retrieved 11 5, 2011, from Junk Mail: http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+junk+mail&qpvt=what+does+junk+mail+mean&FORM=DTPDIA

Volpe, M. (2008, 4 21). Hubspot. Retrieved 11 5, 2011, from 5 Shocking Statistics- How Junk Mail Marketing Damages the Environment.

By Danielle Trenkamp, Business Major at IUPUC

Internet Consensus and IUPUC

If you go to the dictionary or Google the term “internet consensus” you won’t find much, if anything; believe me I tried. However unfamiliar the term may seem, the concept is something we are all acquainted with. Internet consensus is simply creating a format on the internet for people to collectively put their thoughts and opinions. Then you have a large source of information ready and available to you for whatever the purpose of collecting the data was for. I have three prime examples of internet consensus:

2002: M&M color change
Changing colors isn’t a new procedure for M&M’s. They changed their tan M&M to blue back in 1995. They had the choice of blue, pink, or purple and had to call a 1-800-FUN-COLOR hotline to place their vote. What about internet consensus?  It wasn’t until 2002 that M&M decided to introduce another new color, but this time voting was done via the internet. The choices were pink, purple or aqua. There were advertisements abroad, all over the world. Consumers were invited to go online to M&M Global Vote and vote for the next color. M&M marketed this new campaign to all sorts of media. In one particular instance M&M had put a voting poll on the AOL homepage, and in a single day registered over 600,000 votes! After the time was up, the internet consensus determined that purple was to be the new M&M color.

2009: Live Music by Mass Animation    <watch video here>
Mass Animation, a computer graphics company out of California, teamed up with Facebook to create an interactive consensus with Facebook users. People had the option to download software that had unfinished clips of a possible story line and make it their own. They then submitted their short film layout and people could then vote on them. The winning submission with the most votes won a Dell XPS System, and every week the submission with the most votes won $500 per shot. Once the polls were closed, Mass Animation studios then finished the short film and Sony then showed the short film on the big screen with Planet 51. The internet consensus produced a high quality and entertaining short film.

2010: DEWmocracy <get out and vote!>  <watch video here>
Pepsi knew it had a fan craze base with Mountain Dew products and wanted to provide tasty options to its many loving fans. They provided the simplest solution: give them what they want! Pepsi created a very comprehensive poll method allowing their fans to choose everything about the new product: the flavor,  color, name, label design and fans even had the option to choose which campaign companies would make the new commercials. That’s not all! Then they finally had the option to choose one of the three drinks they created to be the new mountain dew product. Geniuses.

IUPUC
With the knowledge that internet consensus is successful and can provide profitable data, how do we implement that at IUPUC? It would be simple for IUPUC to question their students with an on screen poll installed on all the lab computers. A lot of people are investing in smart phones and use an IU mobile app. IUPUC could use that app to retrieve poll answers. So what kind of information would IUPUC receive through internet consensus? IUPUC could ask the students and teachers about what kind of new lunch item they would like to see at the café. Ask the students what class they would really be interested in taking that isn’t provided. Come up with community volunteer ideas and let the students decide on which one they would like to participate in. Find out what pressing topics we are interested in and give those majoring in journalism an opportunity to write about what we want to know more about. Any information that IUPUC needs to come to conclusions or for research can be done through internet consensus via webpages, mobile apps, Facebook, Twitter and more.

By: Amanda Jo Lucas, Business Entrepreneurship Major – IUPUC

<additional dewmocracy video> <additional dewmocracy video>

Pro and Cons of Telecommuting

I believe that telecommuting started to become popular in the twenty first century.  This is when computer and Internet technology really started to advance.  More people than ever before now own a cell phone.  Very powerful computers including laptop computers started to become very affordable and popular for people to own in their own home.  High speed broadband Internet became much more affordable and available to many more people than in the past.  There was also the desire for more people to be able to spend more time with their family at home than to have to travel to and from work each day.

The major advantage for someone to telecommute is the ability to work from home.  I do believe that this can be a major advantage for many people.  Some people have families with children where they would like to stay close to at home.  In this case telecommuting can be a major advantage to them if the job has very flexible hours working in a very relaxing environment at home.  Most people that do telecommute every day from home have a separate area in their home away from the rest of their family so that they can focus on their work.  I do believe that telecommuting is very popular for stay at home parents.

Telecommuting can reduce the amount of money that is spent on gas.  With gas prices over three dollars a gallon now in many parts of the country, it might make sense to work from home more often than to drive to work every day.  This can really benefit the environment.  The life of a person’s car can be extended as well by not driving to work everyday. The telecommuter might be able to focus more doing their work from home then having to deal with the daily office distractions.

Telecommuting might also open up the job market for some individuals.  The economy in the U.S. is not really doing well right now.  Some people might have to look for a telecommuting job online in another state.  In the past if someone wanted to work for a company in another state, they more than likely had to relocate to another state.  Now they can just work from home anywhere if they were to get hired.  Telephones including cell phones, web cams,  and video conferencing might be used if the telecommuter has to talk with coworkers and managers in another state.

The major disadvantage of telecommuting is that there is no daily social interaction with coworkers and managers.  This could make it harder for some telecommuters to get promoted because managers do not see their employees daily.  Telecommuters can also sometimes be lonely.  The telecommuter has to really be self-motivated to be able to work every day from home because some people consider the home to be a place to relax and not work.  Some people might have a hard time separating their work life from their personal life working at home everyday.  Telecommuters working from home might be easily distracted from work if they do not have a separate area in their home for work.

Telecommuting does have some advantages and disadvantages.  Full time telecommuting is not for everyone.  It depends on what the person’s personal situation is at home and what type of job they would prefer to do for a living.  I do believe that full time telecommuting is not for someone who is single because they might desire the social interaction with people by going to work every day.   A telecommuting job might be more appealing for someone that has a family at home.

Personally, I do not believe that I would like or enjoy a full time telecommuting job but I would consider a job with some telecommuting work at home after I am done with college.  I would be someone that would enjoy going to work every day and having interaction with my coworkers and managers than someone that just does their work on the computer at home every day.  There are many benefits to a job that has some part time telecommuting.

I do believe that telecommuting will keep on getting more popular in the future because technology just keeps on advancing.

By Eric Shepherd-IUPUC Business Major, Ivy Tech Alumni

The future of email-is there one? And, if not, what will fill the void?

In my opinion I think that email is surviving because of the business world. The future of email is slowly starting to diminish because of all the other ways that we as humans can communicate. Since facebook, and twitter has come along email is taking a back seat to these new and improved ways to communicate. With the formation of technology that we will see in the near future email will slowly disappear, and I think in as few as ten years will be non existent.
Since we have so many people working in the widely varied business world, some of the older people aren’t up to the new technology as the we the younger generation is. They are used to using email because it is really the only way they have ever communicated. The newer, and younger generation know what email is but are given many other ways to communicate in a fast way. Facts show teens between 18-24 share 76% of there content via facebook. The same age group only 70% share there content by using email.
As I stated before the older the age group the more that generation still uses email. The same chart shows that people that are ages 65 and older use email 97% of the time, and facebook only 24% of the time. The good thing about email is that your content is a lot more private that if you post something on facebook. If you post something on facebook you are more likely to say something wrong, and pay the price for it. In the same aspect when writing an email to someone the only person that knows what you said is you and that person, not the whole world.
I think that email will survive for a few more years than facebook, and twitter will eventually take up the internet. Why I say facebook is going to fill the void is because of how huge it has become in just the few years it has been available. Facebook has become so huge and is involved with everything we do. Technology is going to keep changing, and new ways of communicating are going to keep being available for humans. Email was the start of something good that has now changed the new ways we can communicate. If it wasn’t for email I don’t know where we would be today, but facebook is the new communication tool, and the future of communication for a long time to come.

Written By: Kyle Martin