Blogging Like It’s Your Day job! Oh Wait, But It Is.

There are some people in this world that really enjoy sitting in front of their computer monitor for hours on end. And no, I’m not referring to those who use the internet for playing games and socializing with friends. But instead, I’m giving kudos to the powerful voices who publish information that is respected, content that has a purpose, and content that compels its reader and leaves them with a desire for more.
Blogging has become a career for many talented artists. Being an artist doesn’t mean you have to paint a picture with paint. There are many artists who portray their talent through putting their thoughts and opinions to paper via lyrics. And in the world of content and marketing, these are three of the people who put their fingers to the keyboard the best:

Mitch Joel
Seth Godin
Bernadette Jiwa

My professor for creative content development, Robin Pepper, taught us the key components of a successful blog, and how to use it essentially as your umbrella for marketing. Let’s take a look at the following blog homes for the blogging brains listed above. Click on their names to be directed to their blog home page, let me know what you think!

Do they have what it takes

Well of course they do. But it was assigned to me to analyze and critique the blogs of these authors so, here it goes.

Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel

So first up we have Mitch Joel who is a journalist and publicist. He’s the author of his own blog titled “Six Pixels of Separation”. You’ll find a majority of his posts are heavily related to marketing communications. That’s not surprising considering back in 2006; Mitch Joel was named one of the most influential authorities on blog marketing. His blog has a reliable schedule. You can guarantee you’ll see posts from this genius every other day, if not every day. It’s like his brain automatically re-generates with an abundant of knowledge every time he clicks post on his dashboard. His topics vary within the cloud of marketing and advertising which keeps viewers interested and ready to absorb something new. His content is entertaining, engaging and compelling. He writes the way he speaks and he doesn’t over think. He asks questions, tells the reader what to do and where to go, but what I think is excellent is that he’s very engaged and active with his online community of followers. He provides opportunities for interaction through his social media sites through contests and giveaways. The layout of his blog design is clean and concise, it’s easy to navigate and on the left side bar is where you can find archives, recent posts, RRS feed and an email you can subscribe to. The only thing I’m noticing is at the end of his blogs, there are no tags provided to enhance SEO. I’m surprised that for such a popular marketing man that he has very minimal shares, likes, comments etc… Maybe this is an area of opportunity for improvement! But overall his blog is great, the posts don’t drag on to the point of glaze over, but they’re long enough for me to read through and actually, I mean actually read the full thing.

Seth GodinNext I’m going to take a look at Seth Godin’s blog page, titled “Typepad”. Seth Godin is an American author, entrepreneur, marker and public speaker. His blog caters to his perspectives in the marketing field. I would say that Seth has a unique way of relaying his perceptions to his readers. His blogs are short and sweet, but they get the point across. Every post has a point, and he doesn’t seem to fail trying to mark it. He uses metaphors to get his point across, whether it’s one, two or three per post. This is what makes his content most interesting, in my opinion. He is very knowledgeable in his ideas, and his blog headlines are consistently enticing. You can find Seth posting daily or every second day. I consider him to be a direct writer who is not intimidated to say what he feels he needs to in order to get his point across. The layout of his blog is simple, white background and fine print text. The structure of the blog is easy to navigate, as you can find archives, recent posts, RRS, Twitter and Facebook links, content sharing icons as well as an e-mail subscription section. Unlike Mitch Joel, Seth has a significant amount of consumer engagement on his posts. His community of followers spoil him with over a thousand re-tweets, and hundreds of Facebook likes as well as Google+ and LinkedIn shares.

Bernadette Jiwa

Bernadette Jiwa

Last we have the author of the blog titled, “The story of Telling”, Bernadette Jiwa. This woman is amazing. When I read her blog posts I feel a genuine authentic essence. Not only is the visual design and construct of her blog page warm and extremely visually appealing, but her content has soul. Her blog is primarily focused on brand strategy, brand naming and brand story. Although she doesn’t post every day, but maybe every 3 days on average, her posts are just as good. Her content is short and sweet just like Seth Godin, but the difference here is that she incorporates rich media! Finally, something other than copy. She incorporates meaningful images and videos that relate directly with her topics. I believe that incorporating visuals as Bernadette does enhances your readers experience, and also adds visual diversity. Letters can get boring after a while, don’t you think? Bernadette engages her audience by asking questions and providing opportunities for their comments and opinions. Just like the previous blogs I discussed above, her blog page is accompanied by contact and connect outbound links to her social media sites as well as RRS. In my eyes, Bernadette did an excellent job with establishing a connection with the viewer on the other side of the screen.

Ultimately, it’s all about the connection established with your reader at the end of your session. Take a look at your viewer engagement. Are people leaving comments? Sharing your content within their social sites? If you can say yes, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Anyone can be a publisher through social mediums, but what makes a good blogger is someone who’s content is authentic, compelling and, well… people actually care to read it. You don’t need to be an expert in marketing or advertising to begin your own community. All it takes is creativity, some flare, and a voice that people will want to listen to again, and again, and again.

Summit Session: The Social Combo

I recently listened in on a podcast discussion from White Paper Source composed by instructor Lee Odden. The theme of this podcast discussion was on how to integrate your social media marketing with all of your marketing strengths.

Essentially with digital marketing, you want to incorporate social media with other Internet channels such as your webpages or blogging page. Lee makes a point that in today’s social world of digital marketing, we have been given the ability to create, consume, publish and interact 24 hours 7 days a week. And he’s right. Everyone and anyone can create and publish digital content, but how can we control and sift through the content we consume? Were looking for quality, not quality.

Data Overload

Data Overload

Odden also makes a point stating that:

90% of all data in the world has been created within the past 2 years.

WHAT!? Yes. It’s true. Were bombarded with information overload on a daily basis, that’s why as marketers we need to establish this key point: as a brand, how can our content be of value to customers, especially against all of the information out there?? Odden discusses that we need to start thinking of social media as experiences and outcomes, rather than just tweets, Info graphics and video posts. He’s right. There needs to be a tactical shift in optimizing customer’s experience.

Content needs to be created to solve THEIR problems and to answer THEIR questions. Have you ever thought what it ‘s like to purchase from your brand? What’s the journey like from a purchaser’s perspective? Social platforms play a huge role, social channels are there for intent to purchase. Recommendations of products and brands happen on social, and from there that’s when the prospective consumer makes their decision.

If you’re a business and have a webpage, make sure you are active on social platforms and make sure they’re integrated into your site. It’s an easy one-stop shop for viewers to go from a viewer to a buyer. Lastly, key note to remember! The type of advertising and marketing you choose to hit your viewers with, should be different depending on what stage of the buying process they’re in.

Stages include:

  • problem recognition
  • information search
  • alternative evaluation
  • purchase decision
  • post purchase behavior

For example, most brands stop consumer engagement and interaction once the purchase is over. If you want your brand to be memorable and your customer to become loyal, think about direct mail incentive strategies to keep to keep YOU in THEIR minds.

Who’s Your Biggest Influence When Shopping? Well, I Can Tell You It’s Not Your Mom

With the inter-web world aggressively progressing by the minute, there is a constant increase in the evolution of social media platforms. Do you remember when social media didn’t exist to the degree it does today? Or when the hottest form of online communication was a messaging system called MSN? How about when “Tweeting” wasn’t an action, and blogging certainly did not have the insights and worldwide interaction it does today? Well, that has most definitely changed.

What's Next?

What’s Next?

Whether we know it or not, social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Blogs all have such a significant influence on society’s consumers.

Did you know that..

Social Networks Influence 74% of Consumers’ Buying Decisions

Not only am I speaking for myself, but also for the other 74% of society, when I say that social media content influences a hefty chunk of judgement whether to buy a certain product or service. Money is valuable, and when I’m going to buy something other than an everyday item, I want to have facts and opinions! I want information from users of the product or service themselves. I’m tired of fabricated content from companies, because in all honesty, we all know the objective is to sell and make money, right? Right. Therefore it doesn’t matter if the product or service being sold is in fact, going to provide you with the results the ads claim they do. That’s when you hit up social sites to see what other people have to say!

For Example, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart the other day trying to find a shampoo and conditioner that will solve my problem of dead ends and breakage. The thing is, after scanning the bottles lined up brand after brand, I started to realize that a majority of the products offered all stated the same things… So here I am debating on which brand to choose from. How am I supposed to know if L’Oreal would be better than Head & Shoulders? I don’t. Problem solver: Google about it, find a discussion group or blog post because trust me, I highly doubt I am the only girl who has experienced this contemplating brand problem… thing.

Jennifer Beese from Sprout Insights states that on Twitter 53% of consumers recommend companies or products through their tweets, and 48% of those follow through with the intent to purchase that product or service. This is a great way for people to find information regarding certain brands they have an interest in. In further detail, in terms of listening, businesses are using consumer insights in 80% of sales and merchandising decisions. So in other words, the businesses that you tweet, blog or post about care about YOUR opinion! Who better to critique better than a consumer.

Jenniffer Beese also mentions that as consumers increasingly turn to the internet to search and review products, ODM Group believes that by 2014, 53% of total retail sales will be affected by the internet. That’s clearly more than 50% of the population! Clearly social media is doing something right.

Snip The Rich, I say.

In today’s world society revolves around competition. Everybody’s objective is to be number one, to be on the top of the list. You want everyone to like you, and to be popular amongst your observers, right? Right.

The same goes for webpages found on Google’s SERP, also known as the search engine results page. But how are we going to ensure that search engine users will have an interest to click on your webpage? Well, that’s simple.

When we’re so occupied juggling school, jobs, extra circulars and a social life, all we want is efficiency. It’s unnecessary for things to take longer than they need to, it can be frustrating. We want to keep the little things in life simple.  Am I right?  Like browsing the web for your favourite Artichoke Asiago Dip or Saturday night Sangria recipe.

With the amount of content and data that is continuously being generated on a daily basis, it is important for a search marketer to ensure websites are observable and understood by search engines, at the same time providing valuable and relevant results to the searchers.

A Rich Snippet is structured data! And structure is very good when it comes to search engine optimization. I found an article on Search Engine Watch called “Structured Data: Content, Rich Snippets & Authorship vs. Author Rank” which gives excellent insights in regards to the efficiency and accuracy of having a rich snippet for your search result.

Let’s go into further detail. A rich snippet is essentially well… what it sounds like. It’s a rich chunk of information in the snippet below each listing on a SERP. Its purpose is to assist the searcher in determining if the search results were relevant, and how relevant they were. This saves the searcher from having to click on the link itself, and browse through the webpage. It also provides the viewer with information that is engaging, important and precise in relation to the content provided on the webpage.

“Using a rich snippet is a great way to stand out from your competitors, through interaction such as star ratings, photos, authors, prices and more”

– content blogger Jim Yu of “Structured Data…”

Take a look at the rich snippet example below.

See The Difference?

See The Difference?

You can easily tell the difference, and are attracted to, the search results that are accompanied by rich snippets including appealing content and visuals, versus the first result.

A little goes a long way in the world of search engines. I told you, it’s all about efficiency!