Just when you think you have it all figured out in terms of marketing your business,
along come some new technologies that revolutionize your ability to promote your
products and opportunity. And while most people have heard of these technologies
by now, namely blogs and podcasts, few are taking full advantage of what these
marketing mediums can offer their businesses.
As little as two years ago, blogs and podcasts were viewed as nothing more than
places for opinionated people to rant and rave or assert their viewpoint. Today,
the tide has changed; blogs and podcasts are the most explosive marketing vehicles
to emerge since the Internet itself. Consider the facts: BusinessWeek reports
that over 40,000 new blogs are popping up every day. In 2006, the number of podcast
feeds exceeded the number of radio stations worldwide, says the CIA World Factbook.
What does all this mean for your business? It means you have a wealth of marketing
opportunities that require little to no out-of-pocket expense. Use the following
suggestions to make the most of your blogging and podcasting efforts.
Blogs (short for web logs) are easy to use and simple
to set up, and they offer a great format for promoting your business. Think
of a blog as a mini-website where you can post comments on a regular basis.
Blogs are a powerful medium for delivering information, because when done correctly,
the information on a blog comes across as more authentic and less biased than
information in other media. Consider the following key points:
- Blogs enable you to get consumer feedback in an unfiltered environment.
Sure, that can create some challenges, but if you get negative feedback on
your blog, at least now you can address the issue and be aware of it. In a
sense, a blog can serve as an instant focus group. Being receptive to getting
customer feedback on your blog positions you as being accessible and interested
in customer concerns. Thats a strong selling point in todays environment.
- Because blogs are updated regularly, search engines like blogs and display
them at the top of the search results. Construct your blog properly by using
keywords the search engines will pick up within your blog entries. That way,
when someone keys a particular term about your business into a search engine,
your blog will come up naturally in the results.
- Because blogs can be almost like online communities, they can be a great
way to talk about your company, its products and any industry trends. Blogs
provide an easy forum for delivering information to customers about new products
or offers, and for building relationships with customers. If some sort of
crisis occurs in the company, its a way to get the facts out there so
you can deal with the situation quickly.
- To make your blog more relevant and non-biased, reach out to people who
will contribute to your blog. In other words, you can have people from within
your team post entries, as well as outside experts or customers. Be careful,
though, as a blog makes it easy for anyone to post information that is not
accurate or biased. If you allow others to post entries, establish some controls
over the content.
- You can find a number of inexpensive blogging services online that can help
you set up and maintain your blog.
A podcast is essentially your own radio show on the web. Its an extension
of a blog, whereby you make your entry more personal because youre actually
speaking the words, not just typing them. Before you dismiss podcasts as something
only kids listen to, take note: according to a comScore study, people between
the ages of 35 and 54 make up about half of the podcast listeners. As such,
podcasts are a great choice for networking businesses be-cause they can help
boost your credibility and sales without having to invest much. Consider the
following key points:
- When developing a podcast, think of a unique concept or angle for your
show that highlights your industry or company. Make sure to provide information
that your prospects find engaging and entertaining. If youre a financial
planner, for example, you could do a podcast about wealth or investment strategies.
Address your customers or prospects challenges, and theyll
tune into your podcast.
- Podcasts also allow you to appeal to niche audiences, because you can cover
certain topics in more depth. You can make your podcast any length (thirty
minutes to an hour is common), and you can address specific or even obscure
topics that you know your customers will find interesting.
- To create the podcast, you need recording/mixing software and a microphone.
Both of these items are easy to install on your computer, so theres
no need to go to a recording studio. With the software you can edit your podcast
and include intro music. You can even put commercials into your podcast to
sell your own products, or sell air space to others and include their commercials.
The beauty of podcasts is that people can listen to your show over and over,
whenever they want.
- Make it easy for people to find your podcast. You can do that by submitting
your podcast to different feed directories, such as FeedBurner or PodcastValley.
Blog and Podcast Your Way to Profits
When it comes to blogs and podcasts, the key to success is to give people relevant
information so they keep reading or listening. Maintaining a blog or doing a
regular podcast takes time and discipline, but when you consider the amount
of credibility and exposure to new customers these technologies give you, its
well worth it. In fact, no business can afford not to use these tools as a vital
part of their online marketing mix.
PETER KOEPPEL is founder and president of Koeppel Direct
a leader in online, print and radio media buying. With over 25 years
of marketing and advertising experience, Koeppel has helped
Fortune 1000 businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurs
develop direct marketing campaigns to increase profits.