Five Benefits of Blogging

blog words

The blog is central to content marketing

Why blog?  After all, blogging requires time and effort.  As an on the go entrepreneur, both of those things are at a premium.  However, it’s the cornerstone of establishing your website as the online hub for your business.

While it’s important to participate on other online platforms, establishing a presence you actually own is essential.  Your blog is the critical piece in your online marketing effort.

Here are five proven benefits of finding the time and effort to launch a consistent blogging effort

1) It generates business. According to Hubspot research, 82% of companies who properly execute a blogging strategy gain business from it.

2)  More businesses are finding that Inbound Marketing – blogging, social media, Search Engine Optimization and lead nurturing that turns website visitors into customers – is more cost effective that traditional marketing (outbound) efforts.

3) Your blog creates a personality for your business and connects you as a person, not just another vendor. This is critical, no matter whether you sell a professional service or a commodity product. Whether you sell business to business or direct to the consumer, all business is really done person to person.

4)  Blogging enhances your reputation as a valuable resource for your readers. It creates the “know, like and trust” factor that is critical for any successful business transaction.  Even if you operate your business primarily online, regular contact with prospects through your blog and other social media can give them a sense of you as a person.

5) Last but not least, a consistent blogging effort that incorporates wisely chosen keywords will create visibility in Google and other search engines. Blogging generates more pages that can be indexed by the search engines.  High quality content will generate inbound links from other websites.

There are additional benefits to blogging, but these are the Top Five.  Starting a blog and generating a stream of quality content requires planning and effort.  However, when you understand all of the benefits of having a blog you’ll want to get started.

Frivolous Friday Fun

It’s Friday afternoon, I have a few things still left on my “To Do” list, and YIKES! it’s 3:15 and I committed to write a blog post every day for 30 days!

I’m not about to lose my momentum on the second day of the challenge.  Fortunately, I have a back-up.

Here’s a favorite video that I haven’t shared with my blog readers.  I’ve emailed it to several of my friends and they really enjoyed it.  So, here it is:  Business Cliche Bingo.  I don’t want to spoil the fun by revealing the contents.  Let’s just say that it will bring a smile to your face and set your toes to tapping.

If you love to sing and dance, it might even inspire you.  Enjoy!

When the Brand is You

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

What makes a powerful personal brand?  Think of someone who you know, either personally or through their business or media persona.  What is it that creates their powerful brand?

For many Americans, Oprah exemplifies a powerful personal brand.  After all, she turned a job on the lowest rated morning talk show in Chicago into a personal empire that includes a portfolio of media properties.  Along the way, she transformed the television talk show, created countless stars, and impacted thousands of people around the world.

From taking a look at Oprah’s rise to stardom, we can gain valuable insight into what it takes to build a powerful personal brand that stands the test of time.

One notable thing about Oprah is that she has reinvented herself several times, all inside of her personal brand.  Why?  Because your personal brand isn’t about what you do.  It’s about who you are!

So, what are the elements of the personal brand that moved Oprah from a childhood marred by poverty and abuse to become the first African American billionaire?  It’s difficult to cover the topic in a short article, but here are three pivotal elements of the Oprah brand:

1)      From early childhood, Oprah exhibited curiosity and an interest in other people.  Her grandmother, who was the most positive influence in her young life, recalls that she would pretend to interview her dolls and the crows that sat on the fence in the yard.  From her very first assignment as a reporter, she was known for emotionally connecting with her subjects and her audience.  It’s her emotional vulnerability that vaulted Oprah from obscurity to talk show fame.

2)      She’s not afraid to show who she is, warts and all.  Because of that, people open up to her in ways that are unexpected.  Through sharing her own struggles weight, her early abuse and her rocky relationships with men, she invites others to reveal themselves in the same way.  That’s what kept viewers coming back.

3)      She’s not afraid to speak her truth, even when it ruffles a few feathers.  She’s broken taboos, including openly sharing about her own sexual abuse as a young girl.  In 1996, she was sued (unsuccessfully) by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association when she did a show on Mad Cow Disease.

Through it all, she stays true to herself.  Part of that included never taking her company public.  To do so would have risked diluting her brand.  She stayed away from product endorsements, though there were many lucrative offers.

In all of her decision making, there is one litmus test:  does this truly represent who I am and what I stand for?  And that is the key to building an enduring personal brand.

A Sample is Worth a Thousand Words

artichoke in bloom

A new look at the artichoke.

I love to travel for many reasons, but as a marketing content producer, I find that seeing new places helps generate new ideas.

Last week, I shared some thoughts on personal branding generated by a tour bus guide in Santa Barbara.  During that same trip, our group visited the local Farmers Market, a veritable marketing classroom.

From my experience in food marketing, I know how important it is to engage the senses.  And that’s what happens at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market.

The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market is a feast from the moment you enter. In June, the output from local growers is at its peak, and the booths are piled high with beautiful, colorful and aromatic produce. Best of all, as you walk among the isles, you can sample succulent strawberries, juicy tomatoes, nuts of all kinds, olives, cheese and bread.

The Market itself is clean, well organized and features the best local farmers have to offer.  Every item is raised by local farmers, and includes organically raised meat and poultry, dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and wine.  At this Farmers Market, it’s possible to buy everything necessary to make a gourmet meal, from appetizer to dessert.

Needless to say, the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market generates plenty of word of mouth advertising.  They have an active Yelp profile with positive reviews, a Facebook Page with over 5,500 likes and 1,000 + Twitter followers.  On social media, they share photos, photos, and more photos, comments about happenings in the organic food world and of course, recipes.

While food marketers may seem to have an unfair advantage, those of us who market other products and services can offer “samples” as well.

In fact, this very blog is a sample.  My readers get a taste of my writing style.  Potential clients can also see how I make meaningful connections among seemingly disparate things, which is a great skill for a marketing professional.  They also learn more about me and the wide range of experiences I bring to producing engaging marketing materials.

Making use of the internet gives us the ability to offer samples such as e-books, white papers, and tip sheets.  With iTunes and YouTube, we can offer audio and video samples, too.  From these “free tastes” of our products, our potential clients can hear our voice, see us in action, and come to know, like and trust us.

A sample of a succulent strawberry or the aroma of freshly baked bread can inspire us to buy.  What kind of samples can you offer your customers?

 

Brand Shark

Creating your personal brand is more important than ever. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, climbing the corporate ladder or simply trying to hang on the rung you’re currently on, a strong personal brand improves your chances of success.

You already have a personal brand. The only question is whether you have created one that communicates your message or have a muddle message that doesn’t clearly communicate who you are.

LandShark Santa Barbara

It’s the don’t miss attraction when you visit Santa Barbara

Recently, I had an experience that brought that lesson into focus. Last week, I travelled to Santa Barbara for a Platinum Mastermind Retreat with Connie Ragen Green. The retreat was held in downtown Santa Barbara. In addition to the intense focus on business, we also had time to explore the city and absorb some great marketing lessons.

For me, the lesson was revealed while riding the Land Shark. The Land Shark is a Hydra Terra, a tour bus that is designed for land or sea. After an entertaining tour of downtown, the driver goes out into the harbor, where you can get practically nose to nose with a sea lion. There’s also a panoramic view of the city.

The sea lions are cute, but the real star of the show is Maddie, the tour guide. Maddie is local music teacher, stand-up comedian and tour guide who emcee’s the Land Shark tour of Santa Barbara. She delivers a 90 minute monologue, incorporating the colorful history of the city with fun facts and tips about where to get an amazing ice cream cone and who has the best happy hour.

So, what does this have to do with brand? It’s a great example of how to create a memorable personal brand.

From the very first time you see Maddie, you know who she is. She’s cute, funny, and loves to entertain her audience. In the beginning of the tour, she mentioned that she’s a teacher, so I assumed she teaches history because of her obvious enthusiasm for the history of the city.

At the end of the tour, as we were saying goodbye, I asked what subject she teaches. She played the slide trombone as part of the tour, so I wasn’t too surprised that she teaches trombone. Maddie is also part of a comedy act that entertains at a local spot, the Brewhouse. As if that’s not enough, she is also the “voice” of the Santa Barbara airport.

From checking out her Facebook page, I see that she really is someone who loves all things Santa Barbara. There she is, in her red Summer Solstice costume, playing a purple trombone. Maddie has a passion for sharing her enthusiasm for what the city has to offer, and helping us, her guests, get the most out of our visit. I learn that she is involved with several arts organizations and a worthwhile charity, too.

One of the local spots she highlights on her tour is McConnell’s Ice Cream. McConnell’s serves delicious ice-cream in a variety of flavors. After disembarking from the Land Shark, many passengers visit McConnell’s. On my second trip for a scoop of Salty Caramel Chip, I overheard other customers discussing the Land Shark. Their server commented that they are getting lots of customers who learn about their shop on the Land Shark. As consumers, we act on a recommendation from someone we know, like and trust!

At the end of the tour, almost everyone has a comment or question for Maddie, and a tip as well.

As a marketer who has approached the discipline from all angles – as a student, as an employee of large and small businesses, and as a small business owner, I always enjoy observing great marketing in action.

Here are my top three take-aways from the experience:

1.) Excellence is the start of a powerful brand, whether personal or business.
2.) If we approach our livelihood with passion and purpose, people will know, like and trust who we are.
3.) We are communicating our personal brand in everything we do. Are we enthusiastic and engaging, or just going through the motions?