From the marketing perspective, a blog is not really that different from an “old-fashion” media form. Surprisingly, some people, including your typical business and marketing majors don’t know this.
Sure, the medium has changed, but the same marketing principle is still valid. As marketers, we need to strike a conversation with our audience. The tools and knowledge gained from marketing classes can just as easily be adopted to be used on blogs.
Below, I have compiled a list of the top 4 lessons that I believe you can take out of marketing class.
1. Market research is crucial
There are so many bloggers out there who really have no idea who is coming to their blog. They may know that all these people are interested in a common topic, but who exactly are your readers?
Where are they from? How old are they? Are they male or female? What is their occupation? The list goes on and on.
It is vital that bloggers get to know who their readers are. How do you do this?
Well, the easiest way is to just place a survey in a post asking various questions about their demographics and interests, and offer a prize to further encourage readers to fill out the survey.
Make it short, sweet and questions optional, just in case someone feel that a certain piece of information is too personal to share.
Knowing who reads your blog will not only help you get advertisers, it will also help you write content that is better suited to your readers and help make sure that your marketing efforts are targeted towards people who are actually prepared to read your blog.
This can be done subtly as well. To see an example of this in action, simply head over to ProBlogger. Darren frequently creates polls and analyzes the results for his readers.
While some of these polls aren’t about demographics and are really meant to help bloggers get information about other bloggers, Darren often asks questions like “How old are you?” and more recently “How much social networking do you do?”
This not only gives readers information about the ages of their fellow bloggers, it also provides Darren with valuable demographic information.
2. It is not what you know, it is who you know
In blogging, networking is everything. While you can try to do everything by yourself, writing content and marketing your blog with no help, it is much easier and more fun when you work with other bloggers in your niche.
Find other blogs that talk about the same things you do, try to interact and partner with them.
Feature the content of other bloggers on your blog. This not only provide your readers with relevant information that they might be interested in, but also would sometimes encourage other bloggers to do the same to your content in a phenomenon we call ‘link karma’. (See Link Karma: How Linking to Others Can Get You Lots of Links in Return for more on ‘link karma’).
Guest posting is another great way to grow your blog, as by doing so, you can expose yourself to a whole new audience of another blog. Networking will help your blog grow quickly.
When I first started out I didn’t take the time to make connections with other bloggers and while these blog grew at a fairly steady pace, the amount of traffic these blogs received absolutely skyrocketed when I start partnering with other blogs in my niche.
3. The Best Advertising is Free
There is no doubt that word of mouth marketing, or in today’s web world, viral marketing, is the best and most cost effective way to generate traffic for a blog.
Write a post that others will find interesting, whether it means making a list like this one, taking an unconventional stance on an issue, or breaking some important piece of news.
However, one must not confuse the viral marketing and word of mouth marketing as they are not the same. Fundamentally, they have different dynamics.
Jennifer over at SearchEngineGuide has written a very nice article explaining this in more detail, Viral marketing is not the same as word of mouth.
4. The Importance of Public Relations
Public Relations is crucial to any marketing campaign and is very important when coming to building brand awareness and reputation for your blog. The quickest way to gain credibility is get credible sources talking about you.
As Maki of Dosh Dosh puts it, ‘to influence the influencers’. While getting your blog covered in the New York Times is an arduous task, it is far easier to get your name out there through guest posting on blogs and news sources that has authority.
Many of the most popular blogs in your industry will likely accept guest posts (like this one), and the same holds true with newspapers and magazines (especially their online sections).
Call or e-mail the editors and writers of some of the authority media properties in your niche and see if you can guest post on their website, magazine or newspaper. This puts your voice in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people.
Press releases are also a great tool that bloggers can use. For more information on how bloggers can use press releases, read a guest post I made on JohnChow, How to use press releases to your advantage.
Do you use other principles of marketing with your blog? Let us know in the comments.