I was recently interviewed by a promotional industry publication on why I blog.
I started blogging in early 2006 as I wanted to experiment with a new medium as well as connect with people on a different level. So, 5 years later, I reflect on the what, why and how.
Why do you blog? How do you get the most out of your blog for the purposes you intend it to serve?
I have always enjoyed writing. Blogging gives me a creative outlet as well as platform to express ideas I have about the industry and business in general.
I use the blog to write about my philosophies as they relate to our business, RIGHTSLEEVE. I have found this to be a more genuine way to express an opinion as it comes across as more authentic than publishing a marketing brochure (there is room for this as well, it just serves a different purpose). Clients and prospects read our blog to learn about the human side of our company.
What advice would you give to companies looking to start a blog of their own?
(i) Have Fun
(ii) Be Human
(iii) Write it yourself
What is your overall impression of your blogging experience? Have you found it to be a successful marketing tool? Why or why not?
I have really enjoyed blogging because it has given me a way to connect with people on a whole new level. It is not a direct sales platform, rather it is a conversational platform as people will weigh in on what you write about and this starts a dialogue. I have met a number of new and interesting people via blogging (and other web 2.0 properties like Facebook, Twitter, etc). As with all solid relationships, a level of trust is established which can often lead to sales. As a result, blogging can be a wonderful, albeit indirect, sales tool.
It has been a very successful marketing tool as it puts us into a smaller group of distributors that have taken the time to maintain a blog. I would guess that 5-10% of the promotional industry has a good blog and it’s always nice to be competing against a smaller number of people who are blogging than the majority that aren’t.
We also operate within a very competitive and commoditized industry with little to differentiate distributors from one another. The standard complaint about our industry is that “you can buy the same products from any distributor.” However, a blog is something that is unique to a company, something that can’t be shopped like a product SKU from a supplier catalog. Anything that is unique like this is a good thing in the industry as it helps sets you apart.