What is it about research these days just stating the bleeding obvious? Over Christmas and New Year, no sooner had the charitable trust Sense about Science exposed detox diets as a load of nonsense, Forrester Research revealed that only 16% of people trust what they read on company blogs.
Those of us who spend any time reading company blogs will intuitively appreciate the accuracy of the research. Corporate blogs are too often sycophantic, boring, irrelevant, endlessly push the company’s products and services, and frankly a little embarrassing. Of course they’re not all like that, but unfortunately like lawyers the 99% of bad ones sully the good name of the rest.
Blogs are about passion, authenticity, excitement and engagement.
So if you don’t have those things for your subject matter, don’t start. You can’t fake them so don’t try. You will do more harm than good.
If you’re thinking of blogging can I recommend the following five new years resolutions.
Don’t try to fake it. People can see through a fraud. Online your customers are more informed, educated, cynical, second–hand–car–salesman–proof, and have greater access to more information than customers have had since the dawn of time. If you patronise them they will switch off, and go to your competitor.
Buy in for the long haul. Blogging engages your customers one at a time, or small clusters at a time. You can’t reach a mass market quickly. Your community of readers grows slowly, linearly, customer by customer, day by day. If you don’t have the patience to spend years building up your engaged community, don’t start. You can’t use old world interruption marketing techniques to enjoy the benefits of new world permission marketing.
Remember what you write stays forever. Have you ever noticed the disparity between what people write about themselves on CVs and what they write about themselves on MySpace or Facebook? The quiet bookworm who “loves swimming, going for walks and Italian Renaissance Art” can turn out to be a dab hand at slamming tequila! What you write on your blog, or what you comment on other blogs and social media will be around forever and will impact how your customers (and potential new employers) will perceive you. Blogs are exceptionally well indexed, spidered and stored on search engines and other online archives. Thus evidence of your opinions, even the misinformed passionate opinions of youth will be around for a long long time.
Don’t confuse gimmickry with insight. Blogging platforms have a surfeit of great functions and features which can make your blog really look well and function sweetly. But these are nothing without an insight that engages your customers and adds value to their businesses.
Engage with other blogs in the community. When we’re enjoying a few drinks with friends, we invariably listen for longer than we talk. When someone is telling a story, not only are we straining to think of a more interesting story to follow up with, we’re listening. We’re engaged. Listening is the price of talking. It’s the same online, we must engage with related blogs and bloggers who share our passions. Only by taking part in other people’s conversations will they contribute to ours.
The best detox you can undergo this year is to rid your business of shiny press releases and one way monologue communication with your customers. Replace them with dialogue, authenticity and empowered customers who will recognise your online marketing as genuine and engaging.