Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blogging - a valuable marketing tool

Blogs are sprouting up faster than a new growth of bamboo shoots. Suddenly everyone is jumping on the expressway to wealth and its called Blogging for Money – or so they think. It is definitely a growth industry. But as an industry is it really making money?

In this fast paced world of the internet, blogging is not a new phenomena. It’s been around for some ten years now – I know, because some of the bloggers that are pulling in the big bucks have been blogging in one form or another for that length of time. It is exactly the financial success of notable bloggers like Darren Rowse, Yaro Starak, Nathan Hangan, and Alvin Phang to name just a few that has captured the attention of the young and old alike and suddenly it seems that blogging for money has become the online version of the Klondike Gold Rush.

So, yes there is money in the industry but statistically that money falls to a very small percentage. There are millions of blogs. Most are not monetized nor were they ever put up with the intention of making money. Many more have been abandoned either because the initial flush of creativity died an early death or the promise of money failed to materialize.

Therein lies the challenge. Making money blogging. Manuals on blogging focus on finding a niche and then blogging about it. Plenty of attention is given to the fact that unlike traditional brick and mortar businesses it does not cost much to start a blog.

In my view many newbie bloggers are missing an opportunity that is right under their own noses. I am often asked by eager would be bloggers what it is that they should blog about. The first question I ask is whether they already have a business of their own. Often they do. I have spoken with dry cleaners, bakers, bike shop owners, florists and many other small business owners. When asked if they had given any thought about blogging about their businesses I get a blank stare. They've bought into the notion of unique and niche and their business, in their mind, is neither unique nor niche.

You see, blogging is just another marketing tool and a valuable one at that. It can be an effective way to promote your bricks and mortar business. I had a long conversation with the baker. His bread is to die for – all whole food type of ingredients and so delish. The quality is definitely high end and customers gladly pay the premium price. He wants to expand as a supplier to high end restaurants and local specialty grocers of natural and organic foods.

We chatted. How could a blog help him? Tricky. Go for the business to customer or business to business market?

“Could you handle more walk in traffic?” I asked.

“Absolutely” he said.

"In fact walk in traffic is the most profitable part of my business as the bread is sold at full price."

I happen to know that there are customers who drive an hour each way just to stock up on his bread. What if he blogged as part of his marketing mix? He could start with his story. He can write about what makes his breads different. Talk about some of the ingredients. The origin of some of the breads he bakes and much, much more. Do you think that he could create a continuously increasing stream of traffic to his store? Do you think that maybe those high end grocers just might begin to notice him. If he rolled up his baker's sleeves and employed even just a few online marketing strategies, could the effort pay off with more money in the bank?

I think so.

Now here’s a thought for you. You write. You want a blog. Topics elude you. Are you already a small business owner? Are there stores in your neighborhood that would pay you to market their businesses online? Is there a successful baker who's too busy to blog but has bigger ambitions for his business who would be willing to pay you to do so?

You could approach one store – preferably a friend – and offer to help market their business online for free as something to cut your teeth on while learning how to blog. Could you monetize that blog so that not only does the business get added traffic but makes money off of the blog? Do you think your friend would give you referrals to his small business buds? For pay? Could you become a professional blogger writing for established bricks and mortar businesses – and they don’t even have to be where you live, not if you learn how to market your blogging service properly.

Now there’s something to think about. Is that a possibility that can be a probability?

Happy Blogging ......

Blogger for Money

PS... Now there’s a completely different spin on “a brick of cheese”

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