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Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

RSS Feeds Better than E-Mail? Not for Marketing, Bunky?.

March 16th, 2005 by Bob Bly

In a recent survey, copywriter Nick Usborne asked readers of Excess Voice, his newsletter about writing online, whether they prefer RSS feeds or e-zines.

The results:

* 49% had no idea what an RSS feed is.
* 31% said they are RSS fans and prefer it to e-zines.
* 20% said they subscribe to some RSS feeds, but don?t see it replacing e-zines.

What caught my eye here is that almost 7 out of 10 readers of an e-zine about online writing either didn’t know what an RSS feed is, or knew but preferred e-zines.

?E-zines give you an intangible benefit simply because they appear in someone?s inbox at a particular moment,? comments Nick. ?With RSS, you run the risk of losing that sense of immediacy, of being in the reader?s mind in the here and now.?

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Category: Blogging | 33 Comments »

Blogs Don?t Do ?Diddly Squat? for Marketers

March 14th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Are blogs effective marketing tools? Not according to MarketingSherpa.

?Call us cynics,? says an article in Sherpa?s 3/14/05 issue. ?Blogs may be hip and trendy, but they don?t do diddly-squat for most people?s businesses.?

The proof? After 4 years of research, MarketingSherpa found that only 0.03% of the 34.5 million existing blogs are driving sales or prospective customers to their bloggers.

Any bloggers, blogging evangelists, or blogging consultants out there that care to dispute MarketingSherpa?s research ? or their conclusion that blogs have little value as a marketing tool?

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Category: Blogging | 29 Comments »

Direct Marketers Unlikely to Embrace Blogging

January 12th, 2005 by Bob Bly

When blogging evangelists speak to me, they all say, ?Blogging is a marketing revolution. Why don?t you get that, moron??

When direct marketers speak to me, they all ask, ?What are these blogging guys all hyped up about? No one?s making any serious money with blogs. What a waste of time!?

My opinion, after spending just 2 months in the blogosphere (and a quarter of a century in direct marketing), is that direct marketers are unlikely to embrace blogging any time soon ? for the simple reason that ROI has not been directly demonstrated or measured.

For instance, MB, the marketing director at a major publisher of business-to-business newsletters told me, ?We are paying no attention to blogging, because we see no way to monetize it.?

My challenge to the blogging crowd: How would you respond to MB? Do you have any direct marketers as clients who are making significant money from blogging? Who? How much? How?

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Category: Blogging | 41 Comments »

Blogs vs. E-Zines: Round One

December 20th, 2004 by Bob Bly

A number of bloggers have told me, ?There?s not much difference between a blog and an e-zine.?

I disagree. There are at least three important advantages I get with my e-zine that I (can’t speak for others) don?t get with my blog:

1. With my e-zine, I own all the names in my subscriber database. That list has commercial value. I can rent it, swap it, and sell other people?s products to it as an affiliate (I make thousands of extra dollars a month through such affiliate deals — with zero work on my part). With my blog, the RSS feed owns the names ? I never see them.

2. With my e-zine, I can send out a message and know it will be received by my 63,000 subscribers the same day. With my blog, I have no idea how many people get it via RSS feed — or how many of those go to the new blog entry when notified.

3. With my e-zine, I can actively promote my own products and services to the list. E-zine readers accept and expect promotions. I wouldn?t dare do that on my blog; it seems to violate the unwritten rule of blogging as a ?pure? content medium.

Bloggers: do you promote products and services on your blog? Can you track the results?

Do you read blogs that blatantly pitch products and services? Do blogs influence your buying as a business or consumer?

Is it appropriate or inappropriate to advertise on one?s blog?

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Category: Blogging | 36 Comments »

How to Increase Posts on Your Blog

December 15th, 2004 by Bob Bly

Ever the direct marketer, when I began my blog only a few weeks ago, I instinctively ended my blogs with a call to action ? or at least an invitation to continue the conversation I had started.

Examples:

?What do you think??

?Am I accurate here? Or way off base??

?Is this on the mark, or do you handle it differently??

I know bloggers know that they can respond to blog entries with their own posts ? but as a direct marketer, I know that when you ask for a response, you get more responses.

My own blog generated more than 50 posts within 24 hours of my putting it up online, which Paul Chaney says is an unusually high volume.

Is that because the blogging community wanted to see what I (a self-confessed blogging skeptic) was up to ? or that my first entry naturally stimulated conversation?

Maybe. But I bet part of the reason was that I ended with an invitation to respond.

In direct marketing ? online or offline — we call this ?asking for the order.?

Now, I?m new to blogging — and I don?t really understand it as a marketing medium.

I get the feeling that having a lot of posts isn?t the goal here, but I don?t really know what is.

So, dear reader ? can you clue me in here? What’s the goal of a blog and more important, how do you measure it?

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Category: Blogging | 43 Comments »

A Blogging Observation and Tip

December 4th, 2004 by Bob Bly

One thing unclear to me, a blogging newbie, is how often to write a journal entry in one?s blog.

From an ROI point of view, one should make the fewest entries (because of the time required) to generate the most posts, traffic, and buzz.

From a pure ?fun? point of view (the way I am doing it), one should make a new entry whenever one has something interesting to say.

However, it?s probably best to wait and make that fresh entry when the amount and frequency of posts made in reaction to the current entry diminishes to a negligible volume.

Reason: If you post earlier, you rob yourself and your readers of ongoing, active conversation on a topic they are still interested in and that has not died down.

Yes, they can still post to that old entry, but in my admittedly limited experience in the blogosphere, I?ve noticed that most of the focus and action seems to revolve around the freshest entry.

My friend, blogging authority Deb Weil, says: ?If you’ve launched a blog and are not posting new entries once a week or so, you’re not blogging enough. The name of the game is fresh. Fresh content, fresh ideas, fresh ways of thinking, fresh links.?

Derek Scruggs offered me this pragmatic, time-thrifty advice: ?For you, blogging should be 30 minutes a week, tops.? He suggests I simply post my DM News articles on my blog with a comments link.

Bloggers: How close am I to the mark here?

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Category: Blogging | 32 Comments »

2 Weeks in the Blogosphere

November 30th, 2004 by Bob Bly

While I am a rank novice in blogging, I have formed a few initial impressions.

I?d like to share them with you now, and pray these don?t get me into more hot water in the blogosphere:

1. For a solo practitioner (freelance copywriter) like me, my time is the only thing I have to sell.

Therefore, I am concerned that, since for me time equals money, my blogging is costing me a lot of money ? with no visible ROI other than fun.

2. Bloggers ? both those who have blogs and write the journal entries, as well as those who read blogs and write the posts ? seem to have much more free time than I do ? or more energy (probably the latter, though I work a 60+ hour week).

I am amazed at the detailed posts some of you guys make, or that you go look at, read, and respond to blogs so often.

3. I am beginning to suspect that the blogosphere, or at least the marketing segment of it, is much smaller than I originally imagined.

There seems to be active blogging from a small core of hardcore marketing bloggers ? about two dozen individuals.

4. In marketing and small business blogs, those who read and post to them seem to be individuals or other small businesses.

It doesn?t seem to me that the big players ? e.g., marketing directors of Fortune 1000 companies ? are active bloggers.

5. Some of you guys love to argue and are, by your own admission, contentious. On the posts on this blog, both Rick Bruner and Paul W. attribute to me statements I never made, and pick fights that no one else has started.

Am I accurate here? Or way off base?

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Category: Blogging | 91 Comments »