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Go Beyond Blogging – Multi-Channel Marketing via Online Media

Posted By Darren Rowse 29th of January 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This post is the 5th in a series of posts by Hendry Lee. Check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Scrupulous readers should have noticed that blogging is not just about writing and get their opinions, rants and random stuff online. In fact, a blog is just a tool for publishing and conversing online. Every opportunity to enhance communication and reach out through various media should not be taken lightly.

As part of the online marketing mix, blogging plays a significant role because right now much of the marketing effort still revolves around driving people to your web site. When you want your prospects to buy something, you want them to visit your site and proceed to the order / payment page. If you want them to find information or read content, a web site is still the most ideal place for this.

Among those, audio and video content consumptions have shifted from computer to portable devices and TV screens. However, at the end of the process, you still need to take the audience back to the Web to increase ad views or complete the purchase. (Driving people to offline store is out of the scope of this post.)

A blog is no longer used to merely publish blog type content. Modern blog software allows you to format the layout to resemble magazines, corporate web sites or for syndicating videos. Taking advantage of this has become more important than ever in order to grow your business.

Quick advice: combine web publishing and other media to reach your audience. Not only they are cost effective but you are providing richer content experience across multiple platforms and that can bring good things to your business. Even just for online media, you can implement multi-channel marketing.

  • Email newsletter. If you haven’t developed a way to reach your prospects or customers without having them to visit your site, you are far from getting the most out of your content and traffic. Despite many claims about email digging its own grave, email marketing remains a top marketing priority simply because it is still effective in drive prospects and customers back and to engage them regularly.
  • Blog RSS feeds. Many people prefer to receive content only when they want to. RSS feeds provide them with fresh content without having them to give away their information. Consumers should have control and RSS feeds fit perfectly into this strategy. The good news is, all blog software automatically provide this feature out of the box.
  • Podcast feed. Podcast feed is a convenient way to deliver audio, video and other content formats to subscribers.
  • Other content feeds. Twitter, FriendFeed and almost every new web service now include RSS feeds as an alternative to receive updated content. Create a strategy to get people into consuming content and engage with you repeatedly.
  • Webinars and teleseminars. Telephone and video seminars are capable of providing training in every topic you can possibly imagine.
  • E-books. Free e-books have higher perceived value than articles. Content in this format tends to establish your expert status faster than anything else. A collection of your best blog posts can be turned into e-book. That’s just one simple example to re-purpose content.

How to Get the Words Out with Content Marketing

When I first used the term content marketing, almost no one was talking about it. Not that people didn’t do it but Larry Chase was one of the first to use the phrase. Other marketers refer to it as educational marketing. Just recently, it becomes the buzz word.

Marketing suddenly becomes fun once you approach it from the content angle. Rather than calling out to random people who are more likely not interested in what you have to offer, content marketing attracts people in. People come (call, contact, or ask) you about your product or service instead of you selling them aggressively. And when the approach you, often they feel as if they’ve known you for a long time.

It all starts with superb content.

Content marketing is effective but at the same time doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Sure, there are expensive ways to create and distribute content. More power to those who can afford them. But for most of us, here are some cost effective tips and strategies for content distribution and promotion. (See above for tips on affordable content creation strategies.) Don’t underestimate any one of them, as they can be far more powerful than the costly methods:

  • Optimize your content for search engines. Learn basic SEO. If you don’t have the budget to spend, you can do this yourself and still get good results. Many web users refer to search engines to find information. I’m not surprised if bloggers claim that 40-60 percent of their traffic come from search engines. So like it or not, a lot of the following strategies will help you get more traffic from search engines.
  • Break news. This is possible if you have insider access to news, but if you don’t, being one of the first to blog about a story may result in links from A-list blogs and news outlets. I’ve written about content filtering and keeping up with industry news in previous post.
  • Send out press releases. They have to be news-worthy. If done right, you may get a lot of publicity in additional to links from authority web sites that will strengthen your positions in search engines. Media coverage may bring in a surge of traffic to your blog. Read Darren’s post on how to get media coverage for tips on how to do it.
  • Hold a contest. Contest is an effective way to generate buzz around the blogosphere, especially if you are able to have other bloggers and influencers blog about it.
  • Participate in contests. Bloggers often hold contests or group projects to encourage others to blog about certain topics. This may result in both links and referral traffic for your blog.
  • Participate in blog carnivals. Even though you have great content, it can be hard to get links from other bloggers when you are getting started. By participating in blog carnivals, you are able to kick start your inbound link strategy quite easily.
  • Linkbait. Certainly it is not the best word to describe what it does. Linkbaiting is simply the act of creating solid piece of information that catches people’s attention. It has nothing to do with baiting people into fads. Being remarkable is the idea behind linkbaiting. With great content and a bit of promotion, others will notice and start linking back to your blog.
  • Write and promote your free e-books. A free promotion in one forum may bring hundreds or even thousands of downloads, which distribute your message to more audience. A freemium — to steal the term from direct marketing — is effective to get visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter.
  • Become a guest blogger. Like what I am doing right now. Everyone should like the idea of stealing traffic from other bloggers ethically. Provide great content and help out other bloggers. In return, they will be more than happy to let you communicate with their readers. This in turn will drive traffic back to your blog.
  • Contribute to article directories. Article directories are still good sources of targeted traffic, mainly because of their authority in a lot of topics. I regularly get 5-10 new subscribers to my e-course every day from this source. Focus on high-traffic sites to save your time.
  • Visit forums regularly. Discussion boards are places where people with the same interest hang out, discuss and share opinions. By being a forum regular, and by contributing back, you will be able to establish your expertise and drive traffic back to your site. Some forums also accept on-topic articles.
  • Use micro-blogging platform. Twitter is by far the most outstanding micro-blogging tool. At first, you may not be able to drive significant traffic using Twitter, but realize that it is also a networking opportunity. More about this in the next section.
  • Lifestreaming. FriendFeed immediately comes into mind. With it, your audience will be able to get up-to-date stream of web pages, photos, music and videos that you share. I use FriendFeed’s room feature to share interesting stuff around blogging. Businesses who tap into blogging don’t have time to monitor hundreds of blogs every day, but they will be able to get links to interesting stuff online by subscribing to the feed. I’m going to push this idea further this year. Although more than 95 percent of the content I share is not mine, but over the long haul, being resourceful will be rewarding.

Connect and Build Relationships with Others (It’s Social!)

Blogging requires you to reach out and connect with your readers and other bloggers. Relationship is an important part of it. “It is who you know.”

Building relationships with other influencers should be on everyone’s agenda. Over time, you will need bloggers to help you spread your content, product or service. By the time you need them, it is usually too late to start networking.

While certainly there’s more things to consider than just “who you know,” influencers are people who have the capability to generate buzz and bring you traffic and business. Average content can become outstanding with the right people endorsing it, but superb content remains unnoticed without proper promotion.

With the word “social” everywhere, “where to network” is no longer the right question to ask. It is more about prioritizing your time to get the most out of social sites and activities.

Here are some useful online networking tips that I hope I’ve learned years ago when I got started:

  • Leave comments on other blogs Comments with nofollow attribute is still valuable because what you seek for is connecting with the blogger. I know some bloggers who leave comment in 50-100 blogs every day. If that sounds too aggressive a goal because of time limitation and others, aim for 5-10 authority blogs to start with. A tip: If you are able to grab the blogger’s attention, you will increase the chance of getting them to reply to your tweets or emails later.
  • Help other bloggers. Guest blogging, as mentioned above, is just an example. Do whatever you could to help out bloggers. They will certainly pay attention to you more than to people who blatantly ask for links.
  • Find the right timing. Don’t spam tens of bloggers with the similar messages. You need to personalize email and get in touch with the right blogger at the right time. A tip I learned from Maki of Dosh Dosh is to create a prospect list using your news reader. It is a neat way to track your network even if you have hundreds of them.
  • Don’t overlook mailing lists and groups. People are still exchanging hundreds of messages in popular mailing lists and virtual groups such as Yahoo Groups or Google Groups. As with other strategies, the key is always in providing value. Don’t self-promote in your first message unless you want to be kicked out of the circle.
  • Connect with a purpose in social networking sites. You can certainly befriend your family members or school mates, but if you are to grow your business, look for like-minded people and build relationships with them through those social networking sites.
  • Use Twitter. Twitter is all the rage nowadays. While people may visit Facebook or MySpace once a week, they regularly use Twitter several times a day. This may be a more effective way to get in touch with influencers, even better than email and perhaps phone (for some people). At least warm up first and avoid cold calling.
  • Meet bloggers in person. Industry events and seminars are great places to meet people besides getting cutting edge information, of course. When meeting others in person, it often results in closer relationship and joint projects. After all, people who visit those events are also interested in business.

Although social networking sites allow you to syndicate your blog’s RSS feeds and post links to your blog posts, several social sites are created just for the purpose of finding new and interesting content.

Here are some ways that will help you leverage your content and drive traffic through social sites:

  • Disseminate your content through social sites. Squidoo and HubPages are just two examples of social sites that allow everyone to publish their own content and knowledge. This will increase your visibility as people start finding your content and blogs through various places.
  • Provide value and steal more traffic! Digg, Propeller, Reddit and Stumble Upon are just several huge players out there. You can find niche specific social news sites and drive tons of traffic to your blog if you really work on it. Care should be taken that traffic from these sites may not be sticky, but they can still be made effective. When using such sites, remember that networking is also important to get your content noticed and endorsed.
  • Help others find answers. Yahoo Answers and Mahalo Answers are just two examples where you can help others with your knowledge. Others will notice what you have to say, which in turn may drive business to you.

Diversify Your Profit Streams

For most bloggers, make money blogging is about selling ad space or getting sponsorship. While we should expect to see changes in the advertising industry and there are still untapped market for ads, bloggers should really expand their monetization options beyond displaying adverts on their blogs.

The easiest profit stream that comes to my mind is creating information products. After all, bloggers are already content creators, so this should not be hard at all.

An e-book is just an example of info product. CDs, DVDs, membership sites, seminars, group coaching, and even consulting can be considered information-based products.

Information marketing is one of the underutilized profit sources for bloggers.

The benefit is enormous. While you can increase your blog revenue at the same time, these products are also marketing tools. They make you more credible, not to mention about the additional businesses generated from consumers of the products, if you happen to over consulting and other services.

Selling other people’s products as an affiliate also has a great potential. No one could ever make products or services fast enough to satisfy all of their audience. By offering high quality and proven products to their visitors, they are doing a service. Don’t promote just for the sake of earning affiliate commissions though. Be honest, that will make you more money in the long run.

Closing Words

If you look at the list above, you should agree that it can be overwhelming even for most productive bloggers. If you only get one advice from this article, it should be that you should not attempt to do them all at once by yourself.

Instead, prioritize. Successful bloggers focus on what they know best and exploit a handful of different marketing channels to the maximum, systemize them, and whenever they are able to offload some of the stuff, pick another channel to explore. You will be surprised that even if you do one thing well, you will see significant improve in traffic and revenue to your site.

Final recommendation: spend a weekend to plan out your blogging business. It will be time worth spending.

Next post, which is the last post in the series, talks about the metrics you should be tracking so you know which strategy brings you result and which needs a fix. Not knowing your numbers is like shooting in the dark and hoping you will hit the bull’s eye. It isn’t going to happen. Driving traffic and growing a blogging business need a strategy, and based on the feedback you adjust things and take even more actions.

So… stay tuned.

Hendry Lee helps bloggers overcome strategic and technological challenges in starting and growing their blogs. He also writes about make money blogging on his blog Blog Tips for a Better Blog – Blog Building University. While you are there, download your free eBook and subscribe to his blogging e-course where he reveals his secret about blogging and content writing!

Follow Hendry on Twitter (@hendrylee).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • I do most of the suggestions you’ve suggested above. Btw, I’ve been on twitter for quite some time and I just love it.

    Few months back, I was always on a look for new blogs. But now-a-days, I stick to selected ones only. Like problogger, zenhabits to name a few.

  • Great stuff here. For further discussion on the topic of Content Marketing, specific to how one might “tier” the communications strategy (depending on where the prospect may be in your sales cycle), I encourage your readers to check this link: http://is.gd/5jP3

  • Very informative article. I want to try everything but unfortunately don’t have the time to try everything. Thanks!

    …back to blogging…
    http://pinoyingermany.blogspot.com/

  • You say that the list is big, I agree what I tend to do is focus on one of the activities on you list, test that for a while, if it brings return add that to your usual blog marketing activities, tehn move onto another item

  • Well with squidoo and hubpages there are xanga, wikidot or tumblr as well. No doubt Squidoo got the main attraction and leading but however I do feel that above mentioned others are also good one.

    You have explained us your experience and with everyday new product is coming to the market we will have to grab it when they are kid.

    For example Twitter, Squidoo, Friendfeeds are burning example of it. We know that in coming days more and more such products will come and if you will be able to handle them well than you will be at driver seat.

  • Very good summary. I seems that I have to hire some people for all of these things.

    btw: does anybody know that how many blogs are maintained by a team instead of individual? I am afraid many successful blogs are teams.

  • Excellent post. Thank you for some fantastic pointers on taking marketing to the next level.

  • Great post. You’ve summarized well numerous great techniques. Thanks so much. Great advice!

  • The above convers everything.

    But even if you did all that, it would still be for nothing if the content is poor. First and foremost the content must be good.

    I would be interested to know, before a blog became successful, what percentage of the time the owners spent on good content production vs promotion?

    My guess: 90% content production 10% promotion.

  • Lots of great info, but I have to disagree with the comment that people go to Facebook only once a week. Facebook is quickly becoming my #1 communication tool and it seems that it has exploded in the past few months. My stats show I am getting more hits by posting excerpts of latest blog posts on Facebook than by posting a url w/call to action in Twitter.

  • This is absolutely awesome! I’ll be updating a blog I wrote a few months ago similar to this topic and will be placing a link to this article!

  • GREAT tips – thank you! Do you have a site your recommend for how to write and publish an e-book? I would like to do it, but I don’t know the first thing about how it works (other than having the content, of course).

  • Great article. I think one of the most important things to remember is to provide value for the people visiting your website and/or blog. Value brings traffic, traffic brings revenue. Those who focus on revenue instead of value will fail.
    J. Michael Warner
    CEO
    Genesee Crest Ltd.

  • An email newsletter is so key.
    I started a few threads about email newsletters on webmaster forums and I was surprised at the amount of people that were against them.
    They have a lot of potential to make you money in the long run if you can build a list of around 10,000 people. That is what I am currently doing and I am doing a pretty good job at it.

  • Sarah, Darren recently promoted Brian’s Teaching Sell. In the membership site Brian teaches how to profit from teaching including setting up membership site instead of e-book.

    While e-book still works, perhaps there are better ways to deliver content, and most importantly, more profitable.

    This is not my personal recommendation but you may take a look at that as a start.

  • Everytime I read a post on here I find lots of things helpful to make me a better blogger and acheive my aim of making money blogging. :)

  • I love this post. I’m doing many of those things now in my online efforts:

    SEO – working on transitioning all my blogs to Thesis

    Hold contests – running one on my blog now for a free copy of Thesis and drawing some great participation

    Participate in contests – its how I won my OnlineProfits.com membership

    Blog carnivals – every time I participate in one it brings big traffic, and since the topic is usually suggested it makes it pretty easy to write the posts. I highly recommend it.

    Free ebooks – a big focus of mine this year, working on producing 2 paid ebooks and 4 free ebooks

    Forums – have picked a few and focussing on them to be a valuable forum member (wptavern.com is one)

    Microblogging – absolutely, and Twitter is already landing me new business

    Leave comments – my new 2009 policy is to comment on any blog post I read that I enjoy. The bloggers really appreciate it especially if they don’t get many comments.

  • There is ALOT of fantastic advice on this post. I hate to admit it but I’m probably about 95% inefficient when it comes to really being serious about successful blogging.

    I am going to print this post off and use it as a “to do list” for my own marketing efforts.

    Thanks so much,

    T

  • Thanks Darren,

    Content is in my opinion the number way for success with any type of site. Thanks for reinforcing this often mis-understood topic though. Keep up the great writing!

  • Good work Hendry.

    I love the term “content marketing.” It perfectly describes what a blog can do to attract people to a website.

    Speaking of attract, can we get rid of the advertising-hype, super-inaccurate term “drive?” As in driving people to a site.

    In the Internet, web 2 world, people have gazillions of choices. They do what they want when they want. They are not driven. They are attracted and then treated like people, not cattle.

    Thanks for a great read.

  • Excellent article. I agree, the old web journal blog style is out. Today, you have to have solid content and a niche that distinguishes your blog from the millions of others. Also, good tip on using press releases – I think they are an overlooked affective marketing technique.

  • rlevisman

    This is one of the most practical and educational articles I’ve read about Multi-Channel marketing. As an advertising sales consultant within traditional media (radio and television). I can personally attest to the importance of diversifying marketing efforts on-line. Seems like most of my clients really need solutions based on these strategies to really stay ahead of the competition, but most of all the economy. Gone are the days of simply investing thousands on an ad. Consumers have gotten way too good at ignoring Madison Ave….

  • I’ve done my best to implement these suggestions into the building of my own blog,

    http://Justmytwocopper.blogspot.com

    And they have really worked! Thank you so much for your help. The trick I found is to do a little bit of everything listed here and not concentrate on any one area.

  • Henry,

    Definitely a Pillar article here. Phenomenal job.

    With the rich information you provide here, I can definitely see taking a weekend to prioritize.

    I also definitely agree that Information marketing is one of the underutilized profit sources for bloggers. As I blogged I realized I had a book and created my first paid ebook a few months ago. Very simple stuff.

    Again, excellent post!

    I look forward to reading more of your content!
    Dali Burgado

  • This article makes many excellent points. Viral marketing must extend beyond just that, and that is why problogger continues to do well. People do not appreciate the ‘work’ that goes into the problogger brand.

  • Most of my traffic to my dating website is coming now from google pay per click advertising, it is effective but when you stop paying the visitors also stop coming to you.. Anyway to generate visitors “organically” on the net is the best, thank you for this excellent post!

  • Social Media, has now become a great source of traffic, you can’t really just expect traffic from one source.

  • Abi

    What can be better than such an elaborated article. Onething that I have picked from this post is the focus on social medis for traffic generation.

  • Yeah I agree about twitter, it is gaining the primary spotlight nowadays. From all my social medias, twitter is the lightest for me, it is simple and fast-paced. I personally love to access it everyday. How about you?

  • I like this idea. I will recommend this article to my friends. Thank you

  • information is very clear. good and understandable explanation. super-topics. Thank you for sharing a very nice web site.