I had the pleasure of presenting a session at Dreamforce this year, and I thought I would share it with you. My portion of the presentation is about 25 minutes, and there are a variety of formats below for your viewing pleasure.
I got this question by email:
This is a guest post written by Barbara Govednik, a Chicago-based writer, writing coach and communication strategist. She is also the owner of 423 Communication, writes the blog Being Well Said and contributes to the communication skills blog on Communitelligence.
This is a guest post by Jeff Ogden is a demand generation expert and sales leader, as well as the President of Find New Customers, a lead generation company, which helps businesses create lead generation campaigns and continually publishes the best lead generation ideas, so his readers can determine the best lead generation strategy to find new customers.
This is a guest post by Ilya Mirman (@IlyaMirman), who has held marketing and engineering roles at several hardware and software companies. His last three gigs have been as VP of Marketing for SolidWorks (3D design software), and two venture-backed MIT spin-offs - Interactive Supercomputing (acquired by Microsoft) and Cilk Arts (acquired by Intel). During his free time, Ilya enjoys photographing rock concerts and political events. [Photo: Ilya in his "Florida Uniform"]
A new question: What are the marketing goals of blogging? I think some of the goals for launching a blog are:
- Improve SEO performance - blog articles help with SEO a lot by increasing your presence on the web and attracting more links into your website
- Build thought leadership and bradn - if your blog has interesting content, it can build your brand as a thought leader in the market
- Increase social media performance - you are a lot more interesting in social media if you are writing and then promoting interesting blog articles (instead of telling people what you had for lunch)
- Get more leads and sales - by adding calls to action to your blog, you can get blog visitors to convert into leads and customers for your business
Often people ask me which is more effective, Twitter or a blog. As you can see in the video, a blog is much more effective because it has a lot of benefits over Twitter.
- Blog articles help you be more interesting on Twitter - it is hard to be interesting in 140 characters, it is much easier with a link to a blog article
- Blog articles perform well in SEO (search engine optimization)
- Everyone can read blogs, not many people use Twitter
Sometimes by being more public you get some rewards - blogging is one way of putting yourself out there. Sweet Services Bulk Candy sent me 5 pounds of free candy and wrote about it, just because I blog. Pretty cool!
I expected to get a mix of a bunch of candy I had before, but there were a few items that were new to me. Vanilla Tootsie rolls? Yes, and they are good. Cowtails? Also good - they are sort of like bull's eyes (caramel with sugar in the middle), except they are long and thin. Anyway, to make sure I make it past 40, I decided not to eat all the candy myself and I brought it into the office.
It took 3.5 days for the company to empty the entire 5 pound bowl of candy. Here are the photos to prove it.
Marketing has always been about experimentation. The old methods get crowded because lots of people are lazy and like to copy rather than innovate. You need to find new marketing methods.
So I am trying something new this month for this blog. I am going to write something everyday for the month of February. A lot of the articles will be short. Some might not make sense. But if Seth Godin can write short articles and be a huge success, maybe I can write short articles and be a little success.
I'll report back at the end of the month about how this has or hasn't changed the stats of this blog. For now, I'll share that I get about 1,000 visitors per month, and January was 1,300 visitors (I had a minor success on Reddit that drove a couple hundred visitors). About 1/3 of my traffic comes from SEO with Google and another 1/3 from Twitter. I only have about 90 regular subscribers to this blog (so you are really special if you're reading this).
Let me know over time if you like the content and frequency or not.
I seem to get this question a lot. Here is an email I sent to a group of which I am a member, answering this question. Normally I would post something like this on the main blog I write, the HubSpot Internet Marketing Blog, but this was a bit too self promotional, so I don't think I will do that.
Which Blog Software will be Best for my Business?
Dear ______ -
Your question inspired me to do some thinking and writing. Here is a thorough review of the topic of blogging for business. If topics like this interest you, you should subscribe this blog - http://blog.hubspot.com/ - I write about topics like this all the time, and its free.
Great reasons to use a blog for business:
- A blog helps personalize your business, helping prospects and customers get to know you better
- A blog help you get found by more prospects in search engines (SEO), if you set up your blog properly
- A blog helps you get found by more prospects in the blogosphere, if you set up your blog properly
- A blog helps you get found by more prospects in social media (Digg, Facebook), if you use your blog properly
- A blog can be a good lead nurturing tool, maintaining contact with prospects until they are ready to buy
To accomplish these goals, there are some "must-have" features with blogs:
- Uses your own business URL, not a free subdomain of someone else's URL
- Allows subscriptions by email and RSS
- Automatically integrates with social media (Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon,etc.)
- Automatically send new blog posts to your subscribers by email, and lets you import old lists of subscribers
- Automatically integrates with social media sites (Digg, StubleUpon, etc.)
- Allows you to track both email and RSS subscribers over time
- Ability to measure visitors and leads from your blog
- Ability to measure your rank for important search terms in search engines
- Ability to track and measure your competition as compared to you
Support and expertise:
- Has support people that answer technical / support questions
- Has people, articles and videos that teach you how to be successful with your blog (not support, but marketing expertise)
Here are the three suggested paths to blogging based on price:
- OK/Cheapest ($10-$50/month): Template using Wordpress or Typepad. With some technical knowledge and advice from people in forums, you can set up a blog with some (but not all) of the features above. To get more of the features you can integrate things like Feedburner, Google Analytics, maybe Constant Contact, widgets from the social media websites and more - this takes some technical know-how in my opinion.
- Better/Mid-Range (~$250/month): HubSpot - You get all of the functionality I mention above, including training and advice from experts so you can be more successful with your blog. This requires zero technical knowledge. Also included is an SEO system, analytics, competitive tracking and lead tracking.
- Best/Expensive ($3K-10K+, plus monthly hosting): A custom blog system from a web design firm. A web design firm can build you a custom blog (FYI, they will probably use Wordpress to power it) including whatever features you want, and they will integrate any system or features you want (like Google Analytics, HubSpot, lead tracking tools, SEO tools, etc.). This will always meet your needs exactly because a good firm will figure out your needs and built to that. But make sure to ask them for examples of clients who are successful with their blogs - and make them show you the number of comments, Technorati rank, traffic and search engine results to prove it. You should then as the client if the web design firm actually helped make them successful with advice, training and marketing expertise, or if they just built a good technology platform.
Small Business Blogging Case Study (with Videos):
Note - since I know HubSpot best, yes this is a HubSpot customer - ignore this if you think it is too promotional. But even if you ignore every time he says the word HubSpot, I think it is still a valuable case study to show the power of business blogging. Business Blog Case Study
Biggest mistake made by business blogs:
Hosting your blog on a Blogspot or Typepad or other free URL. Just like you should not use a hotmail email address or your home mailing address for your business, you should not host your business blog on Not only is this a bad idea for branding reasons, but if your blog is successful, it is impossible to move it anywhere else some number of months down the road if it is not on a URL you won and control. In fact, using a free Blog URL is WORSE than using a free email address or mailing address, since both mail and email can be forwarded to a new address. You cannot forward a blog from a Free URL to a new one - this is super important to know. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you start blogging. Just trust me, your blog should be on a URL you own and control. I have made this mistake myself. You can use software from Blogger or Typepad if you want to, just make SURE each article you write has a URL like "www.yourcompany.com/article1" or "blog.yourcompany.com/article1" - do not do something like "yourcompany.blogspot.com/article1" or "yourcompany.typepad.com/article1").
Feel free to contact me with any other blogging questions. I have been blogging for a while now, and my current blog has been on the home page of Digg and other social media sites, has thousands of subscribers and gets tens of thousands of visitors per month.
- http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/24/ilike-brings-free-indy-music-to-itunes-recommendations/ In Michael Arrington's coverage of tons of music reccommendation engines such as Pandora, iLike, Last.fm, MyStrands, and Qloud he never mentions in any of his articles a company called Goombah, which is based on the east coast. While it is not clear if what Goombah has is that much better or different than all the rest, at least mention them
- http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_race_to_beat_google.php In this article Richard McManus neglects to mention ZoomInfo (Alexa ranking of ~1900, a pretty big company) in his article about potential Google competitiors. ZoomInfo has been around longer, developed cooler stuff and is much larger and more established than most of the other companies in the article.