Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Business Blogging - 6 tips to get you started

Starting up your own business blog? OK, first thing’s first. We’ve rounded up our top 6 things you need to get sorted before you even think about hitting that publish button….

  1. Listen To Your Audience - First off, you really need to learn who your customers are, where they hang out and what they are saying. There are lots of monitoring tools out there and the great news is that many of them are free. As well as Google Alerts and Twitter searches, tools such as Social Mention (a real-time search engine that pulls in data from a range of social media) are a great way to plug in relevant keywords and get an insight into who your audience is and what they want to hear.
  2. Position Your Blog – When creating your blog it’s really important to consider the value that it is bringing to your target audience and to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Your blog should provide pertinent information for consumers interested in your area of business. A clear goal and theme makes it a lot easier for readers to understand what to expect and more importantly it helps them to connect with the content.
  3. Choose Your Bloggers - Picking your bloggers is one of, if not THE most crucial things to think about as they will be the voice of your brand. Make sure you find a “voice” that is authentically yours. Pick people that are both knowledgeable and interested in the areas you want to cover and have a great writing style and presence. It they are truly passionate then that enthusiasm will shine through and ultimately make your blog a lot more interesting to read too.
  4. Write Some Guidelines- Once you’ve chosen your bloggers it’s worth creating a set of editorial guidelines for them to follow. Before embarking on your blogging journey, you should consider the “dos” and “don’ts” of blogging from both a company and a blogosphere point of view. These guidelines will help you to set the level of interaction and help you to avoid bad publicity and diminished credibility.
  5. Create Cornerstone Content – Absolutely vital. You only get one shot at a blog launch, so make sure you have plenty of well-organised and targeted content planned and written. Create something interesting and useful that will act as a motivator for subscribers to get on board.
  6. Find Guest Bloggers - If there are other blogs in your industry, seek out the top influencers and ask them to do a guest spot. Google Blogs: Is particularly useful for finding the volume of conversation occurring on particular search terms while BoardReader and Board Tracker are useful tools for tracking conversations happening within forums.

Next week we'll take a look at how to promote your blog once it’s gone live, including our number one top tip to really get you noticed!

Friday, 8 October 2010

The new GAP logo, was it all just a cunning viral marketing ploy?

Ever since GAP quietly introduced their new logo to the company’s web site for the first time on Monday morning, critics have been quick to voice their dislike of the new design, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites have been literally buzzing with reactions.

One Twitter user has even created a site where you can ‘make your own Gap logo,’ which is already making its rounds on the web (users have already created close to 5000 logos of their own).

But is the new logo just a clever move by Gap to spin some of the public outrage into a self-deprecating defence of its unpopular change? I definitely smelled a rat, a brand as strong as Gap doesn’t just release their logo without thought, warning, or a plan of action. Surely all their employees, stores, and partners would have had to been notified months in advance?

In response to the backlash Gap offered the following “Well, can you do any better?” response on its Facebook page:
So was it Gap’s original plan to crowdsource the project or more of a reactionary coping strategy than a well-laid marketing plan?

Either way, as a marketing strategy it has certainly done it's job. People who might not have shopped in GAP's stores, looked at their website or even thought about the design of it's previous logo are now talking about the GAP brand. It's a brilliant idea to keep the news fresh in peoples minds, and to engage them in your brand. You even have to 'Like' the GAP facebook page to leave a comment and I'm writing a blog about it now...genius!