Technology increasingly shapes the way we conduct business, communicate, and organize our lives, information on these new innovations and the opportunities that they create is vital. The advent of Web 2.0 is allowing consumers to take charge of product information rather than that being solely the domain of the corporate MarComm department.
Consider, for example, the information available on the Moto Q on Wikipedia vs. what is available on the Motorola corporate site. With consumers choosing not only what goods and services to buy, but also educating themselves and one another on those products and services beforehand, companies need to be tech-savvy to keep up with their tech-savvy target markets.
This blog is dedicated to the growing technology movement within the marketing industry. We'll focus on new ideas, what they mean for the market, and how consumers are responding. We also want to highlight profiles of forward-thinking businesses and inventive ways in which they are approaching changes in the computer age.
Given the arena in which we wish to educate and engage our readers, discussing the blog is a good place to start. What is a blog? And what are some of its uses?
First of all, the term blog is a contraction of “web log”, referring to the format of the site. Blogs are similar to diaries, or logs, in that the blog material is posted in an entry-by-entry format. Each entry is typically dated, and most blogging websites automatically post the articles in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recently dated entry. There are even microblogs, such as those hosted by twitter.com, where the blogger posts every hour or even every few minutes!
Blogs can cover anything and be published by anyone. Examples abound of travel documentaries, hobby pursuits, professional articles or even the most trivial interests. Companies may host blogs featuring new developments and responding to references in the media. Some ambitious bloggers, such as Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net use their blog to generate an income, largely from ad placements on their blog. There are no limits when it comes to blogging, it’s all about the blogger sharing their voice.
One of the great aspects of blogging is the amount of freedom the blogger is allowed. Most blogging host sites, such as Blogger or WordPress, offer a great deal of extra features. For example, you can upload and post videos, podcasts, and images from your own personal files. When it comes to posting with internet resources the possibilities are even vaster. RSS feeds, YouTube posts, streaming news feeds, and links can all be installed in your blog in a matter of minutes. You can even poll your readers on any issue you choose, from their thoughts on your articles to whether or not the Bears will win the Superbowl. For as easy as blogs are to use though, proceed with caution: the wonderful strengths of blog-style communication can be overwhelming for the new blogger.
Remember two guiding principles for ease-of-use. First, what you write in a blog can be read worldwide, in moments. Make sure that what you post to a blog is ready for the public when you post it. Second, responses will come in, and need to be vetted and answered professionally - routed to customer service or responded to in kind.
Commentary is a very enlightening aspect of blogging. With most blogs you can invite your readers to comment on any material you post, which can be an interesting exercise in eliciting constructive (and sometimes non-constructive) criticism. Most importantly, you get to hear another point of view, the kind of communication that the World Wide Web is all about.
With many people getting their news and information from the internet, blogs are an important resource if you have something to say, and even more important if you want that something heard.
The fact is, the blogosphere - that community of authors who publish their thoughts via blogs - is growing and is increasingly a factor for marketers to consider in determining how to position their product in the market. You're either in the mix or left behind at this point. No matter what product or service you offer, it is being talked about.
However, if you want something to be seen, then podcasting is worth looking into. Visit us next week to learn about podcasts and their many uses.