Small Business

The new buzz about content marketing or "brand journalism" is really about the brand creating the content, rather than waiting for media to publish something about the brand. It falls in line with the increasing sense of urgency (also called impatience) of business owners to get their name out there fast. I don't blame them - technology makes it possible so why not do it. I do have a word of warning however. If you have tried and failed to maintain a blog, you will be even more hopeless with content marketing. Here are some of the reasons why most small businesses fail at producing content:

I've talked to many PR folks about how much our jobs have changed in the last couple of years. I love that for most public relations people, writing (and even video editing) is becoming an even bigger part of our jobs. Content marketing and brand journalism are becoming the "it" girls of marketing. Over the next few weeks instead of re-inventing the wheel, I thought I would offer up some of the better posts on content marketing I've seen. Let's start with Duct Tape Marketing, and John Jantsch's comments on why it's vital for a product launch. The Essential Role of Content Marketing in a Product Launch 

A few weeks back I noticed a post on the New York Times small business blog about hiring. In that post, small business owners were lamenting the fact that even with current unemployment rates they still had a tough time finding qualified workers. In fact, one owner said if you were an online marketer you could pretty much write your own ticket.  Right after I read that article my friend and freelance writer Aniya Wells sent me this guest post about courses on online marketing at MIT. I'm not saying we should all dump our careers to become online marketers, but if you're interested in doing more online marketing for your business these might be good classes to consider! - B.  3 MIT Open Courseware Opportunities for Online Marketers There are so many ways to go about marketing and promotion online. From establishing a social media presence to keeping up to date with the latest SEO techniques, online marketers have to deal with an ever changing landscape of user-drive content and experiences. Because the use of the internet has such a fundamental human element, those of us who market online can never stop learning about humans, what makes them tick, and how they use technology.

I don't know about you, but sometimes updating my blog feels like such a pain. My friend Kate offered to write this post for me this week and it was a great reminder why we should all consider a blog on our main websites. I hope you find it helpful too!

Business websites typically all follow the same pattern: there is a homepage, an about page, a page that lists your products or services, and a contact page. They all have the same impersonal feel and they all serve one purpose, which is to give consumers information about the business and hopefully land a sale. Every business needs a website because we live in an online world. But every website also needs a blog.

  1.  It’s a place to share thoughts and ideas – Blogs give websites a space to bounce around ideas and share thoughts with your consumers. It’s a place where consumers can see the day-to-day activities going on with the business, which gives a more intimate feel to the business than a website that strictly contains factual information is able to maintain.

I got a survey from UPS this week (apparently to celebrate National Small Business Week) and I was surprised to see that over a third of small businesses still use direct marketing as a primary marketing strategy. I have never understood how business owners can be satisfied with such low response rates. Deliver Magazine claims that your response rate target should be your "break even" point. Their argument begins with  " let’s say that each response will bring you $100 in net revenue" and I've heard this before. NO. A response is does not automagically bring in revenue. A response is just that...a response.  Here's what I mean;

I was in a meeting last week with a new client - we were discussing how the administrative staff might deal with incoming calls. The CEO remarked "let's take that offline, it has nothing to do with marketing." This person really doesn't like me, so at first I thought he had read my latest brand rant but then I realized he was 100% serious. So what's up with this disconnect between marketing and customer service? I've got some ideas about it. Love to hear yours!