Technologies come and go. There are countless of gadgets, applications and services which once appeared among us, but then sank again no where else to be found.
Some are growing much slower but gaining their own market share. Some technologies are here to stay. Others have to go.
Same thing applies to online marketing. In fact, you have tremendous advantages if you integrate technologies into online marketing.
Probably you have tried a marketing tactic last year which has worked so flawlessly but failed a few short months later. A hint: splogs or scraped sites which monetize through advertising networks.
A blog, in my humble opinion, is here for the long haul.
As a marketing tool, a blog has received quite a share of publicity and growing momentum. But, little of us know that it had been around for years, long before it was used as a marketing tool.
It was mainly a piece of web application for geek to publish their own daily journal, many of them about geeky stuff. Fro a great idea check out: http://www.entrepreneur.com/
Because the amount of media coverage and growing rate, many people especially pessimists believe it is just another fad that is going to fade in the next few months, or years, at most!
If you have been using Internet since mid 90’s, you could probably recall there were very few people who believe the Internet would be a place for people to do business. We could not believe people would hand their money to others without seeing each other.
The reality speaks differently though.
Right now, the web is a very common medium to showcase your product or describe your service. Even those who utilize email marketing to sell their product are driving their prospects to their site to proceed with more information, to do the transaction, download materials, and so on.
A blog fits perfectly in in many places where the gaps exist.
Just like email, you compose your content by typing or even dictating your ideas into a digital format. Click publish to immediately publish it to the Web. A blog software takes care of all the rest.
You don’t even have to understand HTML, FTP and other web technologies, although a bit of HTML is recommended to format the blog post structurally and aesthetically. Saying a blog is a fad is like going back to the stone age because cars and computers make life much easier. See also this educational website example from edutopia.
IT MANAGES INFORMATION
Directories (or folders) are great to manage information. There is a downside though. A directory doesn’t allow a file to reside in more than one directory. Web publishers used to utilize directories to manage content separately by categories, themes, or dates.
A blog renders them obsolete. With it, you can define categories or tags. Assign one or more categories or tags to a piece of information as long as it makes sense to you.
A blog also tracks and archives content by dates so you and your readers can retrieve them the way they like.
IT STARTS AND ENCOURAGES CONVERSATIONS
A forum lets users with the same interest to gather and chat about a particular topic. So the conversation is already there.
What makes a blog so unique?
Unlike forum or bulletin board, a blog’s relationship is one to many instead of many to many. This means anyone can start a blog and be the conversation starter. Sure, others can talk about something first in their blog and then followed by others too. It spreads like virus.
Moreover, the blogosphere consists of not only blogs but also the infrastructure like blog search engines, directories, syndication technologies, conversation trackers, and many other applications that appear almost on a daily basis.
Business bloggers should leverage the blogosphere to monitor in almost real-time what people are blogging — especially about your brand or generally about your niche. A blogger could tell if there already was something being talked (blogged) about his/her business on other blogs, even though the blogger never visited the blog. With the amount of blog, it is impossible to visit them one by one but the technology allows exactly that — monitor the conversation for you.
A forum doesn’t have that power. Of course, you can subscribe to a particular thread, but in no way you can monitor all forums at one or if you really are very active, you can at most monitor a handful forums. People could respond to the blogger immediately using the comment form or using a feature called trackbacking. Both comments and trackbacks are made available for the public to consume.
If one day communicating with your prospects and customers is not required anymore, or if the Web become a useless place that people hesitate to use it any longer, then probably a blog will die with it too. At least we do agree that is not happening anytime soon. Probably you often find unscrupulous people who claim to be rich overnight by blogging.
What they are doing was trying to persuade you into buying their product or service, or join a program. If so, then run in the opposite direction. Those are what cause the fad to a certain extent.
Remember that just because so many people are exaggerating about the blog doesn’t make it a less useful tool to add to your marketing mix.
Just like the Internet. It is a relatively dangerous virtual place. Your computer can get infected by worms or viruses. Website defaced. Credit card number stolen. But that doesn’t make it less useful.
Some would say that it is more useful that way. Why? Think about those antivirus companies, developers, and even affiliates who sell solution to the existing issues.