Blogging Commandment 10 – Your Blog is Only a Marketing Tool

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I got a lot of flack for including this “Thou Shall” in my 10 Blogging Commandments for a Successful Year”.

This came from one of the commenters on prdaily.com (who reprinted the post on their blog) –

What a load of crap. Some of the most successful blogs in the world exist to COMMUNICATE IDEAS, not sell stuff. This article is based on a narrow, shallow definition of “success.” – @ChristieKeith

And another…

Agree that this is a really useful post, however, I take issue with #10, and possibly #5. Blogs are not only marketing tools. Truly, that is one very fine way to use a blog, but blogs are also simply content publishing. They are a “new newspaper” of sorts, or at least a digital media for sharing op-ed writing.

As much as business seeks to “own” blogs as merely a marketing tool and PR IS all about business, the medium of blogging is far bigger than that. – Thomas Waters

I appreciate the disagreement. I even welcome my ideas being called a load of crap, somebody has to do it and my wife is tiring of the job.

The lively response prompted me to tackle each of these commandments in more depth. First, let’s deal with an underlying premise of business blogging that is sabotaging blog publishers.

Flawed Premise #1: Blogs Communicate Ideas Not Sell Stuff

There are two types of blogs: blogs that market and blogs that don’t.

Blogs that market exist to attract an audience, position a product or service, and demonstrate the skill, trustworthiness, and authenticy of the business.

These publishers communicate ideas but they have a purpose in mind – ringing the cash register. Guess what happens when the blog fails to gain attention, boost sales, or enhance the quality of leads? Yep – it’s abandoned.

A company who likes to spend marketing dollars to merely “talk” or “share ideas” quickly finds itself in bankruptcy court.

Look. Smart businesses user their blog to share profitable ideas. Blogs are not an excuse to ignore sound marketing.

What about blog’s that don’t market a product/service?

Blogs that don’t market are personal or professional hobbies. I love ‘em. They are often the home of fascinating perspectives and approaches. If you write for this reason, ignore this commandment. You are seeking something different from profit, cash for payroll, or market share.

Flawed Premise #2: Blogs Transcend Business Communications

I started Pushing Social, three years ago, to challenge this flawed premise. At the time, I was evaluating social media as a marketing tool. Almost everything I read about blogging had this scent of messianic expectation.

It seemed that everyone hated marketing and latched on to social media as a way to sidestep all of those “primitive” business tactics. Blogging and social media was a way sell by just “hanging out” with customers. Somehow the blog reader or Twitter follower magically absorbed a company’s unique value proposition from a vague 350-word blog post or 140 character tweet.

As a survivor of the first dot-com bust, I knew this social media approach was complete crap. Blogs are simply an easier way to publish information and establish a dialogue with readers. That’s it.

  • Blogs cannot sell a bad product or service
  • Blogs cannot create a vibrant company culture
  • Blogs cannot entice people to take action without giving them a reason to do so

I pray this is obvious.

Flawed Premise #3: Blogging = Content Marketing

Content Marketing is a big deal. Content marketing begins with the sound premise that offering valuable information that builds trust, credibility and authority creates customers. Content marketing requires a completely different marketing mindset, one that values the process of storytelling, dialogue, and sincere engagement.

Content Marketing, done right, is a potent approach for building a business.

Blogs are just a tool in a content marketers toolbelt. They are good for certain type of content (text) and struggle with other types (photos and videos). Savvy content marketers realize that a blog is clever software, a tool, not an approach to marketing.

What Do You Think?

Let’s have a conversation about the 10th commandment. What do you think? Am I selling blog’s short?

photo credit: L. Marie via photopin cc

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About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.