Monthly Archive for April, 2010

The Top Three Strategic Business Blogging Mistakes

Yesterday I had a great conversation with self-described LEED geek Chris Moline, of Commercial Carpets of America. Chris is a former journalist, and has an information-packed blog about green flooring and carpeting.

Chris asked me what I saw as the most critical mistakes that business bloggers make.

Apart from the obvious one (which I model perfectly) of not posting frequently enough, there are two issues that I see all the time when I review a blog from the perspective of strategy and return on investment:

  1. Lack of clear branding and identity statements for the new visitor. If your blog is well indexed, a lot of people are going to find you via search engines. They’re coming to you with no context, and absolutely no idea of who you are or what products and / or services you offer. So you need to include some positioning at the top of your template so that they can easily find out more about you and your business.
  2. Lack of leverage and compelling calls to action. If this is a business blog, then presumably you’re writing it to attract new and returning customers. If you’ve ever heard me speak, you’ve heard my mantra “Every page of your site should have a strategy”. For every single piece of content, you need to decide what outcome you want from visitors – whether it’s to go to your Website to see more details of a product, or to send you an e-mail, or to sign up for your RSS feed. And you need to provide plenty of clickable links within your text to encourage this.

I’ve been reviewing traffic reports for a lot of blogs recently. Most of them exhibit one or more of these mistakes, and you can clearly see the result in the lack of response or good click-through rates. So take another look at your blog postings from your business strategy perspective – do you have a “Leaky Boat” blog?

Social Media Mentions: Do Negative-Seeming Words Harm You?

I was listening to an excellent Webinar last week with Jennifer Laycock of MarketMotive. Jennifer was discussing tools that measure positive and negative mentions of your brand in social media.

So I idly went over to SocialMention, and did a search for myself (ego is a wonderful thing!) And I found that there are more actively negative mentions of me than actively positive ones.

Why is this? My assistant has been sending out my article on “Leaky Boat Websites” and it’s been included in a number of places online. Trouble is that an automated tool like SocialMention can only follow the rules it’s designed with – and so it sees “leaky boat” and classifies those words as negative.

Of course, this is a problem with any automated tools – remember years ago when AOL decided to clean house, and closed down a breast cancer support group because their name included a “naughty word”?

So I’m asking myself: “Does this matter?” Is it really important to us to get a positive rating from sites like SocialMention? And if so, does that mean that we can’t write any online copy that’s positioned to say “we can fix your problems” because the “problem” words can trigger the negative scores?

Social Media – What’s the Cost of Not Doing It?

I just read a very interesting blog from Robert Patterson of MMG Worldwide, talking about measuring social media ROI in the travel market.

I was especially intrigued by the discussion of non-tangible factors in calculating “return on influence”.

It all got me thinking that another interesting question to ask, especially if you’re still thinking about whether all this is worth it for your company, might be: “Can I quantify the opportunity cost of *not* doing this?”

In other words, using the travel example, could a hotel somehow measure how many nights it costs them not to be doing a Twitter campaign when the comparable hotel down the street is? Hotels are very upset about negative reviews, especially those of doubtful origins or motive – do they know for sure how much damage they do?

Perhaps the only way to calculate the negative side is to jump in and see what difference it makes – but the article got me thinking . . .