Episode: VMC #182 – The Future of Blogging as Marketing & Communications Tool – Tallinn BlogFest
Update 1: Estonian notes of my talk, thanks to Teller.
Update 2: Italian notes of my talk, thanks to Giorgio Massaro.
Update 3: Presentation featured on SlideShare
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Last Tuesday I was in Tallinn (Estonia) where I was invited to give a presentation on ‘The Future of Blogging as Marketing & Communications Tool’ at the Tallinn BlogFest. Talking about this topic presented two main challenges:
- We all know that predicting the future is difficult and not always wise to do (especially if we look at the future of anything related to this fast evolving digital landscape). But when we try to understand how the future will be what we can do is having a look at the past and at the present state of the art. This can help us to better define which could be the potential coming path that we’ll follow.
- The different background of people sitting in the audience. Talk about a particularly wide topic to a diversified audience is not easy. You must find the right balance. If I would have had a 30 minutes session on future oriented highly strategic marketing SEO tactics for blog platforms… well probably this is something that not everyone would have understood or appreciated. This was BlogFest not a corporate workshop.
So keeping all this in mind this is how I pitched my presentation:
- Blogging as core part of the communication strategy of organizations. Soon will be time to stop getting trapped into the shiny object syndrome. Blogs have the potential to become the future central hubs of the communication strategies of small and large organizations.
- In future mobile and real-time web will open new doors and enable us to publish, start, join and manage the conversation whenever we want/need and from wherever we are. Restrictions that are still present in today’s technology, applications, platforms and devices will gradually fade away.
- Blogs will have to reflect and stay tuned with the future share economy trends. ‘Free’ models are here to stay. Your target audience will increasingly want to taste your products and services before sitting down for an entire meal.
- What will not change in future it will be the need of transparent and honest communication. Disclosure is needed and always will. Future successful organizations will not embrace ghost-blogging and ‘if’ they will choose to navigate in those waters they will have to disclose who’s blogging on behalf of who and why.
- Blogs will take new forms and shapes thanks to new and better technology. Blogging activity through lifestreams and mashups platforms will grow and will enable us to extend and join the conversation on a totally different level than the one we are experiencing today.
- Few years ago the closest we could come to reach out from a blog pages or a post was through links. Today we can use our blogs for inbound marketing, social media releases, reputation management, branding, product launches, we can even use blog platforms to host entire live events. In future we’ll see more of this. Blogs will become the brain that will coordinate our tactics and strategic moves.
- New ROI measurement. Today there’s often a myopic view centralized on ‘media measurement’ of blogs (clicks, mentions, views), but this is a measurement that stops just on superficial outputs. We are already starting to see this change but especially in future we’ll start to deal more with social business (next point) focusing on ‘relationship measurement’ (on/offline) and thanks to new technology we’ll better monitor, track and analyze consumer behaviors that can translate into concrete ‘business results’.
- Social business. Cultivate dynamic relationship with you target audience rather then use blogs as another push-tool to mass-audience outreach. Since blogs are part of a growing digital landscape and considering that the conversation will take place and be fragmented also outside blogs, in future it will be important to not lose focus on the social interactions that will happen around your blog.
Below you’ll find:
Feel free to share it all + Your feedback and constructive criticism is always more than welcome.
A special thanks goes to Robin Gurney for inviting me and to all the Altex Marketing team for the organization of the event.
Video (18.29 min.):
Blogs are communication tools and they are just one component of your organizationâ€™s communication strategy.
You might be surprise in knowing how many companies donâ€™t actually have a communication strategy or donâ€™t even realize they need one. What they feel is the desperate need for a blog. The â€˜newâ€™ shiny object that they have to have in order to claim â€œWe are 2.0!â€. Non sense.
Can we anyway still call it blog? The term â€œweblogâ€ was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. A type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary. In 2002 I started with a definitely unattractive HTML page that I used to update like an on-line diary, then the first platforms came around (I fell in love with wordpress) and from simple text we have gone a long way.
Video for everyone with youtube, micro conversation with twitter, stream with friendfeed, â€˜everythingâ€™ with posterous, now on the go with audiobooâ€¦.uppsss maybe better say with an iPhone.
During the last decade we built the infrastructure for a digital world that today has barriers at the entrance that are zero or close to zero for everyone on global scale. We donâ€™t even need computers anymore. We can rely on mobile devices that are hundreds times faster and more powerful that the terminals we were using when we first started to talk about blogging.
We are living in a mobile age. 2008 over 1.000.000.000 people have access to the internet of which 600.000.000 have access through their mobile devices. This year we reached 4.000.000.000 mobile phone subscribers. Long story short, if you are not mobile you are less useful.
We are living in a share economy. Yes I said â€œshareâ€ and I add to it a word that not everyone still likes to associate to businessâ€¦ â€œfree!â€. Free is not evil at all. No matter how good is your product, service, project. If you canâ€™t communicate it effectively to your consumers or partners, well itâ€™s worthless. Today we can share and spread brilliant ideas all over the world with few clicks. â€œFreeâ€ opens up a wide range of business opportunities. The Pareto principle applied to the online world. Ever heard about the 80-20 rule? Share 80% of great content for free and get 20% of great business. 90% of my clients come from the 80% I share everyday online.
Can we still talk about blogging? Is it still just about blogging?
Itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s about a mix of tools/channels that helps companies building dynamic relationships with customers, employees, shareholders, influencers of other key audiences. Even Obama recognizes that, in the same way a blog canâ€™t survive on just one post a day, a presidency can no longer survive on one message per day or one press conference per year. Instead, you have to turn on a fire hose. You just need to think about the latest generation of mashup, web applications that combines data and/or functionality from more than one source, to understand that what we used to call â€˜bloggingâ€™ is evolving taking new forms and shapes.
We are starting to see platforms and services that are mashup themselves. Think about what this new generation of services can represent for individuals and organizations. Think about what it can be used for from product launches to charities, live events, press releases, clarify misunderstandings, customer support, the possibilities are endless and are all gone way beyond the simple â€˜bloggingâ€™ concept.
If there is one thing that hasnâ€™t change that is honest communication. Especially if we look at blogs. Blogs are personal for nature. This means: no to ghost-blogging and no to any other kind of non-transparent communication practices.
â€œI understand that Iâ€™m sharing â€˜for freeâ€™ with the entire worldâ€¦ so whatâ€™s the ROI?â€
- media: interest: clicks, mentions, views, (outputsâ€¦)
- relationship: offline/online (important but harder to measureâ€¦ through surveys, personal interviews, etc.)
- results: business results (how many people came to your event, showed up and bought a product, etc.)
Stop doing dump mass marketing capitalism and start doing (also thanks to these new tools/channels) more intelligent engaging with a community that expressed interest in working with you.
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