Business bloggers have to read . . . . a lot.
Unless you have a photographic memory, when addressing anything of substance you must refresh your knowledge and explore what others have been saying so you can provide value.
For this reason alone, blogging is an incredible exercise. It forces you to stay current and to build a deeper understanding of the topics you cover. A happy side benefit is that sometimes it yields insights you weren’t expecting. Below are a few of the insights about marketing that I have gained from blogging.
1. Marketing is Often Misunderstood
When the layman thinks of marketing they often go straight to advertising. Worse yet, they go to the “Mad Men” depiction of advertising. In Mad Men, marketing is portrayed as a slimy world full of disingenuous people who are trying to convince you that you need something you really don’t, with flashy graphics and copywriting designed to reel people in.
And, yeah, there are definitely some marketers like that.
But I would like to think that most marketers aren’t like that at all.
In real life, marketing is a mix of business, psychology, the arts, analytical and strategic thinking, and yes, a little pizzazz. Good marketers have no desire to convince anyone that they need something that they don’t. Attracting customers and leading them through the sales funnel is really hard work. There’s little value in winning a sale if your customer will be unhappy in the end. Not only will they not come back, but in today’s socially connected world they’re likely to share their bad experience online – making the marketer’s job even harder.
Serious marketers strive to understand their customers and the issues that concern them so they can play matchmaker. They seek to identify people who will find their product valuable so they can reach them and create lasting relationships.
2. It’s Never as Easy as it Sounds
“How to” e-books, articles or textbooks will never completely prepare you for the reality of rolling up your sleeves and getting it done. I constantly come across blog posts that suggest that you can master social media in 1 hour a day or easily capture leads with a few “simple” tricks.
It’s never as easy as they make it sound. And, personally, I think those articles do a huge disservice because they set false expectations and devalue the marketing profession.
Until you get in there and actually experience the unique challenges faced by a specific company, product or service, you just don’t know how the application of these ideas will play out. This is one of the many reasons why we create strategic business and marketing plans. This practice forces us to take a realistic view of our goals and objectives and make choices based on data rather than ideas.
3. Nothing is Free
We’ve all received the lecture that nothing in life is free, yet we seem to ignore this wisdom. There is much chatter online about free apps, tools, and even interns but it’s time to accept that all of this free stuff only provides superficial value. Organizations and people offer these things as a preview of their offering, but the quality products and services that produce serious value are going to come at a price.
Don’t get me wrong – you can skate by on the free stuff for a while. In this resource, I point to a number of content marketing tools that are either completely, or partly free. These resources can be wonderful when you’re just getting started. But, if you’re serious about growing your business you will eventually need more and you will have to pay for it. It’s just a fact of life.
4. Creativity Comes in Many Forms
Marketing graphics – the visuals that pop and draw us in – are the typical perception of creativity in marketing. But there are many other ways for marketers to express their artistic side. I never thought of myself as an artist, but after spending many hours painstakingly creating blog posts, I changed my mind. I am an artist, just not in the classic sense.
Developing campaigns that speak to the questions your customers are asking and that evoke an emotional response – that’s an art form. The writing that supports those campaigns – the words that are crafted in just the right way to communicate the value of the product, requires great creative skill.
Even the analysis that drives strategic planning is a creative endeavor. It requires out-of-the-box thinking, time, and patience to derive meaningful information from qualitative and quantitative data.
We’re all artists in our own way.
5. You Can’t Game the System – Quality Wins
Every day someone throws out a new idea about what works in online marketing. Current SEO techniques, short vs. long blog posts, creative ways to appeal to millennials, you name it. It’s no wonder. Technology has created an ever-changing landscape where we must compete with shifting search engine and social media algorithms in addition to competitive products.
While there’s nothing wrong with experimentation, you simply can’t beat a quality product. Offer it at a price that the market can bear and that keeps you in business. Create materials that clearly communicate what you offer and be diligent about supporting your customers. No amount of SEO trickery or social media marketing is going to help if you have a bad product that no one wants to buy.
Do you blog for your business? What has blogging helped you to learn about your topic?