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Blogging for Business: Wendy Piersall Keynote

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The Blogging for Business Conference was held 22 October 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

How Blogs Benefit Business, Opening Keynote

Wendy Piersall, eMoms at Home

In a survey of the room, less than half of the room owned a blog. About the same amount were business owners. Nearly everyone there were interested in blogs to promote their business; a few wanted the blog to be their business.

“Guess what. If your brand isn’t there on the front page, there are blogs there taking away your traffic or putting out info you should be putting out; answering the questions that your customers are answering.”

Blogging vs. Mainstream media

One good example: TechCrunch vs. RedHerring—they write on the same subject, but RedHerring is older. However, TechCrunch has much higher traffic. She believes this comes from Mike Arrington’s passion for his topic. She compared them both with Inc.com. Inc.com, representing mainstream media has held steady, but within six months of startup, TechCrunch had eclipsed Inc.com’s traffic.

Why is a blog so powerful?

It’s the overlap of networking, conversation, a brochure and personality: There networking there, just like at a conference; the conversation show that there’s a real person behind the blog. It’s a bit like a product brochure—but that doesn’t make the sale. Personality does

Blogging is powerful because all those things together make the sale. But the personality itself is what drives them.

But by personality, she doesn’t mean just personality—it’s passion—it’s emotion.

Blogs—and brands—are personal

Great brands have linked the most desirable emotions to their products or services.

What is the substantial difference between these brands?

Starbucks latte—$3.80 Gas station coffee—$0.79
Godiva—$22-$100/lb M&Ms—$6.12/lb
BMW—$44,000 Toyota—$18,000

The difference is the emotional connections & associations that the first products have made.

Starbucks—trendy, socially responsible, treating yourself

Godiva—gourmet, quality, luxury

BMW—quality, style, German engineering, precision, top-of-the-line, ultimate driving machine, reputation, performance

How do you value the fluffy stuff?

The IRS has a formula for measuring good will (because of prohibition)—How to value (write off) your brand equity

The difference between the price at which whiskey was sold under a given brand name and also under another brand name—multiplied by the number of units sold during a given year gives an accurate determination of the amt of profit attributable to that brand.

The value of your brand is the difference that your customers are willing to pay for those emotional associations. Emotional associations are powerful and valuable.

Let’s get personal: Why did you (or your client) start this business or choose this career path?

  • To pursue a dream (passion)
  • To make a difference in people’s lives
  • To fill a need in an under-served market
  • How can I help my customers and prospects? What do they need?
  • What personal stories, ideas or experience an I share on my blog that will encourage people to connect with my company/brand?
  • How can my business blog be a true reflection of the business’s founding inspiration (passion, make difference, filling a need)?

In other words, you were passionate and/or you wanted to help!

Blogs don’t benefit business unless they BENEFIT YOUR CUSTOMER. You have to have that passion, the cause—what’s in it for your customer? What are they looking for? What do they really need? Why did you go into business in the first place? Because that’s why your customers will come to you, spend more with you, and seek you out.

Questions to answer for yourself

Examples from eMoms
She’s found that fear of success is a bigger fear of entrepreneurs than fear of failure because of the perceived baggage that goes along with success. Wendy wrote a post about challenges for entrepreneurs—internal challenges are the biggest: fear of failure or having a bad day or losing it all.

Her post basically communicated that we shouldn’t expect ourselves or try to make ourselves perfect. The fear doesn’t go away that easily.

The post was prompted by a message she’d received from one of her writers on eMoms—but the response was huge. She shared a note that someone else wrote her, saying that that post had encouraged her to go and do the things she needed to for her business to be successful.

This is why I blog.”

She didn’t have to write that post, but because she opened up, her readers come back. They want to know that their fears are normal, but their fears won’t stop them. They want to know that they can continue forward in spite of fear. That’s why she puts the personal stuff up there for her readers.

The second example—”The Biggest Blog Post of My Life.” She outlined how she’d gone from being homeless to getting back on her feet—and that day she announced that she would be writing for Entrepreneur.com.

Her blog’s message is that if she can do it, you can. It may be hard, but you can do it. The amount of good will she received from that post was astounding. She hadn’t done it to get links or traffic, but to share a wonderful success with her readers. There were so many letters in response—people are finding her site and their inspiration.

That’s what people come back to a blog for, the business inspiration behind your business or your client’s business. That’s what people will come for. That’s what will get people moved to talk about your business.

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Blogging for Business: Wendy Piersall Keynote
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About Jordan McCollum
Jordan McCollum is a staff writer for the popular marketing blog Marketing Pilgrim. She has worked in search engine optimization with clients including 3M, Little Giant Ladders and ADP. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Jordan joined the SEO copywriting team at the Internet marketing firm 10x Marketing. After 10x closed its doors in December 2006, Jordan became a freelance writer and Internet marketing consultant specializing in SEO. She also has extensive experience with web analytics, conversion rate enhancement and e-mail marketing. WebProNews Writer
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