Mum went out one night last week (how dare she!!!) to a talk by the Market Research Society that she is a member of. The topic was “Blogs and Market Research”. Hmmmm 2 topics that mum seems to care about… almost as much as dog sports like agility with me… almost. So what did she learn and why does she think it is worth sharing on our little blog?
Mum’s been involved in a couple of online conversations recently on the topic of what bloggers should get paid. So while our little blog here isn’t commercial, instead it is just our little place to capture our stories, thoughts and learnings, but it’s not to say one day it won’t be and mum has a pretty clear view on what commercial looks like.
As bloggers we obviously think of our readers first and foremost as our audience….ok maybe my fellow canine aren’t the best readers but their wonderful owners. Through tools like google analytics we learn some basic stuff about them (where they live and when they are not out walking and playing with us dogs and reading stuff online). Through the comments they leave on our blogs and other social media we learn more about their likes, dislikes and attitudes on things (hopefully important stuff like favourite dogtreats to make). All very valuable and depending on why you blog these may be things you use to help shape the style, content and voice of your blog.
I’m borrowing this week’s Marketing Monday from a friend because it is a good read. Steve is a friend of mums and someone she finds inspirational person to have coffee with when she is in Melbourne. This post on his Start Up blog chats about what we learn in formal schooling versus our own choices in vocational learning and life experiences.
We love reading some of the Facebook forums especially Aussie Bloggers to Love. Other bloggers are great at putting intelligent questions out to the group and the blogging group generous in the advice they offer. What has been interesting of late is bloggers posting questions about companies approaching them asking for free mentions or posts. So with mum’s background as a Marketing Manager here is her take from the client side.
For the majority of marketers out there blogging is a great unknown. Most, especially at a senior level, have learnt their craft in a world of Free to Air TV driving big reach numbers and the emotional message. If budget allowed then this TV schedule might be supplemented by newspaper, magazine or even outdoor. Digital is still relatively new to them and for many the introduction has been via banner ads and page take overs where the purpose and style is similar to that of print or outdoor media (key message for reinforcement and frequency of message).
So what about blogging? While the format is digital it’s role in the marketing mix is very different. While blogging posts can deliver incremental reach, especially in the case of the big blogs, let’s face it… We are not in the realm of the +1 million viewers per episode for most of the prime time TV shows here in Australia. While people might be dual screening and skipping ads the good ol’ TV is still an important part of the marketing mix for the reach and depth of messaging it does bring. But what blogging does bring is that depth of messaging. An emotional connection. Rather than just a passive environment like TV or even print, most bloggers create an interactive environment. This is the real value that bloggers create. In many cases it is not the one-way communication that traditional media delivers but the much sought after conversation that so many marketers think they are seeking between their brand and their consumers.
Mum’s thought as a marketer is that bloggers should be charging and they should be charging a premium. It is not just about the actual sponsored post. Where bloggers can really add value to a brand is by facilitating that conversation. If bloggers are well briefed by a client (so some of this is on the client to brief bloggers properly but bloggers can also sell this benefit of a blog strategy to clients) than they can not only be spreading the word but they can be gaining valuable feedback to provide to the client by the comments left by blog readers. It is a lot like research but in the case of bloggers it is like chatting to a friend… something very valuable if you are a brand seeking feedback. An example of a business set up on this sort of model if Soup. Besides the basic reach (views) that bloggers use to sell themselves the real point of difference versus other media options open to a marketer is comments. Do you have “average comments per post” or something similar as a selling point on your media kit? That opportunity to access a two way conversation is what is in it for the brand marketers.
And now today’s dog blog. Going for a different topic from our Marketing Monday but one close to our heart. Jo over at Creature Clinic posted a great interview yesterday with Dr Lewis Kirkham about bringing a baby into a house where the fur kids have tradtionally been centre of attention before. We love reading Dr Jo’s posts. As a vet she has some great advice that she puts into a wonderfully practical form in her blog. She also has 2 young kids so some topics, such as this, are incredibly relatable for us. The relationship between us dogs and the little ones in the house is something we are extremely passionate about… in fact it is still the only rant we have had on the blog when an article we came across got my schackles up (and mum just got cranky). If you have time stop by Creature Clinic and Dr Jo even has a couple of signed copies of Dr Kirkham’s book which the interview is about to give away.
Hope you have enjoyed Dog Blog & Marketing Monday. Would love to hear your thoughts on how important comments are to your client sell story for those blogging commercially.
With HDR Scape
Have to say I’m a bit of a fan of what this HDR stuff does for the shine on my coat.
Taking Mrs P’s advice we used the HDR Scape from Snapseed (super easy) and actually went 100% filter. Gheez even my whiskers look good clearer.
The other thing we spent a bit of time on was a frame. This actually made a significant difference. Normally our photos use a white frame but in this case it made the image too bright. Instead we have gone the contrast of a black frame (but note the little fleck of orange in this old school film style frame).
Today’s Marketing Monday is inspired by a comment US Agility Trainer & Competitor Daisy Peel put out on social media during the week. The essence of her comment was…. can someone be a coach and a competitor at the same time.
Daisy put this out there while she was watching the Sochi Winter Olympics. In most cases the coaches had never competed in the sport they were coaching and were definitely not coaching and competing at the same time. Yet in most dog sports, definitely agility, the coaches are regularly the top competitors.
So it’s Marketing Monday so let’s talk the business of blogging. Mum has been looking into a blogging e-course. The course is run by a successful blogger and part of mum’s decision making on whether to do the course was to go check out this person’s blog and check out their style, content and also if and what advertising or sponsorship they have (that is have they managed to commercialise their blog?). She also checked out their presence in other social media to see what sort of following they have. Tick. They seem to be successful. So yeah this person probably knows what they are talking about and hence it is probably a safe investment of time and money to read what this blogger has to say.
Mum, when she has to pull herself away from giving me pats, also runs a research and marketing business (High Definition Insights if you want to see what mum does to pay for my bones). Again in this situation she thinks her point of difference is having actual experience. A lot of researcher are, well great researchers, but with commercial clients it is important to be able to put the theory into practice. She thinks that having negotiated with the Factory Manager as to what machines can do and debated with the Finance Director over adequate margins to launch with, that it gives her a different perspective when analysing.
So when you are learning where do you go to for help? Is it the academic that has spent the time in the theories and may have deep levels of knowledge on a topic or is it the experienced practitioner who has learnt on the job (and there is obviously people who have a combo of both)?
And now for our dog blog this week. From what we have seen so far dog blogs, especially here in Australia, are in the camp of learn as we go. The blogging side of it is really just a chance to share stories, experiences and helpful hints. One of the helpful hints we really like is from a Vet who blogs when she has time. Creature Clinic is where Dr Joanna Paul shares her professional experiences. Most of us are still pretty new to blogging but whether a vet, a marketer or coming from some other background we are all learning this fun world of blogging.
Love to hear your thoughts on where you learn about blogging and good sources of ‘how to’ information.
Thanks for checking out Dog Blog & Marketing Monday
Inspired by a number of things happening or we have seen this week we thought competition was an interesting subject. Mum has been watching a bit of the Sochi Winter Olympics on TV. She was telling me a story about when she got to do some work projects with Australian Olympic Gold Medalist Ariel Skier Alisa Camplin. During a presentation someone asked her if she watched her competition either at training or at events. Alisa’s response was that if you were out watching what your competitors were doing and worrying about them you weren’t putting your all into your own efforts.
So mum really enjoys her dog sports, especially agility but she also enjoys her job too and hence Marketing Monday. For this reason she finds some recent stuff happening in the agility world a fascinating example of great marketing.