By Ascend Marketing
APRIL 25, 2017 | ENGAGEMENT AND CONTENT MARKETING
Before blogs existed, there were corporate newsletters. Companies used them as a way to build community among existing and prospective customers. They were a branding tool that also fostered loyalty. The internet allowed companies to save money on print and mailing as they pushed this content marketing vehicle out much quicker as an electronic newsletter.
A great example of this was a company called CyBerCorp, an electronic stock trading technology company that gained notoriety in the late 1990s. Faced with hundreds of competitors, CyBerCorp unveiled its unique selling proposition: it could connect various pools of liquidity, or electronic communication networks, and deliver a great price to stock traders upon execution. The company leveraged that story to media like the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. And this is where its electronic newsletter, CyBerNews, came into play.
The company promoted CyBerNews to customers and prospects, including useful trading tips as well as the media coverage the company had received (here is a thread from “Silicon Investor” 18 years ago, in which “Patrick” markets the newsletter to traders). CyBerNews helped CyBerCorp created a massive buzz and grow its customer base. Ultimately, Charles Schwab, Inc. bought the company for $500 million.
Many of the same principles that applied to electronic newsletters like CyberNew now apply to blogs. So what can we learn from the success of CyBerNews that we can apply to company blogs? To enhance the chances of success, a blog should:
• Be a forum for unique subject matter or content that the reader may not be able to find easily in the media or the blogosphere.
• Publish with a particular frequency, as frequently as twice a week, or even just twice a month.
• Be part of an overall marketing strategy, especially with regard to social media.
• Contain well-written and compelling content.
In the hands of an experienced craftsman who is authoring the blog, here are some content categories to consider:
Media articles. Like CyBerNews in its day, blogs are a great place to establish the credibility that comes with securing media coverage. Third-party validation by reputable sources can be enormously powerful when it comes to upselling existing customers, and inspiring new ones. While the company typically cannot copy and paste the article into the blog, it can summarize the article and provide a link to the original.
Press releases. Make your press releases deliver double the return by translating the copy from “press release-speak” to “blog-speak.” If the release has been strategically placed on the wire, the company can link to those locations, effectively piggy-backing the brands of the media outlets doing the hosting.
Interviews. It is fairly easy to put together a short set of questions for a company executive’s response and that highlights the value proposition of the company’s product or service. This type of article ventures away from overt selling to a subtler approach that complements the company’s other marketing efforts.
Third-party posts. Consider republishing (with permission) someone else’s blog post if it re-enforces your mission or value proposition. Consider reaching out to partners about posting one of their blogs. In return, they can republish one of your blogs, and further expand your footprint.
These are just a few categories. There are many others. A good blog may not support the kind of exit that CyBerCorp experienced, but it will support your marketing objectives if these principles are kept in mind.