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Project on Blog Marketing

Submitted To:Dr.Deepali Singh Prof,ABV-IIITM

Submitted By:Rohit Kumar Singh-2010MBA24 Shivansh Bhardwaj-2010MBA25

Atal Bihari Vajpayee- Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior, India

Blog Marketing
By: Rohit kumar singh and Shivansh bharadwaj Abstract: Blogs are an excellent way to gather feedback and to make sure products meet the needs of users. Blogs have become the next generation marketing tool to corporate websites which merely post collateral and do not provide any interactive feedback. Blogs are also supplementary to a User Group. User Groups happen annually for example while blogs provide users constant daily and weekly feedback. Businesses have to react positively to big ideas and to new technology. They must also make up for lost time should they, initially, prove a bit slow off the mark in seeing the potential of technological breakthroughs Blogs are growing day by day at very fast pace and companies failing to market their products or services on web can lag behind others who have already started. This study gives the importance of blogging. Corporate blogs can help companies to develop higher levels of engagement with consumers but, more importantly, they create knowledge capital which can be mined for information that a firm can use to its advantage.

Introduction: From a business perspective blogs are no different from marketing channels like video, print, audio or presentations. They all deliver results of varying kind. The kind business persons can expect from blogs is mainly about stronger relations with target groups important to them. This

study covers the importance of blogs, their types, rules and strategies which should be followed while writing a blog and their pros and cons. It also gives some light on modern blogging techniques including micro blogging. Once considered an almost low-life form of internet activity (which in many peoples hands it still is), blogging has become a mainstream resource of information. Blog marketing is the term used to describe internet marketing via web blogs. These blogs differ from corporate websites because they feature daily or weekly posts, often around a single topic. Typically, corporations use blogs to create a dialog with customers and explain features of their products and services. Literature: This is a broad, but deep look at the social, political, business, and academic effects that blogging is having on our society. Highly recommended!" -- Robert Scoble, Corporate Blogger, Microsoft Corporation. We blog, therefore we are players in our own future. Jacobs and Bruns have provided an exciting and useful map to the practices, ethics, and potentials of this most encouraging Internet phenomenon. Highly recommended." -- Pat Kane, Consultant, Singer, Activist, and Author, The Play Ethi Uses of Blogs offers a broad spectrum of perspectives on current and emerging uses of blogs. While blogging is rapidly developing into a mainstream activity for Internet users, the actual application of blogs in specific contexts has so far been under-explored. Because there are a variety of styles of blogging - from de facto news sites to marketing blogs, blogs as learning tools, writers' drafting blogs, corporate dark blogs and fictional blogs, to name a few - it can be difficult to imagine how blogs might be used in particular environments. This book demonstrates the takeup of blogs and blogging for a number uses in industrial and social contexts. A nod from a trusted blogger can result in considerably higher sales for the recipient. Trusted figures in industry, popular product reviewers and critics often maintain blogs where they provide information about their

experiences with some products and services. Readers tend to trust these reviewers and critics more as they are often unbiased. Businesses, however, do pay popular bloggers to review or mention their products. Examples of popular technology blogs that provide a lot of product reviews include Engadget and Tech Crunch. Consumers will always want content that is relevant to them, ideally something that strikes an emotional chord. Social Media Today is a moderated b-to-b community that brings together some of the industry's best-known commentators (Brian Solis and Rohit Bharghava to name a couple) alongside social media bloggers, marketers, PR and media professionals. The community-building ethos of the site means that, once registered, participants can post their own blogs, create their ovm profile, leave comments, and connect direcdy with other members Tech savvy population of the world is increasingly reading blogs before buying a product or using a service. According to Trent COLWELLBlogs or web logs originated as simple online diaries. Bloggers posted about their lives, hobbies and literally anything else that was on their minds. Blog use quickly exploded across the Internet and there are millions of blogs discussing every possible topic.Blogs give useful information about any product or service to its readers hence they can decide whether to buy that product/service or not. According to John HuckInformation sharing plays a key role in bicycle culture, and cyclists participate in this through traditional media, such as the magazine Momentum, as well as more actively through online technologies, such as: . mapping (e.g., www.bikely.com); . vodcasts and tutorials (e.g., http://bicycletutor.com); . blogs (e.g., www.howtofixbikes.ca); and . discussion forums (e.g., www.bikeforums.net). Blogs of companies market their product or service and some blogs give reviews and ratings to various products or services, here people not even read reviews but they can also give ratings to a product or service. Like people who want to download new free software look at sites like www.filemapper.com . The importance of virtual connectivity can be understand as In addition to providing time- and place-independent meeting places, technology use is

proposed to enhance experience-based, active learning. For example, Gillentine and Schulz (2001) found that students exhibited higher levels of involvement when using on-line roleplaying. Howard, Ellis, and Rasmussen (2004) concluded students perform better when they use hypermedia technology. Because technology affords a sense of privacy, students may be willing to accept higher levels of social risk than they would in face-toface discussions (Alghazo 2006). As students become more engaged in the discussion, they feel a greater sense of connection to the course and the associated material (Copper and Selfe 1990; Ku 1996).

STUDENT COMMENTS ON THE PROMOTIONS COURSE BLOG

People, who want to buy a latest released video game search for its review at www.gamespot.com . Blogs affect marketing strategy of products or services up to great extent. Products and services ranging from Automobiles, Books Computers, Education, Electronics, Employers, Entertainment, Fashion, Food & Drinks, Health & Beauty, Household, Internet, Malls & Stores, Media, Personal Finance, Sports, Travel and what not, you name it. Blogs are increasing at a very fast pace and industries must recognize their importance. If they want to sustain in future they should start their own blog as soon as possible.

Blogs and blogosphere


At the same time, while even today some commentators already debate the use of the word still merits use of interested public blog to describe this plethora of online publications, we would suggest that the nature of these publishing efforts that term to describe the method of informing an about issues and ideas; again in analogy television,

there remain certain shared social organisational, and technological features which delineate blogs from other forms of online publications. For example, it is the social networking of blogs and the potential for collaboration that provides a decidedly human dimension to the publishing and publicizing of information. By personalizing content, blogs go beyond a purely informative role, and provide a platform for debate, deliberation, and the expression of personal identity in relation to the rest of the (blogging) world. Replacing somewhat outdated email lists and personal Websites as vehicles for exchanging ideas and information, blogs represent for authors an opportunity to reach out and connect with an audience never before accessible to them, while maintaining control over their personal linking, expressive spaces. The blogosphere, understood as the totality of all blogs and the communicative intercast between commentary which them through and Trackbacks, is perhaps unique in its structure as a interact, and (occasionally) intercreate with one

distributed, decentered, fluctuating ad hoc network of individual Websites interrelate,

another.And it is here, rather than in individual blogs, where the power of blogging is situated; as Hiler writes, its not the individual weblog that fascinates me. Its when you tap the collective power of thousands of weblogs that you start to see all sort of interesting behavior emerge. Its a property of what scientists call complex adaptive systems and its enabling weblogs as a collective to become more than the sum of its part.Blog marketing is the term used to describe internet marketing via web blogs. These blogs differ from corporate websites because they feature dail y or weekly posts, often around a single topic. Typically, corporations use bl ogs to create a dialog with customers and explain features of their products and services. Many organizations use blogs with their user community. This allows them t o share and preview product features, functions, and benefits before the pr oducts are released. Blogs are an excellent way to gather feedback and to make sure products meet the needs of users. Blogs have become the next generation marketing tool to corporate websites which merely post collater al and do not provide any interactive feedback. Blogs arealso supplementar y to a User Group. User Groups happen annually for example while blogs pr ovide users constant daily and weekly feedback. Blogs are Basic websites which are updated Regularly. They act as a Private news interface for any Company / Website. With regular updatesbeing hand led by the companyexecutive team, product marketing, and product strateg y teams. The need for fresh content on the web makes the Blogs a preferre d destination for Resources. Blogs have been focused as a primary platform for Marketing A blog is a powerful text content written on web media to influence a particular group of audience and a blogger is a person or an organization with strong thoughts or beliefs which he/she is able to convey to masses by means of a blog. A blog has immense power; it can praise a company to increase up to great extent. Companies like Dell have achieved a lot through blog marketing and in a tech savvy era blog marketing has emerged as a great marketing strategy. If you still think your company doesnt need a blog, think again

There are many types of blogs out there in virtual world and they are growing very rapidly. Few types of blogs are listed here:1) Instructional blogs: These blogs Instruct readers to perform a task.

They give the instructions on how to perform a particular task. For example people who like to tweak their computer visit sites like www.overclockers.net . 2) Inspirational blogs: These blogs provide inspirational thoughts to the readers.
3) Personal blogs: These blogs are most widely used by common man.

These are personal blogs of an individual in which he/she conveys anything which he/she thinks should be told to the readers.
4) Corporate Blogs: These blogs are used by companies to get in touch

with their customers, let them know about their new changes and most importantly get their feedback. This type of marketing done on the blog by various companies is called as Blog Marketing. This type of blog is the main emphasis of this review paper. Blog marketing is turning out to be an important aspect in marketing strategy.

5) Private Blogs: These blogs are not open to all viewers, in turn these are open for only limited people whom the blogger wishes to view it. For example blogs for friends, for family, for company employees etc are some example of it.

6) Review blogs: Blogs which give reviews about any product or service

fall under this category. These type of blogs are increasing day by day and people are taking much interest in reading them too because they give useful information regarding some product or service so people before buying any product or a service read their review first. This type of blogs affect marketing of companies to high extent and companies should get positive review of their product or service, if not they should improve.
7) CEO Blogs: These blogs are written by Chief Executive Officer of a

company. These types of blogs are personal yet they convey thoughts of a company. Some good examples of these are: http://mohankaul.blogspot.com/ blogger is Dr Mohan Kaul Director General and CEO Commonwealth blogger is Business Jonathan Council, Schwartz http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/ CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

8) Lists One of the easiest ways to write a post is to make a list. Posts

with content like The Top Ten ways to., 7 Reasons why. 5 Favourite ., 53 mistakes that bloggers make when. are not only easy to write but are usually very popular with readers and with getting links from other bloggers.

9) Interviews Sometimes when youve run out of insightful things

to say it might be a good idea to let someone else do the talking in an interview (or a guest post). This is a great way to not only give your readers a relevant experts opinion but to perhaps even learn something about the topic youre writing yourself. One tip if youre approaching people for an interview on your blog dont overwhelm them with questions. One of two good questions are more likely to get you a response than a long list of poorly thought through ones.

Now that we are familiar with blogs lets take a look at how they affect corporate marketing and what qualities a corporate blog should have.

You may be asking yourself How is it going to affect marketing of my company? and How should I start my own blog? Blogging helps corporations in many ways, some of them are:-

1) It increases visibility of their company 2) Markets their products/services. 3) Create a brand image. 4) Create new customers and help sustain old ones. 5) Gets feedback from customers. 6) Help understand future needs.

Blogs does all that, it not only creates visibility of company but it also help understand customer needs. Products have a life cycle and so do particular services, hence to sustain in market; needs of customers should be checked regularly. These needs keep on changing from time to time. Future expectations of the customers from the company can be understood easily through blogs. Feedback gained from the customers helps in creating ideas for future products and services which is very necessary for a company to sustain in market. In an era when customers are gods for a company blogs helps a lot to attract them. It helps increasing value for the customers.

These days micro blogging has also emerged as a new revolution in blog marketing. Blogging sites like twitter are growing at a very fast pace. The reason behind growth of micro blogging is that they are very easy to use and hence changes or new updates can be easily notified through micro blogging. They are not exhaustive as a normal blog hence users find it easier to check on a regular basis. Twitter has given a new name to micro blogging as Twitting. Above all the most important reason because of which twitter is growing so fast is that it is easy to update on a real-time basis. Firefox addons like twitter bar have made twitting even more easy. Now to compete with twitter even big companies like google have added a new mini blog feature called as Buzz. This feature is added on google mail called as gmail. Although google have now started realizing the importance of blogging but email brands like hotmail had this feature of having blogs along with email long back. Even yahoo is trying to cope up with this but they are a bit lagging behind in this race; their new version of yahoo mail is too heavy for many customers to use. Still I believe Buzz has a long way to go to beat twitter which is based on an open source engine.

Sites like facebook and Netlog have not only emerged as good social networking sites but now they are also used by companies to provide their updates and news on a real time basis. They enable a sense of affection towards their customers thus increasing their loyalty towards their company.

LinkedIn is another good example of a site which helps corporate to increase their network with customers.

From Production to Produsage Today, as the information age replaces the industrial age, the Fordist mass production model has been replaced by one of individuation, personalization, and customization, but this is only a first step: from

customization follows Interaction, from interaction follows interactivity, and from interactivity follows, in the right setting, intercreativity. This undermines the distinction between commercial producers and distributors on the one side, and consuming, passive audiences on the other; participants in interactive spaces are audiences, but instead are users of content; always more than merely further, if they become

involved in intercreative environments (as bloggers do), they also are active producers of content. In becoming active publishers, commentators, and discussants, then, bloggers turn into what we can usefully describe as produsersa hybrid of producer and user. All bloggers are both potential users (in the narrow sense of information recipient) as well as potential producers of content, and the blogosphere overall is an environment for the massively distributed, collaborative produsage of information and knowledge. This conceptualization advances well beyond Alvin Tofflers

famous term prosumer, which at worst may describe little more than a well-informed consumer who nonetheless remains engaged only passively

once a consumption

choice has been made, and may never actively

engage in the production and expression of new ideas. Shirky similarly argues against the professional consume Blog Marketing Strategies Blog Marketing Strategies Regardless of your product, blogs can be an integral part of a marketing strategy. This doesn't necessarily mean running out to start one. There are other ways to harness this fast-growing medium's power:

Gather market intelligence. Monitor public buzz to determine how your brand and close competitors are faring. Knowing where, why, and how you're being trashed (or praised) in a public forum allows you to respond appropriately -- and quickly. Any angry customer or disgruntled former employee can launch a blog at no cost. They may even get higher search rankings than your brand.

Engage bloggers by commenting on key business topics. Read blogs related to your product or company to understand the blogger's perspective and audience. Strategically respond to postings to initiate dialogue. More genuine that a PR pitch, this approach can also help correct misinformation.

Advertise on blogs to reach influencials, target a niche audience, or extend a media buy's reach. Though only about 25 percent of Internet users (about 32 million) currently read blogs, they tend to influence other's thinking. Blog lines readers check an average of 20 blogs daily. Informal BlogAds research shows blog readers are high consumers of expensive, well-researched content, such as The Economist and The New Yorker. "Blog advertising can engage an important niche," says Morra Aarons, Edelman VP, "enabling you to reach a critical market segment or to broaden the impact of your marketing spend."

Blogs vary in size, approach, and ad opportunities. You can advertise directly on a blog that reaches your target market or through an advertising network such as BlogAds or Pheedo.Banners and text copy must be contextually relevant. As users visit often, it's important to change ad

content frequently to prevent impression fatigue. One option is create a dialogue with a series of related ads.

Humanize

your company with corporate blogs. One or more

employees, the CEO included, may blog. Corporate blogs require a level of transparency. As a result, they may not work for all types of companies. Corporate bloggers must have access to, and support from, senior management, PR, and legal.

Build business or brand by connecting with consumers. Both small businesses and major corporations can use blogs to build closer relationships with their customers. Best Buy created the entertaining Slothmore Institute. The only connection to Best Buy is the sponsored ads.

Blog-Related Analysis Whether or not you have a blog, the related analysis is important to track how your business and brand are being discussed to better understand your consumers' perspective:

Monitor the Web for references to your brand, key officers, and major competitors:
o

Set up tracking on Google News Alerts or Pub Sub. You must be able to react to relevant topics brewing in the blogosphere before they become full-blown issues. Involve PR in this process, and respond quickly and decisively to engage bloggers.

Analyze comments, links, and trackbacks to determine the relative importance of audience perceptions. Use tools such as Intelliseek's Blog Pulse or a firm such as Buzz Metrics. This analysis will help determine who the influencers are and what their connectivity level is.

Analyze broader category or product information. Consumers may discuss products in general terms, without using brand names or model numbers. So narrow tracking may not reveal the full picture. Monitor the information landscape to determine the macro trends and issues that influence buyers and the language they use. A food producer may check for terms such as "diet" and "low carb," for example. According to Julie Woods, Cymfony EVP, "Ongoing trend analysis examines the conversations to find relevant information that can be used to guide marketing strategy." It can reveal pain points, consumer language around your product, market changes, and competitive actions. In turn, these findings can direct your marketing and creative approach. They may also reveal other terms you should be tracking.

Blogs create more opportunities, and more challenges. As with any communications strategy, consider what you hope to achieve from consumer engagement. Don't ignore blogs until something blows up! Use them as another way to listen to and involve customers. People talk about you in the blogosphere; use the opportunity to influence the conversation There are some rules and strategies which corporate blogging should follow:-

1) Only truth should be written in a blog. As blogs are written content

and is not like a television advertisement which gets over in few seconds, a single lie or bluff can end you to court and the person who sued can present written proof against your company.
2) A blog helps getting feedback from customers; some may give

positive feedback whereas some angry customers can give negative feedback too. You should not delete a negative feedback because hiding a problem never actually solves it but in turn it increases it. Hence angry customers should be handled tactfully.

3) No spamming should be done on blogs and any spam written by someone else in feedback should be removed.
4) You should not disclose information about your future products or

services too early before their release because your audience may not be just your customers, it maybe that your competitors are also keeping track of your updates and doing so may lend you in a loss. 5) Know your target audience and write accordingly. 6) Use a good search engine optimization to increase visibility of your blog. If your blog isnt visible to your target audience then it is not solving its purpose. 7) Last but not the least, you should ensure to update blog regularly otherwise your audience will lose interest in it.

Let us now discuss some Pros and Cons of Corporate blogging:

Pros:1- Regular Announcements: A blog gives the communication with the customers and prospects. Blogging typically requires frequent updating content, which often means a minimum of a new posting in every day or in every week. This consistent communication with audience keeps the business owner in the forefront. The blog technology that now enables readers to subscribe to the blog and new posts will automatically emailed to them.

2. Reliability of Blog: Each blog post enables share the knowledge with regular readers of the blog. The blog owner should post the valuable and useful information to the readers. Then the blog will get more profit and reliable ratings from the customers. 3. Disclosure about Blog: Now a days, most of the blog postings were including the articles, advertising the website, direct mail campaigns, newsletters, uses of particular products, newly launched products and other useful information to the readers. This type of blogs will increases the exposure Others benefits of using blog are as under-

1-A blog really is a wonderful tool for company to use to bring other peoples attention to issues that are of importance to organisation. 2-Search engine friendly blogs have become one of the most important online web tools that are generating a tremendous amount of traffic and web site exposure from search engines and targeted visitors.

3-Blogging increases visibility of company. 4-It helps in connecting with customers. 5-It increases your search engine visibility. 6-Blogging hardly requires any cost, some sites even offer free blogs like www.blogspot.com but for a company creating a blog on their own webspace isnt a great cost. 7-Increases customers interest in your company. 8-Help getting feedback from customers which is essential for continuous improvement. 9-Increases sales of your product or service.

10- You are building brand awareness and generating the MOST TARGETED
TRAFFIC you could ever hope to find for your online business!

Cons:Blogging without the right mindset is perhaps one of the worst things you can do when blogging. Lets say you work for a large company and you tend to share a lot of knowledge with your customers through the use of blogs. This is a good thing, until youre doing it for the wrong reasons. 1) A blog can be used as a legal document against your company. 2) Too many negative feedback can defame your company. 3) Hard to update it on a regular basis. No one would like to visit a blog if updates are done too slow so regular updating is necessary. 4) Blogs can lead to privacy concerns.

As you can see pros are far greater than cons hence blog marketing is emerging as a new era in marketing strategy which require less inputs and give long term benefits to a company. Hence if you have not started your own blog then you should do so as soon as possible, your competitors may have already started.

References Ahuja, V. and Mercury, Y. (2010), Corporate blogs as e-CRM tools building consumer engagement through content management, Journal of Database Marketing and Customer Strategy Management,Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 91-105, ISSN 1741-2439. Costa, M. (20100), Building a community is key to brand development, Marketing Week, Vol. 33 No. 35, pp. 22-6, ISSN 0141-9285.

Tsiotsou, R.H., Rigopoulou, I.R. and Kehagias, J.D. (2010), Tracing customer orientation and marketing capabilities through retailers websites: a strategic approach to internet marketing, Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 79-94. Michael A. Levin, Donna F. Davis VIRTUAL THIRD PLACES AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: A CASE STUDY OF BLOGGING IN A MARKETING PROMOTIONS COURSE Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education Volume 10, Summer 2007