Today, I begin a series entitled Lessons Learned From Blogging: Interviews with leading business bloggers. The goal is to share the wisdom and insights from verteran bloggers, many of whom started around the same time I did, back in 2003/2004. Most of the interviews are with business blog consultants, all of hom are personal friends and colleagues.
Kicking-off the series is marketing consultant Toby Bloomberg, president of Bloomberg Marketing. Toby was the first business blogger I ever met. We are blogging buddies joined at the hip! She blogs at Diva Marketing.
When did you start blogging?
I tried my hand at a personal blog or 2 in 2002-3 (don’t recall). But that was short-lived since my life seemed too boring to sustain an identify blog and I got bored after 1 or 2 posts. I started Diva Marketing in 2004.
When you started, what were your conceptions about blogs? Did you see them as a marketing tool?
Although I launched Diva Marketing Blog in 2004, I had been talking about blogs in workshops and to small business clients since about 2002. Initially, I thought of blogs as an inexpensive strategy to a web presence .. and by the way, the comments feature was pretty cool since your customers could talk back to you in real time and you could respond. So a long winded answer .. yes.
What was the name of your first blog?
Diva Marketing Blog
What did you first start blogging about?
Marketing and branding topics
Typepad … easy to use.
How have you used blogs in your business? How significant a role has blogging played in your marketing efforts?
My blog has become my most significant marketing strategy. The SEO ranking has brought in clients, speaking engagements and interest from the media. I refer to the content as value added material for clients and prospects. I use it to promote speaking engagements and ‘brag’ a bit about client achievements. In addition the relationships developed through/because of my blog have been invaluable and most I could not have made any other way than through social media interactions.
Looking back over the years since you started blogging, what would you say are some lessons you’ve learned as a result? What were some “serendipities” you’ve experienced along the way?
Blogging can be more time consuming that anticipated. Blogs are hungry beats that demand constant attention.
If the bloggers don’t like what you’re up to they will let know .. well not you personally .. but the world at-large. It helps to have friends that support and believe in you. The GourmetStation character blog flame threw me a curve ball but you and Tris made it easier to stay the course that I knew in my heart was right for the brand. Also, real community and real friendships are created.
How have you grown personally by blogging?
More willing to take risks. More comfortable with putting myself ‘out there.’ More able to loosen the ‘control’ and let others have their input without judgment. Better listener. Great friendship always help you growth too!
How has blogging impacted you professionally? What rewards have you achieved as a result of blogging?
It changed the direction and model of my business. Blogging brought me into an exciting world that is being to be developed. I now position as a “Strategic Marketing and Social Media Consultancy.” Not quite sure what you mean by ‘rewards.’ Friendships, public acknowledgment of the work I’m doing??
How have you seen blogging change or evolve since you started?
Corporations are considering blogs as a credible marketing strategy. The “just blogs” has grown into a complex social media eco system (another buzz word!) that includes: authoring blogs for startegic purposes, blogger relations, consumer generated research. Within each of those aspects are challenges and opportunities.
What is your best “takeaway” you’d say you’ve received from your experience?
It’s a blast being in on the development of a new ‘industry’ and helping to set direction. And the friendships are as real as those developed ‘offline.’
Looking to the future, where do you see blogging headed in the next two to five years?
- More communities will development.
- Blogs will be integrated into websites and become as standard as the “about us page.”
- More ways to monetize blogs.
- Ethics will continue to play out as a critical element.
- More mobile blogging and vlogging.
- Companies will jump in to support ‘corporate’ social media e.g., to produce podcasts and vlogs.
- Companies will offer more than one kind of blog. Traditional blogs, sponsored blogs and topic blogs that are written by copywriters.
- Some one will get the blog search engine deal and metrics right! And it may not be Technorati.
- Social media ‘positions/responsiblities’ will be included in marketing departments .. with a formal job description.
- Companies will develop back end processes to support the influences and impact of social media e.g., customer service feedback to be directed to people who can take immediate action and communicate taken action within the social network environment and dirctly to the individual.