Blogs Can Generate Revenue and Audience

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In a six-paragraph blog post in mid-September, Tom Gale, publisher of Modern Distribution Management, accomplished a great deal. He established the importance of analytics in business and also promoted theirDistributor’s Guide to Analytics published in February 2015.

tomGalephotoHe indicated that he’s talking to customers: “I have had many great conversations around the challenges of building a more analytically thinking team and culture.” And he conveyed the importance of using analytics across the board: “Far fewer companies are driving analytics in their sales and marketing efforts.”

That led into a promo for their webinar—it was a week away—with “Julia Klein, chairwoman and CEO of C.H. Briggs, a specialty construction products distributor that has worked hard to build a learning culture across the organization, with analytics as the foundation.” (Kudos also for featuring a woman CEO in what is most likely a male-oriented field.)

He finished with a link to the 60-minute webcast and a reminder that if you register, you can watch it at any time. MDM’s webcasts are sponsored and free to customers. Sponsors pay from $10,000-$25,000 per webcast, but this model would not work unless they attracted a good audience.

That webcast drew 250 registrants, Gale said—definitely higher than their average.

The digital world brings so many changes each month to how we operate, but having a good blog still seems like a winning proposition. It offers your audience fresh and current perspectives and is content-driven, so people will more likely read a post like Gale’s than a marketing pitch for that same webinar. It offers the chance to give many people a voice. Even in a small shop like Gale Media, there are five staffers writing blog columns.

If you’re not writing a blog, you can easily start one. Even if you can post just once a week, it will grow quickly and, if done well, should gain an audience. Here are a few lessons from other excellent SIPA member blogs:

Complement the stories in your newsletter. Mine Safety and Health NewsEllen Smith, a top-notch journalist and winner of the 2015 SIPAward for investigative reporting, handles their blog alone. Her tone is more casual then her newsletter work: “‘We need to change how we do business.’ So goes the memo of a former Massey official and former MSHA inspector written to Massey executives, including Don Blankenship on the problems at Massey Energy’s coal mines.”

Highlight a current trend. MIND Research Institute. They were a 2015 SIPAward winner for Best Blog or Commentary. A recent post about gamification by Shannon Duncan begins: “Why do educators try to use games for learning, especially with math content? Is it just to make learning fun? This is an important question; we see the difference in achievement when students are engaged and participating.”

aisPush your staff forward. Atlantic Information Services. They show photos of 10 bloggers including Jill Brown, executive editor, and Rick Biehl,  president and publisher. The list is impressive and the writing engaging. Each newsletter has its own bloggers. Business Management Daily features nine blogger photos and is equally impressive.

Allow your writers a different voice. Medical Device Daily. Their writers are very knowledgeable about what they cover—the blog gives them a chance to add a little opinion. “There are times when we in the private sector think you have to be crazy to want to work at FDA or CMS,” wrote Mark McCarty recently, “but the true unemployment rate is still in excess of 10%. Who in their right mind is…”

Give customers a voice. Wellesley Information Services. Their SAPinsider blog features a variety of authors, including an executive at Virtustream writing about the critical areas to consider before moving to the cloud.

Write for the channel. Chesapeake Family. “Once you start sending out e-mails are you sure people can read them?” Donna Jefferson, the publisher, asked in her Business Bits blog. “Take a guess at how many consumers are opening the e-mails we send them on their phones—67%.”

More on content marketing will be learned during the BIMS session on Content Marketing: Killer Techniques for Generating Leads, Web Traffic and Sales on Nov. 12. It’s an all-star panel featuring Lucy Swedberg, EVP and publisher, Wellesley Information Services,  Joe May, marketing director, Pro Farmer; Jeremy Phillips, co-founder and COO, EditorEye;  and Lev Kaye, founder and CEO, CredSpark with moderator Lucretia Lyons, president, BVR.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…