Diva Marketing's Toby Bloomberg on Blogging

Recently Toby Bloomberg, author of the Diva Marketing blog featured me on one of her blogger stories. As I became more acquainted with her work, it became apparent that she had become a major success in the blogosphere as a marketing expert, with a top 5000 blog – no small feat for a such a specific subject matter.

One of my goals as part of the migration to the Buzz Bin concept is to include interviews with successful business bloggers across the Internet. And with that, we begin with Toby (Click here if you are looking for Monday’s normal entry).

Q: How did Diva Marketing become one of the higher ranked marketing blogs?

Quite honestly, I think part of it has to do with longevity. Diva Marketing launched in 2004 and that gives me a bit of an advantage. What does Al Ries say about “first to market� having advantages? Inbound relevant links are a critical element of both traditional and social media search algorithms. Diva Marketing is well linked and which happened over time. Of course, a great new blog can enter the scene today and gain link prominence over night. That success usually occurs with blogs that tap people’s passions like politics, celebrity gossip or hobbies. I bet an official NASCAR or Harley blog would go off the charts in seconds. In the business blogosphere, it’s a build unless you’re a celeb author or name brand.

People read blogs for basically two reasons: information and entertainment. That translates to content and tonality. One – people will read your work if they want the information; even if they don’t like your style they’ll come back if you’re the only game in town or if you are first to post. Two – people will read your work if they like your writing style even if they can get the information other ways. But combine content and style and you have a winner.

With Diva Marketing I’ve developed a funky voice that I use periodically. People seem to like their marketing served up with a little funk. I also write about social media issues that sometimes synergizes with what is being picked up by the tech/geek bloggers and often that brings links from Tech Meme or Tech Crunch. And every once in awhile I’ll pick up on a story that is controversial, like Jupiter Research, which gains visibility within a community of bloggers. When that happens the conversation is expanded and links fly back and forth as the story progresses.

Jupiter Research – http://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/2006/07/backstory_a_few.html

The three secrets are great content that resonates with your readers, a writing style that is easy, as well as, interesting to read, and making “friendsâ€?or building community. Which goes back to the relationship game… the heart of social media strategies is about connecting with people.

Q: How has blogging benefited your business?

Diva Marketing has become my most significant marketing effort. As we discussed, Diva enjoys high search rankings on key words like marketing blog. More customer touch points result in more opportunities: new clients, speaking engagements, interviews with main stream media.

Through blogging I’ve extended my network which has led to business partnerships, as well as, client referrals and requests for articles. I’ve even had my 15-seconds in main stream media fame when I was quoted in prestigious publications such as BusinessWeek Online, Wall Street Journal, INC and highlighted in the best seller book on blogs – Naked Conversations. While none directly might have brought immediate new business combined my credibility has been confirmed and enhanced. As a consultant yourself, Geoff, you know well that consultants live and die by their reputations.

Q: What’s your favorite aspect of blogging?

Can I have three? The learning. The writing. The friendships. The business benefits. Ooops that makes four! Funny I wrote business benefits last in this list when it was the initial reason I launch Diva.

Q: You’re going to moderate a best practice blog lab at the BlogHer NYC conference in March. What should attendees expect?

They’ll first be presented with a series of four case studies about how companies are using blogs. The cases, presented by the blog authors, will illustrate the how of why a blogging strategy was developed and why it succeeded. Then Marianne Richmond and I will help facilitate conversations at small break out tables where attendees will discuss best and worst practices. Our goal is to provide a realistic view of business blogging and an environment where questions can be asked and ideas explored.

Q: What tips would you offer other female bloggers?

I would tell them (and men) to view social media marketing as a credible strategy. To approach it as you would any other part of your marketing plan. I’ve found many people’s immediate reaction to blogging is, “I don’t have time to blog.� I think that’s because they’re not convinced it is a “real� strategy. As with any strategy to succeed time and resources do have to be committed. Then goals and objectives developed that support business outcomes. Once that is established the goals will drive direction, evaluation and the content of your blog.

I would also remind them that social media is unlike any other marketing strategy. It’s built on a demanding culture that insists on: honesty, transparency and authenticity. If those pillars are in place than you have a wonderful opportunity to develop conversations and relationships with customers and stakeholders.

Q: Do you see social networking as an art or a science?

What an interesting question. As with marketing in general, I suppose the answer would be both. Although technology based, social networking began as a communication art. However, as with any interactive tactic (email, viral, search) the science of evaluation is being integrated to justify ROI. The challenge is in determining the right metrics and what those metric should mean for this new approach to marketing.

Q: Last December’s Time person of the year article really seemed to legitimize blogging and other web 2.0 technologies. What’s next for the blogosphere?

Big question. Wish I had a crystal ball then we could retire to a lovely island with wifi (smile). But here are a few ideas about where the business blogosphere seems to be heading. As the data from consumer generated media (CMG) becomes better understood and more affordable it will gain in importance and acceptance as a compliment to a traditional marketing research strategy.

Niche communities will continue to develop and over lay with the latest and greatest widgets to make it easy to develop relationships. 3-D communities like Second Life will considered for workshops, presentations and conferences. Marketers will begin to take a closer look at the conversations within them. Some smart company will develop a search engine/directory of communities.

Blogs will become SOP (standard operating procedure) incorporated in websites as About Pages. Bloggers will also continue to explore how to monetize their blogs. Pay for post, professional bloggers, ads on blogs and ads in RSS feeds… those are not going away. As we saw with the outcome of the Edelman/Wal-Mart situation last year, ethics will be looked at more seriously when developing strategies.

More organizations will develop positions that incorporate social media responsibilities, which in turn, will be included in job descriptions and accountability. A far cry from the Microsoft bloggers of 2004. However, those companies who can’t dedicate staff will look to subcontracting to blog copywriters.

And the world will continue to grow more connected and intertwined. My hope is that social media doesn’t loose its heart… because if it does, we’re back to square one… Old marketing disguised in new social media marketing clothes. And just does will not work any more.

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