Blogging for your business is crucial, but working the right amount of marketing into your posts is also important, according to this recent article. It’s one thing to blog, but if you want it to help boost your business, you’ve got to have a goal in mind and tailor the content of your blog to meet that goal, whether it be offering information, asking visitors to watch a video, or showcasing an example of your company’s recent work.
Blogs are a great way to discuss business in a more laid-back manner than you might in a white paper or memo to a client, and you can’t underestimate their value in connecting with customers — current and potential.
Just remember: Content is king, but only if it’s targeted, quality content.

A recent study shows that U.S. consumers are “more likely to respond to content marketing than other forms of online marketing,” according to this recent article from Vertical Leap. Specifically, the study indicated that content marketing generates a greater response than banner or pop-up advertisements, email offers or sponsored links.
For those of you already integrating content marketing into your overall marketing strategy, whether with a blog, company e-newsletters or Twitter, your reaction to this study is probably “Well, duh.” And rightly so. Content marketing, when done right, just makes sense.

Despite what some might think, simply setting up a few social media accounts isn’t enough. You have to have a strategy of how to use them.
Once you’ve outlined your objectives, if you’re having trouble deciding which social media platforms to use to best market yourself, check out this handy chart from Revenflo to get an idea of which social media platforms will help you achieve your goals. For example, Facebook and Twitter have ended up in the Most Effective Customer Communication and Most Effective Brand Exposure categories, while Digg and StumbleUpon are considered effective in driving traffic to your website.

Considering that most consumers are more likely to do business with a company they trust, as a 2009 survey found, it makes sense for businesses to work on building relationships with their customers. And good, relevant content — updated often — can help achieve this. Practical eCommerce suggests setting up a blog as the most obvious content hub, and recommends adding video (creating it, embedding it and distributing it) as well.
The more you communicate with your audience, the more your relationship with them will grow, which could lead to more conversations — and sales.

On April 3, the iPad era will begin. And yes, Rex will be at the Apple store early that morning to pick up the one he has reserved. That should be no surprise. On his blog, Rex has become noted for his accurate predictions about what the iPad would be, starting back in July 2006. He even Photoshopped a concept of the device in November 2007. And a year ago, he miscalculated the date it would be announced, but came pretty close to describing the device, down to the pricing.
As Rex and I are the resident Mac-heads in the office, I thought I’d use this “count-down week” to interview him about why he believes the iPad is such a big deal — especially when it comes to the business we’re in: Custom media and content marketing.

While it’s important in your content marketing to spread your message across multiple social media platforms, it’s also helpful to have a good idea of what the users of those platforms are looking for so you can tailor your message.
According to this recent article on, “Twitterers mostly consume news, MySpace users want games and entertainment, Facebookers are into both news and community and Digg’s audience has a mixed bag of interests.”
That’s not to say you shouldn’t post tweets that show a more personal, community oriented side of your business on Twitter and discount putting any business postings on Facebook, but it’s always helpful to understand how a particular audience interacts with information.
Head over to Mashable to check out the breakdown of what users are interested in on the various social media sites.

When crafting your content marketing strategy, it’s imperative that you know what your customers want (and simplifying it to “my product” isn’t good enough). To better understand what your customers are searching for in an experience and a product, DesignDamage suggests researching your customers “natural behaviors,” and asking several questions, including:

  • Where does your customer go when searching for your products and services?

  • When and how do customers gain access to your products and services?

  • What does value mean to them?

  • What are some of the potential barrier to purchase?

  • Who are your competitors and how are they perceived in the customer’s eyes?

Head over to DesignDamage to learn more.

If you’re not aggregating your content on your company’s Facebook fan page, you should be — especially now that Google Analytics can be set up to track activity on the page. As this article from Buzzmarketing Daily notes, Facebook’s default traffic analyzer, Facebook Insights, only tracks the activity of users who have become fans of your page. Google Analytics, however, tracks the actions of anyone who visits the page and provides information related to “visits, average time on site, visitor location, and more.”
Check out Buzzmarketing Daily to learn more about what Google Analytics for Facebook can help you determine about the visitors to your page.

Many businesses have realized the importance of maintaining a blog, but how many see their blog as a product? New media marketing master Chris Brogan discusses the importance of viewing your blog as a part of a “content ecosystem,” noting that as soon as you recognize your blog as “only ‘a’ channel, that’s when you start thinking of other outreach opportunities.”
According to Brogan, being able to view your content — and all of your products — as an ecosystem instead of completely separate entities increases its value and opens the door for development.

For years I’d wanted to stop eating meat, but my stomach always found a way to convince my brain that I couldn’t live without barbecue or turkey sandwiches. Despite going through a period where I didn’t eat beef, I just kept coming up with excuses not to go vegetarian.

Until one week this August when I realized that, without even trying, I hadn’t eaten any meat for three days. I figured then was as good a time as any, and I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian ever since (lacto-ovo meaning I consume egg and dairy products).

But I’ve come to realize that despite not eating meat products, I’m still not doing the planet any favors by buying my vegetables at the grocery store, where they travel hundreds of diesel-burning miles to get there. So today I signed up for my very first CSA (community supported agriculture) program! Not only will I be getting organically grown vegetables with no genetic modification (and minimal pesticides), I’ll be supporting local farmers, too.

I’ve got a couple of weeks before my first shipment comes, which I’m going to use to scour the Internet for good winter vegetable recipes and make plenty of room in my kitchen for the canned tomatoes, green beans and fresh pasta that I can’t wait to get my hands on.