Build your brand

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A few weeks ago, Inc magazine published Blogging for Dollars. The article discuses marketing your company through blogging and focuses mainly on design and advertising firm Coudal Partners of Photoshop Tennis fame.

As an independent consultant who blogs, I found myself wondering about Coudal’s experiences. Does Coudal get business from their blog? That’s the basic premise of the Inc article — that blogging is a great way to market your business and win customers.

I suspected that they didn’t. I suspected that they have the same problem as I do. The demographic of the blog readership doesn’t match the demographic of clients. One quote from the article is particularly telling. “The blog has transformed a small, eight-person ad boutique into a hub for design aficionados worldwide.” Is that what Coudal wants? They aren’t selling their services to design aficionados. They are selling to business people. And those business people aren’t reading their blog. Coudal is preaching to the choir. They are selling ice to Eskimos. They are marketing design services to designers.

I contacted Coudal and asked them other than increasing their visibility in design circles, has their blog helped their business? I wanted to know if they had a single client or prospect that they could directly attribute to their blog. They answered, “to be honest Adam I don’t think we’ve ever added a client just because we publish a wide-ranging blog at our studio site.” What Coudal has found, however is that they can use blogs to enrich their client’s sites. They are putting their knowledge of blogging and the simplicity of push-button publishing to work for their clients.

Scott Johnson has the same problem. His Fuzzyblog was an overnight success thanks to smart writing about consulting, Web development, and marketing. But who reads the blog? Consultants, Web developers, and marketers. Not the people who are likely to buy programming services from him. Even though the blog is well read and known in the blogosphere, it hasn’t helped him win business. Like Coudal, Scott hasn’t landed a single customer due to his blog, even though is is much better known than he was before launching the blog.

My experience is similar. I have done two projects that I probably would not have gotten if it weren’t for my blog, but each project was somewhat small. Despite the fact that my blog audience has grown to twenty times what it was a year ago, that audience isn’t buying my services, much for the same reason as Coudal’s and Scott’s sites. My blog audience is different than my sales audience.

So what good is blogging for the consultant? Branding. Branding is about building knowledge of your name. Giving people the warm fuzzies when they hear your name. The more people that know who you are, the better your chances in the world. Blogging builds your value in the minds of your audience. When someone is looking at two proposals, two resumes, or two names on a sheet of paper, you want them to be drawn to yours. Treating your blog as a marketing vehicle can help with that.

Trackback from Richard Giles blog
June 17, 2003 1:59 AM

B-Blog Branding.

Excerpt: Adding weight to my argument that Blogs won't impact businesses in major ways, Adam Kalsey reports on the effect his blog has on his consulting business, and speaks with others in a similar situation.

Trackback from manalang.com
June 17, 2003 12:12 PM

Blogging for Business

Excerpt: Every once in a while, I often think about how it would be nice to start my own business. Maybe get into building small-to-medium scale business websites for the locals. With all the great open source software out there these...

Matt
June 18, 2003 8:18 PM

Jeffrey Zeldman might be a good person to ask about this. His website has certainly created oppurtunities for him throughout the years.

Michael Heraghty
December 2, 2003 3:50 AM

I couldn't agree more -- blogging is about creating a brand, and managing your identity online. After all, these days Googling someone that you're going to meet with (a potential new business contact, say) has become commonplace. Most people just cross their fingers and hope that a Google search will bring up nice things about them. With a blog, you take that power into your own hands. You get control of what people see about you (assuming that your blog will come up in or near the top of search results -- and a well designed, regularly maintained blog *will*). By the way, I've also written an article about blogging for business: jimworld.com/articles/promotion/blogging-for-business/ Regards, -- Michael Heraghty

JimWorld
December 2, 2003 4:10 AM

Here's the correct URL for the business blogging article: http://jimworld.com/articles/promotion/blogging-for-business/

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