Interview with Dave Taylor
As a moderately successful online marketer, I have spent a lot of time over the past year or so writing blog entries. Why do I do it? Well, search engines seem to like them, people seem to read it, and a little bit of extra Google Adsense income does not hurt, either. But at what point does my blogging actually intersect with my online marketing efforts? While my blog seems to appear in a land all its own, it also seems to be the center of my online money making empire. Trying to put this all together, I Ask Dave Taylor why and how this worksâ€¦
Defining the Fine Line Between Blogging and Internet Marketing
Q [Matthew Bredel]: Dave, When you started blogging, was it initially for business or pleasure? Was there an initial strategy to your blogging?
A [Dave Taylor]: Strategy? I got into blogging as a way of gaining greater efficiency at communicating with my audience and community. Prior to that I had a discussion board / BBS, but it didn\’t\’ work out very well because while there was sufficient traffic and comments for a popular blog, there were insufficient to convey the image of a popular and highly-trafficked BBS. I\’ve been online for almost 30 years now â€” which is rather scary to think about! — and have always been enamored of the multi-user discussion systems, whether it was Usenet, mailing lists, discussion boards, BBSes or weblogs. Moving into that area for my business was quite natural and I\’ve been blogging since â€˜03, I believe.
Further, in terms of business or pleasure, I think that at this point in my career it\’s more business AND pleasure. I enjoy having a bully pulpit, being able to advance a specific perspective or take on world or business events, and then quickly garner feedback and clarifications from others in the community. That\’s something not available to the vast majority of business communicators who aren\’t also heavily invested in the online world.
Q [Matthew Bredel]: I have heard you say in the past: â€œBe a contributing part of your community.â€ Once established in this community, is it fair market products to them?
A [Dave Taylor]: Absolutely. Who else ARE you going to market your products to? Think of it this way: once you\’re established, you\’re trusted and recognized as a subject matter expert. Aren\’t your recommendations therefore ten times more valuable than someone who is an unknown quantity?
Flip this around and ask yourself whether you would buy a skateboard recommended by the guy who just won the skateboarding competition at the X Games, or the fourteen year old whelp across the street who is probably the same kid who put that M80 in your mailbox last summer?
Q [Matthew Bredel]: I recently heard someone say that there are now THREE components to online money making success: Traffic, Conversion, and NOW Community. Are blogs and social networks going to replace traditional advertising?
A [Dave Taylor]: Hmmm… traffic, conversion and community. What about an actual selling proposition? What about having something worth selling / buying in the first place? I think that the core of any successful business is to have an actual value proposition, something that is worth buying. Without that, you\’ve quite an uphill battle. Again, it\’s that skateboard analogy: with the right endorsement (think Tony Hawks) products sell themselves to a rather remarkable degree.
But that\’s not what you\’re asking me! Do I think blogs and social networks are going to replace traditional advertising? No. I think that they\’ll prove an important adjunct, and for some products and services, a critical channel for gaining new customers and retaining existing customers, but with few exceptions, most businesses need to use all the tools that their disposal to maximize their growth and revenue.
Q [Matthew Bredel]: I just finished reading Seth Godin\’s The Purple Cow. Blogging is so â€œINâ€ these days and everyone seems to be doing it . As blogging continues to grow, how do we distinguish our blog as a purple cow among a growing ranch of brown cows?
A [Dave Taylor]: In the world of Internet marketing, that\’s pretty easy: blog about what you know rather than what you want to sell. I\’d much rather read a weblog about cool places to snowboard or scuba dive, with an occasional review or commentary on gear, than read a blog about stuff I should be buying to participate in the sport. Too many marketing people focus on the sale, not the idea of being a contributing member of your market segment.
Q [Matthew Bredel]: Finally, do we need to be blogging and becoming one with a community for success in this upcoming generation of online marketing?
A [Dave Taylor]: I believe that word of mouth, reputation and buzz are all essential ingredients for the future of business. Nonetheless, a good location will always benefit a gas station, great food will always be a core asset to a restaurant, and a large, healthy reef will always be critical to a snorkeling business. In other words, yes, but not to the exclusion of the other factors of a successful business in your particular market segment.
Dave Taylor is well respected management consultant, writer, teacher, speaker and photographer. Dave is most well-known for his ever-popular Question and Answer website, Ask Dave Taylor, as well as his acclaimed business and industry analysis blog found at The Intuitive Life. You can also view his photography at Colorado Portraits.