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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Musing on the Blog – a new tool in the marketing armoury

The following article will be published shortly in Creative Times - the paper for Manchester creatives shortly.

(Copies and subscriptions can be made at Creative Industries Development Service. Please check out their website, which is regularly updated and has a wealth of information).

And so to the article:

Blogs are growing at a phenomenal rate, 80,000 new blogs go online worldwide every day according to a worldwide survey by web monitors Technorati. Yet many in the creative industries and indeed marketing do not appreciate their power. Simon Wharton of Internet specialists Virtuaffinity gives an insight into the advantages of the humble blog.

Technology has changed how we market a business markedly in the last 10 years. Where would a comprehensive marketing campaign be without understanding e-mails or websites?
Blogs, like so many innovations in communications, are neither a peripheral activity nor a throw away, but could be integral to your business success.

So what is a blog?

It is a weblog - a diary, a journal. A chronological series of notes about whatever you choose to write or I should say blog about.

So this begs the question, how can this be of any use?

Blogs are democratic in nature and change opinion by inviting comment and exchange of views. They are all about connecting; not being feed information by marketers and the media. That makes it a very powerful tool, especially if used well.

So how can this translate to a business? If you are something of an expert you can regularly tap out a few words every week. There’s a good chance that someone out there is looking for your insight and business intelligence.

Maybe if you provide valuable information they will start looking at your blog regularly. They might tell people about it – a great way of doing viral marketing. And with time they will view you as someone they can trust professionally. And if they do you have potential customers. You are in effect an online networker.

So lets assume that your blog gets read and receives some feedback as well. That’s great news for you but there is better to come. At its most basic, getting ranked in search engine listings is a case of matching the searchers text query with the text on your site. Or, if the words that someone writes in a search engine query match with words on your site, you are in with a good chance of them finding you.

In the process of writing a blog, you are going to intuitively develop text content that is very specific and very niche. This content may well be the answer to an obscure question a potential customer is stumped by. If they then find your blog, see how you do what you do, then the chances are they’re going to give you a chance at their business –all for a little effort?

But does it really work? One local example of how it does is that of Craig McGinty. The South Manchester based journalist runs a number of blogs. Chief amongst these is This French Life. Craig regular insightful updates are drawing 30,000 hits a month, enough to attract advertising and to make it viable as a marketplace.

I have only touched the surface of a trend that all businesses, creative or otherwise, should be recognising or need to recognise if they want to compete for the attention of their market. Information is being shared online. And the word is "shared." Information is being exchanged and sought after. Blogs are just one aspect of the way we are beginning to interact – one that effective businesses cannot afford to ignore.

About the author
Simon Wharton is the managing director of Virtuaffinity, a digital media company based in Manchester. Simon keeps a blog, which can be found by going to

He can be also contacted for comment by older methods of communication at


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