And I guarantee you’ll have a strong opinion on it.
It’s something online businesses must pay attention to, but before you think about dropping bombs of wisdom in the comments below, let me lay this puppy out …
Doom and gloom is an easy topic to write about. Bloggers eat it up, especially when we discuss their bread and butter – the future of blogging.
a.) Basically what emerging technologies will replace the old weblog?
b.) What does this transformation mean to your average Jane or Joe trying to market their business online?
c.) And if the blog platform is at death’s door, why should you even bother?
Pick the scenario:
The current platform (read: WordPress) splinters into a host of others;
or transformative new technologies force hard change.
The practice of blogging will most likely morph into something else over time. And those who stay on the leading edge will arrive on the other side unscathed, fat and happy … but what about the rest of us?
How do we arrive fat and happy?
First, realize most of the above doesn’t matter because it’s out of your control.
Second, if you don’t have a brand strategy (basically how to position your business online) it doesn’t mean a thing. Blog or no blog, you won’t make a dent.
So today STOP worrying about future technology, then work to firm up your direction based on the following mindsets:
1. Focus on Your Brand (and Build a Machine Around it).
Here’s what you already know:
As an online business, your website is your most valuable branding asset.
I hear ya, but without a coordinated effort (read: everything else you do) your site’s like an overpriced billboard in tumbleweed town.
And guess what? You can blog until the cows come home, but without a solid brand your business is a rudderless ship afloat in excreta (go ahead, look that up).
Your brand is your foundation. (Yep).
You must firm it up before you do anything else. (You betcha).
If you have a rock-solid brand the future of our digital realm will become a silly afterthought (Of course it will).
Really, are you running a blog or an online business?
2. Pick a Few Channels to Master (and Avoid the Vortex of Doom).
Social media options are overwhelming: LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, SlideShare, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Need I go on?
Many businesses don’t have the bandwidth to deal with this.
Add in traditional media and you have an overwhelming hot mess of a headache.
The options are daunting, but they don’t have to be.
So, cut the fat now. If you’ve done the legwork (crafting your brand), you’re now ready to step into the world of social in your own lean and mean way.
Ryan Hanley wrote a very opinionated piece on this very topic and I love his message …
“In order for commerce to happen online, consumers must trust the brands they’re engaging with. Nothing destroys trust and credibility inside social media like complete disregard for the platform.
…because that is what you’re communicating through inactivity.”
To me, the “Vortex of Doom” means two things:
1.) You get drawn into the most vile time-sucking activity on the planet: Wasting hours on social media, and;
2.) Like Ryan states in the title, “The be everywhere strategy is destroying your business online.”
If your customers are on LinkedIn, apply for long-form publishing, join groups and do what this platform was built for … networking.
If you want to show people a detailed process, learn video today and build a YouTube channel.
If you need to establish relationships with editors, authors, and big blog honchos, get on Twitter today, strategize and hit it hard!
Just determine which channels are best for your business. Again, a few will do, just plan a strategy, work on them daily, and don’t be halfhearted about it.
3. Embrace the Tribal Economy (and Find Your Ideal Client).
Seth Godin writes and speaks on the decline of mass marketing. It’s being replaced by a new “tribal” model based on connecting.
What fosters small online communities?
Where does a well-branded business shine?
What’s hitting traditional media upside the head with a ball-peen hammer?
… The amazing technologies that connect us.
And blogging is just one component of all this online goodness at your disposal.
So focus on learning more about those clients you covet.
“What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It’s about leading and connecting people and ideas. And it’s something that people have wanted forever.”
Can’t argue with that guy, huh?
“We have the most insane amount of data available to us that it’s almost criminal not to be utilizing that to market smarter. Today’s social web users are freely sharing their Likes, preferences, buying signals and, more importantly, who impacts them to make the decisions that matter – so why are we not using this data more?”
If you’re in business is online (um, that would be everyone), work daily to find your tribe.
4. Never Be Static (and Your Online Business Will Thrive).
Modern marketing is about engagement and a continuous flow of valuable, targeted content.
And your online business is a modern media company built with a bundle of channels, all working in harmony.
So your online brand should be a well oiled machine constantly on the move.
It’s an iterative process that never stops. As Heidi Cohen states in my eBook …
“The bottom line is that converting prospects into customers is an on-going, work in progress where you gather incremental learning from each campaign.”
This, dear friends, is a good thing.
Don’t worry about what’s coming, instead …
1. Work like an over-caffeinated ferret to clarify your brand.
2. Pick just a few channels that are right for your business.
3. Fall in love with the Tribal Economy.
4. And never, ever be static.
Interested in learning more about my branding process? Jump on over to my email list.