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Death of blogging as a marketing tool


#1

It was interesting on the latest episode of the podcast hearing Ian muse on how blogs are no longer very useful as a marketing channel.

Starting in 2008, I used to blog a few times a week, as a major way of promoting Poker Copilot. Then, suddenly, blogging stopped working for me. I could almost pinpoint a precise day in mid 2012 when that happened.

It had been the case that whenever I asked for feedback on a particular idea via the blog, I’d get lots of comments. And then one day, suddenly, I’d get between 0 and 1 comments. I checked and double-checked my systems, and all was working. But people simply stopped interacting with the blog. To prevent comment spam, I eventually turned off comments altogether.

Did blogging hit some saturation level? Did the rise of clickbait sites steal the traffic from people looking to kill time? I don’t know.


#2

I’ve always been dubious about simply blogging to your general audience.
Have you read Content Marketing Machine by Dan Norris?
It’s really good. I was already doing some of the stuff in his book, described below. But he explaines it nicely.

Hmmm…here’s what I’m doing right now that seems to be working.

My market is very non technical so perhaps they are 5 years behind the time.

I am using DRIP marketing. So everyone starts at Issue #1 of our newsletter, which links to our Blog.

The newsletter is crafted to teach our customers, moving them along the “purchase cycle” from:

  1. Unaware they have the need
  2. Aware they have the need, unsure how to
    solve it.
    3.Understand options for solving it.
  3. Understanding how we
    can help. Finally ready to try us
  4. Educating them further about how to use our software.

So far, we have a really good Open Rate (17%) click through rate (12%) on the latest (#3).


#3

I haven’t read the book, yet.

Clay, for which products are you using this drip marketing?


#4

I’m using it for our Web app ( http://www.MoreSpeech.com ) and for our desktop software : http://www.BungalowSoftware.com

They both really target the same audience. The webapp is for people who have an internet device but no Windows PC.

BTW, one other benefit of an educational newsletter is that its non commercial You’re giving away something useful and free, so it’s OK to post it on Social media. (Whereas posting “hey, 50% discount on XYZ” would get a lot of pushback for trying to sell something on social media (at least on Facebook).


#5

Steve,

What if you identified customer segments that need to Know XYZ before Poker Copilot is appropriate for them?

So, turn what would be an obstacle (or pre-requisite) (“Poker Copilot isn’t really worth the money unless they are playing online for money”) into a benefit : Teach people who WANT to playonline for money HOW they would go about it.

Another analogy: Let’s say I’m a Bike shop in town and I realize selling High End Mt. bikes is a good idea. And there is a segment of the population that would love mt. biking but don’t know how to get started. You have your employees lead rides on the easy trails you can do on any-old-bike. Then if they enjoy it and want to do harder trails they come looking for a mt. boke.

I took a quick look @ your product. Neat idea. It’s much cooler than what I’d imagined.
I looked at your blog. All the recent blog entries are about YOU not about what your potential customers want. In fact, I looked at some of the older articles and everyone I looked at was about the program, not teaching the user.

You know your customers. What “prerequisites” do your users need? or, what “learning process” do they go through?
Have you looked at the traffic on your blog to see what pages “convert well”?

Could you advertise (or write for) a blog that teaches poker skills?


#6

Clay, thanks for the suggestions. This month I’m concentrating my efforts on marketing, so I’ll be able to look into these ideas.


#7

Steve,
BTW, I was just working on our next newsletter and writing about the importance of Deliberate Practice.
The idea that it’s not simply the “hours of practice” you put in but the hours of deliberate practice.

I’m using it to point out the benefit (eventually) of our speech therapy software.

But seemed like a good angle for Poker Copilot as well.
So it’s not the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell talks about.

So you essentially educate them on the importance of really practicing poker, not just playing it. And PCP can help with that.

Resources:

Great book: So good they can’t ignore you, by Cal Newport (which is a great book!)
He references research from some researchers which lead me to a blog that summarized that research:


#8

Getting back to the original topic, I wonder if this death of blogging also coincided with the death of RSS, and Google Reader shutting down. I used to use RSS to follow all my blogs (still do), but wonder what has replaced it - perhaps social media??


#9

I think the demise of blogging as it once was preceded the death of Google Reader by a year or two. But indeed, the death of RSS probably connects them.


#10

The two graphs below show views and comments on http://www.successfulsoftware.net . There was a noticeable drop in the ratio of comments to views in 2012.


The number of posts I write per month has dropped off a lot over time and I don’t allow commenting on old articles (to reduce spam), but it is suggestive that blog readers are commenting less. Maybe they comment on twitter instead?


#11

Blogging and promoting via email and social media has been working great for us. We just started in February and you can see the traffic impact…

My strategy was to produce high quality and relevant articles to our audience. Our audience is mostly developers, so our team of developers actually writes the articles on advanced topics that they would enjoy reading. Obviously the cost of an article is extremely high ($500-$800 USD), but it has definitely been worth it for us.

People have told me that they hire a writer for 5 cents/word but what I see from them is either a fluff piece or an amateur article. I think that’s the mistake. People don’t see value in those articles and will dismiss anything from you in the future. We’ve had plenty of people tell us they’re really looking forward to our next article. We’ve doubled our subscribers in 9 months…

Here’s our recent open / click rates…


#12

@bradt thanks for the counterpoint. Is that extra traffic converting well into sales? I hope so.

It does seem like you’ve taken a professional approach. Maybe that is the reality of successful blogging today? That is, presenting well-argued, well-presented, well-directed content is much more important today than when blogging worked well for me in 2008.


#13

@bradt, Can you share which site these were for, and a few sample articles you thought really helped?


#14

Even if blogging is not as good a marketing tool it is still very useful as a
content generation tool. It is a bit discouraging when you write say 5 posts about a topic and you hardly see
any traffic/comments on your website but the effort does not go totally to waste.

At that point what works for me is extracting the good stuff/ideas out of the existing content
remixing it and promoting it to our audience. The more content you write the more opportunity you have
to find the good stuff, polish it and show it to your prospects.

Also I think less traffic of people who actually read is much better than people who come around to your
website because they are bored.


#15

If you are going to post fairly regularly (1/ month or more) I highly recommend you make it sticky by having a newsletter that announces it.

It costs zero to have a Mailchimp list of up to 2,000 subscribers.

Wow, Andy, that is some killer traffic on your blog.

Something to bear in mind is that your blog needs to achieve several things: to monetize it:

  1. Be of true interest to your target audience
  2. establish your credibility in the area you are selling
  3. Establish trust

BONUS: if you can also educate them on the problem you are solving, that can accomplish all three above PLUS it promotes someone from the “I didn’t realize what was causing my pain” to “* I now understand the cause, how do I fix it”* I.e., it converts non customers into customers.


#16

Let me know if you tried any of the things I suggested.

We are definitely getting traffic to our website from the blog (and I don’t even push the product. I just mention it in the bio. And we have at least one subscription directly attributable. (Compare that to Adwords, which netted us 2 paying subscriptions in several months ($400 worth of ads).


#17

I’ve indeed already changing the aim of my articles. I’ve put them on our main website, and not on the blog. I’m definitely changing the nature of articles for the future.


#18

Are you letting users sign up for a newsletter so they get notified of the new articles?
Have you considered a specific “course” (or “series”) on “improving your poker skills?”

I suspect there are potential customers out there who are casual players who want to be better but don’t know what the path is. Once they get serious THEN they might love PCP. Your free course could jazz them up about it. I really see a lot of potential here for that. And I assume you LIKE poker, so it’s research you’d enjoy.

Surely there must be podcasts and blogs on “improve your poker skill”. If not maybe that’d be a good thing to experiment with (not easy I know :smile:

Pls do keep me posted.


#19

Yes, one of the things I did in my “marketing November” was to make it much easier and desirable to join our mailing list. The number of daily signups improved significantly and immediately.


#20

I hate blogging, but that’s because I don’t like writing in English. I’m pretty sure blogging works very well, but have you tried “side project marketing”? Making free tools, related to your main product? For a team is more exciting to launch fun side project, maybe even monthly, than writing a long blog post.

Check this post on medium https://medium.com/swlh/side-product-marketing-is-the-new-king-a75c4ed0c0c5#.z8l0twuju