Something that really bothers me in today’s media is the apparent lack of concern for the impact advertising and marketing has on the people who see it. Sex, violence, drugs, cheating and an unhealthy obsessions with money and status. Its nothing new but it is everywhere. And as you delve deeper in to the world of blogging you realize that a lot of those big online marketers are just the same; they’ll do anything for a buck
In this post I am going to talk about how you can market your blog or online business without selling out and resorting to the cheap “SEX!” tactics that we see everywhere else.
What you will find is that in the end these techniques are even more powerful.
What’s my problem?
I know some of my readers are going to have a problem with this post and say that there is nothing wrong with sex in marketing. People from America, in particular, are hugely loyal to the idea of free speech and as such any kind of censorship doesn’t sit well. And while I will never agree with a Government-based censorship I do strongly believe in self-censorship. Just so you are clear from the start, as far as marketing, advertising and business in general goes:
- I think the sexualization of young people sucks
The number of TV shows, commercials and film clips that portray young people (girls in particular) in an extremely sexual way is out of control. Kids have enough trouble as it is without putting extremely tricky and adult concerns in their head.
- I wouldn’t do it unless I could tell my Mom about it
When I was younger my Dad told me that a good rule of thumb for how to behave in business is whether or not I’d be proud to tell my Mom about it afterwards. If I would feel any shame or embarrassment then it isn’t the right thing for me to do.
- It has to be always helping
If I look at a business deal, marketing campaign or partnership and think that for any reason it will hurt or really upset someone out there then I don’t do it. I have worked really hard to make sure all my business activities help people in some small way. For example, last year I turned down a lucrative marketing job for a chicken company because I didn’t want to have anything to do with increasing the number of animals that get killed for food.
Now I haven’t shown you my face yet (I will sometime this year) but I have always been honest with you. I am sorry if this stuff disagrees with your own opinions and points of view but that is how things are around here at Blog Tyrant. I am not saying you have to agree with me on any of this, but I am saying this is not the style of marketing or business that you will learn here.
I should also add the disclaimer that I am no angel. I’ve made as many mistakes as everyone else out there in my personal life but when it comes to marketing to thousands of people I think you have to be much more diligent in how you behave.
How to market your blog without selling out
What I want to do now is go through a few techniques that are important if you want to market your blog without getting involved in some of the more dubious marketing methods. If anyone has any others they would like to add please drop a comment.
1. Avoid bad relationships and foster good ones
After college I went to the Himalayas because I was really interested in Tibetan Buddhism. While I was there I spent a lot of time hanging out with Buddhists and taking teachings from the great meditation masters. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was that the company you keep plays a massive role in the type of person you become. One teacher said:
“If you put a rose in a sack of fish then soon the rose will start to stink too. Be careful of the company you keep.”
When it comes to online marketing you will find that this particular statement is extremely accurate. The more time you spend with people the more you start to emulate their qualities and actions. If they are talking about how much money they made by selling some dodgey affiliate using a sexed up marketing campaign then, over time, you will become interested in the idea.
They say that in your life you will become the average of the five people closest to you. That is a very interesting idea. Take a look at the five people closest to you and see whether they are the type of people that you admire, respect and appreciate. Would you like to turn out like them?
Why are good relationships part of marketing?
You might be wondering how good relationships form part of an ethical marketing strategy other than the fact that they act as a positive influence. Well there are a few very important reasons:
- They connect you
Good mentors, friends and acquaintances will connect you with the right people, ideas and resources in your industry. By examining their conduct you can get a fair gauge on how well they will treat you. Darren Rowse, for example, is a guy you can always trust to do the right thing. Some others I am not so sure.
- They advise you
In the same way that you need to be connected to the right people and resources, you also, from time to time, need a good bit of advice. For example, if you are looking to buy a new website or need help with a product launch you have to know whether or not the person is going to tell you what is in your best interest or theirs. This is very important.
If you take away one piece of blogging advice from Blog Tyrant I hope it is that you need to connect with good, generous and successful people who will be happy to help you out from time to time. Absolutely every success I have in my life has been due to the kindness of these types of people.
2. Use your brain, create value and push it
If I asked you to tell me which adverts or products had really grabbed your attention in the last five years I bet every single person would say Apple. It might be the iPod, iPad or iPhone but every one of us would have seen and been affected by one of their commercials. Are they sexed up? No. Are the shocking? No. They are quite literally just selling their amazing products. Take a look at their latest iPad commercial.
Okay, sure, they use some catchy music and resort to some emotional marketing with the “memories” section but by and large this is a very wholesome, simple and well rounded advert. It is all about the product and it is extremely effective. The damn thing was one of the highest grossing products of all time. See any sex there? Nope.
If you have created a useful product that helps people and solves their wants and needs then you won’t need to resort to dirty marketing. This is not to say your marketing will take care of itself because it won’t. But in a world where people talk by email, Twitter, Facebook and a million other instant avenues you will find that a high quality product with a genuine benefit to people’s lives will spread like wildfire.
Once you have done this you will find that your marketing is mostly about either helping people remember you are still around or helping them spread the word.
3. Align your brand with yourself
One of the most important things you can do as a blogger is associate yourself with your brand. This has been said a thousand and one times but it is extremely important. People need to connect with a person because it is a person that they will become loyal to, not a brand.
The best place to look at this is sport. Good guys like Roger Federer get a lot of sponsorship because the brands want to get in on his cleanness. These big brands want to be associated with his skill, power and success but they would immediately move away if he became less humble, honest and cheated on his wife. Guys like Tiger Woods lose their sponsorship when they lose their good-guy image because the brands behind him don’t want the flow on effect. The same is true of blogging.
All of the successful blogs (bar one or two) have faces on them. You know the blog because you know the face and you trust it. This is vital for online marketing because it:
- helps you sell products without customer hesitation
- helps you create networks of fans
- helps you meet industry leaders and innovators and gain their trust
- helps you overcome any obstacles by relying on reputation
When you blog you should do so with the idea that you are that blog. It is not separate from you. Don’t invent a voice or a personality but speak straight from the heart the same way you would to a friend. By doing so you will remove a lot of the walls that other corporations face when they start their marketing campaigns. One bank in Australia is running a marketing campaign right now with the line, “We live in your world.”
Sure you do guys. Sure you do. Don’t tell us you do, show us you do.
What do you think?
I’m sorry that this article failed to give you any simplistic and direct marketing methods but I really wanted to state how important good relationships, value-adding and individuality are to a marketing campaign. Without these foundations you will find that even the sexiest blog marketing campaign will fall short. The biggest guys are growing communities.
What are your thoughts on all this? Do you think marketing and advertising is a bit out of hand? Would you run a sex or hype based campaign? Please leave a comment.