Media 2.0

Filed Under writing, new media, blogging

The new Business People Vermont is out and features a piece by me about new media marketing tools for Vermont businesses.  You can read it here.  Here’s a snip…

Along with these Web 2.0 technologies has come a new culture with a new set of cultural norms. As a result, some traditional assumptions about marketing may not be as effective in these new media.

Young is an active blogger (champlainprofessor.com) and uses Web 2.0 tools regularly. She points out that just having a blog doesn’t mean it will automatically be a successful marketing tool. “A blog can do a lot for a company’s online visibility,” she says, “but it must be authentic.” A blog shouldn’t be about how great the company’s products are, but should be more focused on the particular expertise of the blog’s author. She points to inspiredprotagonist.com, Seventh Generation’s blog, as a good example of what she means.

Many of the blog’s posts are written by Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollander; others are written by staff. “Notice that they aren’t aggressively hawking products,” she says. They manage to showcase their products and mission on the blog just by writing about the things that the staff members are passionate about.

Young encourages honesty. “If your blog is about getting people to know about the products you offer, don’t try to hide it,” she warns. “The worst thing to do is to disguise what or who you are.”

This new model of marketing is encapsulated in a 1999 publication called The Cluetrain Manifesto, a list of 95 “theses” (intentionally aping Martin Luther’s list of 95 theses that started the Protestant Reformation in the 1400s). They posit the central message that “markets are conversations.” The authors of the manifesto make the case that because of the interconnected nature of the new media, person-to-person conversations are not simply possible, they’re the norm, and that this environment is fundamentally different from traditional modes of mass marketing.

Winslow cites a coffee blog run by Winooski coffee roaster freshcoffeenow.com as a good example of how a blog can be used effectively. Joe’s Coffee Blog is just that: a blog about coffee written by a guy named Joe. The posts at Joe’s Coffee Blog are all about coffee, but they include anecdotes from Joe’s life and his personal musings on being a coffee roaster. It’s a combination of Joe’s expertise as a coffee roaster and his personality that makes the blog work. “We put links in there back to freshcoffeenow.com, but we never sell directly from the blog,” says Winslow. “He’s building ‘buzz’ as the go-to guy for espresso or anything coffee-related. That’s how a blog should really be used.”


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