What are the chances that a blogging conference is coming to Moncton? How often do you get to meet published authors and successful bloggers, interrogate their minds and ask them about their strategies? Well…it’s happening! BlogJam 2018 is coming to New Brunswick for the very first time. Mischka Jacobs was able to get a hold of Renee Downs, one of the organizers, to find out what it’s all about and why businesses should go.
Renee – how did you get started? What drew you to blogging?
I fell into blogging because I had to. I had written a book, and my publisher told me that I needed a blog to start creating hype and awareness, so I did. This was over four years ago, and, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly keen to start one. I was what you would call a ‘reluctant blogger’ at the start, and then I just fell in love with blogging. I can honestly say that my publisher was so right – I needed a platform to create excitement about my book, and that’s exactly what happened. I sold out my first 250* copies very quickly because I had built up so much anticipation for the launch of my book. That just goes to show you the power of a blog.
(*On average, traditionally published books sell 3,000 in its entire lifetime in print and only about 250-300 copies its first year.)
Are blogs effective for businesses?
Absolutely! The blogging industry is definitely growing, and definitely fits into digital marketing. Blogging helps tell richer and deeper stories. Businesses using blogs can really share and tell their brand story, really explain who they are and what they do, very effectively through a blog.
How can businesses leverage a blog to increase audience engagement and to reach potential customers?
You can ask local influencers or writers to be part of your brand story or to be a guest blogger. You could have your own internal team dedicated to blogging. If you can do both, you’ll create cross promotion of your story and messaging across different brands and different blogs. But I think what most people need to understand is that you don’t need to be a celebrity to have a voice online anymore. Through blogging, a brand can really create a story, build engagement and build a network that is strengthened when you bring in the different social media platforms.
Where do you see blogging as a fit for businesses?
Telling brand stories – customers feel connected to the brand through blogging. More people will go to them and spend their money with a brand when they feel connected, when you’ve built a relationship with them. And if your connection and relationship is strong and true, you’ll find that your customer base will keep growing, that they’ll bring other people onboard to be part of your story.
What are your top tips for companies starting a blog?
How you use your blog is as important as the platform itself, so be very careful. Don’t try and be salesy. Rather use an authentic voice and speak to your audience, have a conversation with them. Know your audience you’re trying to reach, and make sure it’s the right one. Listen to your customers, and I mean really listen to what they want to read on your blog, because it might not necessarily be exactly in line with your vision. You have to remember that your brand is not the user. And if you find yourself at a loss, look for competitors that tell and share similar stories to the ones you want to create, and pay attention to what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why they’re so successful at it.
If you’re looking to start a blog for your business or to better leverage the one you have already, come to BlogJam 2018 happening 27-28 October. You’ll learn how to wield the power of storytelling, increase your SEO and more. Use the discount code WORKSPACE to get 25% off your ticket price.
Photo Credit, Michelle Doucette From Michelle Doucette Photography