I'm not sure what I expected at BlogWorld Expo 2011 in New York. A lot of marketing, of course; after all, what is an Expo if not a giant orgy of marketing? But a great many of the talks were actually about marketing. As a blogger of some ambition, as well as a freelance writer always needing to market himself and an editor with significant responsibility here at Blogcritics, I found much of this really resonated with me.
One talk I attended was entitled "Using Social Media to Drive Acquisition." That's marketing-speak: "to drive" is the number one business-speak/marketing verb, and "acquisition" means acquiring customers and thus growing your business.
The speaker, Chris Baggott of Compendium, made the surprising point that 80% of blog traffic comes from first-time visitors. So when you're posting content on your blog, you shouldn't assume you're addressing people who know you. Sure, it's nice to have a certain number of devoted followers and returning readers, but they're not most of your audience.
A primary lesson is that since blog content always has to be fresh and relevant, companies are succeeding by getting their customers to supply much of this content – for example, by gathering feedback via email outreach and then posting that feedback on a company blog; after that, a follow-up email notifies the customer that their content is on the site and gives them a handy Facebook link, so with one click they can tell all their friends and "friends" about it.
The trick to soliciting this content is to ask a specific question the customer is qualified to answer and will be interested in answering. In other words, not a "survey" type of question like "How would you rate our service?" but something with a personal angle.