Kevin Hillstrom over at MineThatData was dropping knowledge bombs again last week. The man is full of great information and insight into the world of marketing and measurement.
His guiding principle is profit and he always brings a reality check to this marketer.
Of the 15 or so people I follow on Twitter (I’m picky) he is one that increases my understanding of the business world almost every day. Follow him (@MineThatData) if you don’t already.
The Power of an Audience
Kevin’s most recent insight took on the power of an audience.
As bloggers, the audience is crucial for success. The audience is the person we are writing for and the person with which we hope to profit. Don’t view that was a bad thing. If you are turning out a product or service that is valuable to the consumer, you should feel good about making a profit.
Let’s review the series of tweets from Kevin.
First, Kevin mentioned that he had been asked to share some information on his blog. He refused and simply stated that his blog was a selling tool for his consulting services. It was not worth it to him to publish content of a certain nature on his blog. I think Kevin is only interested in publishing his own content for one and I don’t feel this request would have been enough to entice him to consider it.
Next, Kevin just gives a little more insight into his decision. Even if the guest content would be relevant, he still feels this is a misguided approach for vendors or any other company looking to publish content on the Web.
Finally, Kevin drops another one of his priceless knowledge bombs. Kevin mentions that building an audience is hard work, but it’s a great strategy to build an audience for your brand.
Priceless information there. It’s hard work. Most brands and people don’t do it. Those that do seem to succeed with Kevin being one example of a consultant that has succeeded by having an audience of CEOs that read his blog and other content (books, e-books, etc.).
My Take on Audience Building
Audience building is difficult.
If you’re looking for an online customer acquisition strategy that earns attention rather than pays for it, you’ll have to work. The trade off is the hard work versus money. And in reality, time is money so the time invested in building an audience will probably cost just as much as investing in various paid acquisition channels (PPC, Display, Affiliate, etc.).
The real power of building an audience is that the return is often greater in the long run. Spending the same amount of money on push marketing channels and pull channels will often result with inbound efforts winning.
That includes blogging.
The goal of your blog strategy should be sales and profit. This the goal of any marketing effort. There are different points in the sales funnel that various efforts target, but they all ultimately end in profit if successful.
The method for acquiring those sales with a blog is by building an audience. You’ll need to determine the type of content your target audience is craving. They likely want to consume information online. You need to figure out how to do that better than the competition.
Then, provide the content consistently and plan on investing a few years to really get to a place where you have a loyal audience of readers and customers.
That’s what blogging is all about: audience.
As the study linked above shows, it’s more profitable than advertising.