As seen in Inside Trucking
Web logs (blogs) became popular in the early 1990s—more and more Internet users started sharing thoughts, opinions and advice online. Over the course of nearly two decades, blogging became so widespread and manifold; it was easy for even an Internet beginner to participate in blogging. It wasn’t until around 2009, however, that blogging became a popular practice for businesses.
Now, many commercial organizations take advantage of blogging technology on their web platforms. It’s an easily updatable way of keeping the content on your website fresh and engaging. Blogging is a way to showcase achievements made by your staff, spotlight specific departments in your company and create content for your social media platforms.
When organizations use blogging as a way of keeping a stream of content flowing to their web platforms, it’s called “content marketing.” The ultimate goal is the same as any form of marketing and promotion—finding ways to engage with your audience and build your business. Maintaining a web blog is such a fluid, multi-faceted thing; often, content marketing isn’t as cut-and-dry as, say, sending an email blast or developing a new tradeshow banner. There are many ways to do content marketing right on your company blog, especially in the transportation industry.
Perhaps the biggest mistake organizations make when they try blogging is not keeping their content current. This is absolutely essential—it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of having an easily updateable medium for broadcasting company news across multiple platforms (like, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). But, as any pro-blogger will tell you, maintaining it takes commitment and planning. Not much, but there is an element of dedication involved in content marketing if it is to be successful.
As a case study, a mid-size freight forwarding company decides to re-vamp all their web platforms. They sink significant marketing dollars into creating a beautiful, new website that really communicates their company mandate and draws new business from a younger, more web-savvy generation of consumers. They also update all their social media platforms, begin running a successful recruitment campaign on Facebook, respond in real-time to customer feedback on Twitter and network with other industry professionals and companies in need of freight solutions on LinkedIn.
Now, they want to really step it up. They decide to incorporate a blog into their website. The plan is to update it twice a month with company news, events, environmental initiatives and employee spotlights. For the first couple of months, it’s going really well… then, things start getting busy. The designated on-staff blogger goes on vacation and no body comes forward right away. A few people volunteer to write something, but nothing substantial happens. All of a sudden, three months have gone by and the blog is left with stale content. This is a death sentence for effective content marketing.
“Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell. In other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like and trust you enough to do business with you.” (Copyblogger.com)
There are several really easy and effective ways to make sure your blog stays fresh and your content marketing strategy stays current! Coming up with content regularly doesn’t have to be daunting…
Content marketing is an alternative form of engaging your audience and building your customer base. People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. Original, interesting content spreads through social networks, creating an invaluable source of digital word-of-mouth marketing. As an added bonus, Google loves new content. The more you update your content marketing platform, the higher-ranked you’ll be in web searches.
Try blogging for business—it’s a great way to build authority within your industry, generate new and interesting content and engage with a community of existing customers and new prospects.
Image Source: http://moderncommonplacebook.com
Well, I for one thought I had heard it all. From “dolly converters” to “body jobs”, where we specialize in the industry, we have a pretty good vocabulary as it relates to the world of trucking. I came across a new one the other day though, “Non-asset freight pimp”.
Let’s face it; freight brokers still have a bad rap. Maybe it’s jealousy because the broker doesn’t have to make the heavy investment into their business that carriers do. Maybe it’s presumed or documented unethical behaviour. Either way, most freight brokers don’t want to be called freight brokers and many carriers would like to see them wiped off the face of the planet. Why? They have been successful in capturing freight that used to belong directly to carriers at a higher rate. Brokers can provide a lower rate and they are a contributing factor to the erosion of freight rates for the carriers.
We did a website for a small broker a couple of years back. He was happy with the results and referred us to one of his flatbed carriers in the region. When we met with that well established carrier, he was extremely frustrated. “How is it I keep losing out to a freight broker? He gets the freight and then I move it. I don’t understand.” I didn’t understand either, so I spoke to the broker in question. My assessment, after a brief discussion, was that the broker in this case, was a more confident sales person and he offered the customer a choice between several carriers, at several price points. Customers like choice.
It’s a funny world. There are many carriers that fill their trucks with broker freight. Brokers are their sales force and these carriers have very few relationships with customers directly. There are carriers that successfully outsource key lane segments to other carriers, like the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City or Ontario to Atlantic Canada, without a hitch. The message I get from that, is the shipper is mostly concerned about getting the job done, not how it gets done.
Lee’s quote for the day
“In the music business, there is a saying that the side men all want to be front men and the front men all want to go home. In the trucking business, it seems most carriers want to play in the “freight pimp” world and most “freight pimps” have the dream of building up key lanes so they can put on their own equipment. Whoever orders their new Cadillac first, is the winner!”
As we were trying to put together some interesting facts about social media for B2B marketers, we discovered this interesting video. Then, we decided why would we tell you something, when we can show you instead. So, enjoy it.
B2B companies are ahead of their B2C rivals when it comes to social media adoption
Source: Business.com – 2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007404)
And the FTSE 100 are just plain running scared of Twitter
Source: Virgin Media Business (http://ow.ly/1gDTf)
But CIOs could well be the biggest blocker to social media adoption
Source: Robert Half Technology (http://rht.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=131&item=790)
Use of social media by B2B companies is validated by B2B buyer perspectives
Source: Cone Inc – Social Media in business (http://ow.ly/1dLqJ)
And that’s because the B2B buying process is fundamentally changing
Source: DemandGen Report
Source: Buyersphere ebook, Enquiro (http://ow.ly/YbQm)
Source: Forrester Research, How to take B2B relationships from Indifferent to Engaged: Jan 2009
Yet there are differing opinions as to where search comes into play in the buy cycle
Source: DemandGen Report (http://ow.ly/1d82N)
Source: Marketo (http://bit.ly/9O6pix)
If you think C-level executives aren’t active online, you’re sorely mistaken
Source: Forbes Insight – The Rise of the Digital C-Suite (http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/digital_csuite/index.html)
Client marketers are warming to the idea of social media, but many are still to act
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
The relationship between Marketing and Sales in B2B organisations still remains fractious
Source: 2009 CSO Report (http://bit.ly/7EbaHS)
Source: The New Rules of Sales Enablement (http://tiny.cc/jXRxX)
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
And if you still don’t get the whole social media thing, it’s worth bearing in mind…
* Note: We have used and abused the above information, as the author insisted. A special thanks for the folks at Earnest Agency.