Blogging Can Boost Your Marketing

As blogging has become increasingly popular, you may have decided that because everyone else is doing it, you should have a blog too. Does this sound familiar? If you have your hand up, then I am nodding my head with you. In late 2010, when I wrote my marketing plan for 2011, I decided that the next window of opportunity for my business was blogging.

I had actually been thinking about blogging for some time, but hadn’t really worked out a way to make sense of it and my underlying feeling was that it could take more time that I had available The opportunity was there for the taking, however, so I started blogging in January this year and so far I have managed to stay ahead and post two blogs per week.

While I have an integrated approach to blogging and have made sense of it within the marketing plan, the truth is that it is a journey of discovery for me. I have also discovered other ‘more famous’ bloggers feel the same. Phew!

Well, the good news is that if you are a blogger then you are on the right path, as blogging can certainly boost your current marketing efforts. While I am new to blogging, there are many businesses, just like yours and mine, who aren’t experts and have made a real ‘go of it’. So, if you are new to blogging or would like some tips from others who do it well, keep reading.

Here is a blog example to give some encouragement to those like me who are new to the process. While I am generally not a fan of blogs, ebooks or websites that promote a ‘secrets revealed’ strategy, I did come across a blog that does it particularly well. Rowan Kunz, which is a blog designed specifically for students and parents of students in the final year of school (HSC in New South Wales), Kunz tells me that in a six-month period, the Secrets of HSC Revealed book sold over 60 copies directly from blog activity and that the blog alone has filled many different seminars (around 15 new people per session). It has also driven new one-on-one coaching clients (up to five new clients per month). I am inspired. I guess that’s quality, credible content and a niche market for you.

Another great aspect of blogs is that they are often created at the imagination of their owners, who write to inspire their audiences and, in the case of business owners, to also open up new markets, attract new customers and drive sales. This is the case for interior designer Oliver Barlow from Sabi Style. In October 2010, Barlow wrote a blog article about a new trend accurately known as ‘word art’. I can relate to this, as I have some word art in my home. These blog posts not only provided commentary about this emerging trend, but they also featured visual examples of this art to further inspire readers. It seems that this blog post was so well-timed it has now opened up a new market segment for Sabi Style, with clients who were looking for assistance to help finish their existing space (or room), rather than clients who had a major makeover in mind. And, as any good designer will tell you, the rest is word of mouth.

It wasn’t just media news that caused supplement companies to begin looking for hoodia gordonii supplies. Press releases by Phytopharm, a British pharmaceutical company, about researching hoodia and side effects that might be associated with hoodia caused the initial stir in the health supplement industry.

Phytopharm has two operating divisions; a plant extract division and a pharmaceutical division. In June of 1997, Phytopharm announced that “a naturally occurring appetite suppressant is to be developed into a prescription medicine by Phytopharm”. This was to be Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product. News of a naturally occurring appetite suppressant sent, not only supplement companies, but those who needed to lose weight searching for this “naturally occurring appetite suppressant”. At that time, everyone expected Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product to be a prescription drug even though it was consistently referred to by the company as a “natural anti-obesity treatment”. Their collaboration with Pfizer, another pharmaceutical company, to research hoodia and side effects that could be caused by hoodia use only supported the idea that Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii would be a prescription drug. Now, since they have partnered with Unilever, not a pharmaceutical company, it is somewhat unclear what Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product will be. They do seem committed to the idea that Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii will be superior to products that are currently on the market.

Phytopharm’s product development strategy begins with what they call “proof of principle” clinical testing. These tests are designed to determine if a product has the potential to be safe and effective. Proof of principle testing of Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product began in March of 2001. News about hoodia and side effects were released after this first phase was completed in December of 2001. This was a naturally occurring substance and there appeared to be no side effects associated with its use. After completing the initial clinical testing, Phytopharm’s strategy advances to the search for a partner company for “late stage development, sales and marketing”. The partner company for Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is Unilever, manufacturers of food products, dietary supplements and over the counter medications. One of their more famous products is “Slim Fast”. Phytopharm is still researching and investigating the possibility or a drug to treat metabolic disorder and hoodia gordonii is the basis for this drug.

Phytopharm attempts to obtain patents for naturally occurring substances. “Phytopica” is a Phytopharm product for the treatment of dermatitis in dogs and was just released in April of 2006. Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is patented, but they have had more than a little trouble keeping other manufacturers of natural products from selling their own hoodia products. In May of 2006, they announced that they were aware that other companies were selling hoodia gordonii as an appetite suppressant and that they believed that this could be patent infringement. They said that they had contacted the appropriate authorities. The problem is that a naturally occurring product can not be patented. If Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is unique and therefore stronger, safer and better than the hoodia products that are currently on the market, then how could there be patent infringement and why would they be concerned about companies that are selling what they imply are inferior products?

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