I've been thinking a lot about "future career paths" lately, and pondering what I can/should/want to be doing. I know I'm a writer, and would like to continue doing that. I'd like to consider other options, beyond writing solely about scrapbook journaling, perhaps writing more generally about scrapbooking, or about general personal journaling. I think I'd like to write about creativity in general, encouraging people to find their own sources, and outlets. Ideally, I'd also like to make use of all the marketing knowledge I've picked up while promoting my own books. (Perhaps that's a book in itself! LOL)
I'd like to help a company make more of itself -- make itself more prominent in the marketplace, help increase exposure to all the company's benefits and offerings, help promote the company's values and culture. I'd like to be a part of a team, contributing my ideas, skills, talent, and enthusiasm. And I'd like to do all this from Kansas City, please. ;)
I'd love to use blogging as at least part of the means to bring all of the above to fruition -- whether as the primary job duty, or part of a company 'campaign'. What's interesting to me, from my current vantage point, is that while blogging is definitely catching on among scrapbookers, it's not being used by the companies and manufacturers that FEED scrapbookers. I've seen only a handful of companies making use of blogging technology to help promote their causes. Scrapbooks ETC is currently the only mag that's blogging (which seems such a gimme, to me). Kim at ScrapBiz has a blog, but her entries only sporadically promote her company. [Edited to Add: As Sarah reminded me, Kristina at 2Ps and Wendi of Wendi Speciale Designs both have business blogs. And Melody Ross of Chatterbox keeps a Daily Journal on her company website.] Still, I can't help wondering why manufacturers aren't blogging -- the audience is there, begging for the communication. And why aren't store owners blogging, posting about their upcoming class schedules and sales?
Actually, I know why they aren't, or at least a big reason why -- time. They're so busy creating new products, and marketing what they've already created, and running their businesses, they don't have time to learn about blogging, and then do the actual maintenance on a blog.
Ah, but that's where I come in. Or (I'll be generous here) someone like me. If these companies don't have the time to scale the learning curve, and dedicate that time, they should hire someone to. They are missing out on the promotional opportunities, which could end up being much more cost effective that other venues. Plus, they could be seen as pioneers, because they are among the first to use blogs to their advantage.
Blogger Steve Rubel has oulined a number of ideas/options for reasons why companies might employ a blogger, and I can easily see the adaptations to the scrapbooking industry. Here are a few of his suggestions:
Hire a Blogger to Write a Custom-Published Blog: Many bloggers feel a higher holy calling to maintain their integrity by not outwardly endorsing products on their blogs. Nevertheless, they still might be interested in making a buck on the side. Consider enlisting a well-known blogger to write a blog for you either about your product/service or perhaps a broader subject that’s related to it. For example, if you sell enterprise antivirus software, you could hire an IT blogger to track this issue on a separate custom-published blog.
Put a Blogger in Your Ad Campaign: If there’s a blogger you feel will be instantly recognizable to your target audience, consider getting in touch with him or her to see if they would be interested in appearing in your online/offline advertising campaign. Like celebrities, they can carry instant cache.
Get Bloggers Using Your Product: Sports marketers have been doing this for years. They identify a personality who they feel resonates with their audience and then pay him or her a nice hunk of change to use their product on the field or court. You could easily do the same thing with a blogger.
Build PR Campaigns Around Customer Evangelists: If you have a valuable product or service offering, there’s a high likelihood that there are some vocal yokels talking about your product in the blogosphere. Find these individuals, learn how they’re using your widget and build a case history PR campaign around them. If you are successful in generating media coverage, you can go for a two-bagger by encouraging the blogger to spread the word.
Hire a Blogger to Work for You: If there’s a particular blogger you have your eye on who has truly achieved superstar status, hire him or her to work for you. Microsoft’s “investment” in Robert Scoble, who was hired 19 months ago because of his Scobelizer blog, has already paid off ten-fold through positive PR and online word-of-mouth. You get extra credit if you hire a blogger who was recently fired from another company for blogging.
So. There you have it. Companies in the scrapbooking industry -- you are hereby challenged to pick up the "blogging banner" and run with it. Be among the first. Be a pioneer. And hire me to help you. I'm more than happy to help. ;)