36 reasons why I blog 3

Posted on January 27, 2013 by Rob Petersen





The reason I began to blog was inspiration I got from others’ blogs.

It wasn’t a plan but what I lacked in planning was made up in heroes. People in my field who blogged were knowledgeable, smart and generous in spirit with information and ideas I found of great value. They stood out, seemed genuine and real. They still stand out. (A  few of the posts that served as inspiration years ago are listed at the bottom).

It motivated me to start, learn and stay with it. After that, I learned there were many benefits to blogging. What are they? Here are 36 reasons why I blog.

  1. It’s how to have 1-to-1 relationship with 1-to-many
  2. Nothing works like writing about what you know
  3. We want to share what we know with others; it’s in our DNA
  4. Studies show no other form of digital expression is better at securing trust (source: eMarketer)
  5. People return to a place where they know they will learn something new
  6. It’s never stopped being gratifying to teach someone something new
  7. It’s synonomous with the term, personal brand
  8. It’s how you find and attract people who share the same values
  9. Your audience is global from the moment you begin
  10. It’s friendships and bonds you couldn’t have developed any other way
  11. It’s how to put you personal values into your profession
  12. Blogs get through to people in ways that an email or phone call never could
  13. Blogs provide the means to move between personal and professional with credibility
  14. Blogs help people get to know you; people like to do business with people they know
  15. It is the best way to drive traffic to a website
  16. The search engines recognize and reward those who continually put out fresh content
  17. Each and every one of your blog posts are individual web pages, indexed by search engines to build your brand presence
  18. A keyword strategy is easier and more effective to execute through a blog than any other digital medium
  19. Blogs help with long tail search term rankings and keyword phrases you never would have found otherwise
  20. Other bloggers link to you; the search engine recognize your authority in a particular niche or market.
  21. Relevance and authority are the two attributes that drive search rank; blogs are designed to accelerate both
  22. The algorithm of search engines, especially Google, recognize original content and “social authority” from blogs more and search tactics like “metadata” and “metatags” less
  23. The content and keywords that drive people to your blog is very measurable
  24. The content from your blog can be re-purposed to  many other aspect of your content or communications plan (e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, PR)
  25. This re-purposing of content doesn’t re-duplicate anything; it sends your message to new audiences
  26. Although there are lot of tips for blogging, the only way to really go wrong is not express yourself genuinely
  27. We all have a story to tell
  28. Blogs make it easy for others to share what you have to say
  29. It’s a direct and authentic way to ask readers what they want to hear and grow your audience with their collaboration
  30. It’s how you can do market research without research and travel costs
  31. Ir brings peace of mind
  32. It forces you to think better and smarter
  33. It brings out your innate ability to create and share ideas
  34. Like everything, you’ll get better at it the more you practice
  35. You’ll lead a more intentional life
  36. You may just inspire someone, like the posts below did for me, and there no greater legacy to leave than to inspire others.

These are reasons why I blog. Are they the same as yours? Are there any I missed?

If you blog, do they help to keep you going? If you don’t, do they motivate you to start?

Here are a some posts that inspired me:

David Berkowitz: 100 Ways to Measure Social Media

Chris Brogan: Grow Bigger Ears

Mack Collier: How Much Does Social Media Cost Companies

Peter Kim: Social Business ROI


How social media helped CPG company increase sales +35% 1

Posted on October 28, 2012 by Rob Petersen




TortillaLand growth rate

Founded in 1983, San Diego-based Circle Foods, LLC makes and markets TortillaLand, a fresh tortilla that cooks in 60 seconds, along with other ethnic foods. Three years ago, Circle Foods doubled its plant and manufacturing capabilities as the result of growing consumer acceptance and retail distribution.

Available throughout the West Coast, Southwest and Southeast in major grocery chains like Ralph’s and Vons, Winn Dixie as well as Costco and Walmart, many consumers love TortillaLand’s taste and naturalness once they’ve tried them. But the brand has low awareness compared to category mainstays, whose products are pre-cooked and processed.

In addition, because TortillaLand requires refrigeration at retail, consumers can’t expect to find it in the same place in every store. Seeking to leverage its success with a core group of loyal brand users and expand that success to new customers, Circle Foods turned to social media marketing, starting with food bloggers who were already talking enthusiastically among themselves about the TortillaLand brand.

In a recent interview, Circle Foods’ Charlene M. Richardson, Director of Marketing, explained how this social media recipe has fared.

BARNRAISERS: How did Circle Foods’ involvement in social media begin?

CHARLENE: Needless to say, we love our fans. So we’re always listening to them. With a little digging in the blogosphere, we discovered that major cooking bloggers were writing about us…even taking pictures of the cooking process on their smartphones and posting them for all to see. Fans were talking about us. Someone who lives in Omaha wrote on our Facebook page, “We drove over 90 miles to purchase them. SO WORTH IT!” The point being, we looked for and found TortillaLand brand advocates. Once we found them, we built relationships and then rewarded them for their support

BARNRAISERS: How does this reward system work?

CHARLENE: From our social media activities, we have a database of close to 20,000 people. We’ve segmented them by state. From time to time, we mail—yes, snail mail—coupons, offers and premiums to express our thanks.  We also have a blogger relations effort. We examine the traffic to cooking bloggers who write about us, the size of their social media following and geography. Because cooking bloggers are publishing new recipes almost every day, many have large and loyal followings. Our efforts work so well that our advocates have mobilized to help us when, for example, we need to spread the word on a line extension (say, corn tortilla) or attend a sampling event at Walmart or other retail outlets.

BARNRAISERS: Which social media platforms are you using now?

CHARLENE: We have a very strong social media presence. We publish a blog on every week. We have an active Facebook community of 11,000+ fans with whom we communicate every day. Right now, we are engaging with fans through a social sweepstakes: Win 3 iPads (1 for you; 2 for friends), plus sample packs of TortillaLand flour and corn tortillas and tortilla cookware. So we engage in social sharing and fun. We also have a YouTube channel, a Twitter community, Pinterest page and a few other outposts as well.

BARNRAISERS: What have been the results?

CHARLENE: Sales say it all. Business is up 35% versus year ago. Trade success has been critical, but it is undeniable that social media is a strong contributor. Our sales increases track directly to increases in Facebook Fans, then to YouTube video views and website visits where consumers can use a Store Locator to find the nearest store or download a Product Request Form to take to a retailer, which our fans do.

BARNRAISERS: What social media resources do you have to do the work?

CHARLENE: We have a team of four people from the outside, either from an agency or consultant, and interns from time to time. We meet every couple of weeks to review activity, metrics and decide actions. What makes it work is the consistency of everyone’s involvement, the generation of new ideas and the action orientation.

BARNRAISERS: What advice do you have for a company that is considering or is involved in social media?

CHARLENE: Ask fundamental business questions. What are the desired results? Who do you want to attract? Where do you find them? What are the measurements that matter? If you take the time to ask and answer these questions, the right path for your business using social media starts to reveal itself.

We’re proud that this success story for TortillaLand is also one of our own and that we’ve been with Circle Foods since the beginning of this journey.

Do you think your business could benefit from the principle’s Charlene and her team are practicing? Are you interested in seeing a +35% increase in sales for your business?


The 4 stages of social media marketing 7

Posted on October 06, 2012 by Rob Petersen




“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else,” said Laurence Peter, the educator and creator of the Peter Principle.

Laurence’s wisdom applies to companies that start down the road with social media,

To know where you’re going, ask these business questions.

  • What are the desired results?
  • Who do you want to attract?
  • How are they going to find you?
  • What are the measurements that matter?

With the answers in hand, start the 4 stages of social media marketing.

  • CRAWL: Look around and listen because people like to do business with people they know. Social media give them the opportunity. But, if they’re interested, they will get to know you on their terms. Probably, the first place they will go to is your website. Make sure it is a desirable place to visit and it has an analytic tool like Google Analytics, the GPS of a website. Help make it easy to find using keywords that describe their unmet need. Optimize those keywords in the url titles of pages and with headers for the subject lines on every page. Equip the home page with ways for them to stay in touch like email subscription, eBooks or offers. Begin to build a database. Make sure the action you want them to take is clear and establish the measurements, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that matter most. This is going to be the actionable scorecard to keep the business strategy on track.
  • WALK: Connect and activate because, for every business, there is a wide disparity between best and worst customers. Define who to attract. Identity where they are on social networks and the communities and groups to join and participate. If you create a blog, and you should for all its value in content, keywords, SEO and 1-to-1 relationships, develop a blogger relationships effort. Start to connect and listen to where your are creating engagement and follow it. Increase what’s working and pull back on what’s not.
  • RUN: Engage and involve because social media and customer service are the same business. Determine the time required to put against social media each week because you are not in the social media business anymore, you’re in the customer service business.  Start to curate your content because you’re also in the content marketing business.  It’s a top priority to keep content interesting and to think about how many ways it can be re-purposed to feed your content marketing program with elements video, emails, newsletters and webinars.
  • THRIVE: Fans helps you do the lifting because your community is your best resource for innovation and ideas. Social media starts to pay dividends when your community turns to you to teach something new and they want to do the same for you. Does it happen? Don’t take my word for it. Here are 166 Case Studies that Prove Social Media Marketing ROI. Among them are companies like Fiskars, Harley Davidson, IBM and Starbucks who used their communities for research and new product ideas. It produced extraordinary results.

Do these 4 stages help you see how social media can help your business? Does it help to break it down?

Attend a FREE webinar, Secrets of Social Media ROI Revealed by 166 Case Studies, on 10/16 at 11 am EST; brought to you by Biznology and here’s where you register.



5 simple steps to starting a blogger relations program 9

Posted on September 22, 2012 by Rob Petersen



Percent of companies who blog

Over 60% of companies have a blog. According to survey research, here are the business benefits they see (sources: comScore, eMarketer, HubSpot):

  • 95% report higher search rank
  • 75% of us read at least one blog a day
  • 70% say blogs influence what we buy
  • 55% of companies with blogs drive more visitor to their website
  • 45% track additional revenue to their website
  • 43% of companies now use blogs for marketing purposes
  • 36% of companies say a blog improve perceptions

Blogs work because they are a dynamic source of content. They are the ideal vehicle for use of a brand’s primary keywords; they increase the number of pages on search engines where you are “indexed.” When you use links in text to other websites, they raise your “authority” and search rank.

They send a signal to the search engines that says: Hey, there’s something going on here! Most important, they are a relationship builder bar none to connect with people who share your interests, values and are willing to help you out.

But don’t think, if you build it, they will come because this rarely is the case. You need a little help. If you reach out and thank others who share your interests, they’ll likely respond in kind, refer others and your audience will build much faster.

A blogger relations program  is not hard to create. Here’s how to do it in 5 simple steps and why every blog should start one.

  1. IDENTIFY OTHERS BLOGGERS WHO SHARE YOUR VALUES: Go to a blog search engine like Technorati, Alltop or Topsy, for Tweets that feature blogs. Twitter is actually defined as a micro-blogging site.  In the search query box, type in keyword(s) for your area of interest. Technorati can be searched by either blog or post and offers something called a Technorati Authority Ranking. This is the number of other sites who have linked with a particular blog in the last six months. Here’s how it works, let’s say you own a bike store, type in “biking” and you’d be astounded by the number of biking blogs and relationships you could be building through blogger relationships.
  2. UNDERSTAND THEIR AUDIENCE: Go to Alexa. Type in the url of the blog you are interested. You’ll  get the rank (global and US), keywords, demographics and even see the sites (by name) that link to the the blog in question.
  3. LOOK AT THEIR BLOG OR WEBSITE TRAFFIC: Go to Compete (who we also endorse on the side bar as a marketing affiliate). Type in the url again. You’ll get a graph of website traffic for the last year and whether it is increasing or decreasing.
  4. EXAMINE THEIR SOCIAL OUTREACH AND FOLLOWINGS: After you compile a dozen to two dozen bloggers, spend some time with their blogs and get to know the bloggers. Also, get to know them through their social networks that they list on their blog (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Start to look at the quantitative numbers with the qualitative assessment of your values and goals.
  5. CONNECT, ENGAGE AND BE GENUINE: Write a comment to those who you are interested in building relationships. If it’s genuine, it most likely with get a response. You’ve also just established a link as well as a relationship.

One of our clients, Circle Foods in San Diego makes TortillaLand fresh, uncooked tortillas, TortillaLand is a business built on blogger relationships. In looking at the social media landscape, it was discovered that cooking bloggers were writing about the brand, featuring recipes and even taking pictures with their smartphones. Blogger relationships were pursued and the outreach generated awareness, advocacy and trial. Blogs became a primary platform for building the business.

A friend of mine, Susan Borst, was intrigued with the idea of blogger relationship efforts. When I described how to go about it, she said: “You should write a blogpost about it.” Susan is very good at leading you to an idea.

I never advise a business to get into blogging without first identifying their blogger relations. Do you think blogs should have blogger relations efforts?


21 stats/5 charts: Don’t do SEO/SEM without Social Media or visa versa 11

Posted on June 03, 2012 by Rob Petersen

Search and social media work togetherThe cornerstone of Search (both SEO (Organic) and SEM (Paid)) is relevant keywords; the cornerstone for Social Media is relevant content. Together, they make for a relationship of interactivity and interdependence, a yin and yang if ever there was one.

If you do business online, shouldn’t you use them together? Here are 21 stats + 5 charts that say: Don’t do SEO/SEM without Social Media and visa versa.

  1. 94% increase in CTR (Click-Thru-Rate) when search and social media are used together (eMarketer)
  2. 50% of consumers use a combination of search and social media to make purchase decisions (Inc)
  3. 46% who start with social media, then turn to search to help make their decision
  4. 40% who start with search then turn to social media (yin and yang?)
  5. 45% use search throughout the buying cycle
  6. 31% use social media during the purchase process to get other people’s opinions (GroupM)
  7. 30% say they use social media to eliminate brands from contention
  8. 28% say social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook help them learn more about new brands and product
  9. At a ratio of 2-to-1, consumers cite quality and depth of information as reason they use search and social media together
  10. 30% of consumers rely on user reviews to aid in their purchase decision (eMarketer)
  11. 17% use Facebook
  12. 9%  use Twitter
  13. 74% of consumers use a Facebook brand page as the desired format for following a brand for future engagement (Search Engine Land)
  14. Consumers exposed to branded social media are 2.4 times more likely to click on an organic listing (comScore)
  15. Consumers exposed to a brand’s social media and paid search are 2.8x more likely to search for that brand’s products
  16. Consumers who use social media (vs. people who don’t) are 50% more likely to use search (srcibd)
  17. 50% CTR increase in paid search when consumers were exposed to both influenced social media and paid search
  18. Websites with a Google+ business page yield a 15% rise in search rank (Open Forum)
  19. 70 Facebook shares plus 50 “likes,” give rise to  7% rise in search ranking for websites
  20. 45% of consumers have no specific brand or business in mind when they begin their search on their desktop or smart phone (GroupM)
  21. “Once, it was a newspaper. It arrived neatly on your doorstep to satisfy information needs. Now, it is a web of information from the internet but with much deeper insights as to why we make the brand and buying decisions we do. Marketers are going to want these insights – Chris Copeland, CEO GroupM)

A valuable resource is the Group M and comScore study: The Virtuous Cycle: The role of search and social media in the purchase pathway (pdf).

Since pictures tell a 1000 words, some great picture have been created to show how search and social media work together. Here are 5, beginning with one of the most prolific advocates on this topic, Lee Odden and Top Rank Blog.

Lee Odden

Lee Odden/Top Rank Blogs


Triple Say

Triple Say

J6 Design

J6 Design

Blue Glass

Blue Glass

Rocket Academy

Rocket Academy

Would you ever do SEO/SEM without Social Media or visa versa?

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