Thursday, January 03, 2008

You are the value you create

I received a nice email from a gentleman concerning my post on How to Launch a Successful Blogger Outreach Program in One Day. He wanted to know how he could reach out to bloggers, when there was little or no online chatter currently about his company.

My advice was to find ways to create value for others. This is something that companies for the most part simply do not grok at all about social media. Online, you create value for yourself, by first creating value for others.

For example, look at Patagonia's The Cleanest Line company blog. The company does very little direct promotion on the blog, but there is plenty of information and discussion about the environment, and environmental activism. The company even includes links to articles on these topics from other sources.

Patagonia is approaching its blog not as a selling channel, but as a value-creation channel for its customers. Which is a big reason why The Cleanest Line is one of the best company blogs out there.

If you want to succeed in social media and establish yourself as an authority in your industry, then look for ways to use social media to create value for others. If you can create that value, then others will come to you as a trusted source, and seek you out to learn more about your company and its products and services.

Social media fails when companies attempt to use it as a direct selling channel. It excels as a channel to create value for others.

Pic of Devil's Tower via Flickr user backpackphotography

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Anonymous said...

Hey Mack,
Nice post.

using social media as a "direct selling channel"...almost as bad as the exclamation mark. ;)


Anonymous said...

Or the exclamation point.

wow...clearly I'm still recovering from the holidays.

Mack Collier said...

Lisa you rule hard, and twice on Fridays, that's all they are to it! ;)

Mario Vellandi said...

Yeah, write about whatever your company and customers are passionate about. Write how-tos, reference other articles, discuss and embrace the competition (where appropriate), and discuss issues of importance to a niche customer group or the whole lot.

It seems more intimidating and difficult because it requires a different mindset than traditional sales or PR. But in all, this isn't so different than what the best salespeople do: be friendly, establish credibility, not be pushy, provide value, and be honest.

Mack Collier said...

Exactly Mario. Going 'value first, sales later' makes absolutely no business sense to most companies. But it makes complete sense to their current and potential customers online.

Which is the whole point.

Tim Jackson said...

Amen! Can I get a hallelujah?

Seriously, that is exactly why I do what I do with my blog- veer "off topic" all the time. It is my belief, as you have stated, that if you create a value to the consumer/ community, then they will see you as a trusted resource and they will come back to you. In my own example- I know there are people who read my blog or listen to my podcast who do not intend to buy one of my products right now, but because they see me as a reliable "voice", they might consider my products later... and they wouldn't have otherwise.

Shama Hyder said...

Definitely Mack.

We currently get 100% of our clients through our blog.

Providing value is #1.

JPope said...

Mack, great job of bringing value creation into focus. Posts like this keep me and my colleagues at Dell coming back to your blog time and again.

Mack Collier said...

Tim you're exactly right. If anyone that knows you has even a mild interest in getting a cycle, they are going to come to you for advice. I saw Valeria do it the other night on Twitter.

Great news Shama! Thanks John, I have to stay on my toes if Austin is watching me ;)

Unknown said...

Hey Mack

You mentioned that "The Cleanest Line" is one of the best blogs out so?

I'm not challenging you or disagreeing with you. I'm sure you're right. But I'm wondering what metrics are measuring success. And how we, in the social media arena, can point to great blogs that are actual success stories vs. great blogs that are done correctly, but for some reason don't catch on.

Mack Collier said...

It's not so much about metrics with The Cleanest Line, but it's that Patagonia does an excellent job of delivering relevant content and a relevant experience to its customers with its blog. Patagonia's customers are FAR more likely to be concerned about the environment, and I'm sure many would label themselves as 'environmental activists'. The Cleanest Line's content caters to these people.

Check it out if you haven't, and as you are, look at the blog through the eyes of a Patagonia customer.

Unknown said...

It looks great - and it's an absolute find. And a great case study. Just looking it over made me feel part of something because they talk to me directly.

The thing that always concerns me is the tendency for many traditional marketers to see blogs as big promo vehicles as opposed to relationship building vehicles. In terms of promo they should have some elements, but it needs to be understated.

The dilemma I often have in convincing that tunnel-visioned traditional guy to put aside their presumptions and open up an give a little. Didn't know if Patagonia's blog had a specific success story behind it.

Mack Collier said...

"The thing that always concerns me is the tendency for many traditional marketers to see blogs as big promo vehicles as opposed to relationship building vehicles. In terms of promo they should have some elements, but it needs to be understated."

Bingo and Amen. What many companies don't understand is, people don't read blogs to be sold to. They read blogs to get information and content that's valuable to them.

Reposting the Sunday Circular won't cut it.