How Corporate Brand Strategies Can Help Your Independent Blog

As bloggers we are running our own small businesses. We're like grass-roots companies, starting from nothing and trying to turn our unique, one-of-a-kind product into a successful, perhaps even profitable little company. To do this we often employ the same techniques as start-ups and small businesses, such as personally reaching out to our industry peers, using free social media marketing tools and making local connections. These are proven, successful tactics in our community. What about big business, though? I don't want to launch into a discussion about the economy of course, but these companies get big for a reason. There are many things we can learn from the branding and marketing techniques of commercial corporations. Today's guest poster has worked in large, corporate settings and learning valuable skills and techniques that have help grow her blog.

 

What I Learned About Blogging from Working at Procter & Gamble.

 

By Grace Atwood of Stripes & Sequins

 

Prior to making the jump to social media, (I now work for BaubleBar, where I run their social media) I worked for some bigger beauty brands, in brand management.  One of my favorite (and most challenging roles) was at Procter & Gamble.  P&G is an incredibly well-oiled, branding machine. They have some of the biggest brands in the world, from Tide and Pampers to CoverGirl, Dolce & Gabbana Fragrances, and SKII Skincare.

 

While I was there I learned a great deal – much of which can be applied to blogging!  Here are just a few.

 

  • It’s all about the First Moment of Truth.  At P&G they use a lot of acronyms.  FMOT = First moment of truth.  You want the first time that anyone engages with your blog to be amazing – so that they immediately are hooked and want to keep coming back.  This is why I tell all new bloggers to work with a designer from the start (or if they are savvy enough, to design their site on their own.)   Even if you are getting 10 pageviews a day, make it amazing right from the beginning. You’ll build a following and gain repeat visitors much quicker.

 

  • Know your “Who.”  P&Gers refer to their target audience as their “Who.” The “Who” is central to each element of every brand’s marketing plan.  If a piece of the plan is even slightly off-kilter from the “Who,” it won’t be approved.  Who is reading your blog?  Get to know them via your stats.  Read and respond to comments.  Ask for feedback.  Conduct surveys if you’d like.  Look at what your most popular posts have been!  From there, write posts based upon what your audience likes best.  You don’t have to always do this, but it certainly will help you to grow your traffic.

 

  • Innovate, constantly!  As bloggers, we are all innovators, early adopters.  Think about this year: we all started using Pinterest and Instagram.  What will next year bring?  It’s important to keep your eye on the future, figure out what the best innovations are, and adopt them early on in the game.  I joined Instagram way late in the game, and regret it… I should have signed up months and months ago.

 

  • Focus on the big picture.  P&Gers in general, are not all too concerned with the minutia, the small details. While you have to focus on the small details to run a successful blog (um, hello, spell-check and proper grammar!) it is important to look at the big picture.  Use your blog as a tool to make your dreams happen.  Sure you may not be the next Kelly or Leandra, but there are other ways of thinking big.  You can turn your blog into a career by leveraging it to get a job in social media.  You can get a book deal.  You can parlay it into a styling career, or even an online boutique.  The options are endless…. you just need to stay focused – eye on the prize.

 

  • Give back to your community.  At P&G, half of your review is based upon “Building the Organization,” as in, how you helped the company – not just your own brand.  So if you are a rockstar marketer but not a team player, you won’t survive.  I think this is a good mentality to have.  As my blog has grown, I’ve made it a mission to give back to the blogging community in every way that I can, be it contributing to IFB, making introductions between bloggers and brands when I think I can help, or just helping other bloggers find their way and make their own blogs better. It’s important!  Throughout my time at both BaubleBar and writing Stripes & Sequins, there are certain bloggers who have helped me, and I will always be grateful to them!

 

  • Know your stats.  At any time, I’d need to know my sales figures, marketing budget and how much I had left to spend, the works.  I kept a cheat sheet.  This has carried through to blogging.  I track my stats each month and could rattle off my Klout Score, Twitter + Facebook following, Bloglovin’ followers, Alexa Score, and their respective percentage increases each month.  While it may not be critical to do so, it helps you to stay focused on the future and build a better blog.

 

You can follow Grace on Twitter here and here

 Image by vonSchnauzer

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11 Responses

  1. Donna

    What is a KloutScore and Alexa score? I use Blogger and they have limited stats (unless I’m missing something).
    Also, is there any way to use Instagram if you don’t have an iPhone?
    Answers from any of you are greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  2. Amber

    Donna, you can get really in depth stats using google analytics. And you can’t use instagram unless you have an iPhone and iPad or an I pod touch with a camera. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  3. Grace - Stripes & Sequins

    Hi Donna,

    Klout is a measure of online influence (twitter, Facebook, etc.) You can sign up at klout.com.

    Alexa.com is a great way to measure a website’s traffic + sites linking into it. Nearly every website has an Alexa score – it’s a great tool!

    Reply
  4. Katarina

    Hi Grace,

    I smiled when I read the first paragraph because I work in P&G for the past three years as digital coordinator for Central Europe and external relations assistant and I can definitely confirm most of the points you listed about this great company 🙂

    All of them are aimed at building a business naturally as well as the consumer loyalty.

    In terms of digital there is much more we are doing, at least in my region where we cooperate with bloggers quite a lot through various beauty blogger contests, sponsoring couple of fashion weeks & organizing fashion blogger conferences and building various mobile and Facebook applications for our brands.

    Reply
  5. carlyjcais

    This is such a great post! Thanks so much, Grace, for letting us know what is in within our power to apply to our blogs and our marketing plans to take them to the next level. Taking away certain lessons from how big brands do it, and emulating what works, is one of the best ways to become a serious blogger! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge with all of us:-)

    Reply
  6. M

    This is so helpful (and so true!). As a recent grad who majored in Business Management, knowing the who/what/when/why/how are all key to growing any business. Thanks for sharing Alexa and Klout — I never even heard of them!

    Reply
  7. seo

    Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

    Reply