October 25, 2014

5 Trends About Marketing and Blogging

Small Business Trends has been a media partner of BlogWorld Expo for several years but this is the first year I attended the show in Las Vegas.  I just got back late last night, so while it’s still fresh in my mind here’s a report of 5 trends about blogging I noticed from the show:

Las Vegas, at night. Photo taken from inside a helicopter as part of the Infolinks night helicopter tour for bloggers, at Blogworld Expo 2010.

1. From Early Adopters to Mainstream

BlogWorld had over 4,000 registered attendees this year.  The show just keeps getting bigger each year.  So if nothing else, it suggests that interest in blogging is not declining, but growing.

And when you look at the different conference tracks, you see just how broadly blogging has woven its way into our society.  No matter what your occupation, your passion or your circumstances, it seems there’s a blogging community for you.   You could see these different interests at BlogWorld.  For food bloggers, Jenn-Air had a large exhibit booth with a stage where they held cooking demonstrations, including food for the audience to sample.  Military bloggers had a substantial presence — the U.S. Army was even a show sponsor, with members of the military visible in uniform.  There were specific blogging tracks for health, sports, travel, real estate and causes.

These are just more signals that blogging has reached the mainstream.  With blogging appealing to so many different groups for very different reasons, it’s easy to see how far blogs and bloggers have “infiltrated” society.

The Macallan, Exhibitor at BlogWorld Expo 2010 (notice the Twitter instructions on the sign)

2. Blogging and Social Media Go Hand in Glove

Along with blogging, the world of social media also had a key role in the event.   While some commentators suggest that social media has replaced blogging, that’s an oversimplification.  Social media and blogging are not “either / or.”   Rather, they complement one another.  Bloggers often amplify their blog posts through social media — spreading the word through social sites about blog posts they want to share with others.  Bloggers also know the power of social media to develop community — to reach out and engage with a community of like-minded people on other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like — and introduce them to their blogs.

Brands that want to raise their profile online also understand the relationship between blogs and social media. Notice the sign (pictured above) of one of the  show exhibitors, The Macallan, with a Twitter suggestion for bloggers.

This symbiotic relationship among blogs and social media was apparent in many BlogWorld sessions and keynotes. They inevitably touched on both social media and blogging — often in the same sentence.

Network Solutions Schwag from BlogWorld 2010


3. Entrepreneurship and Blogging

A noticeable group of the attendees was the entrepreneurs who either want to make a business out of blogging or currently run blog-based businesses.

What I found most revealing is the mindset so many have, that one can actually create a business around a blog.  Quite a number of bloggers seemed to be there to answer one question:  “How can I make money with my blog?” For many, blogs are part-time endeavors or fledgling enterprises.  Still, the connection between entrepreneurship and blogging was hard to miss.

Consequently there were companies on hand that cater to small businesses and startups.  For instance, CorpNet, which provides incorporation services, was an exhibitor.  Network Solutions (see their show schwag pictured above) hosted a Have a Taco lunch for influential bloggers.  (Note: I am a member of the Network Solutions Social Media Advisory Board.)

Panel at BlogWorld Expo 2010 of publishers (Wiley and GreenLeaf) and authors (C.C. Chapman and Hadji Williams)


4. Books and Bloggers – What a Combo

We publish business book reviews here at Small Business Trends every Saturday.  Quite a few of the books (perhaps 40% or more) are written by bloggers or have a blog set up specifically for the book.  So it should not have been a surprise to see books so prominently featured at BlogWorld.  Yet, I was surprised by just HOW MUCH of a presence books and traditional publishing had at BlogWorld.

For instance, there were 2 panel discussions devoted to book publishing, including representatives of publishers Wiley and Greenleaf  (see picture above).

Borders had a large booth stuffed with books written either by bloggers or with a blogging connection — many more books than I realized.  Authors like Rohit Bhargava, an executive with Ogilvy, were there to sign books.  Wiley Books was a sponsor and had a booth at the show with blogging authors like Jim Kukral there to meet fans and do book signings.

From listening to one of the panel discussions, it’s clear that publishers and authors consider blogs and bloggers a key channel to generate interest in traditional print books.  In fact, the representative of Wiley went so far as to say that reviews from influential bloggers bring a good “lift” to book sales, yet appearances on the Today and Oprah television shows don’t bring nearly the response you might imagine.


5. Blogging’s Impact on the Stream of Commerce

You couldn’t walk through the BlogWorld show floor without seeing evidence of how important bloggers are to brands.  From Jenn-air (kitchen appliance maker) to Ford (car manufacturer), to Johnson & Johnson (family products company), to the U.S. Army, to Google — these are just some of the wide ranging brands that want to be seen in front of bloggers.

On top of that, an entire segment of exhibitors was on hand to help bloggers figure out how to make money.  They included advertising solution companies like Infolinks and Izea, to video solutions like UStream, to affiliate networks like MarketHealth.com. Anyone who thinks there isn’t money in blogging isn’t looking at it from a broad enough lens.

* * * * *

There you have my impressions of key trends based on observations at BlogWorld.  If you attended BlogWorld, what do you think about these and other trends?

15 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

15 Reactions

  1. Hi Anita,

    Great observations about the event. It was great to see (again) lots of the folks that we interact with online, almost daily.

    I learned a lot, which I expected to do, and enjoyed the Vegas vibe.

    It was also quite refreshing to NOT see folks blabbing about “making money online” and all of that associated noise.

    New bloggers were able to hear the real deal about making money from blogging; it takes a long time.

    The Franchise King

  2. Anita,

    Interesting report! I wish I could been there? I look forward to attend this kind of fairs sometime in the near future.

    Did you tweet about the Macallan whiskey? ;)

    I would say that your blog is the hub of your social media activities, so I agree with your second point.

    Did you get information about new books coming out in the near future?

    How was the podcast presence at the event?

  3. Hi Anita

    It’s great to get this summary from you as it really is a broader perspective to what went on at BlogWorld. It was my first and I loved it for 3 reasons:

    1. The ability to connect with and meet so many amazing bloggers who I’d either been chatting to already on Twitter/ email/FB/ LinkedIn or had yet to discover.

    2. The panels that were honest about the road you take when you become a blogger and what it requires to really succeed if that’s your goal

    3. The opportunity to interact with the many services and products in the exhibition centre that help make bloggers’ lives easier, more productive etc.

    I just wish I’d spent more time in there but there was so much to do, see and so many people to meet.

    It’s great to still follow up by following the #BWE10 on Twitter!

    Natalie

  4. Blogging has become a skill and something you must start doing to advance your career. Writing says a lot about what you are doing now. Think of it as your resume in motion. Beyond writing it’s about reading other blogs and commenting on their ideas. It becomes an online conversation that teaches and critiques.

  5. Blogging Rules! That’s how I will summarize what you wrote here in this post and thanks for sharing this with the rest of us who are quite clueless about blogging and all. I think that even if there are already ways for you to blog in 3rd party sites like social networks, you still need to have your own business blog that you have 100% control. Why? These 3rd party sites have rules and when they change, you don’t want to start from scratch.

  6. Great post Anita. It seems so many people still don’t understand the value of blogging and you’ve highlighted them quite nicely. I’m still having trouble getting some of my clients to understand that blogging and other marketing activities are not independent. They’re all part of the system and the many ways to interact, market and build business relationships. I’ll be sharing this post.

  7. Hi Kelly, well it’s very interesting you should say that about clients and blogging.

    I feel like there are 2 different universes out there. On the one hand, you have the online digerati, for whom blogging is old hat. And then on the other hand, you have mainstream business people, for many of whom blogging is still new, untried and untested.

    So depending on your point of view, you could read this article and think it’s 3 years behind the times — or on the cutting edge. I write for the small business market, and I can see that for many of them, blogging is still a new thing. They need their service providers (marketing agencies, Web development firms, and SEO providers) to convince them of blogging’s value.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    – Anita

  8. Blogging does matter in business promotion. the guidelines you have pointed out is extremely adoptable.

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