Blogging for Business

In my opinion, Hong Kong is not a place of blogs at all, comparing to the United States. But I am fortunate to find one blog which is also my favorite, Sassy Hong Kong. Another blog is The Content Strategist, a blog of a content marking company Contently.Two blogs are successful in terms of branding and IMC.

Purpose and type of blogs

Sassy Hong Kong is a free-of-charge, online lifestyle blog including posts of a broad range of topics including latest events in the city, living, wedding, beauty and more. It also has a dedicated blog for moms ‘Sassy Mama‘. The blog’s target audience are well-educated women with good command of English (since the blog is in English only), and also expatiates in the city.

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The blog is a news blog with posts contributed by various bloggers and writers. See the contributor list. The content of the posts is a mix of news and sharing/ advertorials. In ‘What’s on HK’, there is a weekly column called ‘Weekender’ listing some happenings in the city. One of the events listed for past weekend was the Formula E event.

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Event listing in Sassy Hong Kong

For example, a blog post  ‘Top 10 Wedding Prep Spa an Treatment Packages in Hong Kong‘ is written by Megan Hills.Her figurehead can be found in the post while readers can connect with her through social media channels.

 

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The writer Megan Hill and her social media channels

The post can be shared on social media portals – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well emails.

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Post can be shared on Facebook

Contently is a technology marketing company in the U.S. The Content Strategist is a professional blog set by up Contently targeted for business partners and customers.The contents are customer focused and they are categorized in topics such as brands, ROI, social.

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Blog posts are written by company staff, for example,. Erin Nelson, and they are frequently updated with more than one new posts per and new posts every other day.

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Posts are available for sharing in social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ as well as emails. Readers can read the content via RSS as well.

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Post can be shared on Linkedin

The contents are revenue driven. For example, a blog post ‘How Content Marketing Teams Are Evolving in 2016‘ includes a call-to-action near the bottom of post. The company can gathering contact details of customers when they opt in downloading a free copy of whitepaper. They can therefore connect with their potential customers through e-newsletters and drive sales.

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Contact form for customers who are interested in downloading a free copy of report

Reasons for success in branding & IMC

When I prepared for my wedding last year, I often looked up the wedding section of Sassy Hong Kong for ideas about photographers, stationery, decorations, venues and so on. Instead of scouring local Chinese websites and blogs, I preferred my wedding to look stylish and ‘non-traditional’. The blog is successful in building its brand by identifying targeted customers – middle-class or above, well-educated women staying in Hong Kong  who seek for style of living. For example the blogger Megan Hills recommend brides-to-be to visit hotels for spa treatment before wedding.

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The post targeted people who first arrived in Hong Kong

The writing style of the posts is relaxed, personalized and friendly. The post ‘That Flat: Inside the Hong Kong Home of Maura Thompson, Co-Founder of Sassy Hong Kong‘ is about the flat of Sassy Hong Kong’s co-founder Maura Thompson and the home decor. This can help the brand develop close ties with their readers. Some bloggers include their signatures in the post.

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The co-founder of the blog talks about her home decor

Bright colors or shocking pink are used as the tone color of the blog, appealing to female or queer readers.

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Bright and eye-catchy color in the blog

Sassy Hong Kong has set up its social media channels in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Youtube. All content of blog posts are sharable in social media channels. Each post includes side bars including e-newsletter subscription, related posts for readers to read on, widgets of Facebook and Instagram keeping readers update on social media. Tags are included in the post too.

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Tags in the post

The brand also produces targeted content in their social media channels. For example the brand posted feeds and videos of Formula E event this afternoon available in the Twitter account only.

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screenshot of the Sassy Hong Kong Twitter feeds

The blog ranks top on Google search and the brands’ social media channels are on the top of the search results.

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Search results of ‘Sassy Hong Kong’

The Content Strategist offers unique content for customers when the posts are written in news style. The story structure of a post ‘How Content Marketing Teams Are Evolving in 2016’ resembles that of a news feature – setting the story angle in first few lines, quotes of business leaders, graphs and charts.This is in line with the company’s mission statement –  ‘… provide enterprise companies with smart technology, content marketing expertise, and vetted creative talent – journalist…’Customer voices can also help enhance the credibility of posts, hence the SEO ranking.

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Graphs in the post

Posts are not only available for sharing by clicking the social media icons, but also by highlighting the headline of the story, quotes.

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Share the post by highlighting the headline
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Share the quote in Facebook and Twitter. The post is ‘Inside The Washington Post’s Quest to Fix Ad Tech

The post includes videos and plugin other social media channels.

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Tags in the post for SEO. The blog’s sidebar has posts for readers to read and the company’s recent report.

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The blog is one of the strategies of the company to drive traffic to the website. The blog ranks first in Google search and the Contently website also ranks first in Google search and its social media channels are found on the of the search results.

Strengths of blogs and improvements

1.  Frequent updated with new blog posts

Both Sassy Hong Kong and The Content Strategist are frequently updated with new posts. In Sassy Hong Kong, the post were a few days or weeks ago.

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2. Twitter account for bloggers

One of the bloggers of The Content Strategist has Twitter accounts. All the posts are aggregated in a site under the name of the blogger: https://erinnelson.contently.com/. This can help promote traffic to the blog.

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A blogger of Sassy Hong Kong has Twitter and Instagrams

3. Both blogs produce original content for sharing on social media channels

Sassy Hong Kong and The Content Strategist conduct interviews in their posts. The former has more content on product and service reviews than the latter.

Improvements

Sassy Hong Kong can improve the blog by producing different types of content e.g. videos. It is now mainly static photos in posts.

Both blogs can encourage readers and customers to leave comments to improve the engagement with target readers and customers. The comment section remains inactive in Sassy Hong Kong‘s posts. Comments are not available posts in The Content Strategist.

Advertisements

Advertisements are available in Sassy Hong Kong and they can be found near the bottom of the posts.

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The blog has different advertising packages: http://www.sassyhongkong.com/partnerships-advertising/

On the contrary, the Content Strategist does not have advertisements as a result of site ownership. Perhaps their customers can be potential advertisers by featuring them in blog posts.

Why Linkedin SlideShare is for Branding

Linkedin SlideShare (SlideShare) is a B2B social media channel for sharing a wide range of genres, including presentations, videos, white papers, e-books, infographics and more. Referred to as ‘the world’s largest professional sharing community’, the channel reached 70 million professionals with  18 million uploads in 40 content categories, ranging from education, technology, government & non-profit, food and more. (Linkedin Slideshare, About us)

The emerging social media channel is one of the few social media channels for B2B integrated marketing communications (IMC) of brands – enhancing pull marketing strategies particularly in SEO (search engine optimization), building brand values and propositions and developing networks with their targeted  and business partners.

Who is SlideShare?

SlideShare was founded in 2006 in India by Rashim Sinha, Jonathan Boutelle and Amit Ranjan.

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Photo source: Utah State University Extention, https://extension.usu.edu/innovate/htm/content-management/slideshare

Backed in 2010, one of founders Rashim shared SlideShare’s vision in an interview with IndiaKnowledge@Wharton, School of Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.  ‘SlideShare’s Rashmi Sinha: ‘We Wanted to Reach Millions’. According to Rashim, she and her husband founded SlideShare they wanted ‘to do something that would have much broader impact’. The vision of SlideShare is to turn ‘Powerpoint’, a common business communication tool into ‘social’. Businesses have to develop original content themselves and build up their networks through knowledge sharing. She said SlideShare generates revenue through its ‘wealth of relevant content’, instead of advertising. In other words, the portal is able to quantify the value of content. Using pay-per-click, ‘Linkedin Lead Generation’ allows businesses to insert contact forms in between slides in order to reach their target customers.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/Slideshare/lead-generation-on-slideshare-howto-guide

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Businesses can collect contact data from customers using contact forms

Even though SlideShare is catered for business professionals, anyone can access to the portal free-of-charge via their Facebook and Linkedin accounts.

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The free access strategy can help businesses to communicate with new customers

Back in 2003 when SlideShare was launched, it had reached 60 million visitors and generated 130 million page views. (Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing). In 2012, Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network, acquired the company for about $118.75 million. (Linkedin, Press Release, Linkedin to acquire Slideshare)

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Slideshare is now under the Linkedin Brand

Photo source: Linkedin SlideShare, http://www.slideshare.net/about/logos)

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Photos source: http://www.slideshare.net/AmitRanjan/yourstory-techsparks-the-slideshare-story

Jonathan Boutelle wrote in his blog that the founders of SlideShare left the company in 2015 (Jonathan Boutelle, SlideShare: The founders have left the building)

Key features of SlideShare useful for IMC

Companies use IMC in order to develop profitable relationships with their customers through targeted messaging across communication channels and data gathering (Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, MMC5506, Week 2 What is IMC?) Users often use an analogy of ‘Youtube version of Powerpoint’ for SlideShare. In addition to presentations, companies can upload documents, whitepapers, infographics, videos on the portal.

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Upload files in SlideShare

Driving traffic

Google will index all SlideShare materials every day in its search engine. Companies can bolster traffic in their slides through adding in title, tags, categories and descriptions in their materials. The ‘discoverability score’ feature can help improve SEO of companies’ content.

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Analytics

Companies can track the performance of the slides including number of clicks of each slides, views, downloads etc.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

Companies can also download analytic reports for data analysis.

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Businesses can select relevant data of and download them

Social sharing

Firstly, professionals will have their Linkedin or Facebook accounts connected to SlideShare. This encourages two-way communications between comapnies and customers.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

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Secondly, companies can improve SEO by sharing their materials in social media platforms including Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and embed them in their websites and blogs.

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Networking with professionals

Companies and business partners and customers can get connected when they ‘Follow’ each other.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

Mobile compatible

Professionals can view all the content in SlideShare via its mobile app.

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Overview of Slideshare mobile app

Statistics show that majority of people outside the U.S. using the app to access to SlideShare. The engagement of users in mobile app is nine times more than desktop. (DMR, By The Numbers: 19 Amazing Slideshare Statistics)

SlideShare strengthens branding

1. SlideShare is pull marketing for businesses

Pull marketing refers to strategies of creating sales of products and services in the interests of customers.(Marketing Schools, What is Pull Marketing)  Consumer behaviours change due to the growth of internet and social media. Companies want their customers to seek out products and services by providing them with customer-focused, targeted messaging. As one of the founders of SlideShare Amit Ranjan said the mission of the company is to visualize ‘language of business’ and use content as a medium to connect people with businesses and vice versa.

Photos source: http://www.slideshare.net/AmitRanjan/yourstory-techsparks-the-slideshare-story

To achieve this, SlideShare initiate special features to help businesses reach their customers by providing targeted and quality content. These include allowing Google to index all content in SlideShare in search engine and sharing content on social media channels, blogs etc. For example, KPMG, known as one of the ‘big four’ audit and accounting firms in the world, has been uploading a variety of content on the company’s SlideShare in order to help them generate traffic for their website dedicated to their social media feeds.

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Snapshot of KPMG Slideshare page

2. SlideShare complements branding

According to Drew Boyd’s video ‘What is a brand’ in Lydna.com,  a brand is ‘a promise to customers’. He talked about five brand processes: brand values, positioning, value proposition, building awareness and measurement. SlideShare is a great tool for companies for branding. Companies can share their industry insights and operational experiences, or being thought leaders to develop brand values. For example, MSL Groups, global communications company, share infographics, documents, presentations and ‘Critical Conversation’ on SlideShare. I was impressed by the company’s e-book of food communications. The visuals of different food products are eye-catching and the content is unique, discussing the trend of communications in food industry.

Presidential candidate of the United States Hillary Clinton also shared videos on SlideShare. (I am not sure if the purpose of opening the portal for Mrs Clinton is for commercial activities. Perhaps she wants to bolster the SEO of her campaign) One of the videos, ‘Trump rooted for the real estate crash’ generated 17,439 views and 16,787 embeds.

I’ve created a prezi to discuss SlideShare is crucial for SEO and branding. Feel free to check this out and leave your comments.

Linkedin SlideShare & SEO

 

3. Professional networking

SlideShare can leverage Linkedin to share share content within professional networks. Businesses and professionals can seek for quality content in the hub and connect with others by ‘following’ the brands or individuals on SlideShare or through Linkedin. Companies can collect contact information from their potential customers by using ‘Lead form’ function from ‘Lead Generation’. They can send or contact their customers with targeted messaging through different means including email marketing. Some companies wants to leverage their employees’ network, allowing them to share companies’ presentations.  For example, IBM allows their employees to share presentations of products, industry trends etc. on SlideShare. (Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing). This can help companies build their networks from their current employees and reach their targeted customers.

References:

Linkedin SlideShare Help, https://www.linkedin.com/help/slideshare

Linkedin SlideShare, About, http://www.slideshare.net/about

Knowledge@Wharton, The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania, SlideShare’s Rashmi Sinha: ‘We Wanted to Reach Millions’, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/slideshares-rashmi-sinha-we-wanted-to-reach-millions/

Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing, http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2013/02/28/slideshare-the-quiet-giant-of-content-marketing/&refURL=&referrer=#68fe23a4561b

Jonathan Boutelle, jonathanboutelle.com,  SlideShare: The founders have left the building, https://jonathanboutelle.com/2015/01/24/slideshare-the-founders-have-left-the-building/

Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, MMC 5006 Introduction to Multimedia Communication, Week 2: What is IMC?

Laura Wallis, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Marketing Schools, What is Pull Marketing, http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/pull-marketing.html

KPMG, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/kpmg?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Social, KPMG, https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/social.html

MSLGROUP, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/mslgroup?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Hillary Clinton, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/HillaryClinton?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Johnny, massplanner, SlideShare and Linkedin Marketing: How to Use the Two Platforms to Grow YOur Business, http://www.massplanner.com/slideshare-and-linkedin-marketing-how-to-use-the-two-platforms-to-grow-your-business/

Marguerite McNeal, AMA.org,  Stacking the Deck with SlideShare, https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/B2BMarketing/Pages/stacking-the-deck-with-slideshare.aspx

Leyl Black, Marketing Bootcamp, 5 Strategies for Using SlideShare in Your Marketing, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242168

Lance Brown, WTWH Marketing Lab, 8 Reasons Why SlideShare is Important for Social Media Marketing, http://marketing.wtwhmedia.com/8-reasons-why-slideshare-is-important-for-social-media-marketing/

DMR, By The Numbers: 19 Amazing Slideshare Statistics, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/slideshare-statistics/

Andri Kristinsson, blog.Linkined.com, Discover the People Behind the Conent on SlideShare Mobile, https://blog.linkedin.com/2014/09/04/slideshare-mobile-update

Kristina Allen, Convince and Convert, Top 5 Slideshare Marketing Tip, http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/top-5-slideshare-marketing-tips/

Drew Boyd, Lydna.com, ‘What is a brand’, https://www.lynda.com/Enterprise-Marketing-tutorials/What-brand/171053/372366-4.html