Monday, July 6, 2009

Web site review: Viral campaign barely raises a sneeze

In every issue of the Internet Marketing Report print publication, we review a Web site.

What we like ...

Business blogs are often random in nature: Someone blogs about
a product, another about an application, etc.

In contrast, the blog, ResponsibilityProject.com (RP), doesn’t talk about products but
about responsibility and doing the right thing.

Talk about what unites

Any company could adapt this idea these ways:

  • Find a common theme. RP doesn’t talk about the company, LibertyMutual, but about issues that affect everyone (from business buyers to individuals). For example, a post asked whether bringing babies to work was right or wrong. Is it responsible if babies distract co-workers?
  • Give it a news angle. Try to tie posts to news in your niche. Nearly 100 readers responded to a post about grocery store workers who refused to write the name of a three-year old boy on the birthday cake ordered by his parents. The child’s name? Adolf Hitler.
  • Focus on what matters. This blog may not mention the company or products and services, but talking about acting responsibly keeps costs under control while discouraging fraud.
  • It’s integrated. The same message of responsibility runs through the company’s online and offline promotions, including TV ads, its slogan and its Web site.

This blog’s content is manna from online heaven, but it doesn’t do enough to promote it or make it viral. Surely, the point of a blog like this is to get people talking, to encourage people to tell a friend or tell others ...

Even if you don’t have a blog, you may want to try these techniques to
spread the word about news, press releases, products, videos, etc.

  • Increase the visibility of buttons like ShareThis or AddThis. The RP blog has one, but it is small and inconspicuous.
  • Use Really Simple Syndication (RSS) so subscribers get the latest news and posts delivered to their inbox. This blog doesn't even have a subscribe feed with Feedburner, Google's popular syndication tool. Tip: It’s worth explaining to non-technical readers how RSS delivers the latest to a prospect’s in-box or blog reader.
  • Do more with Twitter.com. Twitter isn’t for every company, but this blog’s material is made for that medium. It covers stories like a woman who went through with the threat to her teens, “If you don’t stop that, I’ll stop the car and make you walk.” The blog asks readers if she was right to dump her teens. Nearly every blog these days makes tweeting easy via Hoot Suite or most tools. Not this site. It forces the fan to cut and paste the URL, shrink it, etc., etc. Do I care enough to do that? Not really.
  • Generate more leads. When asked if this blog would increase sales for Liberty Mutual, most people said yes, in a survey at Niftymarketing.We doubt it. It could do more to generate leads without a hardsell.
What needs work

This site has great stuff, which isn't been found by as many people as it deserves to reach.

For example, the one-person blog OrganicMania.com's page rank is five, according to Google Page Rank checking tool. And what is ResponsibilityProject's blog? The same.

Surely, a blog with the resources and power of Liberty Mutual behind it should do better than that? Organic Mania is produced by one person, Lynn, who executes, writes and researches everything on her blog, without the resources of a big company behind her, and with two young children under foot.

Perhaps Lynn could give RP a few tips on social marketing? She's good at it.

Posted by Julie Power, Internet Marketing Report Online editor.


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