Last week, in a conversation called Traffic, Readers, and Colleagues — Are They Customers? I asked how you might help a new blogging business connect to customers in the offline world. A comment by SpaceAgeSage was so packed with ideas, that I asked if she might package them up, elaborate a bit, and offer them to you in the form of a guest post. I’m delighted to share this with you.
In Search of the Elusive Non-blogging Customer
Liz is on a quest to bring blogging enlightenment to non-bloggers who are a vast and mainly untapped population of potential readers and customers. She recently asked in a post, “How would you help a new blogging business connect to customers in the offline world?” With a small and humble background in the brick-and-mortar world of public relations and journalism, I offer the following ideas:
Contact local organizations in your niche
Talk face-to-face with local groups and organizations associated with your niche and ask politely for a blurb in their online or hard copy newsletter. Offer to be a guest speaker for one of their meetings if applicable. One time, as a martial artist teaching self defense classes, I went to the biggest real estate organization in my area and asked them to send out my flyer in their monthly packet to members.
You can find contact information by looking for the meetings section in the newspaper, finding a national website for an organization and then asking for local contacts, talking to your local librarians (they know a lot), and calling up buildings or facilities where such groups might rent space for meetings.
I come from small town, America, but one of the most productive resources I have used is the “Welcome Wagon” lady. She takes packets of information, flyers, and coupons to every new home buyer or new rental she can find. If no one is home, she hangs the plastic bag full of promotional materials on the door.
Look beside you
As Liz says, “Look to the customers standing right beside you.” Family, friends, bowling buddies, classmates, colleagues at work, and members of organization you belong to, including your local church, could be a rich source of customers or people who can network you to customers.
When you do this, realize that not everyone understands blogging. I just recently spent a weekend changing one friend’s mind who avoided any internet connections because she had relatives endangered by some online activities. Remember, you get to be an ambassador for the blogging world and a business person!
Find non-blogging experts to interview
Write or email top non-blogging experts (authors, professors, business leaders) in your niche area and politely ask to interview them. They will tell everyone where to find the interview.
As a journalist, I was told never to let anyone read my story before it went into the newspaper. Trust me, though, any potential interviewee would love to be able to edit your work before your post goes live. You may want to offer this to the expert to make them more likely to give you the interview. Also, when querying them, let them know what you want to ask them, who will be reading your blog, and how the interview will be conducted (live, phone, or answers returned via email). After you post, send them the link so they can forward it easily to others, and please remember to thank them! They may be able to steer other interviews your way (or my way!)
Utilize press coverage
Write a press release to get coverage in your local paper. Focus your press release on either your blog or blogging. If you write about blogging in general, just make sure to use your site as a highly profiled example. Tell your local press that blogging is a “lifestyle,” and they will perk up their ears.
Online sites exist with free information on how to write a press release, but just remember the “who, what, when, where, why and how.” Also here are three tips:
- Sending a press release may get noticed, but not as much as having a face-to-face with a reporter or editor
- Journalists like to eat and may listen better over a meal that you offer to buy
- During slow news days, reporters fight for news â€“ that’s when you want to talk to them, not when a tornado has leveled a subdivision.
Find online Web forums, message boards, discussion boards, discussion groups, bulletin board, etc., in your niche subject outside the blog world and jump in. Be nice, be real, and give as much as you can when promoting yourself. You can find forums often attached to magazines, to newspapers, to activities, to organizations, and to web sites of companies that complement your niche and product.
Become a “YouTuber”
Make a YouTube video about yourself, your blog, or your product. Make it fun, funny, or interesting. I know of a company that sells equipment for autopsying lab rats for scientific study, and even it has “how-to videos.” (No, I did not watch them.) Just one video that “goes viral” can rocket anyone into stardom for a day or month. Be ready to utilize any generated traffic in ways that maintain these new readers to your blog.
Team up with complementary non-blogging businesses
Let’s say your blog is about astronomy, and your product helps people find or see the stars during different seasons. The RV online and offline community is huge. You might be able to team up with them in a mutually beneficial way. Think outside the box. Maybe schools, or home schooling groups, or the local hiking club would find your product interesting, too. It never hurts to ask politely. As my husband says, until you ask, the answer is always, “No.”
Best wishes with your quest to find the non-blogging reader and customer!
Thanks, Sage! You’ve got me busy with an entire list of things we can do.
–ME “Liz” Strauss