Time The Outdoors Industry Throws Bloggers A Little Meat On The Bone

Having written this blog for what is going on nearly a decade, I feel uniquely positioned to comment on this matter.   Quite honestly, a large segment of the outdoors industry just doesn’t seem to get it.   What am I talking about?   I’m talking about using bloggers as brand ambassadors to help promote their new products and spread the word why other outdoorsmen (aka readers) should consider using their product line.

Case in point.   Recently I received a nice package in the mail from a product manufacturer who shall remain unnamed in this blog post.   The outdoors company doesn’t really matter.   What truly matters is what the package contained.   Did it contain a new product soon to be on the store shelves?   NOPE!   Did it contain a product redesign promising improved performance in the field.   NOPE!   Did the package contain anything of value to this blog’s readers?  Likely NOT!   What did it contain?   SWAG…a fancy way of saying promotional nick-nacks.   A baseball cap, some gloves, some pens…I think you get the picture.

C89qngvxAs bloggers we are constantly on the lookout for content.   You know, the stuff we tend to write about.   If I know a company has an array of cool products and all they send me is a baseball cap, what do they expect out of me?   Seriously, if you want me to test and talk about your product then put the product into my hands.

During the past year I can count on one hand how many outdoors companies have contacted me to give their product a test.   In most of those instances I declined the offer as: #1) I was either not inspired about the product; or #2) the product didn’t really fit my blog’s audience.   In each case I thanked the company for the offer and explained my reasoning to them.

Now mind you when someone sends me a gift—no matter what it is—I don’t want to sound unappreciative.   Yes, the hat and accompanying items was very nice and I will put them to use.   Still, how can these companies be swinging and missing so in the marketing game?   After all, if they really believe in their products doesn’t it stand to reason they need to put them into the hands of people who can expose them and enlighten others to the product’s great benefits?

Bloggers are the perfect ambassadors to promote a product.   They publish on the web which makes what they do very searchable by anyone putting in those key words.   Bloggers are required by the FCC to be forthright and honest in the fact the evaluation was sponsored and accurate to the best of their abilities.   Plus, most bloggers will give products a thorough testing and scrutiny because they realize their reputation is as much as stake just as the product being tested.   By default I believe most bloggers want to be fair and accurate.

So, it really befuddles me why the outdoors industry isn’t doing a better job at understanding bloggers and putting into their hands the sort of tools they need to generate lively, interesting web content.   Oh, sure, when a package arrives in the mail it’s always nice to receive something new no matter what it is.   But, sort of like the dog who usually only gets tossed a bare bone.   Next time leave a little meat on that bone and watch how the dog attacks it with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Discover The Power And Potential With A Future Of Blogging

Indulge me one more day to do some writing about blogging and what potential it has.   After all, tomorrow is this blog’s 9th anniversary so look at this post as sort of a “state of the state” message on where things are currently at and and where they eventually will be.

Folks, blogging has transformed into one of the most dynamic facets of the Internet.   I certainly could not have envisioned that possibility back 9 years ago…but that’s what it has become.   Let me explain.

C619587_lOne of the best selling marketing books you can find these days is called YOUTILITY: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype.   If you sell anything on the Internet I urge you to run out to the bookstore and get this read NOW!   Don’t delay.   This book will change the way you think.

Actually, that’s one of the troubles with marketing.   If you are doing just about anything Online the same way you were doing it, say five years ago, you are nearly completely missing the boat, so to speak.   Terms such as SEO, Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Analytic Conversion, Responsive Websites, and others all need to become part of your lexicon.

So, what does all of this have to do with blogging, you ask?   Well, it has EVERYTHING to do with blogging.   As you will learn in YOUTILITY, a website which also contains a blog (properly written) has the potential of increasing that website’s traffic 5 times with just a minimum of 15 blog posts each month.

Now, consider that for a moment.   You can pay Google Adwords to send traffic to your website on a cost-per-click basis potentially spending thousands of dollars or you can simply blog about content answering the same questions that people are searching for on Google and accomplish even more.

Consider this case study about blogging.  Here, the small business by just having pertinent information helping people on the Internet was able to double their web traffic.   Also, consider this…when people read the blog and begin trusting you, doesn’t it also stand to reason they will likely hire you when they need some assistance beyond their basic skills?

Okay, enough on the nuts and bolts of blogging for marketing purposes.   The point I am trying to make is blogs have tremendous power and potential for the future.   A website that is designed and never updated for months or years is simply boring to search engines.   Yet, a blog that seems to hit all the key words and appears to stay fresh on a fairly consistent basis will drive those search engines and web crawlers sheer crazy.

All of this being said, I am here to tell you blogging isn’t going away anytime soon.   In fact, the day is soon drawing near when most folks will discover (if they already haven’t) how blogging has become a vital part of our Online world.   Blogging has a way of building relationships through trust, helping those who are in search of relevant information, entertaining and informing of news or issues.   In a nutshell, blogging is about helping people (you, the readers) and not a self-promoting, ego-inflating mechanism for the blogger to become someone they certainly are not.

As I travel full-steam forward with Sportsman’s Blog, I certainly don’t plan to make any substantive changes to what this blog has become.   On the other hand, it is my hope to begin blogging with even more of a focused purpose in mind.   When readers have questions about the outdoors and I’m in a position to answer it, I plan to share that information in a helpful, succinct fashion.   I also plan to share more information my peers in the blogging world happen to be discussing.

There’s some great outdoors hunting and fishing related content being produced by bloggers these days and I hope to long continue being part of that world.   I’m rather proud to say I’ve been blogging for nine years because when I started out many folks didn’t even know what the heck blogging was about.   Guess what?   In the years to come I’m convinced EVERYBODY will be understanding exactly why blogging is so powerful and packed with so many possibilities for all of us who use the Internet.   Just wait and see.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.