Ain’t no better post I can reference on how blogs are a networking tool than this post from John Manoogian continuing the Cluetrain Manifesto that marketing is a conversation. Picked it up via Doc Searls’ ‘Long Train Running.’
References buying ads as opposed to networking with others in a social network. But the lesson can be applied equally well in using your blog to network with others in the blogosphere.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of online advertising and marketing activity (including advertising on sites specifically dedicated to facilitating human interaction) is born of an old, one-sided media mindset. While we may be screaming through a bullhorn into the fastest growing online neighborhoods, we’re still largely ignoring the millions of potential customers waiting patiently to talk back……As long as we think of social networks as individual sites, and plan advertising accordingly, we will continue to realize a tiny fraction of the benefit to be reaped from those ad dollars. As long as we see social networks as just another venue for our awesome advertising idea, we’ll continue to be the loudmouths at the party that don’t understand why no one invites us back.
When we’re able to step out of our noise-machine shoes, however, and use social networks like the rest of the world, and join the giant asynchronous conversation, we can begin to connect to our customers in previously unimaginable ways like a collection of regular, real, people.
When using blogs, enter into the conversation with your target audience. Comment on what people are saying. It can be done on your blog or comments on other blogs. Ask for ideas and respond to suggestions made. Your blog is your mouth to be used to converse with others
Otherwise you really are shouting out of a bullhorn at a cocktail party and like John says, you aren’t going to be invited back.