In Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, marketing expert Al Lautenslager offers a dynamic marketing blueprint to help business owners attract more customers and maximize profits. In this edited excerpt, the author describes the benefits your business can get from blogging and podcasting.

In the old days (five to 10 years ago in Internet years), a common question asked of small-business owners was if they had or planned to have a website in their marketing arsenal. Now having a website is almost a prerequisite to being in business. The updated question is now, "Do you have a blog or plan to have one?" A blog is important as you continue to strive for those guerrilla relationships that motivate prospects and customers to take action and/or buy.

Blogging requires the discipline of creating, writing and/or contributing information of value to an interested segment of your target market. If you don't have the discipline, enlist the help of a writer to continually update and make postings of valuable information that prospects and customers are interested in reading.

A blog offers many benefits:

  • A blog can position you even more as an expert. Blogs typically focus on niche areas of a business or specific topics of interest.
  • In the spirit of guerrilla marketing, blogs are low- or no-cost. A small investment in a domain name and a website hosting service will more than put you well on your blogging way.
  • Blogs communicate news and make announcements instantly. Your prospects and customers are interested in the news you make, the news you share and the news you announce. 
  • Blogs allow for the building of communities. The whole concept of "community" is a recent trend in the dynamics of marketing and targeting. Popular blogs become profitable blogs. Blogs become more popular the same way websites become popular: by marketing them.
  • An extension of the community is developing one-on-one relationships. Talk to your audience as if you are having a one-on-one conversation.
  • Blogs have value. Customers and prospects want, need, like and buy value. Information can be very valuable. Don't lose sight of your value proposition along your blogging way. Value also prompts your readers to return for more value. Make your audience hungry or find them hungry, feed them, make them happy again, feed them again, continuously, all with your blog.

Announce your expertise, contribute your knowledge, have conversations and enjoy your relationships with your blog. Guerrilla relationships build guerrilla profits.

Happy blogging!

Podcasting

Distributing audio or video files over the Internet has taken hold. It actually has done more than taken hold -- it's taken off! Podcasting allows for the distribution of information in the form of audio and video to an audience when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.

Podcasting can be described as "push" audio content. The "push" is to a targeted audience or an "on-demand" audience; those who want it. Another way to describe podcasting is that it is essentially downloaded audio files intended for listening on the move. Podcasts show up (pushed) when new content is produced. If you're a subscriber, you get the podcast right then. All you need is an iPod (or MP3 player of any kind) for listening, thus the word podcasting.

It was considered revolutionary when listeners were able to take their music to the beach or the park or in their car, but that typically meant listening to whatever the radio stations were playing. Now, with podcasting, listeners can choose the programs they want to download from the Internet and listen whenever they want.

People are adding podcasts to blogs and websites daily. Businesses are using them for general communication and training. They can be listened to in a car, in an airport, in the park or wherever it's convenient for the listener. 

Just like written communication of any type, or even electronic communication, content is king in podcasts. In the business world, no one really wants to hear their boss preach to them for 20 minutes a week in a podcast. Straight presentation can be long, monotonous and an inconvenience to a listener, regardless of corporate directives.

Content has to be crafted with the listener in mind -- not only their interests but their listening habits. It's a known fact that a listener's patience is less with recorded content than it is with live content.

To create valuable podcast content, think like a radio producer. Radio producers are always aware that a listener can switch stations at any moment for many reasons. That's why they concentrate on the entertainment value of programming, instantly and frequently. Listeners are usually alone when listening and can change stations or turn the program off when not fulfilled, entertained, or informed. The radio producer has to provide value. Value is what the audience will listen to, re-listen to and listen to with a desire for more or the next program (podcast).

Here are a few podcasting pointers:

Provide information of value. Value can come in the form of education, information, inspiration, motivation and entertainment. Don't just broadcast commercials.

Conversations work. This can be accomplished by having someone interview you or by participating in a panel discussion. One-person podcasts are less dynamic by definition. Dynamic content sells.

Remember the 3 Ps of podcasting: promote, promote, promote. Encourage subscribers, sign-ups and raving fans with automatic and periodic updates. Post your podcast availability on your website (with a live link), mention it in your email signature and enlist in podcast directories, including iTunes and podcast.net.

Podcasting is another marketing weapon in your guerrilla arsenal. Market it, just like a product, a person, a service, a company, etc.