Does every brand need to BLOG?

Whenever I engage in a little background digging on a company, I check out their blog. It’s a place where you can get a real feel for their voice, the brand and the people who make it what it is. BUT, there’s nothing worse than seeing a blog whose last post was six months ago. OR WORSE — a post by an intern detailing “A day in the life”.

Don’t blog just to blog. Map out a content strategy or unblog yourself right now! It’s painful to see a blog that is two years old and has four posts. As a company, you need a content strategy just as much as you need an active sales pipeline.  If the thought of blogging makes your team break into hives, create subject silos. Mondays, health. Tuesdays, lifestyle. Friday, weekend activities. A broad-strokes calendar will make the process less intimidating. Then assign. There has to be accountability, or fingers will get pointed and shoulders shrugged. Make it fun and competitive. Whoever has the lowest page views buys the whole group a round of margaritas.

The simple fact is the content already exists. It just needs to be organized, prioritized by what’s most relevant and interesting, and posted with tags. Yes, tags. If you aren’t employing SEO into your posts, you’re losing thousands of potential eyeballs.

Regardless of what your brand is, you can always find something to talk about, even if you’re a dentist.  Did you see the Country Music Awards on Sunday? (Neither did I, so Google it). Who had the best smile? Pick, write a few lines, tag, post. So easy.

This brings me to Trader Joe’s, the social-media resistant brand I’m doing a deep dive on this semester. Deeply resistant to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and of course, the blog as well. But here’s the catch — they already have the content. Tons of it, updated weekly to their web site.  Their “Fearlessly Featured Flyer” Products and “What’s Cooking” Recipes are chock full of the things blog posts are made of:

FearlessFlyer

TraderJoesRecipes

Right now, they live only on their web site, or you can “Print Recipe” and share. I can’t remember the last time I actually printed something, but yes, these  “printer people” still exist…but not forever. And if you’re a green company, how ’bout saving some trees?

Who’s doing it right? Whole Foods with their WHOLE STORY blog. WholeFoodsOfficialBlog

Their team divvies up the posts from products on sale to socially relevant news, such as “12 Ways to Stop Wasting Food” and “Earth Month Tips for Food Choices”.  Nothing political, just relevant Green news.

12WaysToStopWastingFoodEarthMonthTips

As I’ve mentioned before, if your brand isn’t in control of their social media, someone else will grab the traffic, and present themselves as your brand’s “biggest fan”. While they may be, they’re also gleaning free traffic and making $$ off  Google Adwords posted to their blog. If you’re a small company this is likely not happening. If you’re Trader Joe’s, it is:

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You definitely want people talking about your brand and promoting your products, but who knows your product better than you do? If you’re not at the top of the search findings, you’re lost. Trader Joe’s needs to BLOG for itself!

WholeFoods, you made my DigiDay yet again.

Rainbow

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Trader Joe’s Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Social Media!

Is it arrogance, laziness or pride in the printed word that prohibits some of the country’s biggest brands from going social? When it seems as though everyone has a social media presence (even your dentist) how do the biggies like Apple, Trader Joe’s and Viagra still shun it? Well, Viagra I can see why some users might want to keep their fandom in the drawer…but the others?

Last week I was pulling out crumpled up paper from my tiny NYC mailbox when I spotted Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. The printed black and red flyer expanded into one full sheet that was covered in text. My eyes glazed over and I was about to toss it in the trash with the rest of the direct mail directly ignored by me — save for my new digital project. The project of finding a social media strategy for one of the last holdouts, Trader Joe’s.

The printed flyer (made out of recycled paper) is chock full of recipes and interesting historical tidbits about their products. Who would have known? No one under 50!

TraderJoes

A Twitter search produces multiple Trader Joe’s handles — none of which the company monitors itself. Savvy marketers are creating their own Trader Joe’s handles with recipes to capture fans of the company’s products and then drive to their own web sites and blogs. If you don’t “own” your social media, other enterprising individuals will. Go ahead, let “Cooking with Tracey J” take your fans for free:

TraderCopycat

@TraderJoe’sList has 34,000 followers, and Darth Vader holding a recyclable bag, and drives to someone’s Tumblr blog:

TraderJoesList

I snapped a couple photos when I passed the Trader Joe’s in Union Square earlier today, capturing their storefront advertising:

TraderJoestorefrontTraderJoeBillboard

Ah, they’re directing traffic to their web site — ok, maybe this is where the magic is. Check it out they have the Fearless Flyer in 3D!

TraderJoe's3d

Can’t wait to experience it…and a click leads to:

3dpost

Oh…a product image that’s been photoshopped to “look 3D”. Trader Joe’s you got me! The execution is just “hokey”. Yes, that’s the only word I can think of. But if that’s their voice, go with it.

A Facebook icon will let me share this with friends, but why would I want to? So my friends can bean me in the head with this can? People like to share what they think is interesting content, a product description is not. Recipes on the other hand are what sharing is made of.

TraderJOesFBshare

With annual sales of over $8 billion in 2011, Trader Joe’s is hardly headed for bankruptcy, but to sleep on social media is just careless. All it takes is one PR disaster to muddy your reputation and plunge sales. If you can’t defend yourself online and monitor product rumors, your non-corporate corporate ass will be grass. Trust me, the internet is here to stay.

Oh, and Whole Foods with over 3 million Twitter followers, 55K+ tweets is kicking your cyber-butt! Follow them, maybe you’ll learn something.

WholeFoodsTwitter

Trader Joe’s, you did not make my DigiDay, but I’m on the case!

Rainbow