There's lots of talk in the blogosphere at the moment about 'bling for your blog'. Added to your blog, these little 'widgets' enhance it in some way. It might be about building a network or community, or encouraging conversation or it could be about engaging people. In a minute, I'm going to tell you about one that does all three, but first let me tell you why you need to know about this.
As you may know, my background is in corporate marketing - specifically 'experiential' marketing and 'brand experience'. Now, I don't know the stats off the top of my head, but when selling a product or service - particularly a new one, the clincher is to get that product into consumers' hands, homes and/or lifestyles. That's why brands are so keen to 'engage' their potential customers. If I get your attention but don't engage with you - I'm just making you aware that I exist. If I get your attention and we engage - then we are building a relationship with each other and there is more chance that a sale will follow. That's also why I had food company clients spending between 350k and 3.5m UKP per annum on cooking and tasting demos and free samples outside supermarkets!
So how does this relate to business blogging?
Well, this is a major part of the 'blog marketing' story. It's not all about traffic and Google results, you know. As I said, it's about brand experience, engagement, trust and rapport.
Blogs allow us to build these things because the conversational style tends to mean we reveal a bit more of ourselves. I'm talking about personal 'authenticity' here - being our true selves - not trying to portray an image of what we think people want. If you are working alone or heading a small company, then who you are either is your brand or heavily influences it at least. (Actually, this is one of the reasons why corporates are still slightly afeared of blogs and staff unofficially blogging - what happens if the blogging voice is not 'on brand'?).
Blogs are designed for conversations, sharing, debate - think Comments, Trackbacks, RSS - and again, these activities are all about engagement.
So would you agree then, that you should be doing whatever you can to encourage your blog visitors to engage with you? Of course you should! And this new widget does exactly that in brilliant way... we're talking Audio Comments. Now I already had my Comments and Questions line, but this has distinct advantages:
The MobaTalk Audio Comment System (or MyChingo as its also known as) appears as a little audio player module on your blog or website. Visitors can click on the messages that others have left behind and play them - imagine having people record testimonials, thank yous, congratulations on your great service etc. Hearing an audio testimonial is always going to be more effective than reading something in writing, because we humans communicate using humour, tone, speed, inflection etc. And we are back to authenticity again - you just know when someone is being genuine (or not) when they speak. So, having heard these audio comments, listeners will not only be more inclined to engage, but they are also likely to perpetuate the cycle and leave their own message at some stage.
To do that, all you need do is click on the button and you are taken to a page where you'll see a box to input your name and email address and a set of clickable audio player/recorder controls. Wearing your usual Skype headset, you now click on the record button and talk. It really couldn't be simpler.
Once the visitor has hit the send message button, the comment system host/owner will receive an email letting you know you have a message. You log into your account online and listen to the message. If you are happy to share, you press 'Make Public'.
Have a play around with mine - leave me a message. (It's over there in the left hand margin). And don't worry, if you don't like how it sounds, you don't have to leave it for me - just do it again. This is a seriously good little widget and if you have any business blogging sense at all, you will go get MyChingo now!