Transparent Marketing

If you’re not reading Hugh MacLeod’s Gaping Void, you should be. Hugh is an extremely popular blogger who spends less time pontificating and more time actually growing businesses. Not that he’s a marketing drone — Hugh is where he is today by being extremely creative, in addition to being a grizzled ad man.

Macleod began blogging by posting cartoons drawn on the back of business cards (in fact, he’s still doing it, two years later). The drawings are funny, insightful . . . even poignant. Great cartoons, plus an accomplished marketing thinker and writer, all in one package.

But the most important reason to carefully watch Hugh is to see how he uses blogs (his own and others) to actually sell stuff as a professional blogvertiser. He’s a partner with tailor Thomas Mahon in the bespoke Savile Row tailoring firm, English Cut. He’s also a blogging and marketing consultant to South African winery Stormhoek, helping devise a strategy that doubled sales in the last 12 months.

Michael Arrington (Techcrunch) hosted the Naked Conversations book launch party at his home last weekend. Hugh couldn’t attend, but he made his (and more importantly, his client’s) presence felt.

He delivered ten cases of Stormhoek wine.

Blogger George Nimeh comments on Hugh’s promotional gift:

You can’t buy the kind of endorsement that Michael gives Hugh and Stormhoek, because everyone knows the deal. It is, for lack of a better word, cool. The relationship is transparent, and that matters. We all know what Hugh is up to, but that’s ok. That’s the way it should be.

In other words, honest transparent marketing and communication just plain works.

George nails it. If you’re business blogging, don’t hide behind the log about your intentions. Make absolutely no bones about it:

Yes indeed, I sure do hope to sell you something. And if you feel like I’ve added value to your life in some way with this blog, I hope you’ll give my product or service a bit of consideration.

Ahh… but that’s the rub, right? You had better have already provided some serious value. Otherwise, your transparent marketing is just another hollow sales pitch.

Maybe you can’t draw great little cartoons that get people engaged and keep them coming back (I know I can’t). But you do have to provide exceptional value in a creative fashion.

Click here for Hugh’s help with getting creative.

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