Diva Marketing Turns 7!

06/06/2011

SevenYear Itch I was thinking of calling this post "The 7 Year (Blog) Itch." Although a blog is not a marriage, in a funny sort of a way, it is a commitment. And relationships are built through posts and comments. So perhaps not so strange?

And at year 7 it's a good time to look back at where you've been and think a bit of where you might go. 

Yes, girlfriend, Diva Marketing celebrates 7 years .. belatedly. Diva entered the blogopshere May 24th 2004 as an experiement. I had no intention of keeping this bebe going for more than a few weeks. I mean, I had a website, what did I need with a blog?

However, within days people began to reach out and welcome me. People like Yvonne DiVita, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Michelle Miller, Tris Hussey, Paul Chaney, Anita Campbell, Bill FlitterStephan Spencer and then Rajesh Lalwani, Marianne Richmond, Elisa Camahort, Nettie Hartsock Geoff Livingston, BL Ochman, Shel Israel and so many more who are still part of my life.

There were few books or workshops about blogs. These were the people who I learned from .. who I skyped & emailed long into the night and who changed my sleep habits for life! 

I quickly realized that blogs were way different from static websites. And so I continued Diva Marketing because I was having too much fun to stop. 

Along the way Diva Marketing changed from a concentration on general marketing and branding to a focus on how to use social media to support brand values/promise by creating and nurturing relationships.

That's what happens with blogs. They morph and change to reflect the interests of the author and the community. 

Diva Marketing turned into a sandbox where I could play with new ideas - In The Moment Marketing, test concepts - Corner Grocery Stores Relations (one day I'll write a book - Everything I know about social media I learned from my grandma!) and learn together - Crowd Sourced Posts with the social media and marketing community .. you! 

Take a 7 for 7 walk down memory lane with me and look back at some of the highlights of Diva Marketing. If it's cocktail hour shake up your appletini or if not Diva-birthday cake pour a cup of java.

#1 - GourmetStation, my first blogging client, launched one of the earliest blogs tied to a commerce site. Founder Donna Lyons Miller bravely agreed to share our learnings on Diva Marketing. The innovative character blog Delicious Destinations was blown up by the "purest" blogerati who later agreed we were right on target. 

Lessons Learned - All initatives must reflect the brand value and promise. Take risks but do not waiver on the mantra of social media: transparency, honesty and authenticy. Work with creative people are willing to take a risk and who believe in you. 

#2 Jupiter Research, the influence of a community of marketing bloggers changed the way this company worked with bloggers, the methodology information it released to the public and developed guidelines for how its PR agency would interact with bloggers. Back-story 

Lessons Learned: One voice, that joins with a larger community, can make a difference and even impact the internal processes of large organizations. 

#3 Blogger Relations Pulse of the Industry research study explored blogger relations from the point of view of 3 audiences: bloggers, agencies and brands. 99 people offered their opinons. Their insights are the basis for several organization's blogger relations programs. 

Lessons Learned: The 5 big take aways remain valid today and expand into social network content providers as well. Take Aways: 1. Know who I am and target my interests. 2. Provide value to me and my community. 3. Tell me about you. Ethics and transparency count. 4. Treat me and my community with respect. 5. Establish a 2-way conversation. 

#4 Social Media Marketing GPS I wrote the first business book based on Twitter interviews; I used Diva Marketing to tell the story. The book is written in 12 chapters and takes you from the what and why of social media to ethics, strategy, tactics, blogger relations and a few case studies. Well over 10k downloads from people all over the world. 

Lessons Learned - Traditional publishers told me the concept wouldn't work. David Meerman Scott suggested I test it by turning it into an a free eBook. Next time I'll ask for eMail addresses .. perhaps a buck a book might be a good idea too (smile!). 

#5 Forbes acknowledged Diva Marketing as one of the best blogs on social media and marketing written by a women. 

Lessons Learned: It's sweet to be given a high sign by a prestigious media company .. but you're only as good as your last post. 

#6 Diva Marketing was almost acquired.What a trip it was when I received an eMail from the X Man that a large blog network wanted to buy Diva. 

Lessons Learned: Keep exit strategies open. If you want to sell your blog you must own your domian and build on a platform like Wordpress that makes it easy to transfer content. 

#7 All The Single Girlfriends Building on the experience from Diva Marketing, social media consulting and training I launched a new social destination. All The Single Girlfriends is the first community focusing on single women 40+ and those who are "single in spirt." 

Lessons Learned: The social/blog space if much more cluttered than when Diva Marketing opened its virtual doors. The competion to build community, even in a niche market, is intense. It takes consistency and time .. and the kindnesses of friends. 

Bonus! Along the way I met amazing people from all over the world. Many of those people were kind to share their insights about social media with us in interviews and Diva Marketing Talks podcasts. The support you've given has added joy to my life. This milestone belongs to you .. and perhaps Max too!

Lessons Learned: The power of social media is the relationships created through your involvement in real interactions with real people. 

So, girlfriend, where do we go from here? 

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Comments

Congratulations, Toby. 7 blog years is quite an achievement! Yes, those of us who believed in the TypePad platform were in for a large disappointment, were we not? They do make it so hard to move out, and staying is painful.

I raise my glass to you for your generosity of spirit -- sharing freely of your experience, resources, and lessons learned is precious. There may be more blogs out there today. Few hold a candle to this kind of commitment.

Posted by: Valeria Maltoni on Jun 6, 2011 7:14:45 PM

@Valeria - thank you for your kind words, they mean the world.

When it comes to relationships, some of my warmest thoughts are of you & me walking the streets of NYC during CK's Blogger Social. As our pal Richard Binhammer says, "Love taking online offline!" I appreciate your friendship.

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 6, 2011 7:34:34 PM

Wow - 7 years is an amazing achievement! Great stuff, Toby!

Posted by: Gavin Heaton on Jun 6, 2011 11:51:08 PM

It's been a delight to have you alongside during my journey - you're one of the pioneers, Toby!

Posted by: Steve Woodruff on Jun 7, 2011 6:53:02 AM

@Gavin - appreciate the blog birthday wishes.
@Steve - ditto!
Perhaps we need to take this offline again sooner than later.

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 7, 2011 8:30:11 AM

Happy blogiversary, Toby! Love your blog and how how you've evolved. My 7 year blogiversary is on September 28...blog on!

Posted by: Denise Wakeman on Jun 7, 2011 10:54:34 AM

@Denise - thanks for your nice thoughts. one of the nicest things about birthday parties .. virtual or offline .. is reconnecting with dear friends!

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 7, 2011 11:19:58 AM

Wow Toby! Congratulations. 7 years is an astounding achievement in this changing-every-day world.

Your blog is one of the most resource-filled on the web, and you are consistently original, funny, and smart.

Meeting you in the blogosphere and offline has been such a wonderful experience. We've been able to cheerlead each other, stay on the phone and email til all hours, goof around, and generally have a most wonderful time.

And oh boy! You bake the world's best brownies! Nobody but my grandmother ever mailed me delicious things she baked. :>)
Love to you girlfiend. Proud to know you.
BL

Posted by: B.L. Ochman on Jun 7, 2011 1:45:59 PM

@BL - I remember when I first "read" you on that listserv out of DC & thought .. this is an amazing super star. To now count you as a true girlfriend is beyond wonderful.

Thanks for your over the top kind words .. payment in brownies

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 7, 2011 5:12:48 PM

Toby,

Happy anniversary! Boy, are we fortunate that your little experiment took hold and kept you writing!

We continue to learn from you in so many ways -- we want an encore of at least another 7 years!

Drew

Posted by: Drew McLellan on Jun 7, 2011 5:38:12 PM

Thanks for sharing these lessons! They're valuable for anyone currently blogging or who is interested in starting a blog.

Posted by: Sarah on Jun 8, 2011 10:58:44 AM

Awesome! This would help us a lot especially to those people who are always sharing blogs. Thanks for sharing though.

Posted by: treb on Jun 8, 2011 1:06:39 PM

I loved reading this post. Very inspiring! It’s great to know that you made it so big, it’s success like these that motivate people to do so much better in life and gives a lesson to never give up. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Posted by: Virtual Business Assistant on Jun 9, 2011 4:07:13 AM

What a fantastic journey it's been together Toby. Congratulations and may this journey continue many-many years to come.

This blog has given me and many of us so many learnings and a dear friend in you.

Thank you for making me a part of this journey :)

Cheers

Rajesh

Posted by: Rajesh Lalwani on Jun 10, 2011 10:49:58 AM

Rajesh - Thank you for your kind thoughts. One of the joys of my social media adventures has been our friendship. I am grateful that you are part of my world and that we are on this journey together. It's been exciting for me to see the growth of BlogWorks and your success. Here's to the next chapter!
Hugs,
Toby

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 11, 2011 12:55:57 AM

Congratulation, Toby! Thanks for sharing these lessons learned.

Posted by: Marshall Kirkpatrick on Jun 12, 2011 1:46:07 PM

Congrats again Toby!

Seven internet years is like 70 "People Years"!

And your site doesn't look a day over 29!

:)
- Brett

Posted by: Brett Dewey on Jun 14, 2011 2:28:16 AM

Thanks Brett! I'm thinking .. a virtual cane might be needed soon ;-) Of course, it would have to have a pink boa wrap!

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jun 14, 2011 7:14:53 AM

Belated congratulations, Toby! You are the most inspiring diva I have ever met and I'm so honored to have you as a friend.

Best,
CB

Posted by: C.B. Whittemore on Jun 17, 2011 6:43:08 PM

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