Welcome to the second of the Blog-Friday Interviews! (I just came up with that name on the spot, sorry!) With us here is Dan London, from Lulu.com's blog! Lulu.com is a self-publishing website that thousands of people have become familiar with and use frequently to get books, photo-books, CDs, DVDs and more into distibution, or just to have a personal copy of it. Dan's job is to make sure the public can follow what's going on!
STN: Hi Dan. What can you tell us about your job at Lulu.com?
Dan: I have been with Lulu since 2006 and have been in charge of all of our online marketing. This includes all of our Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search and display ads. I do a few other things, but those are my main responsibilities.
STN:How did you end up in charge of posting blogs in such a large company?
Dan: We had been running a Lulu blog on Lulu.com at one point, but I wanted us to launch one that gave us a bit more flexibility. By putting the blog on its own URL (www.lulublog.com), we get more visibility and have the ability to maximize our natural traffic. We have a social teamthat manages the blog now ( I am on that team).
STN: Do you have your own personal blog, or are you entirely based on Lulu.com? (If yes) What do you do with your own blog?
Dan: I do have my own blog (www.dan-london.com). My blog really has no set theme or posting schedule. I talk a bit about publishing, marketing and sports. I use it mainly to try to brand myself.
STN: What advantage does blogging have for the company?
Dan: We can get out messages that we want to convey to Lulu users pretty quickly using a blog. We recently had quite a few users pose questions about shipping and customer service. We used the blog to respond to some of the issues and the comment feature of the blog enables readers to pose questions they might have. We also use the blog for special promotions, how-to’s and to highlight content.
STN: How do you decide what's appropriate for the site?
Dan: We get together as a team once a week and discuss topics. Nick, the social team lead, is planning on a weekly post that will feature questions submitted by readers. We try to come up with topics that Lulu users would find interesting or helpful.
STN: What should businesses include in a blog? Is it always appropriate/necessary to have one, do you think?
Dan: A blog can be a great marketing tool as well as a way to communicate with customers. It isn’t necessary, but can make the process easier. What is included in a blog will depend upon the goals of the company. Some may use it to give the customers a bit of transparency into the company while others will use it to simply promote the business. We try to do a mix of both.
STN: What advice can you give to bloggers, new and established, to improve on quality and traffic?
Dan: Fresh and useful content is the key. If all the messages re strictly marketing focused, the readers will tune out. Try to write content that readers will want to share. Good content will get “Tweeted” and “Dugg” and the readership of the blog will increase.
Thanks again to Dan for the chance at an interview. Those links again are: www.lulublog.com and Dan's personal blog, www.dan-london.com. Don't forget to also check out Lulu.com for yourself, and follow Dan and Lulu on Twitter!
And the final of our three interviews this Friday? Well, it's none other than International Bestseller Darren Shan!!