Branding through Blogging:

Rosemary Coates is the President of Blue Silk Consulting specializing in supply chain planning and execution.  She has extensive knowledge and experience in manufacturing and outsourcing in China, and has worked for extended periods in both Asia and Europe. Rosemary recently released her first book, 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China, (available at Amazon.com).

I sat down with Rosemary to discuss how she is using her blog (http://rcoates.wordpress.com/) to brand Blue Silk Consulting and to promote her book:

Question: When did you start blogging? And how did you get started?

Rosemary: I started blogging a couple of years ago, after I took a night tour of the FedEx hub in Memphis.  I wanted to share that fantastic experience with everybody.  A colleague of mine encouraged me to set up my first blog and write about the tour, so I did.

Over the next year or so, I wrote about a variety of topics, mostly around Supply Chain. Then for a while, I wrote about all kinds of different topics and interesting people.  Lately, I have been blogging mostly about China, especially while I was writing a book about sourcing in China.  So over time, the themes and topics changed and my blog writing style has matured.

Question: How have you used your blog in your business? How significant a role has blogging played in your marketing efforts both for your company and your book?

Rosemary: Everything that is put on the Internet is permanent in one form or another. Because I blog on line about my area of expertise, I am very careful about what I write. I know it will be on line somewhere, forever and I want my writing to represent me very well.  At the same time, I try to make the blog interesting and readable and thought provoking.  I also want my blog to help establish my China expertise.  As a result, my blog is a very important component of my overall marketing strategy to promote my expertise and my book.

Question: How has blogging impacted you professionally? What rewards have you achieved as a result of blogging?

Rosemary: During the process of writing my book about China, I did an enormous amount of research.  From time to time during the process, I blogged about a subject I was researching such as shadow factories or quality fade.  Blogging helped me to clarify the information on a topic and make connections to other topics.  It also gave me an outlet to voice my opinions.

For me, blogging rewards are all personal.  I am proud of my writing and want to share my China expertise and interest with other professionals.

Question: What blogging platform did you use to start with? What are you using now and why?

Rosemary: I started out with Yahoo 360 hosting my blog, but they ended that product and service, so I moved my blog to WordPress.  WordPress has a nice statistics page where I can track the activity on my blog.  It’s also pretty easy to use and offers customization choices.

Question: What has the response been from your customers/clients?

Rosemary: I am often told that my clients and potential clients visit my web site and click through to my blog.  I try to add a compelling title and photo to all of my blog entries so people will read it, and the response has been very good.  People do find it interesting and I have quite a regular following.

My blog is also linked on LinkedIn so anyone looking at my LinkedIn profile can click through to my blog

Question: What other types of marketing do you use – both social media and traditional?

Rosemary: I sell almost all of my consulting engagements through referrals, so my company marketing is limited.  I do some marketing with brochures and at networking events, and on-line with Facebook, LinkedIn, my Web site and my blog.  If someone is looking for me and the services I provide, I am pretty easy to find.

Question: What has worked best for you?  Is it one particular tool or is it a combination?

Rosemary: I use a combination of tools to stay connected with my former clients and to be found by new ones.  Social media is a basic requirement of doing business today. It’s expected. It is also a way to establish the professional profile I want to project to the business community.

For further information on Blue Silk Consulting please visit www.bluesilkconsulting.com or go to Rosemary’s blog at www.rcoates.wordpress.com

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