Blogging is not just for hipsters
Nor is just for teenagers with green hair, parents of newborns, your cousin who has too much time on her hands, social media addicts or technology start-ups who think they’re building the next Facebook. Blogging is for YOU, business executive.
For the next five minutes as you read this
blog post article, make me a deal and put aside any stigma associated with the word “blog”. In return I’ll teach you how a company blog will become your most effective new business tool.
The first thing I want you to do is redefine the word blog in your head. Throw away your preconceptions and think about it this way: A blog is nothing more than a very easy way to write and instantly publish words online. That’s it. Now process that thought from a business perspective. If you could write and instantly publish anything you want, what would you write about?
You’d probably write about things that will:
- Showcase your company’s competitive points-of-difference
- Provide your prospects with answers to their questions
- Validate your business in the mind of a potential customer
- Encourage a qualified lead pick up the phone and call you
Blog content ideas that accomplish the above:
- Information about a new service or product offering
- Why your new piece of equipment makes you twice as efficient as your top competitor
- Commentary on the most important thing happening if your industry right now
- A profile on an employee who is the absolute best in the business at what he or she does
- How you managed to come in ahead of time and under budget on a recent customer job
- The 5 most important considerations when hiring a company that does what you do
How you make sure your prospects see your blog posts:
- Email newsletters. Send one out monthly to all of your current customers and leads. Include teasers that link to your blog posts.
- Google searches. If you’re publishing multiple blog posts per month about a specific topic that your prospects search for in Google, your blog posts will find them.
- LinkedIn. It’s Facebook for business. If you’re not familiar, it’s time to learn – I promise that it’s far from rocket science. Posting a link to a new blog post on LinkedIn takes 10 seconds and the targeted audience you’ll reach simply cannot be overlooked. Learn more here.
How a blog post reader becomes a customer:
So here’s where the payoff comes. When prospects discovers your blog posts and the content resonates with them, you earn their respect and you become top of mind. You’ve tackled the brand awareness challenge. But this is where the road ends for a lot of less savvy companies. Why? Because they fail to engage the customer beyond this critical juncture. If you met a prospect a trade show, a business event or on the street and that person expressed interest in your services, would you shake their hand and walk away? Absolutely not.
There is an online equivalent to handing a business card to an interested party, asking for the opportunity to follow up or sending them a brochure in the mail. That equivalent is the strategically placed call-to-action on your website. Ask for their email address on the same page as your blog post so you can send them a monthly newsletter. Ask them to fill out a short form so your sales team can get in touch with them. Prominently place your phone number on the page and suggest that they call you to ask questions about your offering. When you put these calls-to-action in place, converting visitors to leads becomes a reality.
What you need to get started right now:
- A leader. Business blogging success comes from top down. Whether it’s the leader of your department or the leader of your company, you need a respected figure to say “this matters”.
- Educated employees who buy in. Team members need to understand the purpose of a business blog. Communicate the points in this article to them. Educate them. Make them believers.
- A website with the right infrastructure. There’s no getting around this one. Your website needs a shell to house this content in a way that’s easy for your audience to consume. Without that, you lose them.
- A content calendar. Blogging is not a 3-week project or a 3-month project. It’s an ongoing operation and it won’t produce results without strategy, consistency and persistence. A calendar that lets your business plan blog topics and dates while also assigning them to specific people will get you on that track.
If you’re not convinced, feel free to reassign any of those stigmas to the word “blog”. Otherwise, there no better time than now to get rolling.