By Sharon A.M. MacLean
I analyzed websites for 38 business organizations this week; only 3 had blogs. My regret for these companies is knowing they are leaving business on the table.
Here’s the most common reply to my question about whether the executives or their staff might consider publishing a blog for their business. “No—there isn’t any time. I also have no idea what to blog about.”
“Oh, by the way,” they continue, “Can you help me find more clients online?”
First, your blog is an asset that introduces you as a thought leader. It’s the same guideline we used at the magazine I published: Resist talking about your own business in favor of teaching your audience about the industry you’re in. This approach helps define your reputation as someone trustworthy in your community.
The next step evolved alongside the digital world. You become something more than a business blogger, you are an online publisher. As publishers, we created relevant content, determined how to shape the stories, and we defined advertising opportunities that aligned with the content.
Business blogging also helps with Search Engine Optimization which means the more blogs you publish, the more indexed pages you create for search engines. Finally, a blog gives you real estate to generate leads. It’s where you might ask followers to attend a seminar or to download a free guide that you have—the first step in the buying process.
Hubspot which has a reputation for creating some of the best marketing content available online offers these insights:
- Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors;
- B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads/month than those who don’t;
- B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads/month than those who don’t.
What about finding topics to blog about? It’s a frequently heard challenge. You can start by thinking about the most popular questions that customers ask. They want to know about industry trends, comparative prices of products or services in your industry, and what’s in it for them. Read benefits.
Here’s 3 more tips.
Repackage: Start with something simple. Look around for existing content. I clearly remember my early days with Easter Seals. They were convinced there was no existing material to share—until we dug around their old filing cabinets and came up with an entire history of the organization that had never been captured. It offered an opportunity to showcase the inner workings of the non-profit. Re-packaging can do the same for your business.
What about those hidden jewels in your organization? Hand them a pad of paper, and ask them to write down those questions that customers ask all the time. Those hidden jewels lead to rich content.
Guest posts. Not everyone wants to write a regular blog. Yet, some might be delighted to write from time-to-time. Pitch them the benefits around guest blogging that starts with exposure outside their normal readership and potential inbound links that can help them rank better in search engines.
Curate content. This approach will help you shape a content mix, so you needn’t be responsible for generating original content by yourself. Most people are going to be really flattered if you want to share their content. Ask for permission before you curate their work and make sure you credit the author. Add links for everyone’s benefits.
Mike Koenig’s 10 x 10 x 4 formula. Mike is the founder of Instant Customer responsible for creating an automated email marketing system that I use to help business with their online marketing. Here’s the formula.
- Write down the top 10 frequently asked questions about your product or service.
- Write down the top 10 questions a potential buyer should be asking you about your product or service. These are the important things that differentiate you from your competitors and tap in to the experience, skills and knowledge that you’ve acquired over your career.
- Record 20 short Q&A videos asking and answering each of the questions you wrote in steps 1 and 2. Each Q&A video should be 30 seconds to 2 minutes long.
- Record 4 short mini videos
At the end of each video, you tell people where to go to get the entire 20-video series which “…answers the most important questions you should ask before…” making a purchasing decision.
Enter your name and email to get all 20 videos. Put this on your video lead capture page. It’s your chance to connect with the visitor and explain your offer and why they should sign up.
As your own publisher, you will do all of these things for your company to ensure that the content you create is valuable to prospective customers and is delivered in a way that can find customers for your business.
Blog for your business.
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.