Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Is Blogging Dead?

April 30, 2014

Yes, some say. Many disagree. If you don’t yet have one or you’re questioning the value of yours, here’s some encouragement.

ImageYou may occasionally come across articles claiming that blogs are a waste of time for businesses.

Tell that to Marriott. Or to Kia Motors, or to Virgin Atlantic.

Sure, you may be saying to yourself. But they have dedicated writers and other resources that I don’t.

You also don’t have global eyes on you, and high-level expectations. A blog is your little corner of the internet – the only one you have complete control of – that you can use to introduce yourself to customers and prospects, helping them solve problems and be a part of a community.

You can also market your products and services on a blog, occasionally and quietly, but your website is really the best venue for that.

I’m a strong proponent of business blogs for many reasons, including:

  • They’re very inexpensive — or free — to produce.
  • They provide value to your customers and prospects.
  • They can serve as a marketing tool.
  • They help you hone your communication skills.

The best blogs share many common characteristics. They have intriguing titles and strong first paragraphs. They’re not overly long, and they don’t use a lot of ten-dollar words. They incorporate eye-catching visuals, both in their designs and as content (photos, videos, etc.). They provide information that helps people, information that educates or otherwise engages them. They might answer a nagging question, help the audience help their own customers, or make them laugh or get misty-eyed.

Probably the number one reason why some businesses haven’t started blogs is because they don’t think they have the time or talent to do it well and/or keep it going. They may also think that there’s no way to “monetize” it, to generate sales from it.

I know companies who used to have that mindset – until they sat down and put some effort into it, recognizing their own goals, strengths and limitations. And while they didn’t often see prospects coming on board or existing customers upping their orders as a direct result, they realized that a.) it was not always easy to know whether a blog post triggered a sale, and b.) they looked at their blog as added value to their customers.

If you’re not blogging – or not blogging well – because you’re struggling with creating compelling content, consider these suggestions:

  • It doesn’t always have to be compelling. A how-to on looking for warning signs of trouble with your vehicle or your furnace or your accounting software isn’t going to sizzle, but it shows concern for your audience’s problems.
  • Know who you’re addressing. Create a set of “buyer personas,” groups of customers and prospects with similar needs. Some posts may have universal appeal, but write some with a more targeted focus.
  • Tell a story sometimes. Make it about yourself or a friend of business associate. You might write one as a problem/solution scenario related to a benefit of a product or service you sell. Find ways to market your company’s offerings subtly.
  • Be clear on your content’s purpose. Know ahead of time what you’re trying to accomplish. Put it in one sentence for yourself.
  • Read other blogs. The best way to improve your writing is to read.
  • Just write. If you lack confidence, do it anyway. You may surprise yourself. Write your posts as quickly as you can the first time, without stopping to scrutinize or to search for pithy phrases. That’s why they call it a “rough draft.”

And finally, isolate yourself. Don’t check email or Twitter or give into any of the internet’s other temptations. It takes time to get back into blog-writing mode every time you’re interrupted – as long as 25 minutes, according to one expert.

Months down the road, you can start to evaluate your progress. Blogs take time to build an audience. And they can build an audience for you, once you find a formula that matches your company’s own values and goals and personality.

 

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