Everyone has a blog, right? It’s the “in” thing to do! Virtually every single marketing consulting firm will tell you to blog. And they should, it works. When you do it right.
Blogging isn’t about advertising. It’s not a place to push your products or services. Blogging is about sharing your knowledge to help establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field.
Too often are business blogs containing post after post with the structure of:
1. Do you have problem X?
2. You know what would solve that problem? Widgets!
3. Widgets are awesome! And affordable! And the “newest thing”! The silver bullet to business success!
4. Hey, guess what?! I sell widgets!
5. Come get them from me, your best friend and widget dealer!
6. Get them at 1-800-I-Love-Steve’s-Widgets or www.Widgets-Are-The-Coolest-Thing-Ever.com !
It may be veiled in some clever rhetoric, but that’s really what it is. That is not blogging – that is advertising. Blogging in sharing your knowledge, your expertise, in a way that helps establish you as an expert, which indirectly shows that you are trustworthy, reliable, and not solely focused on separating people from their money.
But why is this important? Why sharing and not selling? Firstly, let’s be honest, no one likes salespeople. And if your blog sounds like a commercial, some people may read it once or twice, but the views and visits will taper off. That’s part of the intrigue of DVR – skipping commercials.
The famous Zig Zigler once said: “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”
When I read that, I was tempted to write in here that too often we (bloggers) skip step 1 (getting people to like you), but now, after a little bit more reflection, I don’t think that’s really accurate. I think we skip step 2 – getting from “like” to “trust.” That’s the problem with those aforementioned posts – they assume people trust them. But becoming a “Trusted Advisor,” as sales trainer David Sandler would say, takes much more work than we often expect. Blogging is the bridge that builds trust. Sort of like the Circle of Trust, from Meet the Parents, but this is the Bridge of Trust.
But how do we build that trust through blogging? By sharing things that you find to be relevant to your industry or your customers. And no, the answer isn’t: “My product is relevant.”
So here area few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of blogging for businesses:
Do: Post relevant articles from your industries and reflect on them.
Don’t: Use that reflection space to push your products.
I.E. : Posting an article about the importance of Mobile Marketing, then responding with “yes, mobile marketing is really important… We do mobile marketing!!” Bad.
Rather, respond to articles with how that information has helped you, or not helped you as a business owner. Or how other companies have used mobile marketing effectively. Or how you’ve been effectively mobile-ly marketed to by other companies.
Given that (above)…
Do: Include information about other companies… not your competitors, but acknowledge that other companies exist and we can learn from them.
Don’t: Assume you operate in a vacuum. Being willing to show examples of other people doing things well helps build trust and shows that you’re not an arrogant jerk.
I.E. : “Hey check out this article about Deloitte’s ‘Web of Entanglement’ marketing strategy – its a pretty unique approach to social media. I think this may or may not work for me because…”
Do: Include your contact information in the header or footer of your blog.
Don’t: Include it at the end of every single post. It’s just annoying.
Do: Wrap up your blog posts smoothly.
Don’t: Close them with: “For More Information about widgets…” (see above.. annoying).
There are countless tips and tricks to blogging for your business. But hopefully, these few can help you get started down the path of becoming a “Trusted Advisor” to your clients, rather than a mere supplier or salesperson.