It’s Good To Share: Blog Tips Included
Blogging for business can be a steep learning curve for both ghost blogger and client. For me, I need to find out as much as possible about the client’s business, what their objectives are, who their target audience is, and what they can offer.
As for the client, they usually have an idea about why a blog is good for their business, but often this is confused with their other marketing efforts. Specifically they may wonder about the content and tone of a blog post: why is it not selling my services or product? And why should I share my knowledge: won’t that just give potential clients the tools to do it themselves?
Why A Blog Is Not A Sales Pitch
The answer to the first question is simple. Traditionally, blogs have been about sharing inspiration, hobbies, opinion and interests. Business blogs have co-opted this format to allow the business to benefit from SEO; to share the company culture and ethos; to position themselves as experts in their field; and to generate leads. This is a softy, softy approach – converting visitors into warm prospects and pushing them gently towards your sales funnel. You can read my post about the difference between blogging and blogging for business, for more on this.
The problem for bloggers who do create “salesy” blog posts is that their bounce rate goes through the roof! People do not expect to read a post and find it heavily weighted to the website owner’s product or services. They expect to be inspired, get the answer to a question, receive some free (mostly impartial) advice, find the solution to a problem, or learn something new. They don’t mind a little bit of sales, it’s the payoff for your time and effort in writing this valued content for them, but no more than a nudge towards your product page, email sign up, or contact details. An occasional promotional post when you have something genuinely new to offer or say is also acceptable, but not all the time.
So if you are considering a business blog, remember it is not the same as putting out promotional content on other platforms. This is content marketing, not advertising.
Why Share Your Knowledge?
The second stumbling point I come across with some new clients is their desire to hold on to any knowledge they have. Understandably many businesses keep their cards close to their chests, it’s not viewed as good practice to share your expertise without a financial exchange. However this is exactly what a good business blog should be doing; sharing information, solving potential customer’s problems, providing clients with answers.
Of course we are not talking about sharing confidential information, or anything that you have serious concerns about your competitors knowing, much of what a business blog shares will be in the public domain anyway. What you are doing is giving this information a personal spin, adding your 10 pence worth and persuading potential clients that you know best!
I break a target audience into the following groups, and this helps to explain why it’s good to share!
DIYers – these people are searching for the answers so they can put it into practice themselves. They are never going to be your client because they are not in the market to sign up with you. They will find this information elsewhere, so the best you can do is ensure that you provide them with good, solid advice. The advantage of these readers is that they are more likely to engage with your post, they’ll be the ones who say thanks, ask further questions and share with others. You can also use them to demonstrate you altruism and your level of service by engaging with them too.
Convertibles – there is a subsection of the above group who set off with the intention of doing it themselves. However, for various reasons (some of which you may have highlighted in your blog: time, expertise etc.) a few weeks or months later they haven’t achieved anything, or been able to maintain their initial start. I come across a few of these in my world! Through my blog I provide the tools to DIY but often this audience is time poor, or their circumstances change, and they come back to me asking me to take over. This is why your tips and advice should be sound: you don’t want to scupper your chances of converting a DIYer!
Newbies – another group are those people who do intend to use your services, or one of your competitors, but are new to buying in these services. They could be someone new to a job and learning the ropes, or a business that is growing and has a need to outsource or dip their toes into something new. These individuals may not be au fait with your world, they may be concerned that they don’t know the jargon or might brief you incorrectly. They may want to understand the processes involved so they can speak with confidence about them, or sell your services to someone else in the business. If you can provide them with this information, you are halfway to a new contract.
Checker Uppers – finally we have the people who are again intending to use you, or buy your product, but want to make sure you know your stuff. They’re looking for content that persuades them that you are the experts, that you can do what you say you do, and more! They probably already know a bit about your area of expertise and therefore will be particularly interested if you have a different approach and what the benefits of this might be. They’ll want to know why they should use you over a competitor and what additional value you can add.
Of course by sharing tips and advice you are essentially pitching for new business. What you are saying is that “here is what we do to provide a successful service, if you use our tips and advice you will be successful too”. However, you can also include a caveat: the reason why your clients use you instead of following your advice to the letter. I might say that although you can read my tips, advice and thoughts on business blogging and apply them to your business blog, wouldn’t your time be better spent doing other things for your business? Have you got time to learn the intricacies of blogging, can you regularly come up with relevant subjects to blog about and reinvent your core message, is your writing up to scratch, and do you understand how to optimise your blog posts for SEO?
If you need to convince one of your colleagues of the value of sharing your knowledge though a business blog, why not point them in the direction of this post?