Why should businesses blog? There are three vital reasons your business cannot afford not to blog: one, your customers read blogs to get opinions on seller evaluation; two, your competitors blog to make themselves visible to buyers; and three, your influencers are inspired to recommend your products – provided recommending your blog as a resource makes them look good.
Add to all this the incontrovertible truth emanating from research from various reliable quarters like Hubspot: 79% of online shoppers spend 50% of their shopping time researching products online; 77% of Internet users read blogs; Internet users in the US spend 3x more time on blogs than they do on email; 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority; 346 million people read blogs throughout the world; and 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
Content marketing – via business blogging – is probably the only way to get anyone to buy anything online!
What is content marketing? It is a way for your business or brand to start publishing an online “magazine” (also known as a blog!) where regularly fresh articles are written on subjects where the brand wants to showcase its expertise – or educate its consumers.
Why has content marketing via blogging become so vital to consumers? It’s because on the Internet, it’s very hard to tell a great brand from a so-so one. Consumers are exposed to brands and businesses from all over the world, some of whom they have heard of – and others they may not even know. When you look at brand websites, it’s quite possible that a mediocre brand has a great website and looks better than it really is in service and products. A great brand, on the other hand, may look dull and boring but really have great services, products and values. How does a customer tell the difference?
This is where blogging for business comes in. When your brand has to produce articles of real value to customers, day in and day out, the sheer test of volume and frequency of great blog posts will soon separate the poor brands (without much to say for themselves) from the brands with strong values, opinions and a lot to share with their consumers. Longevity and quality in blogging has thus become a yardstick of seller-evaluation to buyers online, who are exposed to an overload of competitive brands and businesses.
The same reasons also apply to another interesting fact. In the earlier days of physical selling from retail outlets, people bought products, and then came into contact with the brand’s service component and finally, also became curious about the person behind the successful business. Notice how this whole equation has now been completely turned on its head. People first buy into the personal brand of a blogger, and then they check out a trial of the person’s service-orientedness, and finally buy into the products the person sells.
What this means is that brands and businesses have now to lead their marketing via blogging. Your blog post is the first taste of your brand that a potential buyer gets. Your blogging frequency is the second yardstick a buyer gets of your brand having something substantial to say with regularity. The more you have to educate the consumer with, as your archive of blog posts grows on your site, the more your business and your brand are valued as worthwhile to explore buying from!
3 ways to produce authoritative blog posts that aid your customer in evaluating you positively!
Since blog posts actively stimulate positive resonance with your brand or business, you have to keep these three points in mind when using your business blog to woo customer opinion:
1. Always put your best foot forward. You have to write a lot but you cannot overlook quality.
Remember, that even if you are writing a lot of blog posts, your prospective customer’s opinion of you can be made or broken with just any one of your blog posts. You simply cannot afford to let go of quality in rush to trundle out quantity of blog posts. You have to take the trouble to research your subject thoroughly, and also research the best of breed articles to know how high to set your own quality benchmarks. You also have to find something new to say that others have not repeated ad nauseum. And finally, you have to see that your written piece has the spit and polish of the highest standards of journalism. A blog post is no longer a lesser cousin of a supreme piece of journalistic writing.
2. Write about what your customer cares about and not what you care about.
Having a real feel for the psyche of your true customer is the key here. Get to know what makes your customer prospects feel great and conversely what their pain points are. Don’t just belabor the pain points in your article, try to provide solutions or innovative ideas – with good examples. And to really know what troubles your customers, don’t just look at the articles of other writers or bloggers, see Q&A sites like Quora where questions are asked by lay people and answered by others who know slightly better. This is the way to get the public pulse.
3. See if you can always be a bit ahead of the curve and watch and analyze trends.
People like to follow those who are leading them into the future. If you can always be well-read and well-informed yourself, you will come across to your readers as a person who is always scanning the horizon for the trends, tactics and techniques that can carry your customers towards the cutting edge. Make sure you know what’s happening in and around your industry, enroll with all the apex bodies in your industry, read the economic and technological papers, and see if you can help analyze these notings for your readers. See if you can help readers apply some of these futuristic ideas to benefit themselves. Try to become the go-to resource for your readers who is have no time to read up all the news themselves.
3 other thought-leading angles on why your business too should be blogging!
AJ Agrawal in the article “Building Trust: How Blogging Can Improve Customer Relationships”:
The main benefit of blogging when it comes to customer relationships is that you are allowing yourself to become an authority on your chosen subject. The fact is that in the world of today you cannot become an authority simply by declaring yourself as one. Customers are more suspicious and they want to see you prove it.
By producing quality information that’s true and reliable in every blog, you are making sure that you can become that authority. This will take time to accomplish, but you are becoming reliable as a result. If you can be believed when it comes to what you publish on your blog, your target audience may very well believe you when you ask them to buy something.
Dechay Watts in the article “19 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Writing a Blog”:
Blogging sharpens your business focus. To create a blogging strategy you must define who you are blogging for and why. A blog with no focus attracts no readers.
It helps you stay ahead of the curve. You have to stay on top of news, trends and competitors to be a successful blogger. It helps you be a leader, not a follower.
You can tell your brand’s story. A blog is a great place to offer more insight into your company, philosophy, employees, and ideas. Tell your customers why you’re in business and how you can help them.
Henneke Duistermaat in the article “6 Tips for Wooing Customers with an Enchanting Business Blog”:
Are you writing your blog for your company or for your readers? Your objective of blogging may be to generate leads, to increase web traffic, or to raise your profile as an authority. But if you use your blog just to spread your sales messages, you may struggle to find readers. You might not win the clients you’re looking for. And your blog may remain a lonely voice whispering quietly while no one pays attention.
Most people aren’t interested in your sales messages. Most people aren’t even interested in your business. They want to know what’s in it for them. To gain business with your blog you should stop thinking like a salesman and start acting like your reader’s mentor. A salesman wonders how to get his next sale. A mentor cares about his students. He wants to help them get ahead and live a more fulfilled life.
By providing solid advice on a regular basis, you build authority and trust; and that’s how you win new customers. To start wooing customers with your blog, answer these two critical questions: 1. Who are you writing for? Try to be specific. When you can visualize an ideal reader or buyer persona, your writing becomes more vivid, more personal, and more engaging. 2. How can you help your readers? Consider what your ideal reader is dreaming of, and how you can help him achieve his goals.
This article is incomplete without your input!
What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you think business blogs are – or should ideally be? Your thoughts could inspire others, so do share by adding your comments below.