Where Most Businesses Go Wrong With Their Corporate Blogs
As a professional blogger and writer, I’m constantly approached by businesses wanting advice on how to get more sales from their corporate blogs.
One comment I often hear is that corporate blogs don’t work, and that customers don’t want to read content that was written by a salesman. This is both true and false, and let me explain why.
Most corporate blogs are written in such a way as to publish a series of sales pitches. Each article typically focuses on some benefit of the product, and the possible range of topic ideas quickly gets dried up or becomes repetitive.
For example, a vacuum cleaner company might write one article about the “importance of clean carpets”, another article about “how to pick the right vacuum cleaner”, and another article about “why you should change your vacuum cleaner bags more often”. Pretty soon, you’ve run out of ideas, and this is usually when the company stops updating their blog.
One of the reasons that articles like this don’t get much traction is that every other competitor is also writing about these topics on their own blogs, so you’re just adding to the clutter without setting your company apart.
Another problem that comes with this approach is the fact that your blog becomes dormant once you’ve run out of ideas. And when customers come to your site and see that you haven’t updated your blog in 8 months, it makes your company look like it’s struggling financially. In this situation, your blog would actually be driving business away and having a negative impact on the conversions from your other marketing activities.
Instead of writing about your product or service, it would be much better to take one or more of the following approaches:
Talk About Other Things That Your Customers Buy
If your company sells popcorn, it’s likely that they also spend money on movies. So a good concept would be to write about the latest in home entertainment center technology, and about the latest movies coming out on Netflix. This might seem counter-intuitive, but this blog will attract a much wider audience who – although they’re not explicitly looking for popcorn – are actively spending money on other products which complement popcorn very well.
Discuss Your Community
If you run a gym, it may be a good idea to write a blog about local fitness services and activities in your city. This could include marathons, healthy restaurants, spas, work-out fashion and other local events and businesses. As with the previous concept, this blog would attract an audience which isn’t immediately looking to purchase from you…. but is a very strong candidate for future purchases. One of the great benefits of this community approach is that it stimulates referral sales and can often lead to lucrative business partnerships & closed sales networks. Many niche industries are completely dominated by “cartels” which began in this way, and make it extremely difficult for new competitors to enter the market.
Become Politically Active
One of the best ways to get noticed is to pick a fight and have a strong opinion which might potentially offend people. Taking a strong stance like this can often earn strong customer loyalty and attract lots of PR. A good example of this would be an independent book publisher that has a radical stance against government censorship. They could publish a blog that covers stories about people who have offensive beliefs, and why the right to express those beliefs should be justified.
Saying controversial things is a great SEO tool, because newspapers love to interview and talk about people who are rocking the boat. (Media loves controversy)
Remember. Your blog is not your sales pitch. Your blog is like a net that you cast into the water in order to expose potential visitors to your brand. If your blog is good enough, people will keep coming back and eventually “soft sell” themselves into what you’re offering on your main site.
All of the examples listed above recommend that businesses not promote their own products, but instead promote topics that would be of interest to someone who would also spend money on a similar product or service as the one they have to offer.
But if you are a musician, a magician, a painter or any other kind of artist or entertainer, I’d say that this advice does not apply to you. Businesses which are built primarily on cults of personality should be extremely self-promotional. If you’re a singer, you should blog about your life on tour, your inspirations, your next show, fans you’ve met, etc…
In fact, I would even say that these types of professions would be better suited to social media activities which provide a high degree of touch and visibility.
What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below and let us know.