Skip it all together (you weren't hired to blog, after all)
How important is the blog anyway? Who the heck reads them? Are they really necessary? I’ll answer those questions simply. Yes, everyone, and yes.
Since its start in the mid 90s, blogging has gained momentum and become a common marketing practice for many businesses. Data shows that blogging is a critical piece of Inbound Methodology and directly correlates to better business results. Here are a few statistics on blogs:
Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes.
Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.
B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads/month than those who don’t.
71% say a blog influences their purchase decisions.
Even after reading the stats, you may still be asking, “But why this is so important?” Let’s think about how the buying process has changed.
Back in the mid-80s when I started my career, I was the sales person who delivered information to the buyer. Salespeople were in control of what was delivered, and were very intentional about guiding the buyer through the process. At the same time, the salesperson was also communicating the personality of the organization. We have heard it often, “You, Mr. / Ms. Salesperson, are the face of the company.”
Fast-forward to the late 1990’s - using the Internet to get your business noticed became a common practice. As the consumer, it was amazing to have so much information at our fingertips. We could find anything we wanted. However, as sales people, we realized that this new, cool internet-thing just changed our jobs.
Now the sales team is no longer in the driver seat. Websites have become the vehicle that is replacing the delivery system to get information to the buyer, and salespeople are no longer in control of the buying process. It’s now in the hands of the buyer. However, this only took care of the information delivery. So what happened to the personality part of sales? You got it, it’s in the blog. Your website delivers information. Your blog delivers your personality and makes you a more credible thought leader in your industry.
So, let me get back to where I started. Here are the facts on blogging:
As stated, it shows your personality.
Business blogging helps you rank in search engines which helps you be found by people looking for industry specific products or services.
Your blog introduces you as a thought leader.
Your blog is also real-estate to place calls-to-action to generate leads.
So, here are a few suggestions to help eliminate the “blog fog”:
Record ideas as they come to you. If you had a great sales call or were able to solve a problem for a client that inspired you, stop for a minute and jot it down or talk it out to yourself using a recorder. Then, get the recording transcribed and tweak it a bit to match your blog’s tone. Remember, a blog is a blog, not a novel.
Interview someone. Find someone in your organization who likes to write and have them interview someone else in your organization who has knowledge to share. If you’re not an expert on something, pick the brain of someone who is. It will help to vary your blog topics.
Brainstorm with your co-worker or colleague. You will be amazed at how being collaborative can result in things you would never think of alone. Sometimes having another person in the room can help get your creative juices flowing.
Find a guest blogger. There are many subject matter experts who thrive on sharing their ideas and love to be published on other sites. Use your network to find people who might be interested. This may also produce a co-marketing partnership and will build a strong relationship with insider influencers.
Repurpose other internal content. If you have a Case Study or White Paper, repurpose the content into several blogs. Even a company newsletter may have some great content to repurpose and share with your audience.
If you have a different attitude and understanding of what a blog is, you can have a great deal of fun. You can be entertaining but still deliver a good message and good content to your audience. In general, a blog format is much freer flowing than a case study or website content. Also, once you get on a roll for writing blog content, it can feel refreshing to get your gears turning and put your thoughts on paper. And most importantly, let your personality shine!