Let me ask you a few questions: What are your favorite types of blogs? Which ones do you subscribe to and look forward to reading? Which ones do you consider a good use of your valuable time?
Although I can’t guess which specific blogs are your favorites, I think I can predict, with a good deal of accuracy, which types of blogs aren’t on your list:
· Those that are exclusively about products or services
· Those that are constantly and explicitly trying to sell you something
· Those that are essentially a platform for the business or blogger to broadcast their marketing message
Unfortunately, many businesses publish this type of content to their company blog on a regular basis. And while they may achieve results from time to time using this strategy, these types of businesses are much more likely to report that blogging simply hasn’t been worth the investment.
And this is a shame, given the enormous potential blogging has for businesses in nearly every niche and industry. For instance, did you know that 43% of marketers received a customer from their blog in 2013? High-quality, frequently-published content is also necessary for a successful SEO initiative and offers many more far-reaching benefits, such as brand building, audience growth, improved conversion rates, and more.
So, if your company blog shouldn’t really be about your company, what should it be about? Isn’t blogging about your business kind of the whole point of ‘business blogging’?
I would argue: absolutely, definitely not.
I like how online marketing strategist David Meerman Scott puts it: “Stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.”
Much of the advice you’ll read online about how to blog for business will give you tips which essentially boil down to one thing: how to make your blog as palatable as possible.
But is that what you really want? For your blog to be palatable? To be able to write in such a way that people won’t mind or perhaps won’t notice that you’re talking about your business or products?
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather my customers want to come to my company blog. And yes, believe it or not, this is possible. All it takes is one simple strategy, and I guarantee your customers and clients will actually want to read your blog.
Here it is: Your blog should be a resource to your readers and to other bloggers.
When it comes down to it, people don’t read your blog for information about your products or services; that’s what your product pages are for. They don’t read your blog as a favor to you, and they won’t continue reading it just because they like your products or feel some sense of loyalty to your business.
People will read your blog because it provides relevant and valuable information they can’t find anywhere else.
It’s well-known that attracting inbound links is one of the best ways to build up your blog’s authority and visibility in the search engines. But how many bloggers do you think are going to link to your site if all you do is talk about your business?
Using your blog to become a trusted (link-worthy) resource is a strategy that works in nearly every industry. For instance:
· A home renovation company could blog about ‘how to retile a bathroom floor’ or ‘questions to ask before you hire a contractor’.
· A digital marketing company could blog about the latest SEO and social media trends and strategies.
· A realtor could blog about ‘the top 10 family friendly neighborhoods in Seattle’ or ‘the best times of the year to sell your home’.
· A local coffee shop could aim to become a trusted resource for consumers when it comes to roasting beans or finding ethically sourced coffee.
In each of these examples, the blogs are focused not on themselves or on their business, but on how their content addresses the questions and issues faced by their readers and customers.
And the benefits of this strategy go beyond simply acting as a resource for your readers; it’s equally important that other bloggers come to trust and rely on your content. Here’s why: Bloggers and journalists will link to resources, not to content that’s self-promotional in nature. If you ever hope to increase your influence and search engine rankings, you simply must produce content others will want to link to.
As a product-based site, you may receive a handful of links via web directories or product recommendation blogs, but you’re unlikely to ever get the high-quality, editorialized links you really need to boost your search engine rankings; links from nationally-recognized publishers like Forbes, The Huffington Post, Mashable, and the like.
If you want to produce this type of link-worthy content for your company blog, some ways you can do it include:
· Sharing insider knowledge of your industry or market
· Sharing primary data you’ve gathered, along with analysis of that data
· Expressing a unique or expert perspective on hot topics in your niche
· Linking out to other bloggers (this is a great way to get them to notice you and potentially link back to you)
· Creating in-depth content that covers every angle of a topic
· Providing a resource guide on a particular topic
· Providing case studies, statistics or infographics relevant to those in your industry
To summarize, in order to attract both readers and search engines to your blog, you simply must consistently create content that serves to inform, educate and entertain your readers. This is the only strategy that will result in the kinds of high-quality links you need to increase your referral traffic and search engine rankings. And aside from search engine rankings, this strategy results in better conversion rates, higher brand loyalty, higher brand trust, and increased brand awareness.
Because remember: When it comes down to it, people don’t care about products, they care about themselves. Your blog should contain content that addresses the needs and interests of your audience, not just information about your products or services
How do you use your business blog as a way to become a trusted resource in your niche or industry?