You Started A Corporate or Business Blog, But How To Make It Perform?
You've read all the hype around starting a corporate or business blog. They said it's great for SEO. They also said it spurs customer interactions. They said it will help to increase your email signups... But how the heck do you do it?
I've seen countless blogs on business sites that have two or three blog posts, then the blog was abandoned because it wasn't performing as expected to. Let's get one thing straight:
It's Not The Blog's Fault That The Business Abandond Blogging
Corporate blogging works. When done right, it works beautifully. It does what's expected and more. Companies that do their blogging right see the growth in traffic, inbound marketing lists and increases in SERPs. So why do so many businesses stop blogging, if it works? I'll give you three reasons:
1. They don't actually believe in blogging - "It takes too much time." or "We don't have anyone employed to do that." are two of the top excuses I hear. Business blogging does take time, and yes, someone's gotta do it, but if your traffic and increased 300 visitors a day due to it, and you knew that you had a 5% conversion rate with an average sale of $300.00, I don't know anyone who'd leave $4500 a day on the table, just because they didn't have someone to write or they thought it took too much time. Sorry, your excuses are a copout! You have to believe that it's going to work, and not hold back. If you write your blog posts thinking in the back of your head that it may not work, this will definately come through and be apparent in your writing.
2. "We don't know how to blog." -- If I paid you $4500 a day to learn, would you do it? Of course! That's what you're NOT making by NOT blogging (in this realistic hypothetical scenerio). There's all kinds of information on the web about how to start a corporate blog. Learn it. Follow me and this series of posts for good information on getting started and advanced techniques down the road.
3. "We don't sell anything" - Then why are you in business? How do you make your money? Just because you're a Doctor, Lawyer or non-profit doesn't mean you don't need to make money somehow. Doctors and Lawyers are prime exaples of the type of people who give this response. Sure, they don't sell product, but what they do have to sell people on are reasons to utilize their services over the countless other places a potential client could go. Trust me, a generic website with a paragraph called "why we're the best" just won't cut it. Blogging is your sales pitch. It demonstrates the fact that you actually are the best in your field in your area. It also gives people confidence to see a dentist, doctor or lawyer that gives advice on their blog, willing to help (for a fee) and ready to work for the client. It also establishes authority for the professional as a leader.
Rather than continue to dangle the "carrot," and give you reason why you should blog, lets look at how to do it correctly.
Knowledge + Research = Blog Posts
You're the professional in your industry. You know what questions your clients ask over and over. You know what everyone needs to know, and you've got the answers to their problems. A successful blog does one or more of three things:
1. It Solves A Problem
2. It provides answers to questions
3. It's a point of reference
There's certaintly a lot more that a successful blog does, but these three is where everyone should start when they're starting a business blog.
There was a hardware store owner in Louisville that owned a mom&pops shop. He was losing out in trying to compete with Home Depot and Lowes. just down the road. He was desperate to keep his business afloat, so he sat down to figure out what made coming into his hardware shop better for everyone that was now purchasing all their hardware stuff at LOWE's.
What We helped him see what that he had the experience that a 18 year old $10.50/hr LOWE'S employee just out of high school couldn't possibly have. No one was going to ask that 18 year old which Matika drill would work better out doors... He'd just be suggesting a drill that:
1. Paid a high commission
2. Take a wild guess
3. Go ask someone more experienced (BINGO!)
The moment this hardware store owner figured this out, he looked like a brand new excited businessman again! We helped him setup a blog on his small shop website where he blogged daily about home improvements, how to's and reviewed tools. He established a reputation in the community as an authority figure with the knowledge and years of hands-on experience to guide "his" customers to getting the job done right!
He did spend time promoting his blog. He told people about it, ran ads in the news, posted fliers even. We taught him how to do keyword research, hitting specific searches for information, and giving out his knowledge free.
What really gave him the push was that his 20th blog post titled "The Top 10 Do It Yourself Fixes If You Have Kids" was found by the local newspaper. They ran the article on a Sunday on the front page of the local section (with his enthusiastic blessings) and gave him credit. They found his article just by searching on Google for something local that they could add to the paper.
In the blog post, he described how to fix were plugged toliets and which plungers worked best, how to remove permenent marker from walls safely and other really useful information for parents. They also interviewed him and gave him credit for being a home improvement authority in the area.
Turned out that the article was picked up on social media and went semi-viral (his website traffic spiked from 30 visitors a day to 2000). As a result of all these things, he was getting emails, phone ringing off the hook and people coming in for help on all their home maintenance and improvement problems.
He added an online shop through shoppify and within six months of his 20th blog post, he had doubled all the store's previous daily and monthly income records.
On an side note, He went on to add workshops in the shop to teach people basic home improvement skills, and even had the LOWE'S kids coming to learn!
The point is that if he hadn't blogged and been picked up by the local newspaper, he'd never have made it.
Hopefully you have a reason why you should start a business blog now, and things to think about for topics to write about. Moving on, the next thing in the natural order of progression is how to write a corporate or business blog post.
Writing the Blog Post
The world is filled with unique people. Your blog is as unique as your company. While you may sell the same products as others, or offer the same services as other as well, you have a different voice and different approach than all those others. This is what makes your company unique.
The Unique Selling Proposition
People love personality. That's why there's so many radio and TV show hosts. Sure, Colbert does the late show, but people don't watch the late show because it's the late show, they watch it for Colbert's quirky sense of humor.
While your business blog may be all business, it's written by a real person. People do connect with people, so if you've been blogging as the company like it's a person, STOP IT NOW.
This is your opportunity to let talent within your business or corporation shine! Have employees write about what they're passionate about. Why they work for your business, what they've learned or just something related to your business. One of those personalities will harmonize with your customers and readers. They will become the "Colbert" of your company.
If it's just you, step out from behind the curtain, Mr. Wizard Of OZ... Offer your website visitors something unique that just can't be replicated by a shop across town selling identical products... YOU. Your knowledge. Your Passions. Your Answers.
The Blog Post Idea
It comes to you in a moment of brilliance... You know exactly what you need to write a blog post about. If you're a Doctor, and people are wanting to know ways to keep their kids from getting sick, there's a few things you need to do before you start writing:
1. Put yourself in your customer's shoes - what do that actually want to know? If you can, ask your clients. Don't waste time writing about things that your clients don't want to know. You might find out that people aren't really asking what they need to do to keep kids from getting sick, but rather, what to do once they are sick. Perhaps they're even more specifically looking for what to do if their kid catches the flu... In any case, make sure you're writing to cater to your audience, not what you just think will be good.
2. Are there any articles on the internet that already have addressed this? - chances are that there are. Really take the time to study the top three listings. What information do they have? What did they leave out? What information do you have that would help a mom (or dad) out even more? It's easiest to start with a framework, a general structure for your blog post. Of course, you'll want to be unique, but getting a hint for what Google and Bing feel are most relevant will help you have a good foundation for writing your post from an SEO perspective as well.
3. The Search Phrase -- This is what people type into Google or Bing to search for infomration. It could be "what to do if your kid has the flu" or even more specifically, "what to do if your toddler has the flu" or something closely related such as "What are common flu symptoms in kids?" There are many ways to find out what exactly people are searching for, and we'll go over them.
4. Blog Post Title - The title is the most important part of your post. From a search engine results list perspective, when someone enters a search phrase in Google, and the results are returned to them, they make their decision of what site to click through to based on title primarily. If someone did a search for "what to do if your teen has the flu", they probably wouldn't click on the link that said "flu symptoms for toddlers 3 and under" People want to have reasonable assurance that they'll get the information they need with the first (maybe even the second) site they choose to go to. If they have to repeat the process because the first two sites didn't have what they need, you can bet that they're already really frustrated. Your blog post title needs to catch their eye, and give them reasonable assurances that they will get their answers if they click your link. An excellent example of a title people would click would be as follows:
"Did Your Teen Catch The Flu? Top Three Ways To Get Them Better Fast!"
First of all, "Teen" and "Flu" came up in the first part of the title, showing the relevancy to the search. Next, you promised to answer their question with the three top ways to help them to get their sick teen better fast.
Think like a parent now. No parent likes it when their kids are sick. They want to get them better as quick as possible. They also don't want their kids to miss much school because the homework piles up quickly. This is a perfect title that subliminally addresses all of a parent's concerns in one clear and concise statement.
Now it's time for the post!
Your Blog Post, The first paragraph
Opening a blog post is much the same as a first impression. People will only scan the first paragraph or so to decide whether it's worth it to read the rest, so your first paragraph is critically important.
- You must grab their attention
- You must give them a reason to read more
- You must answer their questions (or promise you will reveal the answer)
In the first paragraph, you must do all three. Here's our sample copy:
"It's 3am and you jolt up in bed. Something's not right. You rush to check on the kids to make sure they're ok, and you find out in horror that your teen is burning up, and has to be up in three hours to get ready for school! It's a parent's worst nightmare. They'll have to miss a day of school. You'll have to call into work... Fortunately, these three things will help your teen feel more comfortable and get better fast to minimize the amount of school they'll miss."
Notice we opened on a cliffhanger -- playing into a mom or dad's worst fears. The inconvenience, the hassle, the missing of school and work (and possibly losing a day's pay)! EVERY parent in the world can identify with at least half of these emotions. It brings on feelings of desperation, helplessness and uncertainty. Parent's will wonder when the fever is too high and the kid should be taken to emergency, what can they do to bring down the fever, how to help the kid get some relief, but most of all, just how to to get them better. Trust me, I'm a parent, and I've gone through all of this.
We end the first paragraph with a promise, but more importantly, it's a promise that brings hope to a worried parent. Comfort. Hope. Getting Better. All the essential answers a parent is looking for. If you were in that situation, wouldn't you be spurred on to read the rest? Anything for your children, and if there's three simple things that can do all that, Heck Yeah! I'm reading the whole damn article... twice!
The Main Body Copy
This is the meat and potatoes. This is where you let your knowledge and authority as a doctor shine. You give them the symptoms, you give them the cures, and to them, in their mind, you are now a trustworthy, knowledgeable and well respected doctor that really knows his or her stuff!
"Chills and Fever, Symptoms and Remedies
When your teen has the flu, one of the most obvious signs will be the shivering, coldness, cold sweat and complaints about being cold. This is due to your teen's elevated body temperature and the sense that everything else around them is cold. As a parent, your first order of business is to see how high their temp is.
Types of Thermometers and Which One Is Best For Taking A Teen's Temperature.
Blah, blah, blah...."
You first want them to agree with your "assessment". This can be done with just about any post. If your diagnosis resonates with their conditions while reading your post, then you've successfully hooked them. It's not rocket science, it's knowing your audience, identifying how they're feeling, and playing into those feelings to stir emotion and agreements. Once the reader agrees three times, you have them hooked.
When you provide answers, make sure that the answers are:
- Actionable. That your reader can take action immediately on the new information they just read.
- Will show results. That all their effort isn't futile and that conditions actually do get better visibly.
- Are replicatable in almost any environment - Assuming this is a doctor in the USA, and that he's writing this to parents in the US, it's reasonable to assume that there's a bathtub that the teen can climb into with cool water to bring down the temp. It's also safe to assume that people have some way of heating up water for tea, and that you can just provide hot water at the bare minimum to relive the teen's sinus pressure so they can breath easier. These two things alone will show the parents improvements, and they will feel like your article was a truly worthwhile read, and that you are an authority on the topic.
The reader must see the value and results of your blog post in order to consider you an authority in your field. Remember, you aren't just representing yourself, but the company reputation as well. If your blog posts are all talk and no action, people will generally forget what you've said, who you are and what your company does within seconds. If you leave your readers with something memorable, something that they can do to solve a problem or improve life somehow, then they will remember through the use of at least a couple of the five senses, and come back for more when they need it.
Conclusion of your blog post
Sure, a reader could click away at any moment, but why? If your content is good, and you know what you're talking about you can safely ask them to take action. The action could be something as simple as "sharing" your post on social media, leaving you a comment (good or bag) on whether the post worked for them, or their thoughts on the matter, to join your newsletter for more information right to their email, or simply to buy a product or call for an appointment. What action you ask for must be appropriate for the blog post, and for the best chance of success, the less a person has to do to take action, the higher the chances are that they'll do it. If you're asking for shares, put the sharing buttons right there, under the ask. If you want them to comment, do the same with the comment form. If you want them to call for an appointment, put your gosh darn phone number right there in big, bold numbers!
My Challenge to You:
Try this out on either your corporate or personal blog. Share it on Facebook, twitter and whatever other social mediums you use, and let me know how the responses are! While you're here, why not share this post out right now?