Often we are asked if a blog makes sense for business marketing, or how to promote products or services using a blog. Well, although a blog is a very important component of a business digital marketing strategy, it is far from being a sales lead generation tool or products and services promotion channel. A blog is a knowledge repository that if aligned correctly with the business objectives, is a very powerful tool to strengthen its positioning vs. competitors. It is also an important resource for customers looking for orientation and ideas, as well as a critical component in an overall SEO strategy.
Hence, the business blog must meet ALL of the following 3 objectives:
Objective #1 – Help your company get found
Carefully integrate keyword content to help increase your “findability” and kick-start the early sales process (research).
Objective #2 – Connect with the audience
Your company blog should connect directly with your customers. That can only be done by addressing issues and interests that are top of mind for them. Your blog is a resource that will give your customers the answers they are looking for before they thought about asking the question or interacting with a salesperson. Look at your blog as a customer “counselor”, that will offer help to your customers. Don't look at your blog as a sales channel.
Objective #3 – Position your company as a respected source
Make your company a respected source for the products or services you offer. If done appropriately, your blog will contribute to your overall brand: reinforce the satisfaction of owning one of your products, or experiencing one of your services. Your blog will also orient new potential customers on the verge of making a decision.
I must stress that meeting one or two of the objectives above is insufficient. Why would you want to get found if once they find you, you can't connect with your audience? How can you position your company as a respected source without getting found? Or without having relevant information out there that connects with your customers?
In order to align the blog with your overall digital marketing strategy, we suggest that you follow these guidelines:
GENERAL & SEO GUIDELINES
Quality over quantity. Objectives 2 or 3 above cannot be met without high quality posts. Posting well targeted and well developed topics 4 times per month, is better than 8 poor quality posts that do not connect with your customers' issues or aspirations.
Maintain a good balance on your topics. If you offer 3 different services, and you are already well ranked and well known for 2 of them, focus a good portion of your blog entries to develop topics about the third service. This will help you rank and position your company better in that third area.
Work towards a 100% alignment with your keyword strategy, so that your objective #1 above is met. Be careful with the blog entry titles and whenever possible, integrate keywords that match the search intent of customers making the search for that term.
Integrate relevant key words into titles and anchor texts. These keywords should match those in your keywords strategy.
Name all pictures, alternate picture texts with your desired keywords, religiously.
Make engaging entries by addressing topics that directly relate to your customers' issues, desires or needs.
Consider adding links to landing pages or calls to action that relate to the blog post. This may or may not make sense depending on the topic that you are developing. Call to action types include adding the ability for your customer to request additional information, download a related PDF document, link to more information, or link to related posts.
REGARDING TONE AND CHARACTER:
Maintain a list of entry topics – when running out schedule a brainstorming session
Make sure that blog entries are connecting to your target audience by addressing issues that are relevant to them. ALL blog entries should be valuable to your target audience (not to you, or to the person writing it).
Interview the expert. Your company is a wealth of knowledge and the blog writer should spend the time interviewing people at your company to create posts ensuring that the content is of high quality, accurate, relevant and well developed.
Keep entries in simple language. Consider revising long run-on sentences and complex vocabulary. Always translate into a casual easy to understand wording.
Do not copy your marketing literature unless it directly addresses an issue that your customer is having.
Last but not least, I want you to keep one thing in mind: Your company's blog will give you a unique opportunity to share. The more you want to genuinely help other people, the better your blog will work for you.