Business Blogging: Selling By Conversation
It’s hard to to find reliable data on just how many blogs there are, but a current estimate based on data by Technocrati says 450 millions active English language blogs. Blogging.org claims that 60 percent of all businesses have a blog. And WordPress says that 329 million people view a blog. Each month.
If you consider to launch a business blog, there are great impact possibilities and also great competition. But don’t let the latter stop you. By doing it right, business blogging can work wonder by establishing your firm among target customers, and to enhance your sales.
But I must warn you. Business blogging can also be what repel customers, so if you don’t want to make an effort to do it right, you shouldn’t do it at all. And if you don’t have the energy roll up your sleeves, I suggest that you stop reading this article and leave the page with some old good statistics as a takeaway. That’s fair enough.
But if you want to succeed in turning your business blog into the driving force it got potential to be, I’ll be more than happy to tell you some truths about what and what not to do when blogging for business.
So, what’s the secret behind successful business blogging then?
By not selling, I would say. And by not talking about yourself, (a subject I dig deeper into in the article “You and your social media marketing are not a “we”).
What’s the point with business blogging if one doesn’t have to promote one’s business? you may ask.
I would state that the art of business blogging is selling by conversation. I’ll give you an example:
Tif Fussel of Dottie Angel, expat Brit now living across the pond, is the leading lady of the granny chic-movement. (Yes, there’s such a thing). Tif’s hand made frocks, bags, blankets and small ‘strings of happy’, sell out in an instant after she put them up in her online shop. Lately she also added non-hand crafted products to her line, like iPad skins, stationary cards and printed pillow cases, based on the beautiful photos she’s been posting on her blog. Her magic formula? The ability to form and nurture a thriving audience of DIY’ers and thrift lovers who dwell in the ramblings of her vintage life, visualized by lovely photographs in frequent updates on her blog. She’s not over-selling anything, she just shows and tells how she brings old things to life again in a way that inspires and converts the most minimalistic minded. And she personally answers all of the comments readers post on her blog. What Tif touches turns literally to gold, thanks to her tightly clenched audience that she welcomes into her quirky, fairytale world.
Business blogging as the portal to your community
Randy Bowden, principal partner of the marketing and branding consultancy firm bowden2bowden llc has written one of the best articles I’ve ever read on content marketing. The impact content marketing has on consumer behavior is undeniable. If done right, one should add. “Well-conceived content marketing can help you rank well with search engines, establish your reputation as an expert in your field and, most importantly, help your bottom line“, Randy writes, and states: “Content marketing is the art and science of using text and visual content to promote your business without being overtly sales-oriented. /…/ Good content marketing seeks to persuade the reader to use a product or service, ideally without being asked.”
And this is just where many business blogging attempts fail. Management often don’t understand that there are 449,999,999 other blogs to read if yours isn’t entertaining enough. They don’t understand the need for a blogging strategy and often underestimate the value of hiring people who actually know something about blogging to do the planning and writing.
Look at it this way: when buying a magazine, how many people do you think open up the paper just to throw themselves on the ads?
You’re right. None.
And this is the key to business blogging as well: don’t try to sell anything. Instead, add value to your customers lives and open up a conversation. Establish yourself as the Dottie Angel of plumbing, financial services or whatever you’re doing. Make your business blog into a haven of valuable and enjoyable information. Make it visually tempting. Tie your audience tightly by giving freely of your knowledge and by generously sharing and creating a world that’s actually missing online. Your business blog entry should serve as a portal to this community.
In 1843, the U.S. Patent Office Commissioner Henry Ellsworth reported to the Congress: “The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end.”
In retrospect, we can laugh about it. And without doubt, there are still millions of things to invent and niches to fill. Even in the blogosphere. Don’t say that the world doesn’t need 450 million and one blogs. Yours may be exactly what it needs.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when blogging for business? Please tell in the comment box below or tweet me @CoSkills.
Photo credits: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc, Maria Reyes-McDavis via photopin cc, dottieangel.com, bowden2bowden.com
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