Why Blogging is the trump card of today’s Marketing Department
Being in today’s corporate environment provokes the need for cutting edge, new-age Marketing and PR strategies that can be streamlined to fit and perform well in a company’s Marketing Mix.
The ideas are many but those that flourish and make it big are few and far between. It is like trying on a shirt for the right fit. And even if it fits you it may not fit or match with the rest of your attire. Similarly, the decision of whether a certain Marketing activity will work well for you or not depends on a lot of factors.
- What kind of industry are you in?
- What is the nature of your target audience?
- Which type of medium makes more sense for your company — digital or print?
- How best can you put your message across?
There are some marketing efforts that are a perfect fit for both B2B and B2C businesses. Blogging is making its way speedily to the top of this list.
According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Blogging is the 3rd most commonly used Marketing tactic in the roster of marketing activities after Articles and Social Media.
Starting off as just an add-on to the existing Marketing mix, the blog is now being recognized as the space where a company can share stories of its successes, challenges, new products, product updates, new policies, and industry news and by embedding the blog in their existing marketing effort like newsletters and websites, they are optimizing their potential customer reach.
The seeds of Corporate Blogging were already sown some years ago when the likes of Google decided to announce its exit from China not through a press release but on their Corporate blog. This marked a milestone in the future of corporate blogging. Lou Hoffman, CEO of The Hoffman Agency had said “It offers a platform to show thought leadership and communicate views on industry issues. More than one-way communications, these views can trigger dialog across a company’s ecosystem. The end result is people perceive the company as smart, engaged and plugged into the community.”
Companies have been spending too much time focussing on hard selling through press releases, formal communication and sales campaigns being conditioned that way. It is now time to shift focus also to adding a personal, human touch to their sales effort and the blog allows them to do so.
Opinions of thought leaders in various field have found voices that are being heard and in wide demand across industries. The savvy consumer today isn’t satisfied with just your sales pitch as they have heard it all before. To really get a sense of how you can help them and what it is you have that others don’t, the stories, anecdotes and benefits you are able to script by shedding that formal tone will go a long way in attracting potential clients.
It is obvious that if you are able to identify the ‘pain points’ faced by your industry’s target audience and offer realistic, viable solutions through your blog, the consumer is more likely to contact you rather than your competition.
Here are a few pertinent points you can cover in your Business Blogs to reach your relevant target audience most effectively:
- Keep it honest and to-the point: Much like a social setting where we connect most with those who empathize with us — our problems, our interests and dislikes, a Business Blog needs to connect informally by strumming on the relatability strings of their audience. Keep your blog post concise, to-the point without beating around the bush and keep the narrative just like a verbal conversation between friends, focussing on the hows and whys instead of the whats and whens. And make sure to keep it authentic. The savvy consumer today can smell fabrications and lies a mile away!
2. Don’t promote: The biggest mistake you can make is by overselling or trying too hard. By picking up a promotional tone where all you are doing is trying hard to sell your goods, you have already missed the boat. Keep promotion at a far distance while scripting your blog. The consumer can see what it is you are selling on your website. They want to know why they should choose you over your competition and this is why they will read your blog.
3. Narrate anecdotes that will connect: The smart consumer today wants to be inspired to be able to choose from a ubiquitous offering of the same product. Use your blog to inspire them by sharing anecdotes and stories that can tie into why and how your brand and product deserves their attention.
I read an interesting quote by Scott Cook, Director of Ebay and Procter & Gamble and co-founder of Intuit — “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what the consumers tell each other it is.” This is very true today. Today your blog and effective story-telling will determine the success of your business and the perception of your company in the minds of your potential customers.
4. Talk about your Challenges — Shed some light on the challenges faced by your company in the path to success and how individuals or collective departments were instrumental in overcoming these. Highlight examples of strategies used or how you steered away from the conventional thought-process to use out-of-the-box innovative thinking in achieving these goals.
5. Pain Points and how you can help — Identify your target audience and the common pain points that they face in the industry and business on a daily or periodic basis. Then build your stories around how you an your company addresses these issues and thus, offer solutions in overcoming these problems using your own experiences.
For example, a journalist can address the below pain points:
6. Blog often — The key to a successful blog campaign is to keep the stories coming without a gap. This means it is important to keep the writing prolific. Long gaps in blog posts will loosen your hold on your captivated audience and allow their interest to slowly dissipate. Chalk out a weekly plan for new blog posts with timelines and goals that will have engaging content to keep your audience clued in.
7. Use videos,images and graphics — A text-only narrative becomes monotonous unless your writing is interesting enough to hold interest with each sentence. Using graphics, videos and images within the posts to illustrate the text — what is known as visual story-telling is a far more effective and sure shot way of luring in the target audience than text-only content.
Buzzsumo — the popular data analysis tool that can analyse what kind of content works well for particular topics had analyzed 100 million articles last year with the purpose of identifying the kind of factors that led to content going viral.
They observed that on both Facebook and Twitter, posts that had one image and one thumbnail were shared exponentially more than those with no images or thumbnails. (A whopping 64.9 times average over 28 times on Facebook, 20.36 times for thumbnails on Twitter as against 9.67 times without any thumbnails). The staggering numbers tell a story of their own!
8. Long-form content can go a long way — Long-form posts have statistically shown to have a far deeper impact on readers than shorter posts in the corporate world. In a world of 140 character limits and short content attention spans today, there is a fresh debate brewing on whether long or short form should be adopted to maximize readership and customer retention. Less may be more in many other aspects but here, more certainly means more ROI ! In-depth, detailed and descriptive blog posts have proven to have higher impacts than shorter posts owing to the shorter visual lives they live.
Another advantage of the long form post is that you are able to tell your complete stories and showcase your expertise to the highest potential without any space-constraints or cutting corners. It is these long posts that will ultimately maintain and sustain long relationships with your target audience, albeit the short posts can help to drive traffic towards your website or blog.
9. Open the floor for discussion — Needless to say, social media is the undisputed first choice for publicising and gaining traction for your blogs and other marketing efforts today. But owing to the personal touch that a blog post allows you, taking it a step further by incorporating a comment section that opens up discussion and debate further brings your blog in the limelight and creates a buzz around it in the industry discussions online. When readers and potential customers are able to voice their concerns, queries and comments instantly and receive instant answers to their questions on the platform itself, it can be that inconspicuous edge you have over your competition, albeit, the success of your blog posts shouldn’t be judged on the basis of the traffic in this section.
10. Use Analytics to monitor your success- As someone who manages the company’s Corporate Blog, want to be able to track the success of your blog — who’s reading, how much are they reading, where are most of your readers from, how often in a day or week are they reading and so on. You also want your blog to find a suitably high perch in the Google search and SEO platforms.
New blog leads, visitors and contacts can also be tracked. Hubspot users, for example, can track new users and customers through an in-built Sources Report tool. Another important parameter that you can track from your blog is the Conversion Rate and the kind of topics or issues being discussed the most so that you are able to gauge what exactly it is you should focus on to make improvements or enhancements to your blog.
In the words of popular Blogger and Editor-at-Large for TechCrunch, Mike Butcher, “Blogging is a conversation, not a code.” You dont get this much room to mould your words and become as personal as a blog allows you to be in any other marketing activity.
Maximise the opportunity for maximum gains!