A week or two ago my friend, Mike Brooks, asked me to contribute a quote for a piece he was writing about why businesses should blog.
Here’s what I submitted.
Why blog? Because chances are your competitors are doing it. If they are not, then as blogging technology, techniques and syndication options become more ubiquitous, they will be soon. That means that they are either talking to or will be talking to your potential customers. As the comfort level between your potential customers and your competitors increases, those sales opportunities for you will decline. The gut wrenching reality is that if you don’t engage your prospects with your message, someone else will. By not blogging, you are willfully handing potential business to your competitor.
My quote speaks more to polarity than anything else. The “us versus them” idea of marketing. But there are good reasons to produce content that have less to do with competitors. Here are some additional thoughts about why you and your business should be blogging.
Your blog can be the most effective way to teach the world about the value your business provides. And the best part is that you are not limited by space like you would be in a magazine, or by time as you would be in a radio ad, or by length as you would be in a book. You can take as much space as you need and organize your content in whatever way makes sense to your customers. Then you can repurpose your content to generate other opportunities through multilingual pages or downloadable PDFs.
A blog offers you so many opportunities to share your products and services while giving your customers so many ways to learn.
Content Feeds Search
In order to be listed in search engines you need to have content that search engines understand. Search is still a predominantly textual technology so a blog presents the ideal solution. In today’s search world, if you are producing good content on a regular basis, you have a shot at competing with even your biggest competitor.
Market leaders have content worth reading and worth sharing. Their content distinguishes them from the pack. You can have that power as well by producing your own content that is worth reading and sharing. Think of the potential customer who wants to purchase a product you sell. Chances are they will do some research. They’ll check your site and your competitor’s site. It’s a good bet that that prospect will buy a product from the vendor that gives them the most accurate and useful information.
There is a myth that users will not click many times into a site. That’s not entirely true. Users tend to click only a few times when they can’t find what they want or need, but when the visitor is given good information and pulled deeper into a site, they will click and click and click as long as they feel like they are getting closer to a goal. It’s no surprise that deep clicking is directly related to increased purchasing.
By giving the visitor quality information, you are quietly building a relationship with them. Your goal should be to ensure that the content you provide is better and more valuable than anyone else’s.
Articles that answer questions and solve problems have the potential to build stronger bridges in less time with potential customers. If the customer feels that your content speaks to them and relates to their needs, you will cultivate an immediate connection with them.
Every time a customer asks a question or complains, see that as a content opportunity. Develop those discussions into content that can get ahead of future complaints or problems. Use your content to make the customer feel that you relate to them and their needs.
Whenever I tell my clients that customer experiences are a valuable source of content they always laugh because it seems so obvious to them once they hear me say it.
It may sound silly, but businesses with robust content are more likely to be perceived as being more caring toward their customers. In general, people understand that writing and creating content is time consuming and sometimes difficult. Audiences tend to appreciate those efforts in subtle ways.
Even if you are selling your product or service at a higher price point that your competitors the fact that you have extensive quality content may make the customer feel that the higher cost has more value because of the length you have gone to provide rich content.
It appeals to customers to have access to some types of content before and after a purchase. For example, a buyer may want to learn more about a particular television, but may purchase based on the availability of information that will help them configure the television after their purchase.
Content Is A No Brainer
It’s really not debatable any more. Businesses that produce good content get found easier, engage more frequently and have better relationships with their customers.
I’ll return to my original statement and say that if you’re not doing it, then your competitor will.