Free blogs sell stuff.
Really? Yeah, no kidding. Blogging might be more than a fad, a buzzword that’s here to day and gone tomorrow. Blogging is the new cold calling.
You blog, you sell.
John, who I share my office with, is a printer in Chesterfield. There’s not much he doesn’t know about print, sales and running a business. He’s a great friend and a powerful ally. However, he’s also a skeptic when it comes to internet marketing, especially when it comes to blogging. He knows he should start a blog because his competition are running blog sites, which is decent enough reason why, but he struggles with the concept of content marketing strategy, when really it’s very simple. Just give away all your secrets and lifetime of experience to all in free blogs ?and you’ll get more customers. Geddit?
No, ok lets put in a more sensible way.
When starting a blog you
- Give advice and tips
- offer your opinion
- give training and how to’s
- share your experience
- give away free stuff
Why? Well, not just because your kind hearted, but because you want to meet people, or more precisely, you want people to meet your business. It’s one of the golden rules of selling – people only buy from those they know like and trust. So you go out of your way to offer help and advice on the internet, and people are searching for the help you can give them. By attracting people that are interested in your industry, products and services to your blog spot, you are getting exposure to your brand – they get to ‘know’ you. By offering to help they get to like you. And when your expert advice solves the problem they really trust you. You become their ‘go to’ expert in the industry you are in. Sooner or later there’s going to be a problem too great for them to solve, or the buying cycle comes around and guess who they’re gonna call? You, baby.
The best bogging sites are worth millions of dollars in either sales or advertising revenue. Don’t you want to start competing on a global level.
It’s time to start a blog.
How to blog
Firstly, banish from your mind the false belief that by giving away all your industry knowledge you are simply giving away customers because they either don’t need you now they know how to do the job you do, or that you’ve helped the competition, it simply doesn’t work like that anymore. You are finding the people who are reaching out on the internet for an expert to solve their problems.
What do I need to start a blog?
The first thing you need is a platform – a website in effect – to base your blog from. There are a few ways of doing this:
- You can base your blog from your website, like I do, to attract traffic to your site. Get your web designer to install a Content Management System (CMS) as part of your website so it blends seamlessly. There are many different platforms to build your blog with, the more popular ones being wordpress, joomla and drupal. Many of these blogging platforms are open source (free), and are highly customisable. In fact, they make really robust, stylish and SEO friendly websites on their own.
- Start a separate blog spot – you can do this for free at www.wordpress.org, tumblr and a host of other places. Still customisable but not to the degree of the self hosted sites, you can use these blogs to link to your website as part of your sales funnel. You can also have a self hosted blog in this way which gives you the opportunity for a custom domain name. For example, www.sharkticklingforfun.com, instead of www.wordpress.org/sharkticklingforfun.
I personally favour the self hosted wordpress blog. You can download free themes to style it up, or buy better premium themes from places like themeforest.com or woothemes. Alternatively, you can pay a professional to design and host it for you (call me, i may know someone!)
What do I say when writing a blog?
Put yourself in your customers shoes. Every day you will be solving their problems with the products and services you provide. Which means every day you get content ideas walking through your door.
Some of the most popular formats for blogging websites are:
- News and information – sometimes with comment
- Diary and journal
- Tips and how to’s
- Training and professional resources
- Giving away stuff
You need to decide which format you prefer and how it could help you. For example, giving away stuff may seem like a loser, but there’s a million graphic design blogs that are an invaluable source of fonts, images and tutorials to many, professionals and novices alike. Provide industry news and comment, then those who look to you for information will one day look to you for more. And while ever you are providing this great content, encourage people to share and review you, as social signals are a major part of SEO, plus these word of mouth recommendation are the best form of advertising. Put social share buttons on all your posts to make sure the word spreads far and wide.
Is there any help for me when I create a blog?
Yeah, all over the Internet. Hubspot have a great library of free marketing resources, as does Marketo, but there’s loads of help and advice out there so just go to Google and search, you’ll find what works for you. I’m a fan of Podcasts, so I recommend Social Media Examiner, Nuclear Chowder and E-Webstyle to name but a few – check them out on iTunes and prepare to utilise your traveling time to learn something useful.
Now what do I do with my blog spot?
Post it to social media, tell everyone you know about it. Get visitors to sign up to your blog so they can be notified every time you update.
How often should I write on my blog?
Well, that’s up to you. It’s a huge demand on your time, writing a blog and while you may want to post on social networks every day, you will have precious little time to write a post every day, especially one with 300 – 1200 carefully researched words and original, optimised images. In time you’ll build up a library of posts that you can recycle, repurpose and reheadline to keep your social posts both fresh and relevant, but until you get there aim to add one really good blog post every 1 to 2 weeks, and make sure you post other people’s blogs online that are relevant to your target audience to help build your presence in the meantime. In fact, don’t ever stop doing this as it’s a great way to stay relevant and build your audience, and if you are finding and posting relevant articles you should be reading them to, and expanding your knowledge.
By Jeff Guest on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013