Your blog - what are you using it for? Most companies - large and small - have no clue what their blog content is for. Sure, you need a blog, but why? And how does your blog content translate into sales? If you can't answer this, and you don't know what direction to take your blog, then it's probably not doing you any favors. In fact, it might be costing you money. Here's how to use your blog to nurture leads instead of driving them away.
1. Poll Your Salespeople For Content Ideas
Salespeople are an awesome source for content ideas, so ask them point-blank: "what are customers always asking us about?"
Salespeople are out there in the field with customers and prospects. They know what the "hot button" issues are, and that's important. A big part of sales is entering the conversation that's already going on inside of a prospect's mind. If you aren't a part of that conversation, you won't get the sale.
Moreover, your sales team can actually use the information you put up on your blog - if it's relevant. For example, some prospects need time to think about whether or not they want to buy anything from you. As a salesperson, this is the worst form of torture.
Having a blog post that can be sent to a prospect may help speed up that sales cycle. It might also be a great way to stay in touch with prospects as well as a great icebreaker for otherwise "dead" or "cold" leads.
2. Email Blog Content To Your Mailing List
Do you have a mailing list? If not, you should - but what do you send to that list? You don't want it to be a never-ending pitch-fest. So, send them your blog posts. If your company is posting high-quality material, it keeps you in front of people.
The trick to making this work is to have posts that show some kind of personality. Don't write in the third-person. In fact, it might help if you write in the first person. At the very least, you should write in the second-person and act as though you are engaging your ideal prospect in a "one-to-one" conversation.
Have a few different people from your organization write for your company's blog. Each person should have their name attached to their own post. Put a disclaimer at the bottom of each post that says that each employee's view doesn't necessarily represent the views of the entire company if you absolutely have to (though this might not be such a great idea) - the important thing is that your company's blog be personal.
Send out a post every week. Watch the traffic slowly start to flow back to your company's site.
3. Do Intelligent Product Reviews
The problem with product and service reviews is that they come off as being a little bit cheesy and forced. No one wants to read an advertorial, really. However, if you are smart about it, your posts won't come off as being a thinly-veiled sales pitch.
When you're doing a product or service review, do it on a product or service that is complementary to yours, but not competitive with yours. For example, if you sell car insurance but not life insurance, do a review on life insurance agencies that you personally like and mention that your company uses one of them for its internal benefits plan.
Another way to do reviews is to do client testimonials, interviews, and case studies. Provide facts, references, and hard numbers to support the review. It makes the case study believable and people generally won't mind the soft sell if you can back up all of your claims.
Charles Dearing is a website development business consultant. He contributes regularly on some of the top internet marketing and seo blogs including the SEARCH ENGINE PEOPLE Blog.