How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy

by Jennifer Osborne March 17th, 2008 

Most SEO's will agree that Blogs are an important part of their Toolkit. Blogs offer both on page and off page benefits for our client's sites.

Implementing a Blog is relatively simple to do…the tough part is getting the client to agree to one.

This is the first in a 5 part series looking at Blog Strategy with a focus on Clients. In this post, I'm going to look at some of the typical objections clients have to implementing a Blog Strategy, and how to answer them.

The Client: Why would I think about implementing a Blog Strategy?

Blog growth is exploding. If you do a search on Technorati for "blog" you'll receive over 15 Million search results.

There is a good reason for this.

Blogs are becoming the de facto source for news and information for our culture.

Here is a case in point. A couple of years ago, I heard that there had been a recall on Polly Pockets. Given that I have a baby who puts everything in her mouth and these toys in the house, I headed straight to the computer to find more information.

What struck me as incredibly interesting is that the only information available that quickly was through Blogs. Although I couldn't find the actual news source, I was able to find a link to the information I needed (including the companies recall) through a Blog.

The Client: We have always resisted a Blog because we're not sure anyone would read it. Who wants to read an online diary about plastic products / rugs / or the petroleum industry <insert client industry>?

What? You don't have a Burning Desire to tell your online story about Plastic Products/ Rugs / or the Petroleum Industry <insert client industry>?

Are you crazy?

Of course not. Chances are your industry doesn't lend itself to an online diary.

So why is a Blog a Good Idea?

Don't think of it as an online diary. It's much more than that. In addition to it being an opportunity to talk to your client in a different tone than the rest of your site, it's a very Search Engine friendly, Social Media friendly infrastructure.

Blogs provide an opportunity to add a great deal of content to your website. And search engines love content.

If you look at the analytics of your website a few months after implementing a Blog, you'll typically see a large increase in the number of search phrases that people are finding your site with.

Unlike typical SEO where you're optimizing specific pages for specific keywords, a Blog allows you to talk about your product, services and industry in very natural language.

This is critical because if you've ever examined the long tail of your search results, you'll know that you will never in a million years anticipate all of the "wild and wacky" search phrases that searchers will use to find your site.

(To the reader) It's important that you don't sell the Blog solely on the reasons that we as the SEO want to implement a Blog.

We all know that blog content can get indexed quickly; that it provides another method of link building; various plug ins make things like RSS and Social Media easy to use; etc.

But that's looking at the Blog from our perspective as SEO's.

Instead of using SEO jargon and technical terms, try to provide the client with real life examples that they can relate to (although I must say, many of my clients are so Internet Marketing savvy, they could be SEO's :) )

The Client: That makes sense but I'm also worried about running out of ideas for posts. My biggest concern is the potential resource requirement that a Blog might create.

That's a very important point. Implementing a blog can be like getting a new puppy. You're really excited at first about it and then you realize just how much work this is going to be.

Coming up with post ideas is one of the Key Success Factor for your Blog. As such, before the final decision to launch is made; and before the Blog is built, we will brainstorm at least 30 ideas for future Blog Posts.

When implementing a Blog for our clients we often think of 7 to 10 potential categories for the posts then come up with 3 to 5 ideas for each category. This is important for two reasons. First, this exercise will help you (the client) to realize that there are hundreds of potential post ideas.

Second, these post ideas become the foundation of your editorial schedule. Once we've agreed on 30 to 50 post ideas, then we'll plan out who will write the posts (us, ghost writers, the client, delegates with in the clients company, guest bloggers, etc).

And we'll put a schedule to it so everyone knows what is expected of them in advance. By knowing in advance who is going to do what and by when, Blog the posts done.

(To the reader: I like to speak to my clients about process. I find that outlining the steps involved in what we do helps to demystify the process. Although it sometimes seems like we just magically press the "easy button" in actuality most of what we do has nothing to do with magic and everything to do with hard work.

Also, outlining the process helps to manage the clients expectations. If they know what the next steps are then they can become a part of the solution. Also, by focusing on how you are going to do what you are doing, it demonstrates to the client that you've done this before.

Most clients understand why a Blog Strategy will benefit them. Its usually more of an issue to explain how we will make it a success. From large companies to SME's most firms have resource constraints that must be addressed.

—————————————————————————————-

This is the first in a 5 part series on Blog Strategy with a focus on clients. This series will explore:

  1. How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy
  2. How to develop a Blog Strategy? What makes it a 'Strategy' versus just implementing a Blog?
  3. How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries
  4. What are realistic measures of success for your Client's Blog?
  5. How to get your Blog Traffic to Convert
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39 Responses to “How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy”

  1. Shana Albert says:

    Another fabulous post, Jennifer!!

    I have never really thought about it, but you are right. Sometimes getting any info about recalls you can get from parenting blogs. The same type of thing happened to me about 18 months ago. Do you remember a barbie item that had a dog that would poo? It was Barbie's job to pick it up with a pooper scooper. Well, my daughter swallowed one of the #2's. (Ewww, I know) I freaked out and looked all over the matel site and found nothing, but found tons of info on parenting blogs. The magnet wasn't in the poo (thank G-d), but in the pooper scooper. The item later was recalled.

    Love the post…. SEP never disappoints. :)

    Shana

  2. Nick James says:

    This looks set to be a great series Jenn. The information you've included here for setting up client blogs is absolutely essential if you wish to avoid the trap of burnout after a couple of posts.
    I would love to say I already have these aspects covered, but of course I don't. Great education. One that can also be applied to a personal blog, something I plan to do – when I get the time ;)

  3. I am very happy that you are doing this. Stumbled, printed, forwarded to a prospective blogger, Sphunn…

  4. Shana – thank you for sharing that story! I knew that other parents would be able to relate!

    Nick & Elizabeth – thank you!! I really appreciate your comments!!!

  5. Dev Basu says:

    Nice work Jenn! Blogs have tremendously benefited every client I've ever worked with. I look forward to reading the rest from this series — Dev

  6. Don says:

    Glad to see you're another SEM colleague having to deal with this issue. Good points in this first post. We've run into more entrenched opposition, however: the organization that still has to run all content by Legal first! This effectively kills the notion of employees happily group-blogging for the ol' firm.

    I think there are still many companies and organizations that don't understand they have ZERO control nowadaze over their brand and its public discussion. We are part of the "cool crowd" who gets this in 2008 — in five more years (about how long it took many companies to decide they needed a website), this will probably no longer be an issue.

  7. Excellent points Jennifer… I like the client who goes, 'yeah sure, we'll do a blog', then once you start working out a strategy and they see how much work is actually involved they start to have second thoughts.

  8. KenJones says:

    Fantastic advice. I'm putting it to use right now trying to explain the positive benefits of a company blog to one of my clients. Can't wait to read the rest of the series.
    Have a Sphinn from me.

  9. Matt Ridout says:

    Great post and something that I have been trying to push clients to invest in – easy said than done!

    I get the argument that they simply don't want to become an "information based site" – which simply stuns me as I explain the benefits – I think the lack of willingness to part with cash is the main contributer.

    Great post!

  10. spostareduro says:

    Looking forward to the next 4 *-)

  11. Great post really enjoyed it. I think a blog is essential part of the online experience for a site visitor.

  12. @Dev – thank you!

    @Don – It's tough for the clients too who understand the concept of Blogs but have strict company policies that must be followed. You are right – more and more companies will learn that you are better off participating in the conversation.

    @Martin – That does hurt! I think that the trick is to try to put a process in place that makes it as easy as possible for the client. Although then there is a trade off. The more we can take off the client's plate, the more the solution costs.

  13. @ Ken – Good luck! :)

    @ Matt – Thank you! That is definitely the case for some sites.

    Kim and SWD – thank you! I'm really excited about the next post talking about how a Blog is different than a Blog Strategy!

  14. [...] Osborne wrote a terrific blog post on the usefulness of a blog strategy. I thought the post was interesting for several [...]

  15. Bogdan says:

    Blogging is the best thing that happened to the web in a while. No more hassle with updating websites or news letters. Everything is one click away!

  16. Paul Burani says:

    Let's not discount the utility of a business blog as a market research tool. A really creative blogger can query his or her stakeholders about a marketing initiative or a key new product feature, for example, and if some good commenting ensues, there might be enough to read into key decisions. Those are the kinds of insights that a lot of big distant marketers would kill for…

  17. [...] Osborne of Search Engine People started a five part series on blog strategy. Her first post was How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy. I'm going to take her plan and apply it to my blog. She'll be posting weekly for another four [...]

  18. mark says:

    Nice post Jen! It still amazes me that in this day and age you would have to "sell a client" on a blog strategy or the power of online publishing…

  19. spostareduro says:

    Pauls answer rocks :-)

  20. Great advice! I actually really enjoy company blogs. It's a great way for them to explain why they make various choices and often a spot for checking out upcoming features, products etc.

  21. Utah SEO says:

    Chris Winfield said it well when he stated how there are people out there interested in your product or service or you wouldn't be in business. So no matter how obscure your industry is, a blog is a great outreach to your customers/clients.

  22. [...] blog strategy. I'm going to use it for re-fueling and re-assessing. The first post in the series, How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy, suggests making a list of potential categories and posts. Coming up with post ideas is one of the [...]

  23. [...] Spend a few hours fixing a duplicate content issue or plug the whole in the site's shopping cart. Once your client starts seeing the results you won't have to work so hard to sell your client on a blog strategy. [...]

  24. [...] How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy [...]

  25. [...] How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy [...]

  26. [...] How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy [...]

  27. hey…I was unaware that seo companies use blogging as one of their strategies.

  28. [...] Ceci est une traduction de l’article écrit par Jennifer Osborne : How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy [...]

  29. [...] es una traducción al español de: How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy escrita por Jennifer [...]

  30. Blogs are mandatory for any online business now-a-days

  31. What a great piece of advice!!! You are good on them, how can you manage to get such interesting topics for your posts!! BTW when will we see the next four part series on Blog Strategy?

  32. Simon says:

    Nice write up jen:) More power to you.

  33. Eva White says:

    That's a wonderful post for someone into marketing blogs as well as websites. My site is pure blog, so it doesn't quite apply, but I liked the points that you made.

  34. MOin says:

    i am really liking this blog many wise bloggers are blogging here i am here from google and i am subscribing RSS for it.

    and jeniffer really a great article hope to see more from you.

  35. Some very informative information right out there. I agree with you completely on the part that blog posts and their ideas are actually the hard part. We could set everything up, and when it comes to posting content, it's hard to think of unqiue things.

    Though a few blog do that, they are a few. And they are authority in their niche.

    Great post :)

  36. Alex Atti says:

    Very informative article, Jennifer. Thank you!

  37. skyline says:

    Excellent article. I already had the opportunity to do this for a client and the result was ok I think. He didn't had time to blog daily…but when he was posting something…he had fast feedback from the visitors.

    Anyway, nice article!:)

  38. [...] them aware of the hard work that goes into a successful blog. Jennifer Osborne put together the first post in a series of five, focusing on blog strategy from the client’s point of view. It addresses some very common and [...]

  39. [...] Osborne of Search Engine People started a five part series on blog strategy. Her first post was How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy. I'm going to take her plan and apply it to my blog. She'll be posting weekly for [...]