We all know the reasons for having a blog right? It drives traffic to your website, it helps with search engine results, it generates leads, and all those great marketing objectives. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are all excellent reasons. But those reasons should be true across the board, I mean, they should be a given.
They are the reasons why you should have one, they are not the reasons for your particular blog.
So why are you really blogging? You need to think about the strategic reasons as much as you do the practical reasons. If you don’t have a strategy, then you will fail, and the positive effects on your business will be lost.
Blogs can be used to achieve many strategic goals – in fact, they can achieve many strategic goals at the same time.
Here are five strategic reasons:
1 To establish authority
You can write about your latest product, its new upgraded features, the amazing offer you are running at the moment – but frankly that’s just a little small-minded and self-serving.
What you should be doing is writing about the issues that your customer’s are struggling with, the future of their industry, the areas they should be thinking about, the strategic decisions they face, and so on.
By taking this route you will become a respected voice in the industry, an expert, someone whose opinion your customers will come to value.
And when they come to buy – they will come to you, as a respected authority in your field.
2 To dictate the playing field
Your business strategy may rely on your product or service being seen in a certain way, in having advantages in certain areas.
This is a chance to highlight those areas, to dictate the battlefield and lead the conversation, to enable you to set the agenda and steal a march on your competitors by creating a buzz around topics you’ve defined.
A basic, low-level example of this is the “What you should look for in your supplier” type post where you make sure that your organisation meets or exceeds the criteria you are setting up in the article. Like that – only with the bigger picture in mind.
3 To educate your audience
You may have a product or service that is superior to the competition – but do your customers know it? Do they even realise that the areas where you are superior are important? Or maybe they don’t realise just how much they need your product or service?
Are they unaware of the issues they may face in their business, and how urgently they need to go about solving them?
You can help by educating them, and not just because a better educated client may be more likely to buy your offering, but because knowledge is of value to them – and they will appreciate you giving it away for free.
4 To humanise the business
The Internet is faceless by and large. Organisations are seen as faceless. And yet people relate best – to other people. Look in the newspapers – what are in the photos? People. It is rare that a picture in a newspaper will not feature a human face.
In business the best relationships are personal relationships, and blogging is an ideal means by which to kick off those first glimmerings of a customer to organisation relationship.
The more human it feels, the more human the organisation can feel; the better. Customers can get upset and annoyed with organisations – but they find it harder (Okay, by no means impossible I grant you) to get upset and annoyed with a person they ‘know’. And more importantly, they will listen to and respect a person they feel is genuine, rather than just a corporate voice.
Once they feel they know you, and trust you, they will come to you when its time to buy.
“The secret of success is sincerity.
Once you can fake that you've got it made.”
Jean Giraudoux (and a hundred comedians since).
5 To convey your values and culture
You sell widgets. But everyone sells widgets. Look on Google – there are a million sellers of widgets. So why would someone buy from you?
These days that’s down to the brand – how well customer’s know you, how much they respect you, and how much your ethics and values match their own. That is why so many major brands are about lifestyle – about ethics and about image. Look at Apple, Virgin, Coke, Audi – their advertising is all about conveying their values – what they stand for.
Blogs are ideal for this. As you write about other things, you can inject into the writing your style and attitude – in fact – your culture will inevitably come across in your posts, whether you like it or not. What you write about, and the way you write about it, will convey your values and culture.
Remember that these strategic goals are NOT mutually exclusive.
But remember, whether you have a number of goals in mind or just one, make sure you are absolutely clear about what you want to achieve.