Last week we took a look at why marketers should blog to generate leads, so it makes sense to follow that up with a discussion of what marketers need to keep in mind as they build out their blogs.
After all, you wouldn’t convince a friend to embark on a big adventure without telling them things to remember and watch out for. Below is a rundown of helpful advice from experts on the quest of blogging for leads.
Know your readers
Before you eagerly populate your blog with content, pause and consider what your goal is and who your audience is. “Think of your ideal prospect and develop a marketing persona as a point of reference,” says Nicholas Pandiscio, chief operating officer for WolfCom Public Relations. “Work towards a goal of presenting that persona with something that will appeal to them.”
Understanding readers will help marketers understand their specific needs. So, for example, if you’re targeting potential customers who don’t know much about your business, you should probably avoid using industry jargon. “On the other hand, if your target audience is more knowledgeable then you can skip the basic material and focus your writing on more advanced topics,” Pandiscio says. “Understand where the prospect is in the buying process.”
Regarding the actual way marketers present content on their blogs, Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of content curation and online marketing solutions company Curata, suggests making facts included in blog posts tweetable to improve the chances of that post becoming viral.
“As an example, try taking stats from an industry survey and turn them into a post,” he says. “You can then create a list of bite-sized, hyperlinked facts from the survey, making it easy for others to tweet.”
Making a blog’s content shareable will also help the marketer’s discernment when considering what to blog about. “If you’re blogging, you should always have something interesting to say or show,” says Michael Harbron, sales and marketing director of Internet marketing company SEOhaus. “Think: How can I educate my audience on my industry, brand or opinion, and are they going to find it interesting and spread the word? Because, really, the name of the game in blogging is to get your message across and get it viral. So think of a topic that will get people reading and sharing.”
Tone and perspective
The tone of your blog should be conversational, not “salesy,” according to Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO and “marketing therapist” for full-service marketing agency Web Marketing Therapy, and author of “The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing.”
Marketers should also remember to tell stories from a prospect’s point of view, according to Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions Inc. In other words, make the reader the hero by looking at their world and their problems.
“Additionally, in every hero story, there is the mentor and there is the hero who makes the ‘save the day’ decision,” says Riesterer. “If all you write about is your solution, how great it is and how it will solve all your prospect’s problems, you’re positioning your company or solution as the hero. You don’t want to be the hero. You want to be the mentor who helps guide the prospect to the ‘save the day’ decision, a purchase decision.”
Don’t forget the goal
Marketers shouldn’t forget that their blogs are meant to generate leads. This means a blog should be seen as an introduction to the topic at hand, according to Pandiscio. “Entice the reader with additional content about the topic such as an e-book or a previously recorded webinar, which they can access for free, and all they need to do is click on the link you provide,” he says. “Make sure you include a link and a call to action for every blog entry that is intended for lead generation.”
Ross adds that marketers should make sure that their blog posts close with an invitation for the reader to take action, but that these calls to action must follow content that is helpful and educational to the reader. “It is critical with content to serve and support. This is the only way to get leads to close sales.”
By Jason Hahn