Blogging for leads
As a business owner, you know the majority of your prospective customers will start with a search of the web before they make a purchase. Therefore you need to have a great online, or digital, presence. For most companies, that means having a website and often a social media account or two. For those of you over 25, I’ll translate: this is the equivalent of having a listing in a trade directory or a ‘Yellow Pages’ ad.
One of the best ways to turn your web page visitors into leads is with a blog.
First some basics.
- Q: What is a blog?
- A: The word blog is short for weblog.
- Q: What’s the difference between a blog and a post?
- A: A blog is made up of individual entries or posts. If your website and social media pages are like Yellow Pages, your blog is the equivalent of a company newsletter or magazine. Think of a your blog as a magazine and each article in the magazine as a post.
Why you need a blog
- Blogging results in more leads.
- Companies that blog get more links to their website.
- Blogs are rated as one of the most trusted sources of accurate online information.
A blog is a place to showcase your expertise and make a human connection with readers and visitors. When you post to a blog it stays active on the web 24/7. So while you’re sleeping, somebody can be reading it, searching for it, or passing it on to someone else to read. It’s like compounding interest. The longer it stays out there on the web, the more likely it will get found, read, referenced and passed along. Here’s a revealing truth: people share all kinds of content without reading it first – which is OK, as long as it gets passed on to someone who can and will purchase! And when that happens, some of them will contact you for sales or service.
How Often Should You Post?
The short answer is as often as possible. Frequent, consistent blog posts containing relevant content show your community that you care and keep current on industry topics and trends. If you post haphazardly, you will not become a trusted resource because followers will not know when, or what, to expect from you. People are more likely to have a dialog with someone who shows a consistent presence. Going back to the magazine analogy, one of the reasons for their historical success has been the regularity with which they are published.
If you post a blog once a week and it is viewed 40 times, in one year that’s 2,080 readers you might not have otherwise interacted with. OK, eliminate the 52 times your mother reads the blog – it’s still more than 2,000 views from potential customers. How many would need to become paying customers each year to make blogging worth your while? For most of us, just a few.
Think of your blog as a conversation starter – an opportunity to tell a story. Your story. Or better yet, a delighted customer’s story. Along with social media, blogging is a way to demonstrate who you are as an entrepreneur and as a person. When you write about a subject, you have an opportunity to show your personality along with your expertise. Readers of this blog, for instance, know that I am passionate about marketing.
Why don’t more people blog regularly?
The most common excuses are:
- Writing is hard.
- It takes too much time.
To make writing easier, here’s some advice from Paul Steinmetz, a professional with over 30 years of writing, editing and publishing experience.
- Keep it clear. Do that by limiting each sentence to one idea or point.
- Short sentences are easier to understand.
- Rewrite. If at first your sentences are jumbled, try again. Pay special care to your opening paragraph to give yourself the best chance of keeping your reader’s attention. Start, and restart again. Keep restarting until your thoughts become enticing.
- Spend the same amount of time on your headline as on your post.
- Make sure someone else reads each post before publishing to eliminate typos, grammatical errors, and sentences that don’t make sense. (It happens to all of us.)
When asked about time, Paul suggests:
- Get into a routine.
- Set a deadline. (Here’s a secret: professional writers mostly get their work done only when the deadline rolls around.)
- Develop an editorial calendar so that you have an idea of what you will write about for the next four weeks.
- When you become accustomed to looking for ideas, you will find you recognize them more readily.
Figure out what you want to write about and then stick to one theme for each post. If something happens during your trip to a baseball game that fits nicely with the general theme of your blog (customer service, for example, or dealing with stressful situations) then use it in your next post. If it’s just fun day at the ballpark, though, share it with your friends – but not your readers.
Your blog post content should be a mix of evergreen ideas (things everyone who seeks your product or services should generally know about), topics based on news events, people you admire, customers or product and service offerings. Best practices suggest a 1:4 ratio — one product or service mention for every four posts of evergreen content.
What about SEO?
This is an area that continues to evolve. There are tools and people available to help you through the maze of search engine optimization, but SEO is no longer a standalone fix. It is part of an overall strategy that results in improving the likelihood of being found online. The important thing to know is this: developing high-quality content that is timely, relevant and meaningful (TRM) and solves people’s problems is a great way to offer value and get found online. Of course, it helps to understand what terms your prospects use to find you online. Search engines such as Google and Bing give priority to sources that deliver consistent, frequent updates. Knowing which keywords prospects use in search will help your blog, your voice, and your site get found. Here is a great SEO post summarizing a 2014 Rand Fishkin presentation (available in its entirety with slides) that offers a straightforward explanation of SEO and what to keep in mind while writing your blog.
Make it part of the bigger picture
A blog should be designed to create leads for your business. It should be a part of your marketing strategy. When your blog answers questions and becomes a resource for buyers seeking pre-sales information, when people refer to it as a source of industry information that positions you as a subject matter expert, when readers of your blog learn from it and know that you can alleviate their pain, when your blog has a human voice and shows prospects an easy path that leads them to conduct business with you — your blog will generate leads.
Optimize your next blog post. Download these worksheets to to learn how.
Have you been generating leads from your blog? Share what’s working for you in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
- At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists