Every marketing guru (including myself) advises clients to blog, for lots of good reasons. Publishing meaningful content in a blog demonstrates your knowledge of your field and showcases your expertise. Adding fresh, keyword-rich content to your website via a blog can have a big impact on your Google rankings and site traffic. And blogging can help you keep up with—and even influence—trends in your marketplace.
But blogging is a big commitment. Do blogs produce real results for marketers? Does blogging truly lead to fame and fortune? I’ve just completed my second year writing my blog about marketing strategy. Here are seven ways I’ve used the blog to increase visibility for my business (fame) and get new clients (fortune) as well as some blogging tips for your smart marketing strategy.
- Treat your blog like a product. I view my blog as a product produced by my marketing agency that’s just as important as any marketing campaign we’d create for a client. Thinking about my blog in this way helps make it a priority in my schedule and requires me to develop content that reflects the high quality of the marketing materials we produce for others.
- Use real examples from your daily business. I find that the easiest blog posts to write are ones that relate to marketing planning discussions I’m having with clients about real-world marketing challenges. When a client asks about a specific aspect of a marketing strategy, such as how to build a social-media marketing plan or market effectively at a trade show, I turn the basic tenets of my advice into a blog post.
- Share insights from experts. Attend conferences and seminars and blog about what experts in your industry are saying. They’ll be flattered you covered their presentation and often will share your blog with their followers. You’ll be curating valuable content that can help your followers stay current with your industry. And when you add your perspective, you get a chance to showcase your own knowledge.
- Write about your professional passions. I have a lifelong love of direct-mail marketing and often find blog ideas in the direct mail I receive at my home and office. I used a particularly bad campaign from Verizon as an example of how not to win back customers using direct mail, while a mailing from Chico’s served as a master class in how to do it right. When you write about things you’re passionate about, your expertise shines through.
- Blog with lead generation in mind. Every blog post I write creates another opportunity for prospective clients looking for marketing advice to discover my firm. It’s more than using the right keywords. I focus on what I know best and share ideas, tips and recommendations from my experience. Nearly every prospect who has contacted me in the last two years has read my blog before calling to see if I know my stuff. And I’m pleased to report that I have gained new clients as a result.
- Blog about the big guys. When you write about a large company, your post can get a significant amount of attention. A recent post about how my UPS driver exemplifies the UPS brand caught the eye of the UPS Corporation. The UPS social-media team has since posted my blog repeatedly on their Facebook and Twitter pages and circulated a link to the blog throughout the company. Of course, I didn’t write the blog with that goal in mind, but it was a nice bonus.
- Market your blog everywhere. I want people to start with my blog when they are learning about my business, so it’s referenced on my website, company and personal LinkedIn pages, my Facebook page, my Twitter bio, my Google+ page, my business card, my email signature and every presentation I create. I also promote each post in social media. Put your blog front and center in everything your company produces.
For most marketers, blogging can be an extremely effective marketing tool. My blog has drawn thousands of people to my website, propelled my site to page one on Google and created valuable new client relationships. I hope these tips can help you achieve success, too.
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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.