As many of us are sitting down to start thinking and planning for next year, we’re posting this 6-part blog series highlighting a number of proven marketing & sales tactics that you can employ to help with revenue growth in 2017. Last week, we kicked-off this series discussing effective use of the telephone.
This week… Start Blogging.
I get this question a lot… “Should we be blogging?” And the answer is always the same… “YES!” Absolutely, unequivocally, without hesitation… “YES!”
Frankly, blogging (and its other content marketing cousins – articles, case studies, webinars, eBooks, etc.) is a “should do” for nearly every business… and it’s a “must do” in the Market Research industry.
Why? Here’s my rationale…
- You work in an ‘intellectual’ industry… you get hired, in part, because you’re smart.
- In order for prospective clients to see ‘proof’ that you’re smart… you need to share some of that intellect.
- And the best way to do that is by sharing content, including blogging.
What is Blogging?
Let’s define blogging at its simplest… a blog is a section on your website where you post information/ideas/opinions/observations/etc. as a means to share it with your target audience on a regular and consistent basis.
Done right, blogging builds awareness in the markets you serve, positions you (the author) as a Subject Matter Expert and might even help to promote you as a Thought Leader.
It is also a proven way to nurture sales leads, helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and – because you’re constantly adding fresh content to your website – it gives website visitors a reason to return again and again.
Getting Started in Blogging
When discussing blogging with clients, those who feel a little uncomfortable writing always ask, “What should I write about?” The easy answer is, “Whatever your clients and prospects would be interested in reading.” And that’s not meant to be sarcastic… that’s the goal of every blog post. But what my clients are really asking is, “Where do the ideas for topics come from?” Consider these…
- From talking to your clients… aside from project discussions, what’s on their minds?
- From what you read in all the magazines, online portals and blogs in our industry.
- Conduct a survey of a market segment on a particular topic… and write about the results.
- Interview a client or other luminary from our industry… and write about it.
- Been to conference recently? What did you learn? What did you see? What were the hot topics?
- What do you think? What is your opinion on what’s going on in the MR industry and in the industries you serve? (It’s these kinds of posts that can position you as Thought Leader.)
The Keys to Blogging Success
Blogging isn’t really all the difficult, but there are a few guidelines that will help you get the most from your efforts…
- Length of post: There is lots of conversation about which is better – long post or short posts. Try both over time, measure the results and see what works best for you. For short posts, though, shoot for 500-600 words, and never go below 300.
- Remember who you’re writing for. As readers (your clients and prospects) are going through any blog post you’ve written, they’re constantly asking themselves, “Why should I care about this?” or “What’s in it for me?” So, answer those questions.
- Write for a 12-year-old. Writing your content at a modest 6th grade level is perfectly fine. It makes your message quicker to read and easier to absorb.
- Create a compelling headline. The headline is what draws the reader in. Want to see if your headlines are any good? Try this headline analysis tool: http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer#
- Be consistent! Decide on a frequency schedule…and stick to it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than visiting a firm’s blog and finding that it hasn’t had a new post added to it in 6 months. Don’t let that happen to you!
- Promote your blogs. Your blogs have no value if no one reads them… so make sure your blog plan includes a strong promotional component – email, social media, etc. – to drive people to your posts.
And most importantly: your blogging absolutely, positively does NOT have to be perfect. So, stop worrying about the grammar, punctuation and vocabulary – and whether anyone will like what you post – and just go write something!
Good luck and good marketing.