And now that LinkedIn has opened up its publishing platform so that all users on LinkedIn can Post Articles there is even greater opportunity to use blogging as a great way to bee seen as an authority, and establish credibility with prospects.
If you’re running a business or you are in sales then your blog needs to generate a result, and show a return on your investment of time. And it helps to start with the end in mind, in order to keep focused and committed while there are so many other calls on your time.
If you need guidance about developing your personal brand and methods such as blogging to build your credibility you can email Mark Stonham here.
Blogging for business is not about selling in one step
What a blog is not is a place to republish your sales brochures and collateral. It’s not a place for shouting directly about how good you are as a company, how great your products and services are, how wonderful your clients are, and so on.
Sales brochure material has its place, to achieve specific objectives and move prospects to the next step in the sales process, but the vehicle to deliver it is not directly through a blog post.
A good principle and tone to take with articles, whether they are on your blog or on the LinkedIn platform, is to invite the reader to follow a link to further resources or to a method of generating inquiries, such as a landing page, contact form, or an email link.
Objectives for your blogging activity
In marketing and sales there are probably several objectives that a blog can support, such as:
- Position you as a leader – sometimes referred to as an authority, and expert or a thought-leader. People listen to and follow leaders who can add value in some way. It might be ideas and insight, sign-posting resources, problem solving and so on.
- Increase your reach – you would like people to share blog posts with their colleagues and through Social Media as this spreads the word about who you are and what you offer.
- Increase engagement – a fancy term meaning you’d like people to read several articles, not just one, as well as you being more memorable.
- Lead nurture – there are several ways that a blog and articles can remind your prospects about you. This includes if they see them, or links to them, in their LinkedIn News feed, through email newsletter or if you send them a direct link.
- Lead generation – direct response is possible through a blog, if approached subtly. More later.
There may well be other objectives, but hopefully that gives you an idea of the main ones.
A 3 part blogging strategy to follow
At a simple level, when you are blogging for business your blog strategy as three element to it:
1. The range of topics you will cover in your articles
Positioning yourself as a leader, and with limited resources, probably means you should pick a small niche area to cover. Choose an issue that your prospects are struggling with to increase your results.
There are several ways to make it memorable, so adding some insight about your personal and professional background and your career experience will make your perspective unique.
With that in mind, think about what industry or sector news or topics are happening, what customer problems, needs and challenges do you know about, what approaches to problem solving do you take or use, and so on. If you can identify 4-6 threads which you could rotate through that will give your blog variety.
Identifying a few keywords or key phrases at this stage is helpful too. For the Wurlwind blog and website the keywords are LinkedIn and Social Selling – in case there was any doubt.
2. The context of your articles and what take place before, around and after them
Consider in particular these three aspects:
Getting Found – Take a moment to think about how people will find the blog and posts – so think further about keywords, for search, and promotion through communities and networks and social media, informing your known contacts through email, and so on. Articles on LinkedIn have a lot of this already provided that you can leverage.
Presentation – How will each article look? Consider the text and fonts with in the article, and images and video you may want to include for clarity and impact. Also consider the page header and footer and sidebar elements of your blog. Will they detract from the blog message, in which case minimise them. Or is the blog content primarily a means to expose the reader to the (promotional) messages around the article?
Next step(s) – Then think of the potential Calls-to-Action that you’d like to design into appropriate blog posts and articles. Can you encourage and enable people to share the content, by writing great material and by including social share buttons on the posts.
You may want to lead people through to additional articles, maybe to a video, to a sales page or a landing page. You may want them to enter their email address, or fill in a form, or to share the article with others.
3. Your schedule and diary of activity
If you start without a plan to follow you will become distracted and discouraged. Setting aside time from your business or your territory sales activity is tough.
Better to set out to create something monthly and stick to it rather than weekly and feel you have taken on too much.
Taking action and writing articles
When you have thought through and come up with your headline objectives and strategy for article writing and blogging it’s time to move to the next stage; planning your blog posts, and then writing the articles. Taking action is key.
Here are three steps you might find helpful to get started:
1. Brainstorm the questions that people ask about your chosen specialist topic. Think about recent sales calls, prospect meetings, objections, and so on, and make a long list.
2. Create rough drafts for the first dozen articles – that’s enough for a year at one a month. This will help you decide whether there is sufficient material in that area of specialisation. You can also consider how to make the topic and your articles exciting and memorable.
3. Pick the Top Three headlines and finish those articles and publish them in quick succession – maybe on a week. Make full use of them, by sending links to customers and prospects, sharing them on Social Media and so on.
Take a look around the Wurlwind Website – there are some 100+ pages and 100 + articles here. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas of what to do, and maybe what not to do…
And if you’d like to receive more LinkedIn and Social Selling hints and tips sign-up for our tips.
And finally, do post a comment below about any successes, techniques or challenges you’d like to share.