Running A Successful Business Blog: Why It Pays to Post
Blogging matters. As sales expert and successful blogger S. Anthony Iannarino explains, the right approach delivers not only more traffic to your site — but also more leads. Learn why you need to devote time to your business blog and how to spend that time wisely.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for your all-conquering inbound lead empire — it takes time and planning. Starting a business blog is a great start, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect gangbuster results in the first six or even twelve months. However, with the right foundation and a firm commitment, you’ll see your blog picking up traffic, engaging prospects, and producing leads.
S. Anthony Iannarino, President and Chief Sales Officer at SOLUTIONS Staffing and founder of popular blog The Sales Blog, recently sat down with OpenView Labs to explain why blogging is so important and how to do it right (listen to the full interview here).
Why Bother Blogging?
Iannarino wastes little time in explaining why blogging is so important and why it’s been so successful for him. “Your blog is a place where you can generate content that helps buyers along the path wherever they are,” he says, and, because it’s content that lives on the web forever, “each post increases your chances of customers finding you precisely when they need you.”
With effective blog content, you create value for customers by educating them. You can reach those who “don’t know that they’re dissatisfied but should be” by putting your finger on their problem. Even if readers are already aware of what the problem is, they may not know what product or service solves it. And for all potential customers searching for new ideas in your vertical, your blog can serve as their guide.
Don’t Pitch on Every Post
Iannarino points out that although effective blog posts are designed to speak to customers at the moment they’re looking for products or services that you offer, you want to avoid making a pitch in your post. “Most of the problem in the way” that businesses blog, he says, “is that they think it’s marketing’s job.
“The problem with that approach is that “when marketing does a lot of the blogging, it looks and sounds like marketing.”
To combat that overly sales-y tone, Iannarino suggests asking “the people who actually touch the business” to “start sharing ideas.” For his own blog, Iannarino “tracks every idea” by having his phone or tablet with him and writing down every post topic the moment it comes to him, “no matter how great or how small.”
Open up the dialog for blog topics to include every customer-facing department, and you build a “giant notebook of every kind of business problem, business challenge, and leadership challenge” that you know your customers face. Iannarino notes that businesses miss the fact that every interaction with a client presents a new potential blog topic that can influence a prospect’s thinking at a particular stage of the sales cycle or customer life cycle. Focus on those ideas, and the content you post “starts to look more like content that people build community around and communicate with.”
Business Blogging Tips to Remember
As you begin putting together new posts, Iannarino offers a couple of tips to keep in mind. First, he stresses that you need to present a clear point of view.
“You started your business with an idea that you’re going to create value for some group of people,” he says, and you understand their pain, problems, and ambitions. “Speak to that, but speak to it through your eyes” so that readers can see your “unique take” on a particular part of their journey and why you think they should look at it your way.
Next, Iannarino wants you to build a community.
“It’s not enough to go on the social web and develop this content and decide that it’s content marketing and then not engage with their community,” he says. Instead, you need to “reply to every comment,” make an effort to “share other people’s information on Twitter,” and consider “the reciprocity factor.”
He sees many businesses create content with an eye toward talking about themselves and drawing attention to their own products. A more effective approach is to “dive into the community and be part of it in order to get the full value of blogging.”
Suffering From Writer’s Block When It Comes to Blogging?
“The social web is here,” Iannarino says, and “content marketing is here,” and he doesn’t see a future in which “we ever go away from sharing valuable ideas and insights with our clients.” Given that, he wonders how anyone can justify not making time for blogging.
But for those who still struggle to see a potential return on the time commitment, Iannarino offers the pay-off he’s reaped from thesalesblog.com. “It’s completely changed my life and my business beyond anything that I’ve expected when I started,” he says, adding that he has “business offers all the time for consulting work and coaching work and speaking work.” In short: “It’s an outstanding ROI.”
How has your business blog impacted your company’s bottom line?
Photo by: Alejandro Escamilla