How can blogging save a business? It’s a question I get a lot — not because of the field I’m in (though, admittedly, that does play a role) but because it kept my swimming pool business from, for lack of a better term, going under.
For years, the business marketed from the inside out, focusing on our products and our services. What we failed to realize was that customers don’t just want to be pitched to — they want to be educated.
It wasn’t until we stopped thinking of ourselves as just pool builders and started using blog content (text and video) to become teachers and problem solvers that we saw a real change in business. If someone had a question about pools, we had the answer.
By blogging about useful content, businesses of all sizes provide customers value beyond your products and services. You give them incentive to return to your website because you’re talking about what they care about. You become the destination for information, not another company blasting out one-way messaging.
But it needs to be the right kind of information. A HubSpot study found that 81 percent of companies believe their content is useful, proof that if your blogs aren’t catching on, it’s probably because the subject matter is off-base.
Give ’Em What They Want
Content marketing is no small feat, and many companies struggle with its creation and execution. Not everyone has the time to create content, let alone come up with the actual subject matter for it.
When my company started content marketing, we discussed costs associated with our product, wrote about product comparisons, and even posted a piece that allowed consumers to “pre-qualify” themselves for our product. This let them know whether a fiberglass pool was a good fit, which saved us time with prospecting.
Once you understand what subjects appeal most to your customers, you’ve now got buckets to draw from for engaging content. But the question remains: How do you go about creating the content? The following are good places to start:
1. Put someone in charge
For many businesses, content is created with a very limited view of the end results. But if the goal is to build brand awareness, nurture customer relationships, and ultimately drive sales, content must be strategic, which is where a content manager comes in.
This is a person who can not only create content, but who also understands social media trends and how to monitor them. A good content manager has a pulse on what customers want and creates content around that.
2. Capture content
Each day, businesses create valuable content without ever knowing it. Just look at the last email a sales rep sent out to a prospect. It probably contained some useful information about your products or services that can be repurposed as long as you capture it.
In fact, our clients see a bump in content production when they build gates to capture educational emails coming out of their businesses. All it takes is bcc’ing one person in the marketing department. At the very least, you’ll generate a constant stream of ideas that will meet the needs of readers.
3. Hold blogathons
Want to create a ton of content in a short period? A blogathon may be the answer. It gives all your employees an opportunity to share their knowledge about the business, which provides you with a diversity of thought and insights into the things that really concern customers.
For instance, a client of ours collected 50 pieces of content out of a single blogathon. While some of it will never see the light of day, it can lead to ideas that can later be turned into serviceable content. It also encourages collaboration among co-workers and helps break down those silos impeding the flow of information necessary for constant content creation.
Nothing should stop you from launching a content marketing strategy. You already have the information at your disposal; you just need to start using it correctly in order to make an impact on consumers.
Do you have any out-of-the-box approaches to populating your blog with topics your customers want to read about? Leave a comment below and tell us how.