Guest post by Graham Moreno
Blogging, since it’s explosion onto the scene with the rise of the internet age, has become a powerful force for business. There are different models of business blogging, some blogs try to drive business by creating good content that interests people, some of whom then check out and buy the product, others create demand by generating content that describes a need for the product and therefore creates demand with the content.
As the market for content driven blogging has grown, different subsets have sprung up along with a lot of guidance about creating content driven blogs. The basic premise in most of these blogs about how to blog is that good content equals people and people equal sales. I think this is true the vast majority of the time, but some more niche products can still benefit heavily from having a blog.
Where niche products have to change their mindset is that it’s not how many people your blog reaches that matters, it’s who your blog reaches. If you’re selling running shoes, and write a great article on baking a cake, you might get one thousand hits on your blog, but you probably won’t sell many running shoes.
At Help.com, we have developed a highly targeted content strategy where for us, thirty blog views from the people we want interested in us (VP of Customer Service, Director of Customer Support, etc.) are far more valuable than five hundred views from engaged, but uninterested parties because ultimately, selling our software is the goal.
Here are some quick tips on creating targeted content when reaching the right people is the goal rather than simply achieving a large volume of readership.
Talk to the people you want reading your blog.
- The niche your blog is targeting likely has a unique set of challenges associated with it figure out what those are.
- Asking what they would like to see provides a content roadmap far faster than trial and error or analyzing other sites.
- As you talk to people, hearing what they want gives you a reason to reach back out to them as your blog addresses the various things they suggest.
Guest blog where they’re already getting information from.
- Even though you’re about to launch the best blog in the industry about the topic, there are probably existing ones. Read them to ensure that you’re not just adding white noise and are approaching topics from a fresh new direction.
- Guest blogging increases your credibility as an expert in your field and gives you other publications to reference having worked with as your content generates demand.
Provide information that helps your target audience now.
- Give your target audience some tips they can implement this instant; immediate gratification is a good incentive.
- Make tools for both individual contributors and managers so you ensure that your provide value to all interested parties in your niche.
- Becoming a resource for free content and information allows you to help frame the conversation about your niche in a way that directs target customers to your product or service via thought leadership.
Interact with them on social media in ways unrelated to your brand.
- By being where your target audience is and participating in the same conversations they’re in without trying to sell them, you establish familiarity and credibility.
- Answering questions they ask or participating in conversations that they are in (assuming you’re providing good insight and content) will earn you their respect and make starting a conversation far more natural.
- Flip the perspective: if someone follows you, likes a bunch of what you post, comments on some of the same things as you, and you begin to recognize them as a kindred spirit, them reaching out to you will seem totally normal right? Now imagine a cold call about a product. Far less natural.
Use people who are already authorities in your field to build your brand.
- When discussing the reasons you built your product be sure to cite established thought leaders to show that your idea is based around the ideas of leaders in the industry.
- When discussing the industry on social media, be sure to invite established thought leaders to the conversation; them interacting with a point you make will add authority to your stance.
- When you mention someone, let them know – they’ll often retweet it or share it and that spreads your name and your idea to thousands of people who otherwise would have never known but, given that they follow the same industry thought leader, could be interested in what you’re offering.
Thoughts or stories about content blogging? Let us know!
Graham Moreno works in Business Operations and runs the blog at Help.com, where they are rethinking customer service. You can read his other work at Blog.Help.com.