Do you ever feel completely overloaded with advertisements?
Pop-up ads, commercials on TV and streaming apps, and billboards can have the effect of making people feel overloaded with information. Most of us are bombarded with advertising of some sort through multiple channels all day long, and many people are just plain sick of it.
But advertising is critical for business owners and executives to reach new customers and hang on to those who have already been won over. So how can you reach people in the age of marketing saturation? By telling a good story — specifically, your good story.
That’s where blogging comes in. People are hard-wired to like stories, and blogging is a great way to tell your company’s story through an engaging medium that people are more receptive to.
There’s only one rule: You have to tell them something they need to know, meaning information that is helpful to them. As long as you’re helping them, they’ll keep reading.
Blogging done right — when it engages and conveys useful information to readers — can have a major, quantifiable impact for your business.
Here are four essential marketing activities that good blogging enables you to do.
Demonstrate Expertise and Thought Leadership
“Show, don’t tell” is an old axiom that describes good writing, and it’s true of blogging to grow your business. Don’t just say you’re the best architect, CPA, or software developer in town. Prove that you’re the best by telling people something they need to know about your business — something that shows how you differ from the competition and why customers should want to work with you.
A developer might write a blog about apps, tips, and tricks for backing up cloud-based SaaS applications, which would demonstrate their expertise. An architect could publish a blog about how to select the right architect to design a kitchen or new office space — and mention their experience in that specific area.
Professionals can write on simple, straightforward topics that provide valuable, first-hand information to consumers. By helping people solve simple problems, businesses that blog well make it much more likely that their readers will come back to them when they encounter bigger, more complex problems.
Current events are another great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate thought leadership. When big news is on the horizon for your industry, you can be the first to let people know and give them a sense of the broader implications. In other words, you can demonstrate your vision and deep knowledge of the inner workings of your industry.
Showcase Your Culture and Leadership Style
Expertise isn’t always enough, as there will always be other people and companies with expertise similar to yours. It’s important to go a step further and show what makes you or your company different and give people the opportunity to see your character, personality, or culture.
In short, people need to feel like they know, like, and trust (KLT) you. Getting to that point is a longer-term exercise, but it is achievable — and it’s worth it in terms of potential ROI.
Authenticity and consistency are essential to helping people KLT your brand. You need to be real and communicate in a manner consistent with previous interactions and consumers’ expectations.
Levity and humor are also highly effective (and underutilized) tools for building relationships with customers. Have you ever laughed at a particularly funny Super Bowl commercial? It seems that we don’t mind marketing as much when it makes us laugh.
Beyond customer relationship-building, showcasing your company’s culture can also have a major positive impact on your recruiting efforts. The labor market has never been tighter for employers, and competition for top-level talent remains fierce in most industries. The 2019 Mission & Culture Survey by Glassdoor found that “over 77% of adults across four countries (the United States, UK, France, Germany) would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, and 79% would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying.”
It’s hard to imagine those numbers have decreased in the last few years, especially considering the Great Resignation. It’s been reported that more than 40% of workers have considered leaving their job at some point since the pandemic began.
Highly skilled professionals with multiple options will continue opting to work for the companies with the most positive and established cultures, and blogging provides a powerful venue for employers to put their best foot forward.
While it’s not exactly pleasant, sometimes you need to have difficult conversations with your customers. However, those hard conversations can be softened by carefully setting expectations.
For example, almost every company we work with has been affected in some way by the ongoing supply chain challenges. Companies in virtually every sector from industrial to tech have had to deal with customer impacts due to essential commodities being severely delayed or completely unavailable.
The delays are largely beyond the control of the companies affected, yet they require account managers and executives to break the news to customers and find workarounds.
In this climate, it can be helpful for C-level leaders to get ahead of the news and blog about potential or expected delays and plans for mitigating impacts. Indirect messaging of this nature can prepare customers for what’s coming while providing support and cover for frontline sales staff who must maintain strong relationships despite the challenges at hand.
Build Passion Around Your Brand
It’s counterintuitive (but true, nonetheless) that if your brand isn’t distinctive enough to alienate anyone, it’s likely that no one will have any passion for it either. From a branding standpoint, it’s more dangerous to be too neutral and boring than to be a little edgy. But there’s a right way to do edgy without going too far over the edge.
For one thing, you don’t need to take a stand on every issue. You can, in fact, be passionate without digging into super controversial social issues. Focus on the issues you and your prospective customers care the most about and that have natural linkages to your brand — and on helping those most impacted. Leave out the politics and focus on the people.
Sometimes, your customers just want to know where you or your company stand on an issue. You don’t need to hide or to appear opaque or obtuse — and, frankly, you shouldn’t try to. Step up and say what you mean in a direct, respectful, and articulate manner.
Blog posts are a better medium than more constrained formats (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and they provide more space to explain your position, what you think, and why you feel or believe the way you do. In cases like this, working with a professional makes it easier to be thoughtful and intentional and provides an opportunity for unbiased external feedback, which can be extremely helpful.
Blogs Allow You to Tell Your Story Over and Over Again
While we’re all tired of pop-up ads and cringing at the thought of commercials on Netflix, there are some brands we really like. We follow them on LinkedIn and elsewhere, read what they publish, and even buy stuff from them from time to time.
The brands and companies we like told us a story that we bought and then validated with personal experiences. We KLT them, and we’re going to keep listening until something goes wrong or another company tells us a story we like better.
Blogs are perhaps the best medium to tell and reinforce your company’s story, and who knows how many people are out there just waiting to hear it?
Need help with your own blogging strategy?
You will get better results when you have expert advice, specific to your unique situation. Let’s talk about what you want to achieve.