Note**This is the first article in a series of posts about blogging for business by Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion (Look for the next part in the series every Wednesday for the next 3 weeks).
So you’ve heard the news—Your business needs a blog. Call it content marketing, call it inbound marketing, call it what you want…you need words, written in a legible manner, that come together to provide value to readers.
Most business owners struggle greatly with this whole concept of, “Where do I get started?”
This is understandable. A new way of thinking and marketing will always bring with it obstacles.
Paralysis By Analysis
Notwithstanding these issues though, I’m here to tell you that we often completely over analyze this thing called blogging, thus making it much harder than it need be.
I can say this because I was forced to embrace a smarter way of marketing my business in late 2008 when the economy crashed. You see, I’ve owned a swimming pool company since 2001. Over the past decade, we have been installing inground swimming pools throughout Virginia and Maryland.
In the old days of easy credit, it was easy to sell a swimming pool. Everyone had value in their home. But when the market collapsed, a very large portion of pool businesses went under, and we were left with the decision to either close the doors ourselves or do things very differently than we’d always done them.
Luckily, we chose the path of inbound marketing. But because we weren’t very tech-savvy, our approach to producing good content had to be a simple one. That’s when we decided to take every question (and I really do mean every question) we’d ever been asked by consumers during our time in business and write about it.
Within months, we started noticing tremendous results. More traffic came to the website. More customers started telling us how much they appreciated the information. And sales managed to stay as strong as ever, despite the extremely difficult economic conditions.
It is because of this experience that I give every business the same advice when starting a blog—Get every employee in your company together and brainstorm, as a group, every single question you’ve ever been asked by an existing or potential client.
If you’re actively engaged in this group exercise, you’ll see how easy it is to come up with 25, 50, or even 100 questions.
In fact, whenever I’ve done this activity with other companies I’ve never been able to come up with less than 50 questions.
Once you have your questions, and let’s assume you have 50 for now, then you take those 50 questions and you make them the first 50 titles of your first 50 blog posts. (Follow me so far? Not too complicated, is it?)
If your company blogs twice a week, this simple exercise will render at least 6 months’ worth of content. Not bad, ehh?
Content as the Foundation of Your Sales Process
But beyond that, this content will now (and I’ll be writing more about this in the future) become the base of your company’s sales cycle as well.
Just think about it for a second—How many times has your sales staff answered the same questions again and again and again? If you’re like most companies, the answer is, “Too much!”
This is also why your goal now will be to introduce as much of this ‘pillar content’ to potential customers in the future. As they see it, and become more and more educated (remember, your blog is about teaching, it’s not about YOU), the results will likely be astounding.
Common Sense Marketing
When it comes down to it, this is really just common sense marketing. It’s about becoming teachers in your industry. It’s about giving consumers real answers to real questions.
By so doing, your company will become the voice of trust in your field, your brand will improve, and your bottom line will see the benefits.
Read much more about Marcus’ thoughts in his free, 230-page eBook, Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy
Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakecaptive/3205277810/