Content Marketing

October 12th, 2011

Want To Gain Loyal Readers? Stop Writing About Yourself!

So you’ve got a company blog, and you are brainstorming post ideas.

But beware – if your list includes writing about your new logo, how your pricing works, or the new foosball table installed for your employees, JUST STOP. Please.

Unless you have something amazingly interesting to say (like data driven posts), blogging about your own business is often a pretty bad idea. Here’s why.

1. You Don’t Understand the Purpose of your Blog.

  • If you want readers, give them a resource, not a news ticker, says Erin Blakemore, cofounder of Voco Creative, a marketing and brand strategy firm in Boulder, Colorado. “Companies who use their blogs only as a ‘look at me and what I’m doing’ are missing a huge opportunity.”
  • “Every blog needs to start with an education,” says Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, a swimming pool company servicing Virginia and Maryland. But a blog’s sole purpose should be to solve your customers’ problems. “You have to be willing to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We sell fiberglass pools, which are thought to be too small, too skinny, and not deep enough. So these topics are all posts on our company’s blog — even though we sell them.”

2. You’re Letting Your Own Needs Trump Your Customers’.

  • “You have to hit people where they live, with stuff that matters to them,” says Lola Augustine, a social media consultant and co-founder of Simple Social Media in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Ask yourself, ‘Why would customers, and potential customers, be interested in this blog post?’”
  • Ron Doyle, creative director of media consulting firm Waterday Media in Denver, Co., agrees.“The best business blogs feel like questions instead of statements — a call to action that’s not necessarily related to the author selling their product.”
  • Even Copyblogger, in its nod to Mad Men, says the same. “If you want a big audience, focus on one thing: making your readers happy.”

3. Your SEO is Dead in The Water.

  • River Pools and Spas’ blog also barely mentions its company name. “From an SEO perspective alone, you get squat for talking about yourself,” says Sheridan. You have to write about what your customers want to know. “Make no bones about it — Google is human. You have to think like a consumer thinks. No one is searching for information on your company picnic on Google. But on a search for ‘fiberglass vs. concrete pools,’ ours is the first site that comes up.”

4. You Aren’t Speaking to your Audience.

  • “The biggest problem experts have is speaking above their audience,” adds Sheridan, who also runs a marketing blog called the Sales Lion and speaks regularly on marketing and professional development. “We just assume people know things and never get on their level.”
  • The greatest content marketers Sheridan knows? Kindergarten teachers.“If I were putting together a marketing team for a business, I’d hire kindergarten and first-grade teachers. There’s no one better who knows how to speak on the level of their audience.”

5. No One Cares.

  • Finally, as any first-date encounter reveals, talking only about yourself is, quite simply, boring. “If you’re going to write 800 words about your new company logo, you’ll be putting people to sleep,” says Augustine.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fabulous writer. Unless you think like a consumer, not a business owner, your readers are not going to be interested.

So what about pricing and your competitive edge? What about testimonies from happy customers? “That’s what the rest of your web site is for,” says Sheridan.


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