The biggest confusion is often regarding the actual role of a blog. Getting this wrong can result in you developing, writing, and promoting a blog that won’t get you anywhere.
Some treat it like a sales engine, others like a social network. Which is it? The rather frustrating answer, for those looking for a quick fix, is ‘a subtle blend of both’.
Blogging to network
Posting interesting content about your industry, products, or the lifestyle of your customers will attract the kind of people you want to do business with. Advice on where to catch the best waves will draw in an audience of surfers – perfect for retailers of wetsuits.
Over time, more and more people will come to your blog. If you get your content right, you’ll build up a following of the kind of people you want to be doing business with. These people will spill over onto your Twitter and Facebook pages. So in this sense a blog is all about networking.
Blogging as a sales tool
Blogging is about generating leads and building your business. But to think of it as a sales tool is to approach it from the wrong angle. People who approach blogging (and Twitter, Facebook, etc) from the point of view of making sales are usually the ones doing it wrong.
Think about it this way – if lots of people are looking for information related to what you do, why shouldn’t they get it from you? If you have a big readership of surfers following your blog, some of them are bound to check out your products. Why would they think of going somewhere else?
Remember Sainsbury’s 4p curry sauce? How could they sell a product that lost them money? Answer: because for a curry you need meat, rice, and vegetables to go in that sauce. Before you know it, you’ve spent a lot more than 4p.
Blogging is that 4p curry sauce. You are investing time and effort in order to give something of value to your customers at little or no cost to them. In return, they will have a look around your store. After all, those surfers are going to have to get a wetsuit and board before they can ride the great waves you’ve told them about.
The take away message
Blogging makes your target market aware of who you are and what you do. Think of it as product placement. Tweet this.
Approach blogging like a networking event – aim to let people know about you rather than shouting about your products. Tweet this.
Blogging is no different from giving a presentation at a trade event: show people you know your stuff and they’ll buy from you. Tweet this.
Let’s do a bit of networking. Follow me on Twitter and we’ll have a chat.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Ltrig