How to Begin Marketing Your Brand Using Blogs
At recent networking events, I’ve been mingling with other small business owners and professionals who are interested in advancing their brand online.
From financial advisors and real estate brokers to web service providers, wellness coaches and more—most are flummoxed by how to begin to gain attention and traction from prospects while on a tight budget. One piece of advice I offer to jump-start marketing for either their company or personal brand: Create an active blog.
A business-focused blog is a cost-effective way to create authentic content intended to market your company or yourself. Regularly scheduled blog posts can create buzz and momentum, open the door to networking, build your credibility, increase loyalty and advocacy, and help to generate leads that turn into sales.
Establish your marketing objective for blog content
Assuming you have your brand positioning statement established (a pithy expression about what you do, how you do it, whom you do it for and what value you bring to customers), you can determine the marketing objectives(s) for your blog. Here are some suggestions:
- Acquire new customers/members
- Increase brand relevance/influence
- Increase brand engagement
- Improve brand perception
- Improve brand awareness
- Establish brand as thought leader
- Move people along sales funnel
- Increase loyalty
What to write about
Look to your customer’s needs and put those topics at the center of your business storytelling to nurture a loyal audience. Additionally, consider these approaches:
- Be helpful and share your expertise with others to establish your reputation as a thought leader. (The endgame: Your followers may want to use your services one day.)
- Weave in your company’s core values to differentiate your brand from competitors. Positive company culture and social responsibility are important factors, particularly for millennial buyers.
- Infuse your content with personal experiences and tell how you were able to make your customer’s experience successful and joyful.
- Create an emotional connection so that customers, prospects, employees and strategic partners know what’s at the heart of your enterprise, products and services, and feel aligned with you.
- Be original and different.
What to avoid
Say you are in the real estate business and there are many regional competitors with blogs. Rather than rehash the words of others in your industry, develop fresh approaches to gain attention when tackling similar topics. Here are a few more tips to consider:
- Resist the common tendency to focus on how you are a consummate expert at everything, and your products and services can’t be beat.
- Avoid beginning sentences with “we” or “I.” Instead, change the narrative by putting your prospects and customers—and their challenges—at the center of everything you write … and do.
- A business blog is a proposition you are advancing, so avoid religion and politics unless they are core to your company’s products or services … and typos.
- Plagiarism is a big no-no.
Set the right tone and style
Follow your established corporate style, tone and voice—the appeal and language you’ve crafted to attract your ideal customer. The success of your blog—words and imagery—hinges on your tone as it greatly influences perception and has an immediate and lasting impact.
Keep it real
Uphold your reputation and that of your brand by using vetted facts ensuring what you’ve penned is correct. If you are quoting others or citing a study, use reputable data gathered from the original source, or speak directly to sources and quote people accurately. Use attributions for all of the sources you use. Have a plan (just be truthful) to back up any claims your company makes in the event they are challenged.
Use imagery (with attribution)
The written word paired with the right visuals will create optimum impact for your blog. If you have the resources, original graphics, illustrations and photography will reinforce the innovation and high value of your brand, and will accentuate what makes your company special and relatable. If you don’t have the resources to create original imagery, I suggest purchasing a subscription to stock art and using attributions to avoid illegal and unethical use of imagery. By exploiting a creative’s work (including using an image you found online), you risk liability for copyright infringement with all of the associated legal and settlement costs, and damage to your reputation and the company you represent.
Twirling Tiger Media’s editorial director, Anne Saita, wrote in a blog, “When a new visitor goes to a website’s blog and immediately sees the most recent post was written months ago, it leaves an impression. One purpose for a blog is to keep people coming back to the site. So stick to a chosen frequency that fits your bandwidth and subject matter. And if your wishes outpace your workflows, consider hiring an outside firm to take up the slack.”
Where to post your blog or article
Assuming you have a website in place touting your services, add a page to host your blog. Use the “Write an article” option on your LinkedIn page—a go-to destination for self-published works. LinkedIn’s networking feature allows people to read your blog and engage with you. Also, consider writing a guest blog post for an industry-related peer, and allowing them to write one for you in exchange. Explore establishing a presence on Medium. Many C-level types use this platform to post articles and essays, which can be cross-promoted elsewhere, expanding your reach.
How to promote your blog
Based on your buyer personas, deliver the content they want to the platforms they frequent. If your followers are on Facebook, create a link that drives traffic back to your website’s blog. Use the title of your blog, image and a teaser (the short copy intended to pique the reader’s curiosity). Use this same technique on other social media platforms. Create original memes using your artwork and an excerpt from your blog to drive interest.
Expect organic growth
A regularly published blog that shares high-quality, useful and valuable content is a long-term marketing strategy used to organically grow your reputation and audience. Investing resources in a blog is a powerful way to increase awareness of you and your brand.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to write blogs, consider outsourcing the task to experts (ghost-written blogs are the least expensive service Twirling Tiger Media offers) who take the time to understand your objectives and can help you lay the groundwork for the next level of engagement.