A picture may be worth a thousand words, but what about when it comes to your blog?
A blog can say a great deal about you and your company. It will either convey an image of acute understanding of the topic at hand, or it will clearly showcase the fact that either you don’t know much about what you’re selling, or it will say nothing (and if that’s the case, what’s the point?).
If you have a business which also uses a blog – you need to ask yourself one question: What is the value that you are offering?
I’m not speaking about monetary value, but rather the usefulness and importance of blog content marketing and your blog’s existence.
Consumers will only purchase an item if there is a perceived value. For example, a person may purchase a travel brush because the value of having a small brush readily available in the car or purse translates into convenience for keeping up one’s appearance.
The value of a cell phone is that you have a security knowing if you get a flat tire, you can call a friend right away. A business owner may purchase Skype SIP for VoIP in order to make his business more mobile.
Everyone looks for value.
The value of your blog must first be identifiable. Here are some questions you should ask yourself in order to achieve a value filled blog.
Does your blog offer useful information?
If you’ve ever walked away from a class or lecture and thought to yourself, “That was really valuable to know,” then you should understand what I’m talking about – that is informational value.
Matt Cutts of Google understands this very well and capitalizes on it by creating short YouTube videos explaining different features and functionality of Google and specifically their SERP algorithms. Bloggers and website owners watch these videos and they go back time and time again because of they offer valuable information.
What does your blog say of you?
A valuable blog with valuable information makes the blog owner, whether an individual or company, look like an authority on the subject matter.
For example, if you sell shoes online, you could write consistently on the various types of sneakers out on the market, discussing which styles are best for long distance walking, use on a treadmill, or for hiking. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes (no pun intended) and ask yourself what you would want to know if you were looking to buy sneakers online. These are the topics you should then write on. Your customers will respect your opinion and take your suggestions to heart.
You have now become an authority by giving accurate and well thought out useful information. This speaks well of you and your company. The greater the usefulness of the information – the greater of an authority you will become.
Is there an even balance between information giving and the sales pitch?
Using the sneaker example above, the ideal situation would be to turn a hot prospect into a customer. This is done not by just giving lots of information and sending them on their way, but to lead them to where they can purchase those shoes…from you. This may be a sales phone number, a purchase page, or a link to a seller for whom you are an affiliate. They already trust you – capitalize on it!
Ironically, many times a blog owner will either focus entirely on sales where their blog offers little informational value, or the blog owner is so focused on information giving they consider it inappropriate to push sales – afraid of sounding too much like a salesman.
The key is to find the balance between adding value and pointing people in the right direction when appropriate. Someone looking to find out which shoes are best for running a 30 mile marathon is not at your site because they just happen to be curious. They are looking because they are looking to buy. And those looking to buy want to be told “what” they should buy, “why” they should buy, and “where” they should buy.
Are you writing respectfully to your reader?
Often times it can be hard to find the right balance between the pitch and the material behind the pitch. One way to overcome this is to write as if you are writing to a friend – of course remaining professional and cordial.
By taking the pressure off, you write in a way that will not make you well… sound stupid. Let’s be honest here, when you are in a position to share your knowledge with someone you know, you want to look good, you want to help them, and you want to give them the best advice possible – without being annoying.
When a visitor reads your blog content and gets the impression that you are willingly opening up and sharing your expertise with them, not to force them to buy a product, but instead to educate them so they can make the decision for themselves – then you will gain their trust and most likely their business.
I recommend taking a step back and ask yourself, what value does your blog offer to your visitors? If you mind comes up blank, start by adding quality information your prospects will appreciate by using the tips listed above. Good luck!