Find The Blogging Balance That Is Just Right
Do you remember that one guy from high school? You know the one: the hotshot who couldn’t stop talking about that time he won the game with a three-pointer at the buzzer, and how he really ripped up the slopes on his ski vacation, and how tough it is deciding which girl to ask to prom (because they all want to go with him), and …
He may have been surrounded then by hangers-on who weren’t sophisticated enough to see through his narcissism, but this isn’t high school. And your readers want to hear more than how great you, your products and your services are. Think in terms of recognizing the player who grabbed the rebound and passed the ball to you for that game-winning shot, suggestions for the best place to learn to ski or where you were able to find the best price on a tux. Be inspiring, be useful, be entertaining, and above all, be focused on how you can help your potential customers.
So how do you use your blog to help others AND generate leads? By balancing helpful posts that appeal to all of your customer personas with just the right number of calls-to-action. It’s a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You need to find the combination that’s just right.
This Blog Is Too Company-Centric
Glance down through the headlines on your business blog’s home page. What do you see? If your company’s name shows up in nearly every headline, chances are your content is also very centered on your company, your products and your services. Big mistake.
I understand that when I checked out Logitech’s blog in July the company was just making some new product announcements, but I see very few posts that are more than extended product descriptions. Announcing a new product line is a valid blog post, but those should be the exception, not the rule.
Trane’s commercial blog does incorporate customer success stories, along with one sighting of a post that doesn’t specifically mention the company. Still, there seems to be just as much “Look at us!” as there is “Here’s how to solve your problem.”
This Blog Is Too Disconnected
When your objective in creating a business blog is to generate leads, you need to be sure you don’t go too far in separating your blog from your company. Workshifting.com is very useful blog, filled with how-to’s for employees, employers and entrepreneurs on working from home or from the road. It is well-written, with beautiful visuals, a variety of blog post styles and infographics, but it is missing one thing necessary to generate leads: calls-to-action. In fact, it is also missing any clearly-identifiable source for all this useful information.
The blog is “powered by Citrix,” which provides mobile workspace and collaboration services, with the most recognizable likely being GoToMeeting. But you only find Citrix mentioned in the tiny type at the bottom of the page. It’s a great example of providing useable content that isn’t too focused on the company itself, but it can’t convert visitors to leads.
This Blog Is Just Right
Sometimes you stumble onto a business blog that does it just right. A blog that offers content with specific customer needs in mind. A blog that doesn’t toot its own horn too much, but still provides opportunities for visitors to dig a little deeper and become leads or even customers.
Stonyfield Farms has a blog that is just right. The company has put thought into its customer personas and identified their needs (e.g., families and parents looking for ways to incorporate healthy lifestyles into busy lives), and they provide information about how to do things like appease a toddler-sized picky eater or pack the perfect school lunch. For the consumer (persona) focused on the environment, there are posts like a list of mobile apps that make it easier to live green.
Actual blog posts aren’t bogged down with product information, but there are plenty of “click” opportunities in the sidebars for visitors who want more. And in the meantime, Stonyfield is becoming a trusted friend and information source, recognizable and comfortable. Really, just right. Maybe they should make porridge, too.