By Konrad A. Kociszewski
Back in mid to late 90’s every business needed a website but barely any of those businesses knew WHY. Now that the general population is much more tech savvy the benefits of a strong web presence are more obvious. Many businesses nowadays know that this presence can be made stronger by smart utilization of a corporate blog. They even know why they need a blog. Unfortunately, many still don’t know HOW to utilize their corporate blogs to positively affect the bottom line – hopefully, this article can be of help.
Building Value for Your Business Through a Corporate Blog
Blogs can help in a variety of ways including but not limited to client relationship management, search engine rankings, and lead generation. In this article we’ll focus on the latter and try to answer the question of how to use a corporate blog to generate leads.
The idea is simple really. We need to direct prospective customers to a blog article that showcases our strengths in the specific area (focused on either a product or a service) that the prospect is looking for – the more specific the better. For example, if we are a business recovery consultancy group and a struggling business is looking for a consultant, we need to serve them an article that explains how a company in a similar predicament can find a solution. If we can offer valid advice and support it with a case study of how we helped a similar company with similar problems, then the value of our service is immediately obvious to our reader and likelihood of this visitor converting into a lead is very high indeed.
Stay Relevant – Write for Your Audience
Important to note here is the keyword “similar.” We do not want to serve them with a general article about helping businesses with cash flow issues. If the prospect in question is an executive of a software development company who faces declining sales due to competition from offshore companies, then the chances of scoring a lead will be exponentially higher if the article showcases how we helped another IT firm overcome problems stemming from foreign competitors undercutting their prices.
This will work for a web design company that wants to showcase a specific type of eCommerce solution they offer to a given market or an app developer that wants to offer app development services for banks and other financial institutions.
Right Targeting and the Right Distribution are Key!
When we have the right article written with clear explanation of the situation, some good advice backed by a relevant case study of a successful project for a past, rounded of with the right (not overly aggressive) call to action – we are then half-way there! The next step is serving the article to the right people.
Getting Your Article Read by the Right People Through Display Advertising
The first choice is the immediate gratification option – display advertising – and can be further divided into three main types:
Search advertising – almost every search engine offers sponsored ad placement on their search result pages. Google has its AdWords network which, while offering access to the largest chunk of the market is also, arguably, the most expensive. Google’s supremacy in the cost-per-click (CPC) arena is closely followed by AdCenter, a cooperative that serves up ads on Microsoft’s Bing and on the Yahoo! search engine.
Marketing of our article on a CPC network is done through a bidding process – we want to write a compelling ad, select the right keywords (think “iPhone app marketing”), and select a given bid – keep in mind you want your ad to be displayed in the top two positions and never go below the top 3, otherwise its often a waste of money.
Banner ads and re-marketing – sponsored results on search result pages are only one type of CPC advertising and are often referred to as the “search network.” Both AdWords and AdCenter offer another platform for your ads, the “content network” – those are the ads that you see on various websites and can be targeted by either the keywords in the content of the website on which they are displayed or by the interests of the visitor – determined by his or hers previous search behavior – this last type of advertising is commonly known as re-marketing. Important to note is that aside for selecting websites for displaying your ads based on their content and the keywords typed by the visitor, we can also target specific websites (or identify websites on which we do NOT want our ads to be displayed).
Social Media advertising – websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn also offer display advertising which at its core is very similar to the previous type of ads. What sets SM advertising platforms apart from others is the level of market segmentation available to the advertiser. You can target your ads to people of certain age group, sex, income, marital status, job title, interests, and more. In the two cases above, we would want to target our ads to senior managers, executives, and owners of web companies and app development shops
The Low Cost Distribution Options – Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing
If advertising for the blog is not in your budget, you can try the cheaper option and try to get your users in a more organic way, that is by ranking on search engines and by posting to Social Media.
What you want to do first is select the right title – you want to use something descriptive that would catch somebody’s attention – short and sweet and right to the point. You also want to use the same wording that you think your potential reader would search for. So, for instance “How to Market a Financial App Development Services?” or “How to Market my eCommerce Development Company?” – a little practice and you should get the hang of it quickly. If it doesn’t work the first time, your next article will do a little better, then the next a little bit better still, and so on.
When you have published your article, you want to share it with everybody you know through Social Media. Post it to your company’s Facebook Page, then share it on your personal wall – get your co-workers and friends involved. make sure the post gets a lot of likes, some good comments, and is shared by others. Repeat this on other websites, such as Google Plus (the more +1’s and shares the better!)Twitter, Scoop.it, Pinterest, etc. Pay special attention to LinkedIn, because that’s a professional network and people who go there are more business-oriented. Sign up for the relevant discussion groups, become an active member, then post your article and ask for some feedback to generate.
Advice for Business Bloggers
Now, some random nuggets of gold for you:
– Make sure to write a quality article – you want it to be both useful and interesting – stay away from sales talk and avoid phrases like: “We are the best!” or “We are the leader in the industry!” Let them figure it out on their own from the quality of your writing.
– Do not copy and paste from other articles. If you want to quote somebody, give them credit and always mind intellectual property rights.
– Take advantage of your blog’s features – use the right category for your article and add your keywords as the article tags.
– Style your article – split the article into sections, use headers, margins, indentations, bold text, and italics – make it easy to read, so as not to discourage your readers.
– Use rich media! Support your thesis with relevant pictures, graphs, and videos – it will make your article more aesthetically pleasing and informative!
– Connect your article to your Google Plus profile with an authorship snippet (or other rich snippets and structured data) to have your photo displayed with your listing in Google – here’s how.
– Keep writing good articles! If your blog is consistently updated with good content, the visitors will start coming in – they will come back for more and they will tell their friends! Remember: Content is King!
Good luck with your corporate blogging – may your leads flow freely and bring value to your company!