By Gregg Schwartz
Blogging and content marketing are ultimately about driving sales results. However, some content marketers have forgotten this simple truth. Lots of content marketing has gone too far astray from its core purpose of actually engaging with buyers and leading to a sale.
Of course, you don’t want your content marketing to be too much like an overt sales pitch, because then you might turn buyers off – but you need to keep your eyes on the prize and ask some tough questions about whether your content marketing is really doing enough “marketing.” If you’re not seeing the sales conversions and ROI that you’re expecting from your content marketing, maybe you need to get back to basics and think like a sales person with your blogging strategy.
Here are a few back to basics blogging strategies to help you think like a sales person in your content marketing:
Address Your Customers’ Questions and Challenges
Every blog article is an opportunity to answer a question that your customers are already asking, or address a concern that your customers have, or solve a problem that your customers are already grappling with.
People find your website because they’re looking for answers to questions or looking for help with specific challenges – you can reverse-engineer your blog content to address these questions. For example, check out your search engine traffic – what are the biggest keywords that people are using to find your site? What are the biggest trending topics on Twitter that are about your industry? What are the most pressing challenges that people are talking about on LinkedIn?
Answer these questions head-on with your blog posts. This could vary a lot by industry or type of business, but one example might be, “low-cost health insurance for small business” or “most robust productivity solutions for accounting.”
Create blog posts that help directly answer your customers’ questions, and you’ll be that much closer to building trust and making a sale.
Be Methodical and Blog on Schedule
As a sales person, you need to make sales calls and prospecting calls every day. It’s part of the daily discipline of life in sales, whether or not it’s always fun, it just has to happen on an everyday basis. In the same way, you need to blog on a regular schedule and impose discipline on yourself to keep putting new content out there.
Get organized with a methodical approach and create a content calendar. For example, you might have seasonal topics, holiday article ideas, content ideas related to big annual industry conferences or trade shows, and more.
The sky is the limit when it comes to content, so you might find that the act of sitting down and creating a content calendar and a regular schedule for publishing new blog posts is an ideal way to bring some structure to the often-nebulous world of “content creation.”
Get Creative With Unique Tie-Ins
In addition to regular question-answering blog topics or articles based around certain times of year or when you’re announcing news or contributing to industry conversations, another great way to get ideas to spark interest in your content is to find ideas from the latest trends, topics of conversation, and even sports and pop culture news.
Whatever people are talking about on the Internet today could be a jumping off point to create content for your business – as long as you have a creative angle and can authentically tie it in to your business expertise. For example, I have written well-received articles about the lessons and connections between sales/marketing/management and Tom Brady, Star Wars, and Better Call Saul.
These are fun, creative topics and they also help get sales results. Don’t feel like you have to be all business, all the time – have fun with your content marketing ideas.
Emulate Your Competitors – But Don’t Imitate Them
There is often too much imitation in the world of content marketing – businesses see one tactic or angle that works for someone else, and then they try to replicate it for themselves. It’s fine if you get inspiration from your competitors – by all means, look to them for ideas on the fundamentals of “how” to create good content and engage with your audiences. But your business and brand need to have their own clear, true voice. You need to have a point of view and a personality.
You need to have your own intelligent perspectives to share that go beyond keeping up with competitors. Don’t be afraid to share your values and principles and take risks, even at the risk of potentially alienating some buyers or being unpopular.
Not every customer is right for you, and if you can convey a clear idea of what you’re about, you’ll be more likely to find the right customers and connect with the right people who “get” you and who appreciate your ideas before they even buy from you.
Blogging and content marketing are just like being a sales person in several important ways: they’re all about building trust, building relationships, getting people to understand you and believe in you and ultimately want to buy from you. With the right approach to your content marketing strategy, you can develop your own unique voice to share great ideas, answer questions, solve problems, and even be entertaining!
About Gregg Schwartz
Gregg Schwartz is the vice president of sales and marketing, a 30 year old lead generation company based in Connecticut.