To blog or not to blog. That's the question today
Who cares whether you write a blog?
Maybe you should. Early in his new book, "Write Right -- Sell Now," Sugar Grove blogger and content writer Matt Brennan introduces two "quick blogging facts" from HubSpot Inc., a Cambridge, MA, software marketing company:
• B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those who do not.
• Marketers who use blogs are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
Interesting numbers. Even so, "Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme or a pathway to overnight success," Brennan continues, adding, however, that "(Blogging) can help grow your business and increase your bottom line."
The goal of your blog, Brennan said when we discussed blogging and other writing formats last month, "is not to show how smart you are but to provide information" to potential buyers of whatever your business sells -- widgets, tires or consulting services.
"You're in business. Of course you want people to buy. You want to build that long-term trust that brings people back to your website."
Building trust "means continuously publishing quality content. Today's potential customers are seeking out information, not a commercial," Brennan writes. "They understand the difference."
But what will you write about? Brennan says you can glean ideas from the questions customers and prospects are asking or, perhaps, from a perusal of Google's keyword list. Your commentary on industry issues is a possibility, though be a little careful if the issues are contentious.
As for placing a blog, it's not that tough. Your business website probably is the best blog home. Blogs, after all, are marketing tools; you'll likely want readers to return to your site to read new blog content -- and be re-exposed to your site information.
Ultimately, luring readers is as important as creating content. "You can optimize content for search engines," Brennan says. "You can promote your blog on social media -- your Facebook page or LinkedIn. You can join groups with similar subject interests."
And, Brennan adds, you can network. For example, he suggests printing copies of your latest blog and handing them out as appropriate at networking events you attend. Putting your blog in a prospect's hands is more effective than suggesting a fellow networker visit your website, Brennan says.
Frequency also matters. Brennan advises blogging "frequently enough to stay top-of-mind -- as long as there is a balance between quality material and frequency." For him, frequency means blogging at least once a week. (I think every two weeks is more manageable for most entrepreneurs.)
Scheduling aside, the key is to get blog recipients to read what you've written. That's a headline, those few words at the top of your blog that grab attention and get a reader started. Put some thought in here.
Brennan's book, available this week on Amazon, his website (www.matthewlbrennan.com) and in several independent bookstores, includes a good chapter on headline writing.
• © 2016 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim's Business Owners' Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com/podcast.