If you're serious about inbound marketing, you'll want to embrace business blogging. Why? Because the two fit together like hand and glove.
Here's how it all comes together.
Not Sure About Inbound Marketing?
If you aren't fully sure about inbound marketing, don't immediately discard the idea. You see, inbound marketing is all about attracting interested visitors to your website and business. You do that with remarkable, delicious, relevant content that you publish regularly on your business blog.
(That's compared to outbound marketing which pushes messages onto audiences whether relevant to that audience or not. See 21 Inbound Marketing Definitions vs. Outbound and Inbound Marketing Definition: Build Trust, Generate Leads.)
Inbound marketing means being thoughtful about your customers and the issues they face. Especially if you have solutions to their issues. You take the higher road on content. If you publish something on your business blog, you feel a strong moral obligation to create content with meaning.
Even if you're just getting started with inbound marketing, you'll want to factor blogging for your business from the get go. Don't push it off til later. Consider it part of the learning process around developing a voice and building relationships.
What is a Business Blog?
"A business blog is a standalone website, or section of an existing business' domain, devoted to writing about subject matter related to their company's industry and its sub-fields. Business blogs have become a fundamental component of successful web marketing and utilized by most online businesses."
Ultimately, it's a powerful digital tool that is the equivalent of a printing press for your business. Through your blog, you consistently publish content that can get found in search results because it addresses topics of interest to those who search.
Newly published content keeps your website fresh and your content top-of-mind for those wonderful search engine spiders. Without an active blog, your business website will wind up looking and feeling like a ghost town.
Plus, you speak differently on a blog. Your voice is less formal than it is on your other web pages. Your blog is where you and your people can be themselves as thinking, contributing members of your team. You sound and act human; you ask questions and invite feedback. That's how you build relationships and establish trust. It's a vibrant place!
Want to Develop Dale Carnegie-type Relationships With Prospects?
Have you heard of Dale Carnegie? He wrote the best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936, in the pre-digital days. Yes, the book has been updated several times. However, it addresses what inbound, blogs and social networks make possible: building relationships.
When I channel my inner inbound marketer, I imagine myself talking across the table - perhaps a latte in hand - with my customer. I focus, not on masses of people, but rather on one individual person aka a customer persona. I listen intensely to the language he or she uses to describe the business situation s/he faces. I try to understand the world that person lives in.
That intense listening allows me to develop content relevant to my personas, using the language they use, which I publish on my business blog. I can do so writing in my 'voice' -- as if I were speaking directly with my personas. My voice communicates my passion, my commitment and my expertise. Over time, it builds my credibility and trustworthiness.
By the way, another image that comes up is that of a corner grocer or a flower shop. That business can't survive long term without being trustworthy, dependable, respectful, an expert in the business, and deeply committed to building relationships with existing and prospective customers. The same holds for the presence you build online.
Be Human in Your Content Marketing and Your Blogging!
To make my point, let me quote my friend Phil Pond who left the following comment on How Do I Write Good Blog Articles? Focus on Your Customers!
Great article, no BLOG! Thanks for sharing it with us Christine.
In working with our clients I'd say the most important 'tip' you mention is the one most often ignored in the medium to corporate sized company.
Tip No 1 - Be Human!
There is no need for in house jargon, corporate speak, speaking like a policeman in any situation let alone simply in business.
I have no idea why we do it; is it to impress someone?
Think of yourself as being at a dinner party, bar, sports event, on holiday with people you know VERY well. Right, now you have that in your mind 'speak like that in your blog' And take heed of the excellent advice above provided by Christine - You'll be very glad you did.
Get Your Business Found in Search
The magic of a business blog is that it allows a business to easily create online content which has the potential to appear in online search results. Often referred to as 'dynamic' content as opposed to 'static' content on a website, each new blog article published will have its own URL which includes the title or topic of the article.
At the same time, each new article lets the personality of your organization's associates shine through. Each article signals to customers that your organization isn't faceless; that employees care intensely; that you are human and that you have solutions to contribute.
Build Thought Leadership
Each new article has the potential to help your business develop a reputation for that business topic.
As you develop a reputation for that topic, your business improves its ability to attract qualified visitors to your relevant website content so they spend time becoming more and more familiar and comfortable with you - just as they would in real life - and eventually become customers, or fans, or both.
What's not to like?
Yes, business blogging represents a commitment. But, being serious about your business is a commitment, taking care of customers is a commitment. Doing so with a business blog, by publishing frequently and consistently about the topics that matter to your customers, means that you stay top-of-mind with potential customers.
I can't imagine any other business tool which so effectively works to attract visitors to a business website - and keeps them there.
What are you waiting for to embrace business blogging?