Not blogging? Not good, said Dorie Clark, CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and a Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor.
"It is now beyond mandatory," Clark told CMSWire.
Executives too busy? No excuse. Clark said organizations can link up with a reliable transcription service that allows executives to "blog" via voice memo, which is much easier for most of them.
"Even if you're recording video or podcasts, having a text transcription makes it accessible to far more readers," Clark said.
Today, we deliver the fourth piece in our "2014 Must-Do" series -- why you need to blog now. Yesterday, we talked about shutting up and listening in B2B marketing, and last week, we discussed getting back to basics in Web CMS and becoming agile in B2B marketing.
Why Blog Now?
Simply, because customers are increasingly impatient with paid “interruption” advertising, Clark said. Give people a good reason to seek you out if you want their business.
A blog with helpful, customer-friendly information only helps. For example, in the consumer world, something like "5 Questions to Answer Before You Build Your Deck" or “What You Need to Know About This Year’s Tax Code Changes” can build trust, enhance your reputation and do wonders for your SEO, Clark said.
The question we all face when a business initiative arrives: So who's going to do it? Should individual marketing leaders have their own blogs? Team effort with multiple contributors? Just the C-Suite?
Clark said there is no right way to get it done. But, she added, "there is a wrong way."
Writing without bylines in the voice of a unified corporate drone. The entire point of a blog is to have a voice, a viewpoint and a perspective -- and you can’t do that if you’re hiding behind a PR wall like it’s 1994."
Further, don't use your blog as simply another megaphone to advertise sales. "Every once in a while, you can mention sales overtly," Clark said. "But if you do it all the time, you’re simply 'talking at' people like a television commercial would. And no one voluntarily watches those."
The goal? Provide useful information, build trust with the customer, and then when you’re ready to make your ask, they will be far more receptive.
Being too aggressive with a sales message early on is like proposing on the first date. Every once in a while, someone might say yes, but it will really freak most people out."
Don't Be Overly Ambitious
One thing you do NOT want is your blog to look abandoned. Have a consistent posting schedule, but one that’s sustainable.
"Don’t start out posting every single day, only to give up in frustration after a week and never post again," Clark said. "Instead, start slow — weekly is a good pace at first. Once you’ve got the rhythm, two or three times a week is very good, and daily is wonderful if you can manage it."
Sustainability can be aided with transcription services. Executives often have great ideas that would make for wonderful blog posts, but they’re either not confident about their writing, or they’re simply too busy to sit down and compose.
"It can take a lot of pressure off the writing process if they can simply start riffing into the voice memo function of their smartphone and create some 'starter text' that someone can transcribe," Clark said. "Oftentimes, once they see it in front of them, they can very quickly edit it into a fantastic post that -- if they had tried to craft it from a blank page — would have taken hours and hours."
What to blog? Start with the questions customers ask about your product or industry. What’s confusing to them? Where do people need clarity? How can you be helpful?
If you're a yoga instructor, maybe it's a post on common mistakes people make with their poses. If you're a B2B software company, it could be a piece shedding light on the decision-making process -- “5 Ways to Determine Which Enterprise Software You Really Need.”
No Blog? No Laundry
Without a blog, organizations miss SEO benefits and the opportunity to clarify their own thinking on key issues, Clark said.
Most importantly, she added, they miss the chance to connect with customers in a non-threatening environment where people feel free to ask questions and build a relationship without the pressure of an immediate sale looming over the encounter.
"If you pay for advertising, when you stop paying, you stop getting results," Clark said. "But the SEO benefits of a blog last over time, and often grow if you’ve created content that’s truly interesting and helpful. Inbound marketing in general and blogs in particular are the marketing gifts that keep on giving."
Title image by Maksim Kabakou (Shutterstock).