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Why Should I Blog?

Why Should I Blog?

For years now, we have heard of a wonderful technology called blogging. For anyone who does not know about blogs, it is a simplified technology to publish content to the internet.  Using blogging software, anyone familiar with a word processor is able to add a page of content to the internet without going through a web-master or programmer.  With blogs, suddenly the barriers to publishing are torn down, and the news industry, public relations and sales people have been adapting ever since.

There are many advantages of publishing content to the web, and blogging reduces the cost and technical requirements to do so.  Blogging allows us to have a one-to-thousands conversation, and that conversation, called a post, is maintained on the web practically indefinitely.  Some of the advantages of blogging are:

  • Blog posts are easy to publish as writing a sales letter.
  • Since the costs to publish is so low, blog posts can be on very specific topics that are not typically found in traditional marketing materials
  • The author can communicate their individual opinion or unique value position
  • Readers can subscribe and be notified of new blog posts
  • Readers can usually leave comments to the post and engage in direct dialog with the author
  • Blog content is read by search engines, and since the content is usually very specific, the content has a high ranking in search results.

With all these good things, why aren’t more sales people and businesses blogging?  Unfortunately it is because we often do not see the return on investment from blogging.  There is always an uncertainty if  a unique, specific topic will have enough of an audience to justify the time spent on writing about it.  Further most blogs do not have a way to further the sales cycle, in internet speak that’s a call-to-action, so when the reader is inspired to engage with company, they have to call, visit or use the e-store and they are rarely acknowledged as a blog referral.  As such, although we acknowledge blogging as a theoretical importance, it does not have an immediate urgency.  All too often, when there is a choice between responding to an urgent item or acting on an important (but not urgent) item, we respond to the urgent need.   I am guilty of this as well, for my last post was more than a few months ago.  Recently I attended an educational session hosted by the Berman Consulting Associates Business Development Groups that gave me some ideas about creating urgency for blogging and have more immediate and relevant results.

The following is a summation of the presentation by Alan Berkson of Intelligist Group (http://intelligistgroup.com) about Business Strategies and Innovation for Businesses. 

21 Century Marketing – Innovations in Communications

While social media has changed how we communicate, it still has the same roots.  Our overall goal is to build a foundation of understanding for who we are and what we do.  The reason for this is the underlying question that every salesman, every businessman has.

What drives the buying decision? ~ Trust.

Trust is built through being Proactive, being Engaging and maintaining Transparency

  • Be Proactive:  20 years ago the vendor, was in control of the communication of their services and their product information. Now there are conversations going on in social media about  products and services that were not started by the vendor. You need to be proactively involved in these conversations.
  • Be Engaging:  Every opportunity to communicate with a customer is engagement.  While sales makes the first transaction, customer service makes every other one.    Every employee affects the customers’ experience, but too often co-workers focus on their internal customer, rather than the external customer.  When companies were run by engineers, the mission was to build a better mouse-trap…for the customer.  Find out what your customers like and do not like about your product or service.  Prepare for problems.  Engagement requires preparation instead of reaction.  With Social Media it’s not 10 people who will hear about a bad experience, but 100, 1,000, or even 10,000.  According to an American Express survey, when a company fails to live up to their promises, 70% think a credit to their account is acceptable compensation, 70% also say a sincere apology would be just as acceptable. Less than 50% think a coupon is just compensation, yet that is how many companies respond – with a $100 flight coupon.  Engagement is being prepared to respond to your critics?
  • Transparency: The day of deny, deny, deny is past us.  Privacy has changed, and people’s expectation about what they should be able to access has changed as well.  Transparency is about being above board with every customer interaction, otherwise it will be found out! Make yourself vet-able, so when people Google you, and they will, you can be easily checked out – showing that your motivations and intentions are consistent and clear.

How to get started? Blog!

The blog is a conversation; a conversation with a customer or with a prospect.  The blog allows you to magnify your message beyond the one prospect though. A lot of us sell to people who are not the final decision maker or check writer.  We rely on our contact to relay our information accurately to the decision maker.  If we write the conversation on our blog; the benefits and the promises that were made to the contact, and then e-mail a link to the blog to our contact, it will be forwarded to the decision maker. This builds trust and authenticity with our clients and prospects.

The value of the blog is more than just the reader, it’s also the sharing of the blog.  It builds trust because of the perception that the written word is usually kept more often than the spoken word. Finally the blog last longer than the initial conversation because of the searchability of the blog.  When you are vetted, the blog will set the expectations and establish the bar that you will clear.

Alan Berkson provides practical advice and provocative commentary on a variety of business strategy topics on his blog, The Intelligent Catalyst.

Alan was a wonderfully enlightening presenter and this presentation was as another example of why I believe in continuously attending education sessions.  If I can gain one point, one concept, that helps my business grow, the time was well worth it.  In this presentation Alan introduced several learning points

  1. Use a blog to get your message directly to the decision-maker.
  2. A blog can build trust and set the expectation that your performance will be held to.
  3. Our blog can be used to respond to our critics, a platform to explain and apologize, increasing our transparency.

The Berman Consulting Associates Business Development Groups (http://www.bcabdg.com/) consists of over 100 executive and entrepreneurial Business-to-Business Groups that meet weekly and usually include sales or marketing training.

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