We’ve told you why inbound marketing is the most effective way to market your business in the digital age, and one of the key components of a good inbound marketing strategy is blogging.
Blogs increase the size of your online footprint and help you rank more highly in Google searches – that’s why they’re helpful to you. But the reason they’re helpful to website visitors is the knowledge and insight they provide. The visitor needs to get some value out of your blog, so it’s not advisable to talk about your own business; present-day customers have become savvy, and will disregard material they see as mostly self-promotional.
But this is your blog – can’t you ever talk about yourself? There are certain occasions when it’s OK, but it’s always better to err on the side of discretion. Here are some opportunities you can use to talk about yourself when blogging:
At the end of the blog
Remember when newspapers ruled the media world? Well, newspaper editors have a habit of “cutting from the bottom,” or omitting some of the final paragraphs of an article. Therefore, the most important stuff in the article is at the top. Your blogs should function the same way, with all the important stuff in the first sections. Then at the bottom, you can throw in a small blurb about your own business, but only if it relates to the blog topic.
This old tactic of “cutting from the bottom” also works because people tend to skim online and readership wanes near the end of articles or blog posts. People aren’t as interested in finishing the article as they are in starting it.
When it’s very relevant
There might be something in your business or industry that you do better than anyone else, or a special product you have that no one else does. In this scenario, if you want to discuss it, you have to talk about yourself. But the key is to make it not seem like a sales pitch.
Discuss the topic as if a third party were writing the blog. Maybe make a list of solutions to a problem, and then include your solution in the list. For example, if you are in the tax return software business: Your blog might be “Best Tax Return Software Options.” Write about three different forms of tax return software, with your software being the third. Be honest about the pros and cons. Again, customers can spot bologna easily these days, and if you’re not being straight with them, they’ll know it and won’t appreciate it.
When you’re sharing a success story
If your business is doing well, you’ve certainly helped some customers solve problems. Discuss one of these situations in a blog post. With your customer’s permission (and hopefully participation), discuss the issue the customer had, what they tried that didn’t work, and then how you helped them solve it. This is very similar to a case study.
Yes, a blog like this is tooting your own horn a bit: but the real storyline is the customer’s problem and how they were satisfied. Your business is just a supporting character in the story, and your reader will focus more on the customer than on you.
To get a more detailed look, download our free eBook "Blogging for Business".