In using today’s technology to reach out to current and prospective clients, there is a very fine line between utilizing brand-building communications such as blogs to successfully get your message across, and simply sending spam.
In the former, your message contains worthwhile insights, credible benefits, and something of perceived value to your reader. Such communications are welcomed, even while helping your brand management and raising your profile among recipients.
The latter is more often than not seen as “junk mail”, and serves only to reinforce a negative image of your brand. No company wants to be thought of as a spammer, simply trying to shill a product. Once they get that reputation, it sticks like the proverbial glue and is nearly impossible to shake.
The term “spam” comes from a 1970s British TV sketch comedy show, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, in which a hapless customer finds himself at a cafe where every item on the menu includes the canned meat product, “Spam.” The waitress – seen in this YouTube video -- insists on reciting every item with its various iterations of Spam, much to the customer’s dismay. A decade later the term came to signify over-frequent, repetitive repeats of useless information, and has been used ever since.
So what helps make a blog a valued piece of insight and information, while helping to build your brand, versus something – a.k.a. spam -- that just clogs an inbox?
It’s quite simple: A good blog post entertains and gives the reader something of value, a small payback in return for the time they spent reading it. Are your blog posts offering that? Here are some ways to tell if you’re producing valued content in your blogs:
Sales Leads. It might seem obvious, but if your readers are following up and clicking on the offer you’re including in your blog, you’re doing it right. Leading marketing guidance company Hubspot identifies this as the “call to action,” where you encourage the reader to ask for more information, or to interact with your company in one way or another.
But how do you know how to target the right audience? Hubspot recommends you develop “Personas” for your different clients, where you draw up a profile of the ideal client and then aim your blogs at what they need to succeed. When you hit a majority of those needs in your post, you’re on your way to closing a lead. Focusing on a particular persona when formulating your blog will almost always ensure a positive response from that audience.
Readers Are Sharing Your Content: Just as important as that positive response is the sharing of your content on social media, by those who received it. If readers like what they see, they’ll tell others. It’s as simple as that. Be sure your blog easily enables readers to share your post, via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Likewise, be sure to re-post and re-tweet blogs that you find of value. You’ll help build your own audience if readers know they can count on you.
You’ve Started Developing a Following: A really good post will almost always elicit comments from enthused readers; it’s a good target to aim for. Once you start “hitting your mark” consistently, the audience will keep returning for more. Analytics have come a long way in a short time, and producers can now see numbers practically in real time and know fairly quickly who’s looking at what content. If you can see the number of visitors to your site growing over time, you’ll know you’re producing blogs that are valuable, valued and appreciated. Readers are beginning to see you as a thought leader, adding to your brand’s value and importance. Keep going!
Producing a strong blog that grows virally and attracts attention is worth the effort. Once readers perceive your work to be of value to them and their work, they’ll be more inclined to spread the word, helping establish your brand in a crowded marketplace and giving you a leg up on the competition.
Offering blogs with valued content, tracking their progress and “shares”, and repeating what works will help raise your brand profile. Consistency is key.