Business Blogs Save the Day

I recently wrote about how great business blog content helped one of my clients land not one but two clients over the course of a few weeks.  That’s why most business owners begin blogging – they want to connect with consumers.

Connecting with consumers is the holy grail of online marketing.  Each day – thousands of people head online to search for information.  Many times – those searches are very, very specific.  That’s where business blogs really shine – because often those really super specific search queries are made by people who are actively seeking solutions to problems – problems for which your business offers a solution.

Connecting with consumers did not begin when Facebook opened its doors to the general public.  The goal of connecting with consumers was the goal of advertising agencies LONG before the first Twitter fail whale appeared on the scene.

Back in those days – it was a real challenge to make a connection with consumers.  Information flowed down predictable paths which were almost literally etched in stone.  You had to have pockets filled with gold to even consider charting a course down the well worn path of traditional media.

Back in those days – just as today – connecting with consumers began with an idea.

“Hey – I’ll bet THIS will really connect with our target audience!”

In those days – that “aha” moment was followed by creating a campaign which delivered that message.   Sometimes it was television – sometimes it was print – other times it was direct mail – but in every case the journey to making a connection began by opening up your business checkbook and writing more than a few checks. Production of your marketing message was only the beginning – because once the marketing message was produced it then had to be DELIVERED via your chosen media.

With all of this upfront expense – you had to be pretty confident that your “aha” moment – or the “aha” moment provided by your agency – would TRULY connect with consumers.

Even today – companies are still stumbling across such “aha” moments and connecting with consumers via traditional media.  From the All State’s Mayhem guy – to the Old Spice guy – traditional media campaigns are successfully making the initial connection with consumers. Social media is just an afterthought in those cases-  serving to fan the flames of an already roaring fire.

It’s “easier” for big companies to make that kind of connection via traditional media simply because they have the budget for it.  When a large corporation runs an ad campaign that falls flat – there isn’t the slightest possibility that it will destroy the company’s financial future.  When a big company runs a campaign that flops – they simply fire their agency and hire a new one.

But if you’re an SMB – an advertising campaign that flops can mean the difference between red ink and black ink on your balance sheet.  That makes it much harder to take that leap of faith and start writing checks to produce a marketing message that may or may not connect with consumers.

Which is exactly why a business blog can save the day for an SMB.

Your business blog allows you to “test” the waters economically with your marketing message.  Take your message – and post it.  Now take that post – and tweak it – and then post it again.  I’m not saying to “re-run” the same content over and over – that would be redundant and silly.  Take your message and “massage” it – shape it – try to view it from different angles.

Which is why business blogs can literally save the day for small and medium sized business owners.  Business blogs give you the ability to “tweak” your marketing message before you spend a DIME on production costs.   Your business blog can give you the confidence to invest in producing a television spot.

Not only can your business blog give you a heads up on which message really “connects” with consumers – it also gives you a place to “air” that spot on demand 24/7.  So once your television ad has done it’s job airing on television – it can still continue to “work” by providing information on your business blog.

It’s not just television ads which can be “re-purposed” for life on the web – but virtually any ad in any media can find new life – quickly and easily – on your business blog.

Business blogs really can save the day for SMB – effectively and efficiently providing a marketing beacon for your business.

Creating Great Business Blog Content

If you didn’t know by now, a business blog is a great way for your business to reach out and capture the attention of prospective customers or clients.   Business blogs grab the attention of machines (the search engines) and people alike and business owners are sitting up and taking notice.

Recently, I began sharing about the mechanics of creating a great business blog post and the fact that a great business blog post begins with the title.  The title delivers the promise of what’s to come – but that brings us to the next step which is actually creating the business blog content.

This is where the way gets murky.  This is the point where the questions a professional is going to ask you will get tough.  This is where you have to KNOW your product or service inside and out.  You have to KNOW the who, what, when, where and why.

Who? – Who is your target audience?

What? – What need or desire is the product or service satisfying.

When? –  When does your target audience plan to make a purchase?  Are they researching before they buy?

Where? – Where will they complete their purchase?  Some products simply can’t be purchased online while others can.  Sometimes – prospective clients are simply trying to find information and will make their buying decision in the “real world” vs online.

Why? –  Why are they online?  Did they log on with the intention of buying or did they log on searching for the answer to a problem they’re having?

A ready answer to these questions is essential to creating great business blog content.

I recently got an email from a client – very excitedly telling me that her business blog just helped her to land 2 new clients.   When I look back at our initial conversation – I realize that she had the answers to all of these questions at the ready when she began blogging for her business.

If you were to ask her about business blogging – she would tell you how EASY it is – because she simply began composing blog posts with her target audience and their problems in mind.   To be honest, she created this content regularly for a few months and then quit blogging.  She ignored her blog for more than a year – and then – one day she checked her log file analysis  and saw that she was getting hundreds of views a day on a particular blog post.  She began writing blog posts again and VIOLA – she started to get potential clients leaving comments asking for her to contact them about her service.  Two of those initial conversations have resulted in long term client commitments.

So if you’re wanting to create great business blog content – begin by examining your target audience.  Answer the questions above – especially the “why”.  In my client’s case – she KNEW that her prospective client wasn’t logging on with the intent of hiring her.   She KNEW they were looking for a solution to a problem – but they didn’t know exactly what that solution was.  Because they weren’t searching for a solution – she simply wrote blog posts about those problems and then artfully wove how her service helped to solve those problems.

That’s where the power of business blogging lies.  Sure, you can optimize a blog post for specific keywords that YOU think are important – but if your customers aren’t using those words to find what you do then your efforts are wasted.  When you create a business blog post addressing the specific problems consumers are facing – problems your product or service “solves” – you may find as my client did that the web is FULL of people who need your products or service but don’t know it yet.

When you start blogging for your business – those people can not only find you – they can also get to know more by reading your other blog posts.

Anatomy of a great business blog post

I’ll begin this post with a disclaimer.  Most blog posts of this nature are pure Pablum –  general enough in nature to be completely worthless to anyone who truly needs help in this area.   Such posts must be so general that they tend to be worthless because each business blog post is simply a single MARKETING TACTIC which is performing a role in your overall MARKETING STRATEGY.

Launching a business blog is not a marketing strategy – it’s a marketing tactic.  The business blog posts you write have a job to do – and that’s to carry your business’ marketing message.

The reality is that a great business blog post for one business is not a great business blog post for another.  Business blogs not only have to be different than “regular” blog posts – but they also differ amongst themselves.

That’s why it’s really hard for me to offer “quick and easy” one size fits all advice on how to create a great business blog post.

However, I can share one common element of every great business blog post.  The one thing ALL great business blog posts share is a great blog post title.

The business blog post title

The words you type into the title box of your blog post are the hardest working words on your site. Assuming you’ve tweaked your blog’s permalink settings, the words you choose to type into the title box above your blog post become part of your blog post DNA. Those words become part of the url – and that plays a huge role in how the search engines will “view” your blog post today and for years to come.

Pleasing the search engines isn’t the only reason to create a creative blog post title. Because while it plays a role in how your blog post is seen by the search engines, even more important is how that title affects the HUMAN visitors to your site.

The blog post title holds the promise of the content to come – it’s what entices human visitors to click and to read more. In the end, we must never forget that the only reason any of us CARES what the soulless programs that index the web do with our content is because those soulless programs can bring us the eyes of soulful human beings.

The blog post title is the first point of connection. Those words will often be used to spread your post to the social media network. Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook or even through your RSS feed – your blog post title is often the foundation for the message which is spread.

Your business blog post title sets the reader’s expectations – and puts the content contained within the post into context for the reader. Without a great blog post title – the best blog post in the world will be overlooked and ignored.

So what makes a great blog post title?

It’s one that grabs the attention of your target audience.

“Rats” – you may think.  “There she goes again – prattling on about targeting your audience for effective marketing.”  (I thought writing a book –  Beyond the Niche – would help end my endless ranting  on the subject- but it hasn’t.)

You can’t create a great blog post title if you don’t know your target audience intimately!

Your great blog post title catches the attention of your target audience  and entices them to read more – the more being your compelling, tightly targeted content which was created as part of a sound marketing strategy.

Your business blog post title is the “headline” that will excite, entice and motivate your target audience to go further and read the post.

This past weekend – an email listserv of which I am a member “blew up” because of a well titled blog post.  The post title acted as a literal lightning rod – causing one member of the list to share the blog post title on the list which drove hundreds of other members to the blog post.

A well worded blog post title created a lot of traffic.

By the time I followed the link – the blog post in question had over 300 comments approved less than 72 hours after posting.   The blog post author’s most recent tweet was expressing delight at the traffic her blog was getting.

By choosing the right five words – the author was able to “push” an emotional button in her target audience. By simply knowing what makes her intended target audience “tick” – she was able to create a blog post title which motivated her audience to not only take action – but motivate others to action as well.

What’s happening on this listserv is probably happening other places as well – including Facebook and Twitter – where people are sharing her blog post by simply sharing the title of the post.

I call this kind of blog post a Pillar Blog Post in the 8 Week Power Blog Launch course and your blog should definitely strive to include this type of attention getting blog posts – but expecting to create such blog posts – or blog post titles – daily is not realistic.   Trying to achieve that can lead to business blog paralysis  – which is the worst business blogging affliction of all.

Business blog paralysis is where you fail to create ANY blog posts for your business blog because it’s not “good enough”.  The blogger I mention here as been blogging for several years – and has made several “stabs” at connecting with this audience in previous blog posts.  Because blogging is so easy – she’s been able to “tweak”her message over hundreds of blog posts until she finally created one which hit it’s mark and called people to action.

However, because while the mechanics of blogging are “easy” the ART of blogging isn’t – this blog post wasn’t the author’s her first attempt to “connect”with her target audience.

It wasn’t her first attempt – but it’s obviously the most successful and it all began with a great blog post title.

Feel free to share your most compelling business blog post title in the comments below.

Your website is great – too bad your business sucks

This is the story of a locally owned business with a fabulous website.   The website “worked” – it brought a new potential customer into the store and the staff went to work to make sure that a potential new customer  left – never to return.

Our story begins many years ago when  I purchased a small fish tank for my small children for Christmas.   My son chose as “his” fish a specimen called an iridescent shark which is not really a shark but a catfish.  This demonstrates the power of “branding” – because I’m sure my little tyke would not have been nearly as passionate about the prospect of owning an iridescent catfish.

At the time, I encouraged the kids not to name their fish because surely they wouldn’t survive long enough to justify a name.  I was wrong.  That darned fish lived for more than 7 years.   Over the years, I had to buy a 10 gallon and then a 20 gallon tank to accommodate the growing fish.  When he passed – we had to bury him in the backyard instead of flushing him down the toilet… he was that big.

Fast forward to another Christmas when I again purchased small fish tanks for my much older children.  This time the aquariums were more of a “gag” gift – and once again the joke was on me.  We originally purchased 3 fish and awoke the next morning to find a swarm of teenie, tiny fish trying to avoid the bigger fish.  We filled the additional tanks with these “bonus” fish.  A year later we purchased a 28 gallon tank to accommodate our fishy pets.  The new larger tank means purchasing more fishy friends.

This blog post isn’t about looking ahead  and acting accordingly- though it could be.  🙂  This blog post also isn’t about something becoming bigger than you ever thought it would be – and it could be as it happens often in the world of blogging.

This blog post is about being disappointed by the business I found lurking behind the effective website.

There is a locally owned pet store which is housed in a building with elaborate decorative images painted on the exterior.  I’m kind of surprised that it never caught my attention before.  See – even though I’ve driven past this particular pet store dozens — perhaps hundreds of times – the elaborate paintings on the building and the prominent signage never registered with me.  I have regularly ignored this pet store’s signage – until I became an aquarium owner.  Now, the signage declaring this pet store was voted #1 caught my attention- breaking through the cacophony of advertising messages and singing a sweet melody compelling me to come hither.  My inner chatter changes to focus upon this new discovery….

“Voted #1 you say?  Isn’t that giant panda painted on the front interesting and unique?  Gee – I need to check this place out.”

I talk about this phenomenon in my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results.

I didn’t stop at the store on that trip – but I did check out the store’s website when I got home.  The website did a GREAT job of “selling” visitors on why this pet store was indeed the best in the region.   The next day, I piled my family into the car with the intention of filling our fish tank with fishy friends from the interesting and unique pet store we had just discovered.

Unfortunately, the store displayed and described on the website was very different from the real thing.  Warm and inviting?  Hardly.  Try disheveled and stinky.  Forget the fact that the tanks were streaked and dirty and that there was water standing on the floor – what truly horrified me was how the store’s three employees huddled behind the cash wrap area talking amongst themselves.  Despite spending more than 20 minutes in the store, we were never acknowledged and we left empty handed.

I pity the person who handles this pet store’s internet marketing because it’s inevitable that the business owner will complain that “the website isn’t working.”

I can attest that the website DID work – perfectly.  Bravo to the architect.

That website was the reason we hopped in the car and made a trip to their store.  Unfortunately, the store’s employees are the reason we hopped back into our car and headed over to the big chain pet store across town.

We weren’t the only people to leave that store empty handed that day though I have no idea whether the others were compelled to visit based on the signage or the website.  It doesn’t matter – because non of us received any customer service from the staff of this store.

Dear Store Owner:

Your website worked.  It motivate my family to take action – but your staff obviously wasn’t prepared for our arrival.

As a result, one of your competitors “ate your lunch” this past weekend.


Just one of the many lost customers last Sunday afternoon.

Honestly, I could have forgiven the disheveled appearance of the store’s interior if a smiling, helpful clerk had offered friendly assistance.  A simple acknowledgment of our presence would have gone a long way that day.

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.  That’s why it’s important that your website makes a great first impression.  However, it’s even more important that your business lives up to the expectations set by your website.

Indecent Business Blogging Exposure and other forms of TMI

a.k.a. yet another reason why your business blog shouldn’t act like other blogs.

Blogging is great.  It allows you to publish content quickly and easily to the world wide web.  That content will live on long after it’s dropped from the front page of your blog and will continue playing a significant role in shaping your online reputation for years to come.

Business blogging allows you to create a search engine friendly comprehensive information archive about your business.  You can share the answers to frequently asked questions and share testimonials quickly and easily.  You can also choose to share any other content via your business blog as well.  The 30 second television commercial you paid to produce can “air” any time and the digital copy of your brochure can be downloaded  instantly.

Business blogging is truly a marvel- but like any other powerful weapon – it has a dark side.

Business blogging provides ample opportunity to create TMI business blog posts.

For some mystical, magical reason – writing on a regular basis seems to have the ability to “reveal” more than what is displayed on the page.

It’s called a Freudian slip when someone says something which unintentionally reveals what they’re really thinking.   Austin Power’s movie Goldmember provides an exaggerated illustration of this concept:

Austin: “Now who has my father?”

Dr. Evil: “Uh oh! Someone has some daddy issues.”

Austin: “Nothing could be my father from the truth.”

Dr. Evil: “Oops! You said ‘my father’.”

Austin: “No I dadn’t.”

Dr. Evil: “Did too!”

Austin: “Didn’t! Did not!”

Dr. Evil: “Shebah!”

Austin: “For me, this is a dad issue.”

Dr. Evil: “Hooh!”

Austin: “Dead issue! Dead dad! Dead beat dad.”

It’s funny when Mike Meyers does it – but if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to commit such Freudian slips.

Business blogging is at its best when it is authentic.

Business blogging works best when it’s authentic.  As you blog, you’ll be writing in a distinct “voice” – just as when you speak, you speak in a distinct voice.  The way you write – the way you share stories – the tone of your writing all comes together to create your authentic blogging “voice”.  The more of you that you share, the more distinct this blogging voice will be.

Like every good thing –  authenticity can easily cross the line and become TMI which is a BAD thing. You must be aware of this “danger” and be careful, that personal turmoil doesn’t find it’s way into your blog posts.

Like most things I share here, this “lesson” is roote in personal experience. A few months ago, I was launching another business and asked a colleague to help with the branding and design elements.  She read the posts on that blog and assumed that I had hired a ghostwriter who failed to capture my “spark”.


I hadn’t hired a ghostwriter – but I was having serious reservations about launching that business.

Quick aside – Some businesses are like selling  encyclopedias door to door.  Back in the old days, prior to the internet, when someone purchased an encyclopedia set, it was a one time sale.  Few customers would be willing to buy a second set of encyclopedias no matter how happy they were with the original purchase.  These types of businesses don’t have repeat sales or repeat customers  and as a result, are tough to launch and then grow.

I hadn’t wanted to face the fact that the business I was preparing to launch was looking like it was definitely a “high tech” version of encyclopedia sales.  That internal conflict had come through loud and clear despite my refusal to acknowledge it.

Should you avoid transparency in your business blog?

I don’t think you can successfully blog without some element of transparency.  With that said, business blogging is too important to take a “I’ll wait to blog for my business as long as life is perfect” mentality.  It’s the most powerful social networking tool available and one that – like fine wine – improves with age.

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to launch a business blog – that time was five years ago.  You’re behind – get moving and get started.

However, if your business is in a state of turmoil – if your personal life is in a state of chaos – I would recommend that you hire a copywriter to assume your business blogging activities.

There are a lot of benefits to hiring a writing professional.  First and foremost, a true ghostwriting “pro” can write in your voice – without ever making a Freudian slip.

Your clients or customers may love you – but they don’t need to know the intricate details of your latest bout with the flu.  🙂 Just one of many things that are better left “unblogged”.