Getting agreement from company leadership and marketing departments that blogging is essential to educating prospects and to driving site traffic is still a difficult sell. Even more difficult, once that sale is made, is getting fully committed buy-in from the top down to help infuse the value of blog content inside the company.
So, for many companies that have made it through the gauntlet of blogging buy-in, they'd prefer the answer to the question above to be yes. But the right answer, especially if the goal is to fully leverage the value of blogging, is no.
I've been exposed to this type of dialogue frequently because I'm working with The Sales Lion in getting businesses to blog with the help of their Easy Biz Blogging service. The basic premise of the service is to provide blogging strategy and content if a company isn't blogging due to lack of time, interest, writing ability or content ideas.
For most businesses, the feeling of relief from being freed from the "burden" of blogging doesn't trigger a quest for new types of content to create. Typically, businesses that aren't blogging aren't creating a lot of new content on a regular basis. So, the commitment to blogging is often the catalyst for understanding the need to create all types of new content. This can be a daunting realization to content deficient companies.
A good approach is to ease into new content creation efforts sequentially and focus on the components that will directly leverage the value of blogging. There are three key components:
- Calls to action text
- Landing page content
- Content offers
I'm going to cover these in reverse order because it helps in identifying which content offers work best with a particular blog post. So, as the late Dr. Stephen Covey recommended: "begin with the end in mind."
A content offer should be directly relevant to the topic(s) covered in a blog post. If your blog post successfully engages the reader, it sets up the successful chain reaction from post to CTA to landing page. The offer on that landing page needs to supplement and extend the momentum generated by the blog post. The best way to do that is to offer content that has value. The best way to come up with a valuable content offer is to get inside the mind of the particular prospect you're targeting with your content. If you were faced with the issues and challenges faced by the prospect, what content would help? Better yet, and especially if you're in a competitive industry, find a way for your landing page content asset to illustrate the unique way in which you solve the prospect's problem. That way you achieve two important goals - you've solved a problem and differentiated yourself from competitors.
It's at this point you should expand your thinking of what content offers can be. If you sell a complex service, maybe video offers the best method of providing value. If it's a simpler service or product, it's possible a one-page buying guide fits the need. It's also important to ensure alignment of your content offers with the appropriate stage in the prospect's buying process. So, don't match an early stage blog post with a late stage content offer and vice versa. Lastly, the higher the perceived value of your content offer is, the deeper you can go with your request for prospect information. Lighter value might get you a full name and email address; heavy value could add title, company size, budget size, competitors also in review and more.
Landing Page Content
The next stage in planning is your landing page content. You want the landing page content to motivate prospects to fill out a form and receive the content asset. It should be brief - a few sentences and bullets, to the point and it should reinforce the content asset's value. The landing page content is the bridge between the blog post and the content asset.
Call to Action Text
Finally, it's your call to action (CTA) text. The easiest part in terms of content creation. A simple CTA is usually one line of text. A more complex CTA could have images, text and graphics - either static or dynamic. (You can see an example of a more complex, dynamic CTA on the right navigation bar on this blog - it's the Easy Biz Blogging CTA. An ecample of a simple CTA is just below this post.) Regardless of which style you choose, your CTA is the bridge between your blog post and your landing page. Make it easy for your prospect to say yes to.
Have you limited your content efforts to just blogging? Have you found that blogging drives the creation of other types of content? Have you been successful at sustaining your content creation efforts? Your input would be awesome and appreciated!