I Just Started a Blog - Now What?

I was just talking to a lady I met at a local networking group about how to use social networking to promote her business. The nature of her business prevents her from engaging in a lot of common marketing approaches because it happens to be very heavily regulated.

Her name is Kimberley Feldman and she is a financial planner who works for a large financial services company. If you are familiar with this industry, you are no doubt aware that everything, I mean EVERYTHING, Kimberley wants to send out (direct mail, advertisements, public speaking engagements, and everything she puts on the web) must be first approved by her company's compliance department.

I suggested that she talk to her compliance officer about starting a blog devoted to the needs of female business women. It would be a blog about topics like:
  • How to succeed in business,
  • Time management,
  • How to attract business,
  • How to advance in ones' career,
  • How to balance work and family life,
  • Leadership and management skills,
  • Case studies of successful business women,
  • and maybe, just maybe, an occasional (compliance approved)article on financial planning topics.

Think about how this focus differs from the approach most business take when they start producing content.

  • A computer company would usually spew out articles about their products and the technology they are so proud of.

  • A law firm would be expected to bury readers under profiles of their lawyers, their long and prestigious experience, the areas of law they specialize in, ad nauseum.

  • A cell phone manufacturer would often tell us all about their products, complete with pictures of attractive people enjoying talking to each other.

In other words, the traditional approach is "look how great we are," "look at how great our products are," "let us tell you about how much better we are than the competition."

Which brings me to two recent articles I have read by the two authors of the great book, "Get Content, Get Customers," Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett.

The first article, Newt Barrett's Give Your Marketing Real Depth to Deliver Offline and Online Results features Best Magazine from Best Buy.

While Best Magazine does mention products, it has the look and feel of an airline in-flight magazine. It has articles about things that are of interest to Best Buy's very best customers.

Much like the type of blog I suggested to my new friend, Kimberley.

Joe Pulizzi's article, Custom Print Magazines - Why Can't MasterCard Produce Inc. Magazine? is about the value of custom print magazines.

Joe was lamenting the fact that top brands like MasterCard, Verizon or AT&T are missing the opportunity to publish magazines like Inc. (which is apparently one of Joe's favorites). He cites a statistic that reports 80% of consumers prefer to receive company information in the form of educational articles.

Another statistic he cites is that readers spend about 25 minutes looking through a custom magazine. Can you imagine your customers spending 25 minutes looking through your company's marketing materials in their present format? This is the power of providing information that addresses a target audience's reality.

By reality, I mean that your typical prospect is not spending her days and nights thinking about your products. She IS however, spending her time thinking about her work, her family, her relationships, her problems, her dreams, and her goals.

Doesn't it make sense to produce content that builds a relationship with her by addressing her reality?

My good friend, Bill Hurlbut, sells insurance. But he is very active on Twitter simply giving his followers information that help them. He very rarely discusses insurance (that's why we're friends). He builds relationships by helping people with the problems they are concerned with. (By the way, be sure to follow him on twitter, his user name is @billhurlbut).

So back to Kimberley Feldman, the financial planner. If she wanted to create a blog about financial planning, investments and insurance, she would not only have to constantly get approval from her compliance officer, she would also have a blog that would compete with every other financial services person in her marketplace.

By creating a blog about the needs and interests of her target market - professional business women - she can address their reality, and build relationships with them.

Even without pitching her services or products, she would probably attract visitors to her website and develop a following for her business.

One final resource before I close. Patsi Krakoff has produced a very helpful tool, which is a worksheet for bloggers. It is called Content Marketing with Blogs: The First 7 Steps BEFORE You Blog. This is a very good way to organize your thinking and approach before you get started blogging.

If you like this article:

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
Add to Onlywire
Add to Technorati Favorites


November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM Twitter for Business said...

Great post. I've just retweeted it via my @BYFollowers account.

I totally agree with the idea of creating content to address the reality of your clients. This has been key in my own online business success.

Matt Duggan

November 10, 2009 at 4:55 AM Charles Brown said...

Thank you Matthew. You are right, the reader's reality is the starting point for a great blog.