5 Steps to Create a Company Blog that Supports Direct Marketing, Part 1

We see it all the time: a company has a blog on their website but consider it a nuisance. They only post a new article after realizing “it’s been a while” and no one on staff is raising their hand to develop content. But that’s because they haven’t figured out that their blog can support their direct marketing efforts, helping to bring in leads and nurture customer relationships that lead to more sales.

Start Thinking about Your Company’s Blog as a Strategic Tool
Blogging has grown up a lot since it started back in 1997. In fact, many corporate websites were designed with a blog component because it was the “thing” to do—not necessarily because the company planned on using it for a strategic purpose. We remember this well, because we were there, too!

In the early days, some companies posted content simply to boost credibility with search engines and generate web traffic and page rankings. Others blogged in an attempt to engage readers in the “comments” section, a form of company-customer communication that eventually found its home over social media instead.

But as with any good marketing tech evolution, a more powerful and—listen up, direct marketers—measurable reason to post blog articles emerged: to drive business results. (Not just web traffic!)

This explains why many direct marketers haven’t gotten the message until recently that blogging is actually an excellent and proven way to further sales goals. Consider these findings shared by TechClient:

  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads
  • B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads
  • The corporate blogger’s reasons for blogging:
    • Share expertise (70%)
    • Gain professional recognition (61%)
    • Attract new clients (52%)

So we want to share our take on how to incorporate blogging into your direct marketing strategy. These steps will start you off through the process we take with clients (and our own internal team!) to establish a successful blogging practice.

1. Pick Your Reasons to Blog
As with any marketing initiative, your unique organizational goals should drive your blog strategy. You may be tempted to quickly say “let’s blog for all of these reasons,” but take your time to build a strong foundation so you can focus your efforts on what’s going to make the most impact on your bottom line. Your sales team will thank you later. Here goes:

  • Boost website traffic. Keyword rich blog content can bring new traffic to your website, thanks to visits, links, shares, and flat-out relevant content that elevates your page rankings and number of new leads.
  • Establish thought leadership. Providing valuable information and commentary about hot topics in your industry demonstrates a keen understanding of customers’ challenges and pain points. This gives you authority and helps build trust in your solutions, which is necessary for selling and cross-selling.
  • Announce company news. Expounding on press release information—using a more personal narrative to explain M&As or product and service updates—is a way to connect company happenings with what matters to customers and keeps them as customers.
  • Promote gated content. Those fantastic white papers and infographics your marketing team creates to generate leads via e-mail, social media, or standard website marketing? Write about them in a “teaser” blog post and include a lead-gen form—voila! Leads for your sales team, courtesy of your blog.
  • Build industry partnerships. Vendors, business partners, and brand and industry influencers of every ilk can be brought into your blog fold. You can feature key personalities as guest bloggers or ask them to contribute quotes or other content to articles you write. This expands your blog reach and potential customer base.
  • Enhance customer relationships. There are countless ways to engage and educate existing customers on your blog, and it comes down to sharing information that improves their lives. Post customer success stories, address common questions, comment on industry news, provide helpful how-to information…add value in just about any way that makes your blog a favorite destination on the web.
  • Set your company apart. Your company offers unique value to your customers, right? A blog that provides this something different—what prospects won’t find on your competitors’ websites—can help you gain footing in your market space.
  • Promote company culture. Attracting and retaining top talent, not to mention delighting customers with your brand personality and mission, can result from using your blog as a place to display your company values. How are you making a difference? What’s your role in your community? Sharing stories that speak to your corporate culture can help build warm and fuzzy customer loyalty and referrals to like-minded prospects.

Not like you need more reasons to move forward, but compared with other forms of marketing, blogging is a cost effective way to keep your website content fresh (Google loves this!) and reaches a lot of people at once with interesting, useful, or entertaining information.

2. Set Goals.
Now that you know why you’re blogging, put some numbers down that spell success. If SEO is really important to your organization, how many keywords do you want to rank for—and how much new web traffic do you need? If you want to hand leads to your sales team, how many are you aiming for? Answers to these questions (your stated goals) will help you determine how often to post, what content you’ll post, and how you’ll promote it. More on this later—so stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post.

That’s right. Next time, we’ll reveal the final 3 steps to create a corporate blog that supports your direct marketing efforts. You’ll learn how you can take your goals and turn them into results.

If you have any questions about starting your own company blog please contact us!  Also, don’t forget come back next week for the next steps!