31 Oct On Blogging and Branding—and Not Advertising
Hey, yo! I’m awesome. You should totally give me some money because I’m so awesome.
It must be a compelling sales pitch, since that’s essentially what 81 percent of small and medium-sized businesses use their blogs to say over and over again, according to StatsWeMadeUpToIllustrateOurPoint.com.
Blogs Aren’t Billboards
There’s a tendency to see a blog as a place to advertise the company’s goods or services (and often poorly, at that). Because people love to spend their abundant leisure time scrolling through multiple posts of someone talking about how great they are, right? Just slap up a stock photo of a sparkly smiling face and a few sentences full of empty adjectives like “great” and “best” and “cost-effective” and “cat’s pajamas.”
Wait, that last one’s a noun. And a little dated. “All that and a bag of chips.” Isn’t that what the kids are saying these days? Go ahead, check the date stamp to see if you inadvertently landed on a post from 1997.
This is not the approach of companies with blogs that convert web traffic into sales.
Where’s the Value?
A successful business blog doesn’t pressure visitors to buy something. It builds brand authority and trustworthiness by sharing information and expertise. It doesn’t give everything away, of course, but it demonstrates knowledge and having the customers’ interests in mind.
People read content that offer them something of value. It can be information, advice, a laugh, comfort, warmed heart cockles, or anything else they seek out. People don’t typically seek out commercials.
When you’re wondering what to post, instead of asking what you can sell someone today, ask what you can help someone with today.
Advertising Vs. Branding
Advertisements are selfish, direct solicitations. Effective ads quickly convey to consumers that a product or service will benefit them in some way. And that’s an important marketing tool that certainly has its place.
But your blog isn’t that place. Instead, use it to selflessly share in ways that show (not tell) your brand’s strengths, reliability, motivations, philosophies, concerns, sense of community, and more. Let it be part of the narrative of your brand’s story, and let part of that story be that you respect and care about others.
Create ways for people to connect with your brand. Because once they do, they’ll come back when they need you.