As you may know, I’ve been reading Naked Conversations, a book about business blogging. To say the least I’ve been bitten by the bug, and believe that the emerging trend for conversational marketing is going to be one of the biggest shifts in customer-company relations since corporate websites themselves.
However many business owners have little idea what they should blog about. If you catch the conversational marketing wave correctly, you know that what it is not is about promoting your product or services directly. No-one is bothered about reading a blog that says “We have the cheapest products in town!”, they are bombarded with phrases like that through the TV, radio, press and traditional websites on a daily basis.
What they want is a window on your businesses soul, an insight on how you tick. If you can position yourself as being a passionte, knowledgable authority on your area of business, you’ll be well on the way to helping people to trust you. Who would you rather choose to buy from; a company who only sends out dry and dreary press releases, or a compny who opens up and writes about what they are doing with passion and understanding?
I wanted to explore this are, and so have created four fictional companies who I will give a brief consultation on starting a blog. First up is Jon Brown, joiner.
Jon Brown – Joiner
Jon Brown is 34, and is a joiner working for a small firm which he co-owns with his business partner Peter. Most of their work is for property developers, fitting doors, skirting boards, kitchens and other woodwork to new flats. They also do some work for private clients who want the very best quality workmanship, this ranges from designing and creating furniture (four-poster beds are a speciality) to restoring old items. That work is higher-paid, much more enjoyable, and is the sort of thing that Jon and Peter want to do more. Is a blog part of the answer?
Selling hand-made furniture is a specialist area, so what Jon needs to do is position himself as being a specialist. A rough-looking, hastily-thrown together blog isn’t going to help. It’s worth getting Jon’s blog looking like a craftsman made it, because that’s who he is. So, firstly, he needs to get the design right. Some of the WordPress templates are gorgeous.
Secondly, he needs to show lots of examples of work they’ve done. Some words from happy customers, and lots of pictures will go a long way to show the quality of their workmanship. I’m no expert, but discussion of the finer details of furniture is a fascinating subject. Every turn and joint, every spar and bar can be described. The quality of the woods, the tools used, and the techniques that only a specialist knows can be revealed to readers (in the process putting a load of juicy keywords in for search engines) ad position Jon as being a master of his craft, establishing authority.
Thirdly, Jon needs to let people know how passionate he is about quality furniture. Descriptions and pictures of historical furniture, if he likes that sort of thing, could be good. Or links to other joiners and furniture makers and information about trends in furniture design. What he needs to portray is someone who loves what they do, keeps an eye on the changes in his area of business, and understands his craft.
I have to be honest – blogging is hard work. Not only do you have to write regularly (and, in many cases, at length) but you have to think of interesting things to say on a particular subject. However, the benefits are there for the taking for the dedicated. The fact is that being dedicated to something tkes a love for it. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you haven’t got a chance; you can’t fake it. Tht’s why I’m working on a new article entitled “Why your business should not blog”.
Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. I’ll be looking at how blogging should be approached by three more fictional companies soon.