In the blogging world, did you know that there aren’t that many active bloggers online? Sure, there are hundreds-probably thousands-of “blogs” that exist on the Internet, but how many of them have real, dynamic content that is consistently updated? According to a recent article from Marketing Charts, less than 4 percent of U.S. adults have written on their blog in the past month, and only about 10 percent have visited a blog. But despite the low numbers of active bloggers, studies show that blogs actually do resonate with consumers, and therefore should be of importance to your customers. What you say in your blogs can not only position you as the thought leader amongst your customers, but also help you provide solutions that they can in turn utilize with their end-users. So where do you start?
As Super VARs, every day you walk a fine line between planning for success and engaging in the things that will make you successful. The best plan in the world on paper will never come to fruition if you don’t apply Nike’s mantra, “Just Do It.” This certainly holds true for your blog. If you continue to massage your blogging strategies to deliver high ROI but write blog content inconsistently or not at all, you’re wasting valuable time. And what about content? Perhaps the reason you blog haphazardly is because you struggle to develop interesting content on a daily basis (or whatever your blog schedule is). As Susie Gardner from Buzz Marketing with Blogs puts it, “A successful blogger in any industry knows the appetite their audience has for information and under-delivers just slightly. If you have a blog, keep your readers wanting more, and excited to see your posts!”
But how do you do that on top of the dozens of other marketing tasks on your priority list? Let’s take a look at a few simple tips for your blogging strategy that will provide you with the tools to create a consistent, well-delivered blog:
– Define your goals for the blog. Do you want to position yourself as a thought leader among VARs in the industry? Are you searching for new ways to attract prospects? What if you provided solutions on a regular basis to your core blog followers? Always blog with your goal at the top of your mind. This will keep you consistent with your content. Followers want to trust you to provide information on similar topics, so when they return time and time again to your blog they find what they want and aren’t disappointed.
– Decide how often you will post to your blog. Many new bloggers believe that coming up with witty copy or brilliant insight must happen at the same time seven days a week. It does not. The key is choosing a frequency that is right for you and sticking to it. Maybe you post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or on Tuesday and Thursday. Whatever the cycle is, your followers-customers, vendors, partners, and employees-will come to trust receiving information on a schedule. Determine what that schedule is and then hit your marks.
– Blog length doesn’t matter as much as blog content does. Did you read a fantastic review of a new product you’ll be offering your customers next month? Write a one-line sentence and provide a link to the review. Did you spend the better part of a week solving a problem for a customer by partnering with one of your premier vendors? Share the step-by-step story of your successful solution. Whether your posts are short or long is relative as long as you’re providing useful and thoughtful information to your followers. They won’t mind reading a 500-word post if they can then implement the ideas in their business successfully.
– Read competitor blogs and then write about something completely different. If you follow your competitors, you’ll have some difficulty establishing yourself as a thought leader. Don’t be a follower, writing about a similar topic with a sightly different perspective. Instead, blast your readers with a jolt of fresh air, and discuss something that is a complete 180 from what others are talking about.
– Create an “emergency fund” of posts. You may be inspired to sit down and write 250 words a day, but what happens when your best customer calls in a panic because his entire inventory records were lost? Or he’s run out of his number one selling printer and has to supply at least 10 to one of his end-users. If you are busy servicing your customers, your blog posts may lose their priority ranking. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t adhere to your frequency of posts. When you nestle in to write your blog posts, write more than one (three to five is great if you can do that in an hour or so), and make sure at least two don’t have time-specific content so that you can use them in an emergency. Before you know it, your rainy day fund will be overflowing.
“Don’t be overly concerned with how many readers you have; pay attention to getting the readers whose attention you most want looking at your blog. Quality trumps quantity in the blogoshpere (although having both doesn’t hurt!),” says the insightful Gardner. Done correctly, your blog will become the driving force behind your successful business.