By Kath Walters
The roadside assistance company, NRMA, was one of the first big companies to get into blogging as content marketing in Australia.
For over 90 years, the NRMA’s 2.4 million-plus members have received the organisation’s Open Road magazine.
In August 2012, the company’s then Head of Publishing, Emma Cornwell, took the company in a new direction; launching an online magazine called Live4, which served the 600,000-plus NRMA members under 40, who were not reading Open Road.
Blogging delivers your future customers
Within a matter of months, Live4 had attracted 50,000 subscribers. Only some of them were NRMA’s existing members. There is no password for the site – it’s available for anyone, not just members.
This is the nature of blogging, or content marketing. It’s a service to keep customers loyal, but it’s also designed to build a community from which new customers will emerge.
When we want to buy any product or service – from our wedding venue to our dog groomer – we start with a search. Searching for products or services by walking down the street is an occasional pastime, but most business isn’t done that way.
And Google rules search results. Regularly writing, publishing and sharing content via email and social media builds interest in what you do, and moves your company to the first page of organic search results. Full stop. It’s all in the algorithms. Every time some geek tries to outplay the Google algorithm, Google updates it. It does not want its service to deliver rubbish results, so rubbish writing does not rank well.
No writing ranks nowhere. The money you spend on blogging, you will save on Google Adwords.
Learn to blog well
Today, more than 2 million blogs are published every day. Many of my clients worry that their blogging effort will contribute to the daily information overload, and be seen by their prospects and clients as spam.
Not if it’s good content – so good that your readers opt to get it – is my answer to that.
Live4 remains an excellent example of a good blog. It is focused on its readers interests, it does not mix its marketing with its editorial, and driving and cars is only one of the topics it covers. Others include: travel, entertainment, technology, lifestyle and opinion. It’s relevant to its audience, newsy, and doesn’t try to sell anything.
Another good example is the ANZ Bluenotes platform.
If you’re in business today, you are a publisher. If you are not a publisher, then you will soon not be in business.
Show what you know
Sales today is about respect; something we earn over time, and content marketing is a great way to create it.
Sales expert, Sue Barrett, has an eloquent way of summing up modern day selling. “Selling used to be nothing more than product monologues – features and benefits dished up to a captive audience,” she writes on her excellent website. “In the 21st Century, product monologues are redundant.”
We need to show our readers that we understand them through our blog, that we care about them, and that we know our stuff.
Buying today is personal: Brand building
In our commoditised world, our customers and clients buy our approach as much as our products and services. When I discovered the website design company, Jaxzyn, I loved their approach – witty and warm and crystal clear. Such a pity they have let their blog go out of date. It meant that I found them only because I was referred to them, and when I forgot their name, I couldn’t find them through organic search. The archives are good, but they could be getting much more value out of their site.
Blogs inherently contain a lot of brand values. A regular blog demonstrates your professionalism, your reliability, your generosity, your knowledge and your confidence.
That’s a lot of work for a little ol’ blog to do. Look after it, love it and keep it well nourished and it will build you a lovely business.
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KATH WALTERS IS A JOURNALIST, EDITOR AND BLOG DOCTOR. VIEW HER WEBSITE HERE.
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