When you start a company blog, you might think that your No. 1 priority should be to get as much traffic as possible. Surely if you can get thousands of hits a day on your blog, this will increase your bottom line as well, right? Not necessarily. While traffic is essential to ensure your content is being seen, it does not guarantee that your product or service is going to be purchased. You need to convince readers to take the next step to buy, without overtly telling them to do so. Here’s how to get the greatest return on investment from your blog.
Step No. 1: “Sell” Without “Selling”
Although it may seem contradictory, the biggest mistake you can make as a company is creating a blog filled with posts that read more like sales pitches than useful articles. Instead, mention your products or services in blog posts only when relevant to the topic at hand. For example, if you are a blog writer for a paper company and are working on a post about do-it-yourself cards for every occasion, highlight types of paper stock you would recommend, which also happen to be products that you sell.
Step No. 2: Promote Other Content
After producing regular content on your blog for several months, your writers may find themselves covering similar topics more than once. Instead of spelling out the same point each time, direct your readers to the content where that point was already covered at length. If you work for a fitness company, for example, and you’re writing a post on “Five Ways to Workout Without the Gym,” link to a complementary post you published about the importance of a healthy diet. This allows you to establish your company as a thought leader and helps your reader become a brand loyalist, too.
Step No. 3: Include an Option to Subscribe
One of the biggest assets of a blog is getting to know who your customers — and potential customers — are and what they care about most. Offer them an option to opt-in to receive automatic emails to their inbox when a new blog is posted in a category they have expressed an interest in. You could also post free webinars on your blog, and require readers to subscribe to view them by filling out a contact form. The more you can learn about your customers, the better you can help serve their needs — and convince them to buy.
Step No. 4: Provide a Clear Call-to-Action
While including a call-to-action at the conclusion of every post might be perceived by your audience as overly “sales-y,” you should try to include a “next step” when it makes sense to do so. Encourage readers to leave a comment on the blog post they’re reading, share their opinions about the post on your company’s Facebook page, or add tips of their own by posting them on your company’s Google+ page. Blogs shouldn’t just be a one-way conversation, and if your content is interesting enough to make them want to engage, they are more likely to also take the next step and buy. Also, if your company’s blog lives outside of your company’s website, make sure to include a link to one from the other.
Interested in learning about how you can also turn social media followers into customers? Read our blog post, “Take Your Social Media Relationships to the Next Level.” (See what we did there? We’ve got Step No. 2 down pat.)