When is a blog not a blog? Transforming your blog into a sales tool

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Most people see a ‘blog’ as something mostly meaningless where you share company news, updates, awards you’ve won and other vaguely interesting insights that having nothing to do with how your potential customers making buying decisions.

It’s for this reason why business people and marketers a) don’t value the time and resource invested in ‘blogging’, which is directly related to b) not getting the results they want – traffic, leads and sales.

A blog isn’t a blog, and we need to change how we look at it.

In this episode I discuss how we can reframe what a ‘blog’ is and start to understand how a blog is a truly powerful sales tool that will grow your business.

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On Twitter the other day, I sent out a few tweets. Now, there is a balance between looking like an angry, cynical marketer and someone who has a valid point to make. Now, I don’t get it right every time, but that’s part of the learning process. I use Twitter to share new thoughts. Sometimes I share a bunch at a time, and then times days will pass with nothing. If I’ve get some kind of unique thought, that’s what I share on Twitter. It’s a good testing ground. Generally speaking, most of the tweets with original thought outperform any other kind of tweet that I’ve ever shared in the past. I’ve figured something out myself.

On the topic, the tweet that I want to reference was something like this.

“As soon as you understand that a blog is a sales tool, you start to prioritize blogging for your brand. It’s not a place to share interesting news and updates. It’s a place to create content to help your potential customers make an educated buying decision.”

It’s a place to create content to help your potential customers to make an educated buying decision. This had 70 favorites and 22 retweets. Now, that’s not bad considering that I had a typo in it.

I think the one thing that people had a problem with, some of the people which we’ll talk about in a sec had a problem with was, that it’s not a place to share interesting news and updates. Perhaps if I was to write it again I might have said something like, it’s … Actually, I would have kept it exactly the same, and I will explain about why in a second. Not surprisingly, the content marketing professionals and marketers that follow me, the people that get it, they loved it because they get it.

They know that content marketing is a sales strategy. They know that the content marketing we create has to align with sales. They understand that a blog is a sales tool. They get that. They understand that content marketing is directly aligned with sales. In other words, they know that most people see a blog as a blog. Something mostly meaningless where you share news, updates, awards you’ve won and interesting insights, money that you’ve given to charity, that sort of stuff. Stuff that has nothing to do with how your customers buy your thing or the service or the product that you offer.

This is why business people and marketers, A, don’t value the time and resource invested in blogging, because of B, they aren’t getting the results that they want: traffic, leads, and sales. They’re not getting the results, therefore they don’t value it, therefore the effort and the time and the resource that they put into it is low if anything at all, which results in the type of content that I’ve just described: news, updates, awards, that sort of stuff. People think that’s content marketing.

That is not content marketing. It just isn’t. They cannot work out, they can’t figure out why it’s not working. We’re blogging regularly, why is it not working? I get frustrated with bloggers for this very reason. I write blogs, but I’m not a blogger. I produce this podcast, but I’m not a podcaster. I am a business person, this is my marketing. This is how I make sales. Right? That’s how we should be looking at it. You don’t need to be a blogger to write blogs. Business people and marketers need to see that a blog is a sales tool.

Now, I had some other replies that I referred to earlier, and these replies went along the lines of kind of like this. A blog is whatever the creator wants it to be, and generally they’re implying that a blog is simply an outlet for the writer. A blog is whatever the creator wants it to be. In other words, a blog is this place where you can write whatever you want. Well, perhaps. Perhaps it is, and it definitely is for a lot of writers and bloggers out there, but not if you’re a business owner, it isn’t.

Which business owner do you know that’s got time and money to put into creating content that’s not tied directly to how they get and/or keep customers? It would be a complete waste of time as a business owner to put any resources into it, if it wasn’t directly tied to getting and keeping customers. For many business people and marketers, it really is a waste of time, and they’re asking themselves this exact question. Why are we doing this? Why are we writing these blogs? They’re not getting traffic, leads, and sales. I don’t see any sales coming in from the blogs that we’re writing. Why is that? Why does it work for other businesses and not for us? What are we missing? What are we doing wrong? There’s a couple of podcast episodes I’m going to put in the show notes for you, you should definitely check out, that go through this process about what you need to do differently.

Now, I’d petition that we need to change the name from blog, perhaps, to something else. This problem goes beyond the name blog. It goes beyond what we call it. I’d argue that the word blog probably puts off a lot of businesses, business people and marketers for this very reason, right, this very reason. They think it’s a complete waste of time because of how they define and see what a blog is. We need to change how we see what a blog is. Doesn’t matter what the name is, we just need to understand what it actually is and why we do it.

We need to stop seeing a blog as chronological pages on our website that contain interesting information. Instead, we need to see it as a set of unique pages on our website that can be found and searched, that have been written in a way that can be found and searched and structured in the way and organized on our website to be placed into the buying process to help a prospect to navigate our industry and make an educated and confident buying decision. We need to answer their questions, address their problems. A blog isn’t a blog, certainly not when we look at it this way. We need to change how we look at it. A blog is and can and should be integrated into your sales process. It should be an integrated part of your sales process.

Now, if you can see how your blog can become a sales and business growth tool for you and your business, perhaps you will treat it less like a marketing activity and more like a sales activity. Then you can start to place sales budget into it, you can start to prioritize it, you can actually start to put resources into it. Perhaps it actually moves away from the marketing department and becomes a sales tool. Imagine that. Imagine what we used to think was a marketing activity becomes a sales activity. Something that used to be in the marketing budget becomes part of the sales budget. Why would we do that? I’m going to share a story with you in a sec that explains why. This is how we need to see our content. This is how we need to see our blogs. A blog is a sales tool. It’s directly tied to our sales, it should be.

I went out on Friday night to see the comedian Daniel Sloss. You probably know who he is. He’s like, internet famous now, Netflix specials, blew up Netflix. Dark, Jigsaw, watch them if you haven’t already. Scottish adult humor. I had a few of my favorite drinks, I had a few Jim Beams. I got a bit angry at some of the tweets I was getting back from that original tweet. My next tweet went something like this. Let’s clear something up. If you write blog articles or create content for your business, which is an entity that sells something to make a profit, and your articles are not created with a strategic intent towards growing sales, then you are wasting all the resources that you’re putting into it. In other words, you’re pissing your time up a wall. We need to reframe our thinking.

Now, I know I was getting a little bit ranty with that tweet. It didn’t do as well on Twitter, but I’ve put a lot of thought into this. Like, years worth of thought. Years worth of training, experience, teaching, and hundreds of examples of results that this works. Now, I truly believe this because I’ve seen it. I truly believe this because I teach it and I see the results. If you’re a business owner or a marketer, which you will be if you’re listening to this, then you need to see it like this as well, that your blog is a sales tool.

Now, I’ve spoken about Debbie on this how before, I think. Debbie is the in-house marketing lead at Eagle Leisure, which is a family owned company. They sell, repair, install hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, pools, etc, wet leisure company. Now, before she joined CMA, which was probably about 15 months ago at the time we are recording this podcast, she was beating her head against a steam room wall trying to figure out why her content marketing wasn’t working. What soon became obvious to her that she wasn’t doing content marketing at all. Yes, she was writing and publishing regular blog content, but it did not have sales or strategic intent. It wasn’t directly aligned with the buying process.

As soon as she changed her approach, guess what happened? Yep, you guessed it. In a short space of time, less than a year, her marketing team of one was responsible for tens of thousands of pounds worth of sales for the business. Now, that’s pretty epic as a marketer to see exactly how your marketing, your blogs, your videos create real tangible sales, real tangible money in the bank. That is amazing to see that. That’s how it should be. Debbie isn’t alone either. We see this in B2B, B2C, large, small, public contract service, product service based companies, all across the board we see this. When business owners and marketers reframe the way that they see content, reframe the way that they see their blog, the way that they can understand what a blog is actually capable of, things change for them.

I’m going to leave you with a few questions and some thoughts. What’s going on with you and your content marketing right now? Do you see the true value of content and blogs? Is it time to start creating content that drives sales into your business? What kind of results are you getting from your content marketing just now? Are you feeling like your efforts aren’t paying off? Do you have strategic sales intent with your content? If something needs to change, now is the time to do it. No more messing about.

All too often, even earlier today, I was looking at a website for a luxury business, and they’ve been blogging for a year, and guess what? Their website isn’t getting any results, like, nothing. They aren’t making any sales through their website at all. The only reason they’re surviving is through other revenue streams. Well, one look at their blog and I can see right away why they aren’t getting any leads.

The content has got nothing to do with the questions and problems that their potential customers and prospects have. If they are getting any traffic at all, it won’t be relevant, and therefore it’s all been a complete waste of time. Now, maybe you can see why I get a little frustrated with people. It comes from a good place, though. I see this huge opportunity for most businesses, and it’s not even that difficult to do it, to take advantage of it. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Right? It just seems too simple.

Let’s wrap up. Can we agree to look at our blog content differently? Can we agree to look at the actual platform in a different light? From this point forward, let’s talk about how content marketing in our blogs align with the sales process in our business. Let’s look at our blog and think, “What do we need to do to get this blog working for us? What do we need to do differently to drive sales into our business through our content marketing efforts?” Let’s do that.

If you got any questions, please email me: chris@cmauk.co.uk. Tweet me @chrismarr101. I’d love to hear from you. I hope you’re enjoying your day. Until next time, don’t forget to be awesome.

If it’s time for a change in your organization and you need your team to align content marketing with sales, then you should email me today: chris@cmauk.co.uk and we can find a way to increase the ROI of your content marketing.

About Nicola Crawford

Marketing PA at the Content Marketing Academy.
In business, I believe in people first.
Mum to two crazy kids, Alaina and Morgan.
Green belt in Shotokan Karate.
Always learning, always growing.