Business Blogging Basics: Salient vs. Sales

If you’ve been following the NextGear Marketing Blog, you will have seen the Business Blogging Basics series of articles. In most, I recommend a healthy blend of the different approaches being discussed. In this article, things might be a little different.

Salient vs. Sales

For the purpose of this article, “salient” represents the useful information, ideas and insight being shared in your business blog articles. Whether someone finds your article through a search or they are a regular follower, they are typically reading what you have written to find out more information on a specific topic. Let’s say you sell appliances and you write an article about how to pick out the right dishwasher. Someone is seeking out your article that will include salient points to help them make a dishwasher buying decision. They may be doing this to avoid going into an appliance store and being accosted by a salesperson right when they walk in the door.

“Sales,” on the other hand, is just that. It is the activity of using your blog articles to generate leads or create sales of specific products or services that your company offers. After you’ve given someone the information they sought out, what consumer actions do you want them to take next? You told them how to find the right washing machine, now you want to sell them that washing machine at your appliance store. Working sales messages into an article, though, is a bit like walking a tightrope.

What’s the Right Balance?

There could be some debate on this subject as to what the balance between salient information and sales tactics should be on a business blog. It may depend somewhat on your industry. Some businesses can get away with being more salesy than others. A tax consultant will be different than a used car dealership, for instance.

In general, professional bloggers will heavily slant toward the salient side of things. Having a lot of relevant information on different topics is good for SEO and the sooner someone feels like they are being “sold” in an article, the less credible the information in it will seem.

Calls to Action

That said, pretty much every blog article you post should include some clear call to action at the end. You want the reader to take the next step to explore more information on your website, call, subscribe to an email list, etc.

The call to action should be short, simple, clear and direct. Make it no more than a couple sentences in a separated paragraph at the very end of the article. You’ve given them the information they wanted to find. Now you can spin it back around to your company and make a quick and harmless sales pitch.

Subtle Sales Approaches

In many cases, a call to action at the end will be all the sales you’ll want to incorporate into your articles. However, there are subtle ways to sell your products/services throughout the article. In the information you are providing, you can build value for yourself. The article itself will naturally give you more credibility in the eyes of the reader. Then, you can also work in subtle references to your brand and your products/services.

Let’s say you are a tax preparation company. Write an article providing “10 Tips for Preparing Your Small Business Taxes.” Make one of those tips “Hire a Professional.” It’s actually a wise tip and it will build value for your service without shoving a sales message down the reader’s throat.

There are other subtle sales tactics you can use, including testimonials and case studies. Use third party stories and customer quotes to sell your business. You’re not the one saying great things about yourself. That’s a turn-off. However, when someone else says nice things in a review or case study, it’s so much more credible. Here’s an example of a customer testimonial story I wrote for one of my clients, Ralph’s Transmission.

Direct Sales Articles

In some cases, it makes perfect sense to have a whole article that is a bit more salesy than others. If you want to feature specific products or services, you can’t help but be a little more direct with your sales messages and calls to action. That’s just fine when the situation demands it. I wouldn’t make every article on your blog super salesy, but it’s okay from time to time.

In conclusion, you will typically want to skew much more toward “salient” information compared to “sales” messages when writing a business blog. However, you can work in a little sales so that the reader can take the next steps.

For instance…

For more information about business blogging and custom web content for your company, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free marketing consultation.

 

 

7 SEO Benefits of Blogging

Blogging is not only a good way to stay engaged with your customers and social media followers. In fact, you could say its biggest benefit is helping with search engine optimization (SEO). Your business blog will give you a way to add lots of targeted, relevant content to your site on a regular basis.

Let’s look at some of the specific SEO benefits of blogging:

1. Quantity of Content

There’s no doubt that the quantity of content you have on your website will boost SEO appeal. Doing regular blog posts will increase the amount of good content that you have without it seeming like too much all at once.

2. Quality of Content

The quality of writing and the relevance of the content on your site is becoming more and more important when it comes to SEO rankings. Search engine algorithms get more sophisticated with each passing day. When you have well-written blog content, it will improve your organic reach.

3. Frequency of Content

It is better to regularly add new content to your site compared to putting it all up at once. You may see a spike in your rankings if you upload a ton of content at the same time, but then it becomes stagnant and your rankings will ultimately tumble. Your blog allows you to continually add new, fresh content and that’s great for SEO.

4. Titles, Tags and Descriptions

Most blog editors will allow you to add search tags, custom titles, custom URLs and meta descriptions. This will enable you to incorporate a lot of back-end SEO elements without detracting from the quality of the actual blog articles.

5. Relevant Information and Topics

One great thing about blogging is you can focus each article on specific topics, news or information relating to different parts of your business. People may be searching for specific information and they will likely find your article if it is relevant to their search.

6. Links

Be sure and include links within each blog article. You can use internal links to other pages/articles on your site. You can incorporate external links to source articles and information. Lastly, you can put links to your article on all your social media channels. All of these links will boost your SEO.

7. Social Media Integration

Your blog articles should be shared and discussed on all of your social media channels. This kind of activity will also improve your SEO.

These are just some of the advantages of blogging specifically related to your SEO rankings. There are many other benefits and reasons why you should have a regular blog for your business. To learn more about business blogging with NextGear Marketing, contact us today.

Video Killed the Blogging Star

Actually, the title couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just a clever headline that takes me back to my 80s childhood. In fact, videos are a great enhancement to your business blog. A well-done video can really spice up your content and engage viewers on a much higher level than plain text. However, there are some caveats to consider.

There are a couple ways to look at utilizing videos in relation to blogging:

Video Blog (aka “Vlogging”)

Some individual bloggers and businesses will do their blogging entirely in video form. This can be a powerful way of communicating ideas, information and branding messages to target consumers through social media. When done right, it adds a lot of personality and character and it is ideal for today’s on-the-go consumers with short attentions spans as a result of the social media driven world we now live in.

Vlogging is very effective when you already have a strong following on social media and a lot of regular visitors of your YouTube channel. Where you lose a little bit is in terms of SEO and organic website draw. Even if you embed your videos on your website, a relevant search will likely take the person to your YouTube page. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because everybody loves YouTube, but most people aren’t going to take the extra step to click through and get to your actual website unless the call to action in the video is extremely compelling.

In most cases, people will get stuck in what I call a “Tubehole,” which is the wormhole of YouTube where you end up watching about a dozen more videos on the side and you get far away from the original video that brought you there. Someone may end up watching several of your videos in the process, which is great, but odds are they won’t end up still on your channel.

SEO in Videos

In terms of SEO, you can incorporate targeted tags, titles and descriptions when posting the video on YouTube and/or directly on your site. These are great, but you won’t have the full depth of searchable content compared to a text-based blog.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not disparaging video blogging in any way. It is an excellent strategy that you should want to utilize, especially when you have a strong social media following.

The Right Balance

If you follow my blog, you will notice I use the word “balance” an awful lot. That’s because an effective blog will have a good balance of different strategies. The same is true when comparing video to standard text-based blogging. Both are great and both will be very effective in different ways.

You might consider doing some written blogs and some video blogs in a healthy mix. Or, an even better plan is to add relevant videos to your written blog articles, and then you get the best of both worlds. Some people will be more drawn to the written information. Others will be inclined to watch the video first. Both will have strong SEO, so you get the tagged, embedded video in addition to the depth of searchable content in the text portion of blog. It’s a win-win situation!

If you are blogging for your business, consider taking advantage of the power of videos in conjunction with your regular written blog articles. You will find the right balance and combination of the two strategies will attract new consumers and engage existing followers at the same time.

To learn more about blogging for your business, contact NextGear Marketing today.