Weather reports on a jewelry store website or blog? Sports scores to market a dental practice? Really?
Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide thinks it’s a good idea:
“Another good way to increase your web site’s sticky content is to provide up-to-date headline news, sports scores, international and local weather forecasts, and stock market financial information……By providing visitors with free and valuable information and services, you entice them to return to your web site often, and in doing so you increase the number of selling opportunities “you have with each individual visitor.
World Weather Online claims, “There are millions of websites on the Internet and you have to make yours stand out for all the right reasons….They can peruse your website and at the same time have the added bonus of being able to check a wide range of weather reports.”
As a marketing blog content writer, I tend to lean the other way. The Nielsen Norman Group in “113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability” hits on my point exactly:
“Imagine how disorienting it would be to walk into a store and not be able to tell immediately what services or goods were available there. The same is true of your homepage. It must communicate in one short glance where users are, what your company does, and what users can do at your site. Why should users do anything at a site if they can’t figure out what there is to do there?”
“Provide good useful information and establish trust and credibility – sales will follow,” says the think-ebiz.com blog. You’re a subject matter expert (a SME) offering usable information and insights – but you’re not a SME on sports or weather. In corporate blogging for business, the blog content itself constitutes a Call to Action. Inserting non-related, albeit generally useful, information, in my mind, borders on bait-and-switch.
Remember, online readers have found their way to your blog precisely because there’s a match between the products, services, and information they need on the one hand, and what you have, what you do, and what you know on the other. Now that they’ve arrived, you cannot afford to tax their patience by distracting them with sports scores or snow statistics.
Blog marketing is a form of “giving it away to get ‘em”, which focus readers’ attention on information that is relevant, useful, and encourages action – with your business or practice!