Whenever my grandmother was dealing with a situation she thought was ambiguous, she’d remark, “I don’t know whether to use a fork or a spoon for that one!” Sometimes business owners embarking on a blogging strategy for marketing feel that same way. Their ambiguity about their blog seems especially keen when the business involves professional expertise and not just a tangible product.
First, some business owners are afraid that, if they share too much information about their field, clients won’t need to pay them to provide expertise! Web designer Mark Carillion, quoted in Employee Benefit Advisor Magazine, has something valuable to say about that concern. “Many advisers won’t share information with potential clients until they’ve been hired” “But”, he points out, “.â€¦the guy who gives out the most information freely is the guy who ends up winning the traffic war.”
The opposite concern business owners often express to me is that they don’t want to come off boastful and self-serving in their blog, or be perceived as using hard-sell tactics to promote themselves. That concern is addressed by Steve Wamsley in his book “Stop Selling And Do Something Valuable“, which was reviewed in the Financial Planning Association website. Here’s what Wamsley has to say: “We have to sell ourselves to potential clients so that they choose to work with us rather than the competitionâ€¦in our role as advocates (he’s speaking to financial planners), we need to persuade people to act.”
Talking with new business owner clients about the ambiguities they sense when planning their blogs (for which I’m to be their “voice”) is undoubtedly the most important part of our work together. As I explained in The Don’t Do It Yourself Trend Hits Clothing And Blogging, I’m part of that business’ marketing team, and we need to find the exact right approach for their blog, their business, their target readers. Yes, through their blog, they will be giving away valuable information, and it will be “for free”! Yet their blog will become their way of selling themselves and their services to online searchers.
Once the business owners and I have agreed on the tone and look for the blogs, it won’t matter whether online searchers show up with a fork or a spoon – they’ll know they’ve come to the right place!