“Each post can be representative of a different type,” I reassured blog content writers in Wednesday’s Say It For You blog post, referring to Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing in which the author outlines six or seven different categories of blogs.
One of Gillin’s categories is the topical blog. (In keeping with the advice I typically offer corporate blogging training session attendees, I kept Wednesday’s blog post to fewer than 350 words, and saved the elaboration for today.)
“It’s a wonder more companies don’t do it,” Gillin remarks about topical blogs, which he defines as one that “connects with customers about topics that are mutually interesting.” The purpose of a topical blog, he says is to “offer practical information that helps readers be more successful and productive, thereby associating the sponsor with that expertise.”
Two examples Gillin cites are Extended Stay Hotels’ Road Warrior Tips, which offers advice for frequent business travelers, and Clutter Control Freak by organizational accessories retailer Stacks and Stacks.
Serving as a “go-to” source for online readers can be a winning strategy for business owners, showcasing the blog content writer’s own expertise while offering useful, actionable, information to readers. Is this disingenuous? Not really. As I explain when comparing blog posts to advertorials, when people go online to search for information about a product or service, they’re aware of the fact that the providers of the information are out to capture business.
But, if the information is relevant, helpful and useful, and if there’s no hint of a hard-sell, most readers are perfectly OK with the concept that the company offering them information would be happy to have them as customers. Most readers also understand they remain in control. The choice is theirs to click through to the shopping cart or sign-up page – or click away!
So, go ahead, be helpful in your business blog!