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October 2017
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Blogging for Business

Leverage content marketing to increase your sales

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak,
Executive Director,
Q College
and Q Academy


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Blogs have been around for years, and their value is often overlooked when planning a digital strategy to increase corporate sales.  The reason for this is that at first glance blogs seem very labour intensive and they don’t transparently show their value. 

What is a Blog Anyway?

A blog (a truncation of the expression "weblog")[1] is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries ("posts"). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the webpage. Until 2009, blogs were usually the work of a single individual, [citation needed] occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject or topic. In the 2010s, "multi-author blogs" (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and sometimes professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups, and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other "microblogging" systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into the news media. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. - Author Wikipedia

Can a Blog Really Produce Leads?

We know from other articles that I have written that “content is King” on the web.  Internet search engines are constantly crawling websites for new information to index.  Blogs by nature are designed to be very easily indexed by search engines and index faster due to the constant change of information. This means that a blog post speaking about how to construct pivot tables in Microsoft Excel would index and answer someone’s question about that particular problem. The pivot table post then acts as an entrance page to your website.  An entrance page of a website is defined as a page where an end-user accesses your website.  This is extremely important to know where people are entering your website as it tells you what that end user is interested in. 

Example- If I look at my website www.qacademy.ca and I write a blog post about how to leverage Adobe Photoshop to make money from home. From that post, I get 100 people entering my website, and then I get 50 people who then read my Adobe Photoshop training page.  Out of that 50 people, 10 people sign up for training classes.  I then look at this as a great lead generator as those 10 people who signed up for training may never have come to my site if they were not engaged in reading the post on the blog.

Is there an actual strategy to Blogging?

Of course, there is! 

What I teach is to match your blog marketing strategy with your sales strategy.  I teach people to look at their sales cycle for an entire year, and then select the months where they need to most help to sell products or services.  Once they identify the months that they need the most help, then they can overlay a blog strategy to produce posts the two months prior to increase the number of potential leads coming to the website. 

I prefer to use multiple authors when working with blogs as sales tools.  The reason that I do this is that I can set up multiple streams to identify with different client personas.  An example of this is on the Q Academy blog http://qacademy.ca/blog/. The Academy is a technology training provider which means that it provides a variety of training programs.  I have identified different client personas that I want to sell my training too, and have found blog authors who my target audience can easily identify with. 

Blog

By using this strategy, I have dramatically increased the web traffic to my website, and I am tracking where the traffic is entering, and where they are exiting my site.  The exit page is important to track as it tells me what product or service the end-user left reading.  This is significant in understanding why that person left without contacting us for training.  I can then look at putting a better call to action on that page, or a contact form in a more predominant place. 

We are also using a few techniques to leverage the SEO potential of our blog by using the YOAST plug-in for WordPress to use the keywords that we want to rank for in Google Searches.  Ranking organically is always better than having to pay for ranking as it improves the bottom line through increased revenue and decreased expenses. 

We are also using a tried and trusted Blogging tool called Pingomatic. I have used this tool for years.  What it does is provides users with the ability to “ping” or inform blog search engines that your blog has been updated.

Pingomataic

I used Pingomatic in class at the Academy to illustrate to the class how effective it can be.  I opened the stats page for Automatedbuildings.com on a Monday and showed the students that my article was not in the top 30 pages.  I used Pingomatic on Monday, and Tuesday, and sent the article link out on Twitter.  When we checked on Thursday, I ranked at number 15, and using Google Analytics, found that I had 10 referrals from the automatedbuildings.com website to Q Academy.  Not very labour intensive, and it gets results. 

Like social Media, blogging is another tool in the toolbox to get visitors to your website.  Not only visitors but qualified visitors to your website.  Visitors who are interested in your products and services, and have the potential to purchase from you.  That is truly the goal of any digital marketing activity: drive traffic, qualify leads, and convert them to sales.  Blogging leverages content marketing techniques to make your blogger's influencers who provide palatable information to influence buying decisions and trends.

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