12 Steps to Dumping Your Marketing Department - Step 5 Leverage Blogging
This is Step 5 in a 12 step series showing sales people how they can reduce their reliance on their marketing team. Marketers should also pay close attention as this series can give you tips that you can share with your sales team to help make them more successful and take a bit of the pressure off of you.
It’s been awhile since Step 4 and I’ll bet some of you thought I had given up on this series. Not so, but you have had over a month to implement Steps 1-4 and should be ready for Step 5. For those of you just joining us, Steps 1 – 4 are:
Step 1 - Target your market
Step 2 – Build your online presence
Step 3 – Hang out with your market
Step 4 – Nurture your leads
Step 5 is to leverage blogging in order to expand your credibility and continue to expand your online presence.
There are two ways to leverage blogging – write your own or take advantage of blogs from experts in your field. I highly recommend writing your own blog. For those of you with an opinion (and what sales person doesn’t have one?) and a small bit of writing talent it’s surprisingly easy to do. For ideas on blog topics read Save time (and make more sales) by blogging.
Another cool benefit of blogging is that, when done well, it gives you a fast and easy way to create content for your lead nurturing program. This can be very useful if your marketing team isn't doing well with keeping you stocked with fresh and compelling content.
However, some of you are probably working for employers who are a little uncomfortable letting you author your own blog or contribute to the company blog. That’s unfortunate, but if that’s the case, you can still leverage blogs from experts in your field. Here’s how:
Find blogs written by experts in your field. You can read all the sales blogs you want, but I am referring to blogs written about the product and services you sell. You are looking for blogs read by your target audience.
You can find these kinds of blogs by looking on association sites, trade magazine sites, blog directories like Technorati, or just by Googling a few key words and the word “blog.” You can even find them by checking out your competitors’ websites. Of course, look for links to external experts’ blogs as you don’t want to start promoting a competitor's blog.
Another great way to find blogs that occasionally talk about your area of expertise is to set up your Google alerts for keywords related to your field. You’ll churn up all kinds of interesting sites.
Read the blogs. Reading these blogs does two things. First, even if you are already an expert in your field you’ll broaden your own understanding and getter a better finger on the pulse of your market.
Second, you’ll get a feel for the personality of the blog author, the target reader, and what sort of comments would be appropriate. This will lead you to the next step.
Start Commenting. While comments aren’t the only metrics for blogs, nor even the most important, blog authors still love comments as long as they the comments are appropriate. Self promotion is ok as long as you aren’t honing in on someone else’s territory and the self-promotion is secondary to the value you add to the discussion.
If you find yourself commenting frequently on an experts’ blog, or engaging in a discussion after you post a comment, check to see if the author of the blog is on LinkedIn or Twitter. I have had tremendous success expanding my own network by reaching out to those whose blogs I read and comment on.
One quick caution. Blog comments are public and will show up if a prospect Googles your name or your company name so you want to spend as much time crafting them with care as you would any sales correspondence.
Tweet It! The final suggestion for leveraging expert blogs in your industry is to Tweet them. However, I’ll leave a full discussion of leveraging Twitter for Step 6.