Business marketing is evolving in profound ways. Incremental, step-by-step optimization is getting run over by disruptive marketing innovation. Every marketing tool is being gutted, examined, and rebuilt to attract customers and topple market leaders in the process.
Your blog is a key player in this drama. In fact, it’s the most important weapon you have in the race to attract and lock-in customers. However, you can’t rely on the traditional tactics. Simply writing “great content” isn’t enough.
Your blog has to displace competitors by appealing to readers and customers in new ways. The landscape is still changing but here are 7 ways to use your blog to disrupt and win a place on your customer’s short-list:
1. Solve Hidden Problems
Every industry has common problems that businesses try to solve for customers. Blogs often reflect the common pursuit of a well-known challenges. For example, in social media, potential clients want to learn how to use social platforms. Social Media blogs scramble to solve the obvious problems, leading to content that says basically the same thing.
I’m sure the same situation occurs in your industry.
Disruptive blogs publish content that solves the “real” problem that consumers have. In social media, the hidden problem is that customers need to justify spending money on a new and untested marketing tactic. Pinterest How-To’s are interesting but don’t solve the hidden problem.
Gary Vaynerchuck realized that wine “rookies” were intimidated by the “snob” factor of wine tasting. He created WineLibrary.tv to make wine approachable and fun. (Note: Sadly Gary no longer publishes new episodes) Freelance Switch recognized that Freelancers hated marketing themselves because they didn’t know how! Their blog has grown in popularity because they pump out amazing how-to content that freelancers can’t find anywhere else. Michael Stelzner saw that businesses needed a high-quality source for social media tactics and strategies. SocialMediaExaminer leads the space with incredible editorial and reputable content.
Take a moment to think about the problems that your customers can’t describe but wrestle with everyday. Separate from the pack and build a blog around solving those not-so-obvious problems.
2. Give the “How” Away
“Give away the why and what but sell the how” is a school of thought that is slowly going obsolete. The internet is packed with basic information on just about every topic imaginable. Creating and hoarding this easy-to-access information isn’t going to make you rich.
Instead, experts give away as much content as they sell. This is wise because readers need to “sample” your expertise. The blog that is generous with “How to” information will earn converts and future customers.
3. Turn Your Employees into Ambassadors
Employees are the hidden “difference makers” for any business. Organizations that can empower their employees by making it easy for them to create content will dominate their industries. Innovative companies are scouring their talent base to find employees with a knack for telling brand stories. These employees are incentivized to unleash their unique perspective. Creating innovative content is becoming everyones responsibility.
4. Act Is If Your Reader is Already A Customer
As a rule, I act as if my readers are already VIP partners. I try to offer the same level of insight and access as blog review and PS+You clients. Why?
Readers will use your blog as evidence of your commitment and expertise. Your blog posts are pieces of a puzzle that form the picture of your value. Begrudgingly throwing intellectual scraps to your readers will kill sells in the future.
5. Respect but Ignore Your Competitors
Over the last year, I’ve weaned myself from reading competitive blogs. Don’t misunderstand me. My competitors are brilliant and have much to offer. However, I’m solving a totally different set of problems for my readers. If I focused on them, I would be writing the wrong content and developing the wrong products.
You are in the same situation. Your competitors can quickly become a distraction if you aren’t careful. Your blog needs to be an extension of your businesses unique value.
Benchmarking yourself against competitive blogs drives mediocrity not innovation. (Tweet This)
We’re genetically programmed to pay attention to novelty. Novelty offers the opportunity to learn something new. In nature, novelty either signals danger (rustling grass on a calm day may hide a predator) or presents a new tool for survival. The human animal is still tuned to revere unique circumstances, people, and technology.
Your blog is your opportunity to fascinate and intrigue your readers. I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of Fascinate by Sally Hogshead to get an easy and powerful lesson on your ability to fascinate readers.
7. Create a Marketing Skunkworks
The Skunkworks is a secretive development division of Lockheed-Martin, a successful defense manufacturer. The Skunkworks were experts at building the impossible. The division rapidly prototyped tested and manufactured iconic planes like the U2 spy plane and the SR71 Blackbird a supersonic that still holds numerous speed records.
Use your blog as your own personal marketing skunkworks. Test headlines to find combinations that can be used for Pay per click, email subject lines, and print ads. Prototype new products and solicit feedback from blog readers. Take their feedback, revise your product, and solicit more feedback
Your blog is much more than a container for 700 word essays. It’s where you can create something truly unique.
Time to Disrupt
Which one of these tactics will you use to disrupt your industry?