Rule No. 1: Blogging IS for business. Defined it is: “a weblog; diary of your opinion, thought and information.” In practical terms, it is a customer service tool, product handbook and a valuable part of your sales cycle. Use blogging as a foundation for your social media strategy. Here’s how to do it:

River Pools and Spas is a Virginia-based, full service pool products and services company. Owner Marcus Sheridan had a business that was going “in the can.” He couldn’t afford traditional marketing practices anymore. He turned to blogging and content marketing as an inexpensive way to connect with his customers and prospects.

Content marketing focuses on what the customer wants and needs to know. If you know the most popular questions and “pain points” of your customers, you’ll have something to write about. Here’s what to include:

  • Education – Your blog should be where people go for answers to questions about your topic. In the case of River Pools and Spas, it’s about pools and spas (imagine that). Your specialty might be pitching ideas to investors; your blog should be epicenter for that information. Establish yourself as the thought leader in that area.
  • Gimme! – Everybody wants something – and they want it for free. Buying guides, quotes and DVDs are ways to connect with clients. The information (e.g. – email address, phone number, name and location) you are learning about your prospects is priceless.
  • Pictures – Herbivoracious is a popular blog for vegetarians. They have hundreds of pictures of recipes for their readers. The name of the dish won’t get your attention right away, but the picture will. Videos work well, too.
  • Get Social – Include links so it is easy for people to share your information. If you are publishing content that helps people, they will want to share it with their community. Include links to Facebook,TwitterGoogle + and Pinterest (if appropriate).

Don’t use your blog to sell. The purpose is to help your customer find the information they need. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and be their source of information. Remember: “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.” (Jeffrey Gitomer)

Scientifically Speaking, of course.

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