So where to start? Don’t have a Blog of your own? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get a ride. Find a few reputable blogs you like, written for the industry you sell to, and start reading them. Read them regularly.
In an article entitled “Whatcha Readin,” I talked about the value of reading anything written to, for, about or by your target customer base. This can include; trade journals, blog posts, articles and magazines. Later in the article I mentioned ‘Kicking it up a notch’ by writing something for your customer base—something of value to them. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it isn’t, it does require planning and thought—that’s why so few people do it.
Here are some ideas on where and how to start to become more VISIBLE to your prospects, customers and clients.
All the News You’re Fit to Print
Newsletters have been around for a long time and they’ve never been easier to put out. If you decide to start an email newsletter make sure you become familiar with permission based marketing. Nobody wants to be spammed.
A few tips: publish them regularly, put out good content and give value first. Other than that a newsletter is YOURS! You can use it to market, provoke thought, provide value, introduce new products and treat your frequent fliers special. The list goes on and on.
One of my clients puts out an educational single page newsletter every month for their dealer reps. Short sweet and to the point. Targeted to a very specific audience and written to, about and for them.
One limitation to newsletters is they are typically sent to people who already know you. That doesn’t make them any less valuable. They just don’t typically introduce you to new prospects.
On the Blogs of Others
So where to start? Don’t have a Blog of your own? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get a ride. Find a few reputable blogs you like, written for the industry you sell to, and start reading them. Read them regularly. Most blogs allow readers to comment on individual blog posts. When you read a post you feel you can add value to post a comment. At the risk of overstating the obvious make sure your comment is relevant, grammatically correct and adds value to the reader. One last bit of advice…make sure you’re not putting the original poster in a bad light. Often there can be as much value in a chain of post comments as there is in the original post.
A Blog of Your Own
While we’re on the topic of Blogs, it seems the next logical step would be to start a blog of your own. One targeted to your prospects. Many of the same rules apply. Keep your posts relevant, valuable and again spelling counts. Make sure you let people know about your blog. Put a link in your newsletter, your email signature line, and of course there’s all of the social media outlets.
Once you have a platform you may be able to supplement your content with quality content from other bloggers. Think in terms of a guest post. Reposting a good article to a broader audience is the essence of viral marketing.
Invite people to comment on your posts. Literally ask your readers for their thoughts, opinions and input about your posts. Engage your readers! I’ve seen this technique used very effectively to create dialog that led to people doing business together.
Be patient. Most of the best blogs took awhile to gain some traction. That said the sooner you start the sooner you can start to gain momentum. As with so many other things there’s no shortage of tips and advice on how to start an effective blog on the web.
Finally—Your Name in Print
We live in 2.0 (or is it 3.0?) world but print is not dead, and probably won’t be for a while yet. Once you’ve started to cut your teeth on blogs you may be able to get your name in print.
Many, if not all, industries have trade journals or magazines (trade associations are a good place to start looking). Try and find some with a training or continuing education themes. These types of publications tend to have a longer shelf life and their publishers are always looking for quality content.
There are a few ways you can go about trying to get published. The first, and most direct approach is to pick up the phone and call them. On the inside cover, or a few pages in, you should find the publications “Masthead”. This is a list of the publisher, editor, contributors, contact info etc. Many times there will be information on where and how to submit articles. Let them know you’re a fan of their publication, you’re a reader, you’re an advocate and you can add value to their readership. Ask if they’re interested in contributions. Understand this is process not an event. If you can’t get them on the phone try email. Point them to a place they can see a sample of your writing—like your blog or back issues of your newsletter.
If you’re not comfortable with such a direct approach you can start by writing a letter to the editor. Same deal as the blogs. The letter should reference an article in the publication and add value to the reader. Again spelling counts. If it gets published then you may have a better shot at getting them on the phone.
So … What to Write?
You’re the expert. Write about something you wish all of your customers and prospects knew about the type of product or service you sell. Write something about trends in the industry, things to be aware of, things to look out for, top ten things to know before buying your type of product or service.
Write about the best applications and uses of the type of product or service you sell. Notice I keep saying the ‘type’ of product you sell not your product. The idea behind getting published is not to find a forum to sell your stuff, but a venue to let people know you know your stuff. You’re the expert.
A Few Tips
This isn’t the place, and I’m not the guy, to try to teach someone how to write. That said here a few tips I’ve picked up that make the process a little easier.
Write about something you’re knowledgeable about.
Write about something you’re passionate about.
Schedule the time to write something, anything, everyday.
Write like you speak—if you’re not in the habit of saying “Hubris” do not write it either.
Edit ruthlessly & relentlessly.
Read your stuff — out loud.
Have someone you trust proof read your stuff.
Keep pen and paper handy to capture random ideas.
Read about writing.
Hire an editor. You’d be surprised how affordable a good copy editor is on Craigslist.
Don’t use bullet points.
About the author
Les Lent is a Sales Trainer, Coach, Consultant, and holds 20 years experience as…