Once you find your focus, resist the urge to just promote yourself. Instead, you need to look past the product to see objectively the essence of your message.
“In general, you should avoid overt ‘buy our product or service’ messaging,” he says. “But you might use a description of a situation using your product.”
Look at it as research into the customer’s mind, a chance to read the buzz about your product or your field. The objective is to secure a place in that consciousness by providing relevant stories about the need for your product.
With easy one-click options for customers to comment on the content you post, blogs provide an opportunity for an immediate two-way conversation, taking the relationship to a deeper level than one-way advertising, such as TV spots.
But the danger is that you relinquish part of the message.
“You may no longer be in control of all your brand messaging,” Miles says. “You still are to a certain extent; people are still talking about your brand. But it’s more of a dialogue and more of adding value to that relationship versus just all your communications being about selling stuff.”
To counter that danger, monitor the comments on your blog to rein in the responses to help mold the image you want.
“You may get negative comments,” he says. “In answering those comments, you can turn a negative into a positive by your willingness to engage and be transparent.”
Any response at all will show customers you care. React to complaints, for example, by explaining how you’re addressing the problem.
And the key to those reactions is consistency.
“The other critical thing is to keep doing it,” Miles says. “Before, it was like, ‘Well, we created this TV spot. Now we’ll play it for six months, and then that’s it.’ With this, it’s constantly evolving and changing. It’s not just a one-time thing; it’s a long-term strategy. You have to keep at it, or people won’t follow you.”
So add posts and updates regularly to give customers constant reasons to come back.
“They’ll realize that you’re meeting them where they are and are engaged with them on a much more direct basis that you ever were before,” Miles says. “Hopefully, the relationship is deeper as a result of the fact that you’re actually providing value to that relationship and not just trying to sell.”