Blogging is a great way to gain visibility for your business. It’s also a very helpful marketing tool to use for building your reputation and for establishing yourself as a trusted advisor—an expert in your field. But there is more to blogging than simply disseminating information. One of the advantages of blogging is that it allows you to engage clients and prospects in a way that you can’t with conventional marketing or advertising methods. In short, it allows you to have a dialogue with your clients and prospects. Business blogging—at it’s best—isn’t a lecture, it’s a conversation.
Why is that so important? For one thing, it continues to build trust. We tend to trust people who ask us our opinion. We like dealing with people who care about and respect our opinions. If someone is willing to engage us in conversation, we’re less likely to think they are trying to pull something over on us.
As marketing people, a blog can give us a ton of helpful information. By engaging people (clients and prospects) in conversation, we’re able to find out if we’re really giving them the information they want and need. Keeping track of how many people read your various blogs helps you understand if you’re talking about the right topics. But getting people to actually comment on what you say can make that information much more specific.
So how can you get people to respond to your blogs? Ask them! Wrap up your blogs with a good, thought-provoking question. Avoid questions with obvious or “yes/no” answers. Ask people to challenge what you’ve said? Ask them if what you’ve said in your blog matches their experience. Ask them to share their successes—or their failures. Sometimes it’s appropriate to ask something controversial.
Then make sure your readers’ comments get posted. And if they raise additional questions, make sure you answer them (even if it’s to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”). And only ask questions you genuinely care about. You don’t have to agree with the answers (that’s often good), but don’t ask if you don’t want to know. People don’t like being ignored.
What’s the best question your business ever asked your clients? And what did you do with the information?