I’m in the trenches of marketing all day, and recently was studying “guest posting” as a way to get eyeballs to content.
The super short & obvious version: Do the work.
- There are billions of pages of content on the web. Is what you’re writing different, better, improved in any way?
- In an era where computers write articles – even factual, researched ones (see this NY Times article for example), is it going to truly help humans?
- Trust is at all time lows – but in an era of paid fake reviews on Yelp, fake fiverr video reviews – can you blame people?
Increasingly, I dislike (and bail quickly on) opinion-based articles about sales, marketing… things I spend real money on – I want facts. Actual curated real-world results.
So – really, what makes your blog worthwhile? I get you want money. We all do. But what’s in it for the reader?
For B2C – consumer facing blogs, you are helping solve a problem, or tapping into already-existing passions (i.e. golf, cars, woodworking), solving a need (clothing, though that’s fortunately more of a “want” and is really more about looking good than actual utility in most cases). Increasingly – and with good cause – consumers demand faster, better, more obvious and more personalized results.
Amazon.com serves you suggestions based on your search history. They do the work (technical programming) – and win the sales.
Is your blog personalizing content? Engaging the audience? It starts with value, which builds trust, and with trust comes engagement, and after there’s engagement, there’s multiple impressions, and in that, there’s money if you have a compelling offer.
You can’t skip steps.
For B2B, what makes blogs pop for me is hard numbers, not just opinion or untested hypothesis. Marketing is as simple as compelling offer + eyeballs of qualified buyers to it – so any theories about whiz-bang new widgets that promise to pour money into my wallet – but don’t have hard facts to back it up are, for me, usually in the “wait and watch for actual evidence of success” category.
For a business owner, wander down the dark alley that is Warrior Forum, and you’ll quickly get lost in a barrage of people trying to sell you stuff. Everyone’s trying to rush the sale, and convince you their Widget X is the single reason your wildest dreams aren’t already true.
As people get more jaded on the internet, Google updates from Panda to Penguin to whatever else designed to kill off spammy ways to short circuit the value algorithm, it keeps coming back to trust. Because Google can mine Chrome-user data for value (page-visit times), there’s no going back – you must create value, and any spammy super-link-pyramid blog-bait techniques will be short lived at best, and at worst get you delisted and/or damage your brand reputation.
Since most B2B is “attraction motivated” vs. “repulsion motivated” (i.e. going to the gym to get six-pack abs vs going because one has a few too many pounds around the waist), these people have a longer buying cycle, often require more evidence, and thus – back to it – trust.
If you sell something in the impulse range, say, $7, you don’t need much – but there’s a big difference between giving you a free and possibly junk email – and getting out one’s wallet or credit card and even giving up a penny. As the dollar amount goes up, the trust required goes up – a $2,000 or higher purchase most people are going to research, check reviews… and require trust.
And where does the trust start?