For value added resellers (or VARs) entering the Cloud market, the saying “differentiate or die” holds true now more than ever. In an era of increasing competition, it is easy to spend all your time on day-to-day operations and neglect marketing strategy.
Don’t make the mistake of being slow to act on marketing your services: a well-designed marketing campaign is absolutely critical to helping differentiate your brand, products, and services. To achieve this goal, you must have a clear picture of the market you want to serve and work to develop intimate relationships with your customers and prospects.
One of the most effective ways you can begin or enhance your VAR marketing plan is by blogging.
Top 4 Benefits of Blogging
There are four main reasons why your VAR marketing plans need to include a blog:
Having a blog will create exposure for your business, increase traffic, and improve search rankings. As you produce more and more quality content, your credibility and visibility online will increase. This helps generate qualified leads and can result in new business partnerships.
2. Targeting Your Audience
Blogs are one of the main information sources for small, medium, and large enterprises looking for the latest industry news and research. While social media is important, blogs allow you to really educate your audience through content. A sound marketing campaign will take into account different buyer personas to help maximize reach and fine-tune messaging.
As a result of targeted, quality content, you can build stronger relationships with your audience via your blog. Investing time to produce thoughtful, useful, and consistent content gives you an opportunity to develop a connection with your readers – and that helps funnel through qualified leads and potential clients.
Studies have shown that blogging can decrease costs per lead by between 40% and 62% when compared to traditional marketing. Blogging as part of your VAR marketing plan can assist you with online research, allowing you to monitor feedback through comments left by readers. This can also offer valuable insight on what readers like, don’t like, and find useful that you can then use to guide your business strategy.
How to Get Started
According to HubSpot, companies that publish over 16 blog posts per month get more than three times the web traffic of companies that publish less than 4 monthly posts.
While publishing at this level may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple steps to add an effective and actionable blog strategy to your VAR marketing plan.
Set up an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar will help you create and implement a consistent pipeline of content by planning for blog posts ahead of time. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with a plan to publish two blogs per week. Simply set aside thirty minutes a week to think of blog posts that would be interesting to prospects or clients based on their comments, feedback, and engagement and plug them into the calendar. You can also use tools like Google Keywords to see what is trending in your industry. Make sure to fill out at least one month’s worth of blog post ideas to make it easy to streamline content production.
Get into the Rhythm
Blogging can sometimes feel challenging to even the most prolific writers. The best way to avoid writer’s block and get into the blogging rhythm is to begin every piece by writing down the top takeaway(s) you want your reader to be left with. Add support for your takeaways with arguments and examples. This method is a surefire way to getting any blog started.
Sharing Is Caring
Make sure you give your readers ample opportunity to share your blog posts with their friends and colleagues. That means making it easy to share by placing buttons for Twitter and LinkedIn (at minimum) prominently within every blog post.
Optimize for SEO
To ensure your blog posts are easily found by your target audience, it’s important to optimize for good placement in search engine results. This handy SEO content creation checklist will help you make sure your posts get found by people searching for the information or expertise you offer.
Don’t Forget to Engage
It’s easy to write a blog, publish it, and forget about it. It’s important to make sure you respond to thoughtful comments and questions on your blog post, acknowledge feedback, and update your post as necessary. Blogging helps create a dialogue with prospects and clients, and that requires engagement once the blog is published. As part of your VAR marketing plan, set aside anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour every week to respond to your readers – and capture feedback that would be useful to your marketing campaigns and business overall.
Repurpose to Increase Reach
Think about how each blog piece you write can be repurposed into new types of content your audience will find useful. A blog series, for example, can easily be turned into a white paper with some effort. A topic that seems to really resonate with readers may be worth a webinar; and that webinar could easily be turned into a SlideShare presentation that prospects can download.
At Total Product Marketing, we can help you develop and implement a blog strategy to enhance your VAR marketing plan. Get in touch with us today to discuss what we can do for you.