Last week I got an email from someone that was interested in learning more about creating a brand ambassador program for their company. I called them and during our conversation they told me they had been doing research on brand ambassador programs and came across my blog post 10 Things to Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program. They came across this post because it’s (currently) the top Google result for the term “Brand Ambassador Program“.
The Great Blogging Lie
One of the great ‘blogging rules’ we are told is that we must always write useful content for our readers. This is also one of the biggest blogging lies we are told. We should absolutely create useful content for our readers, but we should also create useful content for ourselves. Both parties have to benefit. If I am writing useful content for you that doesn’t benefit me, then I can’t afford to keep writing that useful content. If I am writing content that only benefits me, then you won’t stick around to read it. The content you write has to create value for both you and your readers.
A personal example: A few years ago I was talking to a friend about my blogging and my business. She said “I’m confused. If your target audience is companies that need help creating programs to connect with their loyal customers, why was your last blog post about how individual bloggers can make money on their blogs?”
I looked at my blog and my jaw dropped. She was exactly right, I was so focused on writing USEFUL content for readers, but not for the readers I wanted. Which meant that content wasn’t useful to ME because it wasn’t helping me connect with the audience that I wanted to do business with. From that point forward I have been extremely mindful of the content I create here and making sure that it is useful, but useful for the audience *I* want to connect with. That ensures that it is also useful to ME.
And it’s working. Up until this year, the majority of the emails I got requesting information about working with me came from small businesses wanting to know if I could help them manage their Facebook page or Twitter account. This is NOT the type of work I typically do, but my content was often more focused on how small businesses could better use social media. Over the last year or so I shifted my content to focus on more brand advocacy, brand ambassadors and creating programs and structures that help companies reach their biggest fans. Now, 90% of the email inquiries I get are from companies that want to learn more about creating similar programs within their companies. So if you are using your blog as a tool to drive business growth, make sure you occasionally spot-check the content you are creating to make sure that it is useful to the audience you want to reach.
What Type of Engagement is Best?
The default answer that most bloggers will give you is that comments are best. They want readers to come to their blog and comment. And that’s fine if you are running a personal blog and want to make friends and meet like-minded individuals. But if your blog is part of your social media marketing strategy, you need to track engagement that matters to your business. In the above example, a marketing director did a Google search for ‘brand ambassador program’ and found a post I had written on the subject. She read the post, and instead of leaving a comment, she emailed me asking about setting up a brand ambassador program for her company. For me, that’s the type of engagement that has value for my business. A comment still would have value for me, as her comment would have made the post itself more interesting and it still would have given me a way to connect with her, but her contacting me directly about us working together is what I want.
Always do this simple test with your blog: If I were to visit your blog right now for the very first time, what action would you want me to take? Would you want me to leave a comment? Would you want me to signup for your newsletter? Would you want me to buy your product? Think about what type of engagement is most important to YOU, then craft your content and experience on your blog so it encourages me to engage in that type of behavior.
So that’s my biggest business blogging mistake, what’s yours? And if you want feel free to change names to protect the guilty!