In my classes, I teach direct sellers how to create a blog and use it to establish themselves as an expert, related to their product line. We talk about establishing a goal, identifying the targeted niche market the blog is aimed at, and then producing content that solves problems for the target market. The content should be specific, actionable, and your target market should be able to use it without paying you a dime.
However I’ve noticed that there are four major things that people worry about when starting a blog:
- Plenty of people are writing about the same topics. How do I stand out from the pack?
- Am I really an expert? I’m still learning this stuff myself.
- I’ve learned this topic from other people. If I write about it am I stealing their stuff?
- How do I KEEP coming up with new stuff to write about?
Lets start with the concerns about the whole “expert” thing, it’s not like you’re presenting yourself as someone with a degree (unless you have one.) Rather, it’s just like what you would do in your parties. People have questions that you’re able to answer. If you have a friend that you know has a lot of information about cooking, for example, they may not have gone to culinary school, but if they make good recipes and know their way around the kitchen you’ll ask them for advice. It’s the same kind of thing. You are providing the information in your voice, with your words, based on the needs of the target market you define. It’s not like you are cut and pasting the content. Rather, you’re running it through the filter of your head, so that you can provide the information in the context that your market needs. That’s why it’s so important to identify your target market first: so you can present content in the context that they need.
If you occasionally want to share a link to an outside resource, that’s OK too. Then you’d just provide a paragraph giving context to your target market, to go along with the link you provide. Experts aggregate resources for their market, too, and that’s what you’re doing with this approach.
Regarding the concern about others writing the same things, it’s a good question. But the same question could be asked…why would a customer purchase from you, the direct seller, instead of going to their local Walmart? It’s the level of service, and because you understand THEIR needs.
Social media is about building up a rapport with people. As they come to know, like, and trust you, they will then care about the info you provide, and want to know more about you. So is your content the same as content I can get elsewhere? Maybe. But I like YOU so I choose to get that info from you. We build those relationships through social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and then that’s when the message matters.
There’s that old saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Yes, we focus a bit on search engine optimization, but the bulk of your traffic is going to come from the relationships you build, and the people they refer. That’s where the power of social media comes from, and how it benefits your business.
Finally, let’s talk about the concern of coming up with new content. As part of your overall social media strategy, you should be participating in the social networking communities where you target market hangs out. As a participant, you should be observing and taking part in the conversations that occur there. The more time you spend, the more you know what matters to your target market. And that will give you plenty of ideas about what to write. The point behind your blog is to meet the needs of your market. So take the time to get to know what your market online cares about. Then the content will come naturally.
You should also be paying attention to your stats, so you know which articles that you write generate the most interest. Do you have posts that people forward? Do you get a lot of traffic on specific topics? Then those will be the topics that you want to make sure you continue writing about. The beauty of web 2.0 is that you get feedback. Use that to your advantage. It will keep your head full of ideas for content!
What do you think? Would love to read your ideas below!