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March 17, 2008

How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy

Most SEO’s will agree that Blogs are an important part of their Toolkit. Blogs offer both on page and off page benefits for our client’s sites.

Implementing a Blog is relatively simple to do…the tough part is getting the client to agree to one.

This is the first in a 5 part series looking at Blog Strategy with a focus on Clients. In this post, I’m going to look at some of the typical objections clients have to implementing a Blog Strategy, and how to answer them.

The Client: Why would I think about implementing a Blog Strategy?

Blog growth is exploding. If you do a search on Technorati for “blog” you’ll receive over 15 Million search results.

There is a good reason for this.

Blogs are becoming the de facto source for news and information for our culture.

Here is a case in point. A couple of years ago, I heard that there had been a recall on Polly Pockets. Given that I have a baby who puts everything in her mouth and these toys in the house, I headed straight to the computer to find more information.

What struck me as incredibly interesting is that the only information available that quickly was through Blogs. Although I couldn’t find the actual news source, I was able to find a link to the information I needed (including the companies recall) through a Blog.

The Client: We have always resisted a Blog because we’re not sure anyone would read it. Who wants to read an online diary about plastic products / rugs / or the petroleum industry <insert client industry>?

What? You don’t have a Burning Desire to tell your online story about Plastic Products/ Rugs / or the Petroleum Industry <insert client industry>?

Are you crazy?

Of course not. Chances are your industry doesn’t lend itself to an online diary.

So why is a Blog a Good Idea?

Don’t think of it as an online diary. It’s much more than that. In addition to it being an opportunity to talk to your client in a different tone than the rest of your site, it’s a very Search Engine friendly, Social Media friendly infrastructure.

Blogs provide an opportunity to add a great deal of content to your website. And search engines love content.

If you look at the analytics of your website a few months after implementing a Blog, you’ll typically see a large increase in the number of search phrases that people are finding your site with.

Unlike typical SEO where you’re optimizing specific pages for specific keywords, a Blog allows you to talk about your product, services and industry in very natural language.

This is critical because if you’ve ever examined the long tail of your search results, you’ll know that you will never in a million years anticipate all of the “wild and wacky” search phrases that searchers will use to find your site.

(To the reader) It’s important that you don’t sell the Blog solely on the reasons that we as the SEO want to implement a Blog.

We all know that blog content can get indexed quickly; that it provides another method of link building; various plug ins make things like RSS and Social Media easy to use; etc.

But that’s looking at the Blog from our perspective as SEO’s.

Instead of using SEO jargon and technical terms, try to provide the client with real life examples that they can relate to (although I must say, many of my clients are so Internet Marketing savvy, they could be SEO’s )

The Client: That makes sense but I’m also worried about running out of ideas for posts. My biggest concern is the potential resource requirement that a Blog might create.

That’s a very important point. Implementing a blog can be like getting a new puppy. You’re really excited at first about it and then you realize just how much work this is going to be.

Coming up with post ideas is one of the Key Success Factor for your Blog. As such, before the final decision to launch is made; and before the Blog is built, we will brainstorm at least 30 ideas for future Blog Posts.

When implementing a Blog for our clients we often think of 7 to 10 potential categories for the posts then come up with 3 to 5 ideas for each category. This is important for two reasons. First, this exercise will help you (the client) to realize that there are hundreds of potential post ideas.

Second, these post ideas become the foundation of your editorial schedule. Once we’ve agreed on 30 to 50 post ideas, then we’ll plan out who will write the posts (us, ghost writers, the client, delegates with in the clients company, guest bloggers, etc).

And we’ll put a schedule to it so everyone knows what is expected of them in advance. By knowing in advance who is going to do what and by when, Blog the posts done.

(To the reader: I like to speak to my clients about process. I find that outlining the steps involved in what we do helps to demystify the process. Although it sometimes seems like we just magically press the “easy button” in actuality most of what we do has nothing to do with magic and everything to do with hard work.

Also, outlining the process helps to manage the clients expectations. If they know what the next steps are then they can become a part of the solution. Also, by focusing on how you are going to do what you are doing, it demonstrates to the client that you’ve done this before.

Most clients understand why a Blog Strategy will benefit them. Its usually more of an issue to explain how we will make it a success. From large companies to SME’s most firms have resource constraints that must be addressed.

This is the first in a 5 part series on Blog Strategy with a focus on clients. This series will explore:

  1. How to Sell your Client on a Blog Strategy
  2. How to develop a Blog Strategy? What makes it a ‘Strategy’ versus just implementing a Blog?
  3. How to Come up with Blog Post Ideas for Challenging Industries
  4. What are realistic measures of success for your Client’s Blog?
  5. How to get your Blog Traffic to Convert

Jennifer Osborne writer and marketer for Search Engine People.