By Sean Callahan, Editor, Digital Marketing Remix/Marketing Director, Bizo
Corporate blog posts can work at all levels of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, a blog post that casts a wide net can introduce a large audience to your company. If you’re really lucky, a post may go viral on the Internet. At the bottom of the funnel, blog posts can, for instance, focus on specific products and push prospects to become leads or even to buy.
But, for the most part, blog posts work best in the mid-funnel with a focus on nurturing prospects, providing useful information to help them do their jobs better. Eloqua has defined lead nurturing as “the process of cultivating leads that are not yet ready to buy.” Thanks to the advanced nurturing capabilities of today's marketing automation systems, content marketers have a tremendous opportunity to use their blog posts to have a real impact on how companies nurture their relationships with prospects.
Nurturing posts educate prospects about your industry and about your company’s place in it. Blog posts can present your company as a thought leader. Ideally, these nurturing posts will also make it clear why prospects should consider using your product or service over anyone else’s.
But writing a useful blog post that is ideal for nurturing is easier said than done. Producing them consistently is even harder. Here are some tips for generating regular blog posts designed to nurture your prospects:
Get a little help from your fellow employees, especially those in sales. At most companies, the writing of blog posts falls in the hands of a few. Or even in the hands of a single individual. But the best strategy for creating blog posts that nurture is by asking other employees to contribute their ideas—especially your sales team. Your sales team is on the “front lines” when it comes to understanding what questions and concerns your typical prospect has. So spend some time with the salespeople and ask them what specific questions and objections they typically encounter in their conversations with prospective customers. Using these ideas for your nurturing blog posts will ensure that you’re addressing the needs of someone who is in the middle of your marketing funnel, and who might just need that extra bit of information to progress further toward an eventual purchase.
Invite guest posts from individuals whom your nurtured prospects would consider influential in your space. In addition to adding the viewpoint of fellow employees to your blog, you can include the voices of people in your industry outside of your company. Customers, partners, vendors, analysts, and other industry experts are often looking for an outlet to share their opinions, knowledge, and insight. Your blog could be that forum. By aligning yourself with industry experts, guest posts can be effective in presenting your company and your blog as thought leaders, ultimately moving prospects toward the bottom of the funnel.
Keep the end goal in mind. When writing a nurturing blog post, remember the ultimate goal of content marketing: selling your products and services. Advise your writers to cover topics that will actually nudge a prospect toward a purchase. And don’t forget to provide links to evaluation guides, demo videos, Webinars, and other “bottom-funnel” content designed to drive someone toward a sale.
One last piece of advice: After a post is written, advise your guest poster to wait 24 hours before turning it in. After a potential blog post sits for a day, your guest blogger can return to it with fresh eyes. They can add facts they forgot, condense overly windy portions, make passages clearer. In short, they can make their post better. And ultimately that will make your blog better at nurturing prospects through the funnel and toward a purchase.