When we talk with clients about the concept of digital value, and work together on a digital growth plan, a major piece of that strategy surrounds efforts to consistently increase the number and duration of site visits. More visitors translate into more eyes on the messaging, new sales opportunities, greater domain authority rankings from Google, and a lot more.
Compelling blog content that’s regularly refreshed can significantly amp the goal of driving site visits, but as any marketing director will attest, keeping a blog alive, week after week, or month after month can be a challenge when multiple other priorities are at play.
How to consistently come up with content that’s meaningful and value-added is a million-dollar question for marketing teams in the digital age.
At Solid Digital, our approach to this opportunity is also the solution we recommend for our clients: draw upon in-house insights and brainpower.
You’ve hired smart people who are informed and up-to-date about developments in their fields. Each of them owns a distinct segment of your value proposition, and their perspective has become more and more fine-tuned as a result of the work they’ve done for your clients and your company. Chances are, the expertise that surrounds you is far more real and relevant to your audience than the kind of information that could be cobbled together from Internet research.
Even though it might not be reasonable to expect SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) at every level to step up as blog contributors — they may not have either the bandwidth or the skills to do so — there’s considerable value in drawing upon their expertise and perspective. Make a point to include them in the conversation about your company’s blog strategy and ask for their ideas.
- What is your sales team hearing from the field lately? How has the pandemic affected their client concerns? Is there an overarching message that the sales team or individual agents would like to convey to clients in the current environment? What are the post-pandemic expectations within your market?
- Is there a particular challenge that customer service is addressing again and again lately? Are there opportunities for “How-To” blogs that could be useful to your audience?
- Has any member of the team recently achieved a designation, degree, or a specific level of expertise on a topic that would be helpful for your audience to know about?
- What does your CEO, and C-level execs, view as the top industry trends for 2021?
- Are there controversies or complexities within your industry that someone within your company could help to clarify?
- Is there a big topic within your company or your industry that a few SMEs could contribute their individual perspectives on in the form of a Q & A blog?
- Are there legal or legislative issues affecting your customers or your industry? Does your company want to take a stand and support a particular point of view?
- Has your company transitioned recently to a new tool or software platform that has affected your value proposition or the way you do business? Is knowledge of this upgrade relevant to your audience?
Communicate frequently companywide that you are in the market for blog ideas, and make a point to publicly acknowledge contributors. At the same time, keep in mind that your company is a member of an industry and there are possibly opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership by gathering input on important topics from other industry leaders.
Customer input could also serve as the source of blog content. Customer testimonials should address specific solutions and problems solved, and can serve as the foundation for blog content. Also try and think of additional opportunities to gather customer perspectives on other topics that might also provide an opportunity to showcase their good judgment or business skills.
While reaching out to customers can also represent a value-added touch, be sure that customers have the opportunity to sign off on anything that’s written about them — even if it is an indirect quote. In the event that customers do not review and approve what’s written about them, just be sure that they are positioned in a positive light that demonstrates their intelligence or insight.
From Ideas to Execution
Counting on SMEs to actually write blogs will likely lead to a lot of delays. Instead, find ways to partner with them, requesting an outline or a list of key points, along with links, if applicable to additional sources of information. Incorporate this information into a summary that can be forwarded to a staff content creator or freelance writer, who will reach out to them for an interview that brings context, perspective, depth to the topic. Make sure that the SME has the opportunity to review the content before it is published, and make any necessary revisions.
We recommend that the byline on the blog be that of the SME. Even if they are not the actual writer, the content reflects their expertise, and the recognition of their contributions helps to fuel further engagement. Collectively, blogs with bylines from multiple SMEs at your company represents the wide range of knowledge, perspectives, and passions that are at work within your organization.
Creating content that demonstrates your company’s distinct expertise and engages your audience has always been an important objective — back in the day, it might have been via a customer newsletter, company publication or publication relations strategy. In our current digital environment, there’s the added and critical component of domain authority. Every blog that’s posted is analyzed by Google in terms of page views, time on site, and bounce rate. Better metrics significantly factor into your digital company’s overall digital value.
At Solid Digital, we’re passionate about the big picture of strategies that build our clients’ digital value. Looking to solidify your standing in an increasingly digital business climate? We can help.