Consultants are an important part of success for many businesses – both small and large and everything in between.
Businesses usually want to improve. They are always looking at themselves to identify problems and looking for ways to solve those problems.
Sometimes, however, the problems aren’t as apparent as might be expected and even if you find an issue the next challenge is figuring out how to fix it.
I’m a golfer and I look at the PGA Tour where it seems like all, but one or two professional golfers work with a golf coach. Pro golfers are obviously the best at what they do, but they like having another set of eyes to identify problems and then provide the plan to make an improvement.
Consultants and businesses work together in much the same way. The businesses are the best at what they do, but they’re always looking to get better and expert consultants can help.
Consultants need tools. Golf coaches have their eyes, video, launch monitors, training aids and more. Consultants today often use software.
And one such software provide is 9Lenses.
It looks like the software allows consultants to collect a variety of organizational data when working with a business. This helps the consultant identify problems so they can provide the correct course of action.
You can check out their site for more information, but now I’m going to look at how 9Lenses is attracting consultants, their clients, to their website with a business blog.
1. What To Write About
When it comes to blogging one of the biggest questions I get and that business have is what to blog about. The general answer I give is that you want to focus on the questions your target clients or target readers are asking in relation to their job or industry. For businesses that sell to consumers it would be in relation to the consumer’s life or an aspect of their life.
9Lenses sells software that helps consultants analyze businesses. They can certainly write about software, but they approach business blogging as a way to answer questions that consultants have about running their own consultant business.
I love this excerpt from a recent post on 9Lenses. Here is what the author wrote:
Over the past few months, I met with a number of 9Lenses customers in the small, mid-sized, and boutique consulting markets in an effort to understand their challenges and goals. It didn’t take long until I started to hear a pretty consistent refrain; “I’ve got to define and articulate our value proposition, and also create a compelling pitch to win new business.”
The author identified a question or problem that current customers had and developed a two-part series of posts on how consultants can develop a better sales pitch.
You can identify questions just like this author did – by asking current customers. If current customers have a recurring issue you can bet that target customers that don’t even know you exist are searching for the same answers.
You can also look on forums, in comment sections on industry websites, in industry email newsletters and any other location where your target client reads or searches for information.
2. Annual Recap Posts
The calendar year just ended not too long ago and 9Lenses took the opportunity to do two annual recap posts. The first is a recap of the 25 favorite blog posts that 9Lenses created during the year. The second was a recap of 9Lenses’ top consulting insights from the previous year.
Both of these are really great blogs posts that just about any company could do on their blog. And they’re valuable posts for readers. Your readers don’t want to miss anything and these recap posts are a great way to bring life to your archived posts.
The second post is 9Lenses looking at some case studies of how clients were using their software. That’s a type of post I haven’t always seen, but think it’s very valuable for readers and a great idea for a recap post.
3. Multiple Posts On The Same Topic
Another item I hear from businesses is that they write a post on a topic and have a question of whether they should go back to that topic.
For example, a plumber might write a post about clogged drains. Do they write just one post or can they go back again to the topic?
The answer is that you can go back to the same topic. You don’t want to rehash the same information, however. If you have new information that is also helpful you can certainly go back to the topic.
So the plumber’s first post might be How To Unclog Your Bathroom Drain By Removing The Trap. The second post could be How To Unclog Your Bathroom Drain With A Drain Snake.
9Lenses has two recent posts on the topic of Client Retention. That’s obviously a pain point for consultants that help a business and then lose that business as a client once the project is over.
One topic. Two great, unique posts.
4. Curated Industry News
You’ll often see businesses share industry news on social media. I mean that a business will read an article on an industry publication website or blog and share the link on Twitter or whatever social site they use.
What you don’t see as much is putting that curated content into a blog post (or possibly an email newsletter). It’s work to read those articles and share them on social media. Not much work if you already read the articles.
It’s not much more to take that content and put it on a blog post. 9Lenses understands the value in curating content in a regular blog series. Here is one of the latest roundups.
They share and quote the news and link to the source. They use nice formatting with headings and italics.
The only thing I would recommend would be to add maybe a paragraph with each that provides their own thoughts on the industry news to add extra value.
5. Commitment To Blogging
I went back to the first post that 9Lenses posts. It was a Welcome To Our Blog post and it was published on February 9th, 2012. So Happy 4th Birthday to their blog!
If I’m looking at it correctly that means that in the last four years they’ve published over 300 posts. That’s commitment to a blogging strategy and it usually takes that commitment for a business blog to succeed.
It takes the right approach as well, but we’ve seen that 9Lenses has been doing some great posts. As with anything, I’m sure the posts are better than ever, but they appear to be pretty good from back in 2012 too.
When going into blogging, many businesses think they want to commit. They see the competition doing it and maybe figure it’s not that difficult, but it’s often more of a challenge than most think.
You have to stick with it to succeed even when you don’t feel like writing.
This has been a favorite blog to review in the Blog Analysis series. You can tell that 9Lenses understands their target client. That’s step one in business blogging. They also understand the strategy of identifying questions and answering those questions. That’s step 2. The next step is commitment and we can see that they are committed. It’s another great example of a business blog that appears to be working very well.