Blog Analysis: The Centage (@Centage) Blog Helps With Business Budgeting
My first job out of college was as a catalog manager for a major footwear catalog company. The job involved a lot of different management tasks. It was a great learning experience especially when it came to budgeting. Coming up with regular budgets was a major part of the job. We would create annual budgets and then do kind of a midterm budget again for the 2nd 6-month period of each year.
Prior to that job I would say that I was ignorant when it came to the importance of budgeting. I just didn’t really have experience with it. But after working in that job I saw the importance of it for all businesses – big, small and in between. I create a budget for GBW every year. It helps keep you motivated when it comes to sales. But it also helps you maintain proper growth pace so you can keep track of expenses and cash flow.
Today I know the importance of budgeting and when I saw what Centage was doing with their business budgeting software and their business blog I thought it would be worth featuring them in our Blog Analysis series.
Here are five insights into The Centage Blog – The Budgeting And Forecasting Experts Blog.
1. Commentary On News And Articles (Also: Trends, etc.)
It’s possible for businesses to report the news happening in their industry, but that’s a tough game to take on. It’s difficult for journalists to break big news. In today’s world of instant news, it’s a fight to be the first one or within the first handful of people to report the news.
However, reporting the news might not even be the most important thing. It can be important, but I don’t think it’s the best way for a business to use their blog.
The strategy I like and one that Centage is using in a few of their posts is providing commentary on news and articles. For example, when a big news item comes out in your industry, you take a few moments to think about what this means for you. It’s something you’re probably already doing. You also probably think about how your customers are affected.
That’s where the gold is for your business blog. Your customers can read the news anywhere. What they can’t get anywhere is your expert opinion on what the news means to them. You can provide them insight into what the news means and what your customers should do to make sure they’re prepared for what’s coming or what’s changing.
Centage does this with a post on accounting tools. They link to an article that brought up the topic. Then they provided some insight with action steps on what the reader should do as a result of the news.
That’s value for the customer.
2. Mentioning People And Brands In The Industry
You’ll see this throughout many of the posts on The Centage Blog. They link to other articles while mentioning the authors. They also mention individuals and brands from within the industry.
This is a great blogging technique. When you’re starting a business blog or when you’re trying to get more exposure for your blog you’re starting with very few or zero followers. You need to increase that number.
One place to get more followers is from someone that already has followers. So you find someone that shares the target followers you have. It could be an industry influencer or a complementary business. Mention their articles. Expand on what they’re discussing. That’s what Centage did with this post.
Give them a little shout out on your blog. You could write a list of great products that you use or something like that. It could be a number of things.
This does a couple things. First, you get on the radar of the person or brand that you’re talking about. They might hire you or buy your product. And since they’re an influencer with followers, they might share your post with those followers sending you more traffic. And some of those people will read your post and come back for more. You have a new follower.
3. Personal Stories
In this post, Centage writer, Alan Hart, shares some insight into his job and what he does. I think of this as an example of a personal story. It gives more of a human feeling to the blog posts. Many posts can be general, which is fine because those posts can be very valuable and helpful. But sometime it’s good to get some personality and insight into the human side of the business.
I’ve been trying to include more of my human side in the GBW Blog more this year. I try to include personal stories when I can. I try to add little quips to lighten things up. I think it gives readers a little insight into who we are as a company. That might make the more comfortable with me. They get to know me and that can lead to them becoming a client.
Throw in a few personal stories on your business blog once in a while. It’s something many shy away from, myself included. You don’t have to do it every post, but once in a while. We also do it with our clients. We’ll ask them how their week went or if anything interested happened last month. Then in one of the handful of posts we do we’ll include their story.
Centage did a great job of including a personal story in this post on the CEO — CFO relationship.
4. Headings And Breaking Up Content
Believe it not – big blocks of content are scary.
I caught myself being intimidated by big blocks of content just today while reading a really long story online. The story was great, but I had to take a few breaks just to rest my eyes. It wasn’t just one long story full of black text and about five sentences per paragraph.
It’s good to break up your blogging content a little.
To start, try one-sentence paragraphs in the beginning. Add an image at the top right to kind of give readers something different to look at. Ease them into the post.
Also add headings, bullet lists and things like that to provide some variety of structure to the content. This helps makes the content more digestible. It’s not that your readers can’t read big blocks of test, but it can be stressful for them. You want to make it easy.
5. Consistent Schedule
In my experience, people like consistency in just about everything they do. Sure, some people (I’m winking at my wife right now) like something spontaneous and new once in a while, but for the most part we like things we can rely on.
We like to know that we’ll get our favorite email newsletter every Monday morning. We like to know that we’ll get our magazine in the mail on the 10th of every month. We like to know that we’ll get the newspaper every morning at 6:00 AM.
Centage does a pretty consistent job of providing about 2-3 blog posts per month on their blog. That’s really good, but they could take it even a step further by publishing every first and third Monday of the month or something like that. This way people could rely on it and expect it.
There are a lot of good things going on in The Centage Blog. They’re answering common customer questions. They’re providing commentary. It’s great.
I really think that software companies have an opportunity to provide their customers with great blog content. Follow some of the things discussed above and you should be able to start a blog that adds value to your current and potential customers. It’s a way to earn their initial attention (search and social traffic), their trust and their business.