The most important question companies has regarding blogging is…
Does blogging drive sales?
Or a different way to ask the question would be…
Does blogging drive profit?
I’ve written a few times in the past on this topic. The first time I discussed the issue was when I had a brief chat with consultant, Kevin Hillstrom of MineThatData on Twitter (@MineThatData). He had been discussing his revenue from social media including the percentage of sales that resulted from blogging.
At that time Kevin was discussing his own revenue and stated that about 70% came from his blogging efforts. His clients, though, which are catalogers and other B2C companies experienced much less success with using blogging as a driver of sales.
Kevin once again cited his blog as a source of revenue although this time it was down to 69%. I’m sure it’s not an exact science : )
Recently, Kevin was having a conversation on Twitter again about revenue from blogging and other effort. I felt the need to blog on the topic once again because this time Kevin gave some important insight into why certain customers use different media.
First, Kevin said:
Consulting projects are not sold on Twitter, because the Twitter audience tends to be manager/analyst level staff, or other consultants.
That is good insight into the Twitter audience. Kevin really is an expert on customer behavior. He actually has a new series on his blog dedicated entirely to understanding the retail consumer.
Next, Kevin said:
Consulting projects are sold via my blog, 70% of my income comes from CEOs/VPs reading the blog and then hiring me.
More good insight. Kevin is targeting a specific audience with is blog. This is important for all blog owners to understand. Target the audience you sell products and services to and write the content they find interesting and ultimately lead them to make a purchase.
The final thing Kevin said touches on how Twitter changed blog reading:
That very behavior results in fewer articles read on my blog … but that’s ok, because Execs still read the blog, old-school style.
I don’t know if blogging is old school, but it is in a way. People do not use RSS and Readers as much anymore, but they are still very popular methods of content subscription.
The Web has changed as more social channels and mobile channels and other channels are brought to market. People seem to find their own preferred methods of content aggregation.
What I take away from Kevin’s insight is that it’s important to understand your customer. You need to know how your customer interacts with different types of inbound marketing and how they are led to discovery of brands. From there it’s important to know what drives their purchasing decisions.
With Kevin, he gives prospective clients – executives and CEOs – an insight into his philosophies with his blog. The executives likely found him via search or perhaps someone they trust shared a post from Kevin’s blog and they discovered it that way. From there, it’s likely the executive reader called Kevin and from there a partnership might have been struck.
Not every business and customer relationship works like this, but for consultants, blogging can be a great way to attract new customers.
For Ghost Blog Writers, I would estimate that 50% to 60% of sales come as a result of blogging efforts. It’s important that I practice what I preach and I can safely say that customers discover Ghost Blog Writers via the blog from search and social.
Other sales channels include reaching out to companies posting blogging needs on freelance sites. Some sales come in from unknown locations, which I’m guessing is offline referrals. I did find one client from a relationship formed on Twitter.
For B2B companies I would say blogging is a great way to drive sales. There are probably a few exceptions, but from my experience blogging is profitable.
It will be interesting to see if blogging and other content efforts work for B2C companies. Coca-Cola is betting much of their future on content marketing.
What about your company.
Does your customer fit the model of a blog reader?
If so, you might consider a blogging strategy.