An article on Inc.com reminded me of an important question many bloggers have.
The article – Why You Should Be a Shameless – Self Promoter – touched on the necessary evil of talking about yourself. In business, and in life, it’s necessary to sometimes toot your own horn. It can be necessary to advance in a business or to advance something like a personal or business blog as well.
Self-promotion is something I admittingly struggle with. I’m not comfortable discussing myself with friends or strangers. I typically offer a few tidbits of information, but then assume I’m just boring the other person. I’m also just generally uncomfortable discussing myself with people no matter if the topic is something to be proud of or not.
The same is typically true of my blogging. I’m typically not one to write about successes. I’m more apt to write about lessons learned from failures, though. I have in some instances forced myself to write about success stories in a self-promoting fashion. It’s still uncomfortable, but not too bad.
For business bloggers, the question of whether it’s right or wrong to self-promote yourself and your business is important. It’s something that has to be balanced and it’s different for every business.
These are a few things I follow when writing for my own blogs and those of clients.
Business Promotion in a Company Blog
Most companies start a business blog with the intention of increasing their sales leads. This is a great reason to start a blog. B2B businesses have found that a blog can generate new visitors via search and social. The blog serves as a discovery tool for potential clients. Readers turn into subscibers and eventually work down the funnel until they become potential clients.
But if there is too much business promotion in the blog posts you run the risk of scaring new readers off. That’s why it’s important to find the correct balance.
1. It’s About The Reader
The first thing I like to remember when starting a blog or when writing a blog post is that the blog needs to focus on what’s important for the readers. This statement might seem contradictory because you make decisions for your business with the business as the main focus. You can’t please every customer and it can’t always be about what the customer wants. But in the case of blogging, people simply won’t read a blog post if it isn’t about them. People are trained to look for something that makes their lives better or perhaps more enjoyable.
When considering that people want to read about something that improves their lives, it gives off the feeling that too much talk about the company in a post will be off putting. People don’t want to read sales pitches all day. They want to read about ways they can improve their lives.
I’ll use the plumbing example once again. If a person has a leaky sink they might look for step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting the issue. A blog post with only these instructions would be extremely useful. A blog post with one or two tips and then a “Call Us to Fix The Issue” might not work for the majority of readers.
This kind of strategy builds trust. You’re offering something useful for people and hoping that they think of you when their issues really are out of their capabilities.
2. It’s About Profit
Now let’s get back to your business. You need profit to succeed as a business. That’s the most basic rule. So you can’t always go about trying to please everyone. The truth is that you could find great readers, the kind of readers that subscribe to your updates and come back all the time to read your great posts.
But a great reader is not always the best client.
It’s best to analyze the way your best client will interact with your blog. You want to attract more of this kind of person.
Back to the plumbing expert. Maybe the plumber’s best client is actually a contractor that builds houses and remodels houses. In order to attract this reader the plumber needs to write more detailed posts on how plumbing works in complex housing situations. This could attract the contractor that likely knows more about plumbing than the regular joe, but needs a professional for the big jobs.
I could envision a blog like this having a bit more of self-promotion. There could be personal examples used in the posts to prove the experience claimed in the detailed instructions.
3. It’s About Storytelling
Finally, I like to revert back to storytelling whenever I have a question about self-promotion. If you can tell stories, you can work in mentions of your business without being too promotional. I felt this way when I wrote about Country Music Life with this post:
I also like to tell stories that site and others here on the blog. It’s a way to talk about myself and the business without seeming too promotional.
If you can tell stories I think you’ll find it’s sufficient for self-promoting your business on your company blog.
My personal final thought with blogging is to not mention myself or the business in any post. Everyone is different, though, and success can be found in a number of ways.
I’m interested in knowing how you approach self-promotion with your blog and website.
Please share your thoughts in the comments.