Ready to add more to your bottom line from business blogging?
What you need is a hero.
You likely already know that business blogging is not about blatantly self-promotional posts. Your focus should be building your authority and credibility with compelling content that provides true value. Over the long term, this strategy will easily convert a good percentage of readers into paying customers.
Even then, you’ll likely pitch the benefits of working with you or buying your product outside of your regular post stream. That’s why business bloggers need to be paying attention to Roberta’s landing page articles, because that’s where you’ll be sending people for more focused selling.
Is it ever okay to do a bit of “selling” in a blog post? Absolutely, but your best bet is to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as selling. The good news is that the technique you can use is one of the most potent forms of selling around.
Confused? Let’s take a closer look at the bad, better and best approaches.
Bad: Blatant Self-Promotion
Any kind of copy that focuses on telling people how wonderful you and your company are is doomed to fail. And even though the web is littered with bad self-promotional corporate-style websites that don’t work, there’s never been a better example of how poorly that type of content works than on a blog.
All great copy focuses on the prospect, and all great blogs focus on the reader. You’re wasting your time telling people how great you are, because odds are no one will care enough to decide whether to believe you.
Better: Customer Testimonials and Media Blurbs
Testimonials and media mentions are important because of the concept of social proof. We all, to vary degrees, look to others for indications of what to do and how to behave. Social proof is the basis of buzz, word-of-mouth marketing and fashion trends, but it’s also an important aspect of our day-to-day lives. We avoid sensory and information overload by looking to social indicators for judgmental heuristics that help us make decisions.
However, outside of a focused attempt to get someone to take immediate action (like order a product or call you), testimonials are not very compelling. Simply regurgitating what someone has said about you is not nearly as interesting as it is when it’s read somewhere else. In short, testimonials do not make good blog content.
Can we do better?
Best: Hero Stories
What’s a hero story?
A hero story is similar to a testimonial, except that it transcends praise and becomes a compelling, engaging narrative that your readers can directly relate to. Instead of you or your business being the center of attention, your customer or client is the “hero” who solves a problem utilizing your solution.
Here are some key characteristics of the hero story:
- The story is not about you or your company
- The story is about your customer and how they solved their problem
- First, introduce the hero
- Next, introduce the problem
- How did the hero solve the problem?
- What did the hero learn along the way?
- What specific results did the hero achieve?
Woven into the story, of course, is you and your solution. But you’re really just an “extra” who supports the hero. You want the hero to speak to your readers and prospective customers in terms they can relate to. Or in other words, a hero makes you look good in ways that are difficult for you to achieve yourself. People will tune out your own horn-blowing, but they’ll love a good story with a protagonist who conquers challenges that are similar to their own.
A Hero Story is Simply a Good Story
The key, of course, is a good story, and a good hero story is just like any good story—it contains drama, obstacles, conflict and resolution. And the key to writing a good hero story is to be engaging in your presentation.
You need to add some flair and a great hook to your story. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party with a small crowd of people gathered around to listen to you. Are you going to offer some drab, monotonous recitation that bores people to tears, or are you going to tell a wonderfully animated tale that keeps the crowd engaged and hanging on your every word?
I think we know which approach works better. Now, just write that way.