We're big fans of blogging here at HIVE, if you hadn't already noticed. And it's not just because we like to talk and have a lot of things to share with the world (though of course that has something to do with it). We also feel strongly that blogging is a crucial inbound tactic for identifying your company as a thought leader in your industry and serving to engage with your prospects and eventually help convert them into leads and eventually customers.
In fact, we've already written some blog posts about why you should blog (I know...it's like Inception for blogging!) and how it should fit into your inbound strategy. If you haven't read those, be sure to check them out:
Now that you're up to speed on why we think blogging for a business is so crucial and how it can serve to attract customers, you're ready to start writing blogs! But before you put fingers to keyboard, there is one more very important thing we need to talk about: the importance of brand voice and authenticity in your blogging.
I love this quote by author, marketing maven, entrepreneur, public speaker and all-around awesome dude Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog). He is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to building and maintaining brands. Seriously, if you haven't heard of him, check out any of his books...but start with All Marketers are Liars.
As my idol, Seth Godin, outlines above, building a brand is truely about developing a personality that your customers can relate to and trust. And hopefully build a relationship with. Think of some of the branding greats and their customers' relationships with them. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Disney...they've all built brands that resonate strongly with their customers and keep them coming back time and time again.
And those brand attributes should be carried through all of your marketing efforts including, you guessed it, your blog. One of the fundamentals of branding is ensuring that the brand is consistent throughout all of your communications with your customers so their experiences are compatible and every touchpoint helps develop that overall relationship.
There are two crucial branding elements to think about when developing a blog for your brand:
1. Brand Voice
This is quite possibly one of the most important elements of a brand. It not only helps your customer personify and identify the brand, it also helps them develop a personal relationship with the brand and give it a place in their life and world. You can see how important that is for how your customers interact with you.
I like to think about brand voice in terms of personality traits and attributes. If your brand were a person, what would they be like? Would they be someone super professional and smart or someone a little more funny and tongue-in-cheek? And if they were a person with those traits and attributes, how would they communicate them? If you don't know what your brand voice is yet, no worries, there are tons of resources all over the internet with exercises to help you find it. My favorite is this great slideshare from HubSpot, but there are tons of options.
Once you've identified your brand's voice (or if you already know what it is), how do you make sure that the correct voice is coming through in your blog? This should start before you even start typing. Actually, it should start before you've even selected a topic. And it should be top-of-mind through the entire writing and editing process. Step into the shoes of your brand, think about what information they would want your customer to have and how they would communicate it to them. What types of words would they use? What about sentence structure? What is their relationship with the customer and what experience and memory do they want the customer to take away with them?
Once you've finished writing, send the blog to a co-worker who is up-to-speed on who the brand is and what type of voice they have. Ask them for help editing and making sure that the voice is consistent and strong throughout.
EXPERT TIP: If you have more than one person blogging at your company, make sure that the brand voice is coming through in everyone's writing. It might be a good idea to have one person who edits all blogs before they are published to ensure consistency in tone-of-voice.
Now that you know why and how to speak like your brand, let's talk about the importance of authenticity. As Dustin (@DBrackett88) explained in the Inbound Marketing Services: Attracting New Visitors blog post, you want your blog to be helpful. And you want to give the reader information that they are already searching for. Your blog is a way to disseminate information that your customer finds valuable and, in turn, serves to build their trust with you.
So what exactly does authenticity have to do with all of that? Only everything! You're trying to build trust between your customer and your brand. You want your customer (or your prospects) to seek you out for information on your industry and trust the information you're giving them. And what's more important in trust-building than authenticity?! Being authentic is a surefire way to help your customer understand who you are and build that relationship and trust.
So don't try to be something you aren't or claim to be experts on something you're not...talk about what you know. Be truthful and authentic in your knowledge base and in your interactions with your customers and prospects. You wouldn't trust a person or brand who wasn't authentic and truthful, right? So don't do that to your customer. Be sincere to your brand and authentic in all of your interactions and you can bet that your relationships with your customers will thrive because of it.
Ok...NOW you are ready to start blogging! Sure there are a lot of other elements to a great blog and a lot of elements to great branding. But if you build your foundation on being helpful in your blogs and make sure to be authentic and remain consistent in your voice, you are well on your way to blogging success!
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