"Technology is ruled by two types of people: those who manage what they do not understand, and those who understand what they do not manage." - Archibald Putt
Successful marketing is the most difficult aspect of running a business, and IT services is definitely no exception. Fortunately, the internet has opened up more choices for technology firms to create unique marketing campaigns that don’t rely on a bottomless pit of money. You might not even realise it, but as an IT company, you have one of the best platforms for launching a blog-based content-marketing campaign for your business. It’s true. Forget expensive advertising - start a blog and, with the right tactics, you’ll start to see a dramatic increase in website traffic and referrals.
So how should an IT company approach a blogging campaign? Here’s a run-down:
1. Create your blog
Obviously, in order to use a blog to attract clients, you’re going to actually need the blog.
It shouldn’t be difficult to establish a blog on your website - especially if your site is created in a clever platform like Hubspot or Wordpress. You’re a technology company - this should be the easy part.
Don’t be tempted to start a blog on a different platform outside of your site - this dilutes your marketing efforts as you’re effectively marketing two sites instead of one. Make sure someone browsing your site can access your blog through a link on the navigation bar.
Have you got that blog established? Good. Now it’s time to write some content for it.
2. Write Some Blog Posts
A blog isn’t a blog without some content. But what exactly should you write about? It can be easy to feel daunted by the blank blog page, especially when you specialize in technology, not writing.
Have you ever heard the maxim, “Write What You Know.” It applies here. You know technology. You know computers. So write about technology and computers.
What are the most common questions you receive? Look at support forums, FAQ pages and social media sites for the software/hardware/platforms you work with - you’ll see the same types of questions come up again and again. Answering these questions in your own words make great blog posts.
That may seem counter-intuitive. If you give away all of your knowledge for free, how will you afford to stay in business. But checking your blog is a great way for customers to “road-test” your services, to see if they’re a good fit. If you can solve someone’s computer problem, they will trust you, and will give you a call when they can’t find an answer to their problems online.
You could intersperse these helpful IT troubleshooting posts with funny IT stories and cartoons, updates about software / hardware you work with, interesting stories about technology and the internet, and general “geek” stuff that is popular in the office.
When I’m creating blog posts, I will often sit down and write several in a sitting. You could create posts during quiet times at work. You could also get the whole team involved, with everyone writing one post a week as part of their job.
You could also hire a writer to create blog posts for you. There are many writers who specialise in IT subjects. Many companies will hire a writer to manage every aspect of their blog so that they can focus on other aspects of the business.
3. Promote Your Posts
Now that you’re regularly writing and updating your blog, how will you get people to see your posts? After all, the whole point of having a blog is to get more leads and clients.
You’ll notice that people will begin to land on your site from Google, thanks to your useful tips and information answering your questions. Give your blog posts good, clear titles (I would just use the exact question you’re answering as a title) and this will help you get found in search engines. At the end of each blog post, I’d post a little lead generator:
Still having problems with your computer. Contact us and we’ll see if we can help. Mention this blog post and get a $20 discount off the first hour.
This is called a “call-to-action” and helps to inspire prospects to contact your firm. Giving the discount helps you to figure out which customers are contacting you from your blog (ROI) and also tells you which blog posts are the most effective. You can alter the message depending on the post and your potential clients and services. For example:
Want to streamline your business processes? Talk to us about a FREE consultation for cloud computing solutions.
Alternate this call-to-action with a note about joining your mailing list. Having a mailing list where you collect email addresses helps you to retain prospects who might not need your services right now, but might need them in future. Send out a short newsletter, monthly or bi-monthly, highlighting some of your more popular blog posts, and perhaps offering some kind of special discount.
Now your blog is a lean, mean lead-generation machine. But wait, there are a few more things you can do to help your posts get more attention. Every time you post, you should promote your posts on your social media pages - Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are great platforms to getting more attention for your posts. If you set up Google Authorship on your blog, Google+ will also help your posts rank higher in search results.
What? You’re an IT company who doesn’t have a social media presence? Ooops. Better correct that now.
Another thing you can do is feature results or quotes from other IT / technology bloggers, then email those bloggers to let them know you’ve featured them. This can help you establish contacts with important industry folk, as well as give you opportunities to guest blog on high profile sites and get your name in front of a bigger audience.
Becoming active in LinkedIn communities (there are lots of communities for IT and cloud computing professionals), and post links to your articles where appropriate. You can’t just go on and spam a community - you need to stick around, answer questions, talk to others, and then post some of your best articles.
Quora and Reddit are other places where you can share links.
Creating a blog for your IT company can be a great way to source new clients - after all, when someone has a question about IT, the first place he/she will turn is to the internet. If you are the source online that answers all these burning questions, then you’ll also be the company with all the clients.
The key to a successful IT blog is to think about what your clients might be interested in reading about. Usually, this means answering their questions, showing them interesting things going on in the technology industry, and making them laugh with great geek humour. Get your whole team involved in producing content and you’ll quickly see results.
Does your IT company have a blog? Are you using it as a lead generation resource? Do you find a blog effective?