First published April 11, 2008
As you build up your company blog, one of the primary objectives is to provide information that satisfies the needs of your reader community – customers, prospects and influencers at school sites and district offices. You also want to promote your product offerings as solutions for your community.
On a traditional website, these objectives can be difficult to accomplish without your content coming across as shameless self-promotion. In a blog, the two goals can be done easily in a way that doesn’t turn your readers off.
Here are 4 ways to connect with your blog community while furthering your educational publishing company’s business aims.
- Case Studies. When educators search the web for information, they are looking for answers and solutions. Use case studies to pull readers in through compelling storytelling and satisfy their urge to see a challenge resolved. When educators see examples of your products making the difference, you win them over.
- Open Threads. As you build an audience, periodically ask open-ended questions about what their needs are, or how your audience has attempted to resolve an issue in the past. As people share their experiences with others, it builds a sense of community that links value with your blog and ultimately your brand. An effective tactic is to look for the needs identified in open threads and develop case studies to respond to them.
- Interviews with Readers. If you identify thought leaders in your audience and conduct interviews with them on how they handle challenges in their school, district or curriculum area, you strengthen the sense of community and attract new visitors. If you ask questions in your article that touch on the needs your product offerings satisfy, you continue to plant seeds in your readers’ minds to view your offerings as more authoritative.
- Reader Polls. We all love polls because they tell us where we and our needs and opinions compare to those in our same arena. Create a list of all of the needs your products address. Ask readers which needs are most important to them, and why. Readers value the opportunity to share what’s on their mind, and the strategy builds anticipation for the final results of the poll. You can then use the results to emphasize some of the benefits of your products.
These four strategies help your educational publishing company create content that builds a blog community in a way that demonstrates that you understand the needs of your audience. This is compelling marketing as it is human nature to go where we feel most understood. It is also very human to do business with those people and companies we like and who best understand and meet our needs.