Members of the Pole Position Marketing pit crew answer your web marketing questions from their unique perspectives, with a “bonus lap” by a guest industry pro.
Have a question you’d like answered? Ask the pit crew!
Today’s Question: How Can You Blog About Your Product Without Sounding Biased?
Stoney deGeyter’s Answer from an SEO Perspective:
You’re definitely hitting the nail on the head. Most bloggers are simply shilling for themselves. That leads to issues of credibility, where credibility is most important. But bloggers can easily overcome this by first writing in a conversational tone. Don’t try to sell the product. Just “talk” about it on your blog. Using demonstrations and real-life scenarios can help a great deal because that’s what the reader wants. They need to see what the product really does. It’s also important to be honest about the product’s shortcomings, if there are any. Not every product meets every need, and it’s beneficial to the reader to know what the product won’t do as well as what it does. By opening up about the supposed negatives, you are increasing the credibility of your own review and value of the product itself.
Deb Briggs’ Answer From a Content Marketing Perspective:
Well, first of all, you are biased—and that’s a good thing. You know your product inside and out, and why it offers customers the best solution to their problem. But expounding on the features of your product in a blog post can quickly sound like a press release, and that’s exactly what people don’t want to read.
The best way to grab your reader’s attention? Tell a story about how your product solved another customer’s issue. For example, we have a client that makes equipment for the scrap metal recycling industry. They once had a customer who wanted to add the equipment they offer, but they were short on floor space in their small facility. Our client’s creative solution was to suggest repurposing an under-used loading dock to make room for the recycling equipment.
This example made for a great story that showcased our client’s ability to handle unique requests, and how they could provide a similar solution for other potential clients.
But what if you can’t name names? That’s OK. Oftentimes our clients handle sensitive proprietary information for other companies, and therefore can’t be specific about who they’ve helped with their products. The name of the company isn’t as important as the solution you provided for them.
So link to that product press release or landing page with more technical specifics in your call to action at the end of your customer solution post, but don’t make it your post.
Julie Graff’s Answer from a Social Media & Content Perspective:
Well, first of all, you don’t want write only about your products. Your blog is not where you want to sell your product. That’s what product pages are for. Your blog is a place to be helpful to your visitors and illustrate your expertise.
For instance, you’ll notice we don’t talk on this blog much about using us to do your SEO, content, social media, etc. Actually, we provide information that can help a company do it themselves, if they so choose. We give helpful insights and information about the industry in which we work. By doing this, we establish that we know our stuff. If someone decides they don’t have the time, skill or patience to handle their web marketing, our hope is that they will remember us and come to us for help.
If you are selling cameras, don’t talk exclusively about your cameras. Talk about how to take better pics with a camera or the best poses for portraits. Vacation rental? Talk about what there is to do in your area when they stay with you or offer tips for packing for the type of trip they would be taking. You get the idea.
That’s not to say there is no place for talking about your specific product on your blog. But rather than talking ad nauseum about how gosh darn awesome it is, you want to answer questions and provide useful information. Let’s take our camera example. A product comparison would be extremely useful. But as Stoney mentioned above, you want to be honest about the good and the bad. Your camera might be great at x but your competitor’s may be great at something else. Let your readers know. Your product isn’t going to be right for everyone, and your readers will appreciate if you tell them that your product may not be the best fit for them.
Case studies and tutorials on how to use certain features or get the most out of your product are also perfect for blog articles. Also, address questions that you frequently get from customers and shoppers.
The key thing to remember is to simply be useful. Ask yourself if this is the type of information you would find helpful if you were considering your product. If you do that, you won’t sound biased.
Kathy Gray’s Answer from a Social Media Perspective:
As mentioned by other strategists, the last thing you want to do on your blog is sell your products. One of the best things you can do is to focus your blog on a topic that is related to your product. Do you sell copiers? Would someone really want to subscribe to a blog that only talks about the features and benefits of copiers? No. But they might be interested in one that focuses on office productivity hacks and tips to make administrative professionals jobs easier. Some of those hacks and tips could be related to the office copier. Helping office workers make their lives easier and displaying your understanding of their everyday challenges and how to overcome them will earn their trust and most likely their business as well.
Chris Steurer’s Answer From a Development Perspective:
We all know that we should be blogging to help promote our products and services, but how do we talk about our own stuff without sounding like a popup ad? The answer is actually quite simple: Talk about the problems and not the products. People don’t want to hear that your product is the next best thing. They want to know it will solve their problem. How does your product or service turn a bad experience into a great one? How does your product or service help the consumer look or feel awesome? How does your product help the customer save time or money? These are the questions you need to be asking.
If you are simply looking to blast your marketing message, you are simply playing the marketing game by the numbers. If you can sell your products or services as real solutions to real problems, you are going to be able to bend the rules of what can be done with your marketing.
BONUS LAP WITH: David Wallace
Having been in the business since 1997, David Wallace has written his share of blogs, so he knows what he’s talking about. He is the CEO/President of SearchRank, a search and social media marketing company and the editor and writer of several blogs. He is also a frequent speaker at well-renowned industry conferences, including PubCon, Search Marketing Expo and Searchfest. On a personal note, he is a roller coaster enthusiast who is constantly trying to add to his “have ridden” list as he travels.
Any blog post worth its salt should have the overall goal of educating and/or entertaining. The idea is to create a piece of content that is more “resourceful” than “promotional.” Studies have shown that when readers feel like they have learned something, they are much more inclined to buy the product.
A great example of this is the many businesses that provide “how to” video tutorials. By showing a potential customer how to install something, fix something, build something, etc., they may very well buy the product from the same company that provided a learning experience as well.
Another way to blog about your product without sounding biased would be to offer a fair comparison. This could entail a comparison of pricing as Progressive Insurance does or comparing features and benefits of similar products to yours.