This morning I was making myself a Belgian waffle. I know from past experiences that if I put too much batter in the maker, that it will run out the sides, and when I open the maker, the batter will stick to both sides, and I’ll have a ruined waffle on my hands, and a mess to clean up.
Again, I know this. But I went ahead this morning and added too much batter, it ran out the sides, and sure enough, I had a ruined waffle on my hands. As I was cleaning up the mess, I caught myself thinking ‘This thing sucks’.
It wasn’t the waffle-maker’s fault that the waffle was ruined, it was my fault. But like a lot of people would do in a similar situation, I tried to pass the blame to the product, instead of admitting it was my fault. Completely irrational, but who ever accused humans of being rational creatures? 🙂
I decided to check, and the waffle-maker (Black and Decker) does have a blog. But the blog doesn’t allow comments. If your company decides to turn off comments then you have to realize that you are effectively limiting yourself to only being found via search engines. And yes, I understand that many companies don’t want to allow comments because they don’t want to deal with negative feedback from customers. But as studies have proven, negative feedback is usually good for your company, if you handle it correctly.
Don’t view your blog as being a marketing tool, but more as being a customer service tool. A place where you can help me solve problems with your products, or get more information. A company blog is an especially wonderful place to help me with problems that *I* create, such as the above episode with my waffle maker. Black and Decker could use its existing blog to write a post on 5 Steps to Creating the Perfect Belgian Waffle, and make one of those steps be ‘Don’t put too much batter in the maker!’ Then if the blog turned on comments, I could have left one saying that I used the blog’s tips, and created a perfect Belgian waffle, and am happy with my Black and Decker Belgian waffle maker!
So if your company has a blog, keep these content creation tips in mind:
1 – Don’t create product-centric content, create customer-centric content. Think about how your customers will use your products, and why. For example, a post from Black and Decker touting the production advantages and benefits of its waffle-maker is almost meaningless to me, since I already own it. But if B&D writes a post on how to create the perfect Belgian Waffle, that helps their existing AND potential customers, because the content is customer-centric.
2 – View your company blog as a customer service tool more than a marketing tool. The blog isn’t a place to sell your products, it’s a place to sell the products benefits, and connect with your customers. If you’ll open up comments and use the blog as a place to address customer concerns, you’ll find that your customers will not only become more loyal, they will promote you to others. Which, ironically, becomes far more effective marketing than anything you could do via a blog post!
3 – Your blog should supplement your existing content, not replace it. A big reason why you don’t want to include a lot of product-centric posts on your blog is because all that information should already be on your website. Your customers will come to the blog to get more specific information on how to use your products, or to get in touch with you about an issue they are having. For example, if I had no idea why my waffle maker was ruining my waffles, I would have searched to see if Black and Decker had a blog, before I searched for the company’s website. Because I know that I have a better chance of finding information that would solve my issue on the company blog versus the company website. You need to understand this as well, and give your customers the information they are looking for, in the place where they are looking for it.
Just curious, but when you have a problem with a product, are you more likely to go to the company website or blog to look for help?