This guest post is by Amy Harrison of Harrisonamy.com.
This article is the final part of a three-part series on how your blog can feed different types of business models. In the previous two articles we looked at how blogging can attract customers who want to hire you to do your thing, or to be coached by you so they can do theirs.
The final piece of the puzzle is looking at one way a blog can be used to sell products to customers. These might be physical products, digital products such as ebooks, or events and training courses.
Writing my blog put my directly in touch with an audience of people who were interested in a subject that I could help them with: copywriting.
As I built readers I became more familiar with the struggles they had, and where they needed help. Their challenges influenced the creation of my first two products, which still sell today even thought I launched them almost 18 months ago.
There’s no way I would have been able to create products that responded well without having a blog to see which posts were popular, which ones received comments, which ones people shared, and which ones got the most traffic. Best of all, I didn’t have to wait till launch day to see if my product was something people wanted.
The blog didn’t just help me get a feel for what products to create; it helped sell the products without being pushy. Here’s how.
Using the blog to set the scene—preparing for a launch
Whenever I’ve launched or promoted a product, the blog has been an invaluable tool in the process.
Even though your products are geared up to help your audience, sometimes you need to raise awareness of the problems they solve, and your blog is a great platform to do this.
Planning your content back from the launch date, you can start brainstorming topics to attract the attention of your ideal customer. When I’m planning a product launch, I’m looking at the key issues and challenges that the product solves and then turning them into discussion topics for the blog. I might also release a couple of cheat sheets and two- or three-page templates or reports that will give my readers a sample of what the full product is like.
This does a couple of things. It raises awareness about the problems, but also the awareness of the “need” to fix those problems along with discussions as to why the problems haven’t been fixed before. That then allows you to introduce the benefits of a product that answers those challenges, questions and hesitations.
It’s like a long sales letter in pieces, except that you’re not pushing hard, you’re simply trying to attract the ideal customer for your particular product.
So, for example, if you were about to release an ebook or course on DIY car maintenance, what would be some of the key issues?
Perhaps the importance of having a properly maintained car, the safety aspects, or how much money you can save by a few home tweaks rather than having to rely on the garage all the time.
Then you could release a couple of checklists about the most important parts to keep maintained on a car.
You could also think about running a number of posts about why people don’t maintain cars properly: breaking myths like “car maintenance is complicated,” or “I’ll void my warranty if I start tinkering under the hood.”
While this is going on, you’re able to start attracting attention from people who are going to be your target market for this kind of product—simply by publishing strategic content on your blog.
The beauty of your blog is it’s flexible, and you don’t need to decide from day one what your business model is going to be. If you’re still in work and want to launch your blog on the side, you can experiment, find your voice, and find your niche.
And once you do follow one path with your blog, you’re not committed—there’s nothing that can’t be changed. I use a combination of all three blogging models to generate income for my business, and I’m still tweaking and checking in with myself to assess where to place my focus. It’s not a “set and forget” process, but a constant state of evolution.
What I’ve learned the most in three years is that you can plan too much and have ideas about how you’re going to do something, but you learn so much more by just doing. So try things out, get going, and see where the blogging ride takes you in your business.
What about you? How do you promote your products through your blog? Do you use your blog to have seasonal launches or are your products evergreen? Let us know in the comments!
Amy Harrison is a copywriter and content marketer for Personality Entrepreneurs wanting to connect and sell authentically to their audience. You can now download her free report on how to write sales copy when personality is part of your business at Harrisonamy.com.