Having a company blog is one of the key ways to indirectly promote your business online, but what about using your blog to directly promote your products and services?
While it may not be “blogging best practice” to promote your products and services directly on your blog, we are going to show you how it can be done in a tactful and clever way.
First, it is important to understand the role of the blog.
There are many advantages to having a company blog, but the two most important things that your blog helps to establish is:
- Traffic to your website (which hopefully converts into sales)
- Your reputation as an expert and thought-leader in your field
The intention with any good business blog is to offer value and content that is going to be informative and interesting to your target audience.
This means that your blog needs to first and foremost be perceived by your audience as extremely valuable and helpful to supporting their needs. This is truly the first step and if your company blog is not yet here, it may be best to not proceed any further.
If your company’s blog post is regarded as being highly valuable by your readers however, you may have a great opportunity to sneak in a sales pitch about one of your products or services.
Contrary to popular blogging practices, when crafted tactfully, your blog can be used to gently and suggestively promote your products and services.
While you never want your blogs to simply be about all the cool things your company does or all the products you have for sale, there is some merit in sharing some of the services and products your company provides.
The trick with doing this successfully is to absolutely avoid the 3 No’s which are-
NO to being salesy
NO to being pushy
NO to being obvious
For example- “Here at Johnny’s Carpet Cleaning we provide the best services for clean, sparkling carpets. We are also cheaper than the competition and will even move your furniture for you. Call us now for clean, hygienic carpets”.
This is a classic NO example as it reads as salesy, pushy and is extremely, blatantly obvious as to what it is pitching.
While this may be good copy for an ad, it is not good copy for your blog. With a sentence like this, you will drive away your readers and cause them to loose interest and trust in your brand.
Even if you do notice some success with these types of salesy sentences to begin with, in the long run it is likely to damage your reputation and render your blog useless.
Blogging is very different from advertising, and your company’s sole intention should never be to use blogging as a direct marketing tool, however there are some delicate ways you can have your cake and eat it too.
After all, if you never experiment with pushing the boundaries you will never know what you truly can achieve or what opportunities are waiting for you.
Once you have established a solid blog following and have earned the trust of your readers there may be a small window of opportunity to directly promote your products and services.
Here is how to go about it in a clever and tactful way-
How to Use Your Blog to Promote Your Products and Services in 10 Simple Steps
Step 1: Ask Yourself- Is the product or service I am promoting on my blog useful?
If your brand made it or owns it, chances are you are going to think its useful, but go a little deeper. Your products and services may cater to a specific audience but chances are there is an even more specific market that is interested in your blog.
For the simplest example, lets say majority of your blog readers are women but you create products and services for both genders. This may indicate that you will have better results pushing one of your more female friendly products on your blog instead.
Ensure whatever product you choose to promote offers direct and clear cut value to your readers and not just your overall demographic. This is going to help your promotion to be more successful and better accepted by your readers.
Step 2: What Am I Promoting and Why?
After you have selected the best product to promote to your readers it is important to establish why you are promoting it. This is going to help you not only formulate a solid blog post but it is also going to help you set the intention of what you are trying to achieve.
Speaking of intention, mentioning a product or service in your blog posts doesn’t always have to be about getting a sale. It can be about simply educating your customers or learning what your customer’s reaction is to the product or service.
Formulate your intention and then assess the product you have chosen by asking yourself- why?
This is important as it is going to help form the layout or shell of your blog post and direct the way in which your content flows.
For example, lets say you want to promote your latest water bottle. Why? Hydration has become a popular topic on your blog and you believe that it will help your readers to stay hydrated.
Notice how the “why” is focused around your readers? The why simply can’t be- because I need more sales. If that is the case, it may be better to test out an ad or sales page instead of going after your blog.
In order to determine the best product to choose, take a moment to browse through your reader comments or questions. You may find a common theme in what they are asking, or you may discover a product or service that could be most helpful.
Popular or trending topics on your blog may also provide a clue as to what products or services can be seamlessly promoted.
Step 3: Let the Benefits Become the Pitch
The benefits of your products or services should be the theme of your blog post and not the product or services themselves.
This helps to gently suggest your products or services to your readers rather than pushing it or forcing it on them. It also helps to ensure that your blog post is offering greater value than just a sales pitch.
How you pitch your product will also depend on what your intention is and whether you are trying to earn sales or just educate your readers about your products or services.
In order to formulate the pitch or the heart of your promotion, it is important to focus on the benefits that your product or service is going to offer and then use that as your foundation.
Here is a 4 step guide to help you with this process –
- Select Your Product or Service (eg. water bottle)
- List the Top 3 Benefits (eg. staying hydrated, beautiful design, BPA free)
- Pick a Benefit to Write Your Content About (eg. Why It’s So Important Your Water Bottle is BPA free)
- Integrate pitching your product as a solution (eg. we offer BPA free water bottles…)
The benefit that you choose to focus on may also depend on what is important to your readers or what your main selling point will be.
When you center your blog post around the most important benefit, it helps your post to appear less salesy and pushy and allows you to also better promote your products or services.
Step 5: Writing the Post and Creating a Story
Creating a story behind your products and services is a great way to more seamlessly integrate the promotion of your products and services.
Remember, creating a story not only helps to add value but it also helps the blog post to become personal and more relatable to your readers.
For your story to be effective, it also needs to promote a strong message that is going to help inspire your readers to take action.
Some suggestions for stories could include-
- How your product/service can overcome dangers or obstacles
- How your product/service can help achieve a certain goal
- How your product/service can deliver certain information or guidance
- How your product/service can improve upon something
The mistake that many people make is using their product or service as the main theme for the blog story. This will result in a pushy, salesy blog post.
For example lets look at the following blog post headlines-
Example 1: “How My BPA Free Drink Bottle Will Be Better for Your Health”
Example 2: “Why BPA is Damaging Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent It”
Even though these both share the same benefit at their core, the second example is centered around the benefit as the main objective, whereas the first example uses the product as the main objective.
The first example could come across as being salesy or pushy. Again, this may work for a sales page or an ad but not for a blog post.
To help, think of the product or service itself as an after-thought or even as an additional benefit to the other benefits that you are going to provide.
If you keep your benefits and your readers at the center of your blog post and story, it will help your pitch to come across organically and in a natural, seamless way.
You will know if you are doing this correctly by the way your blog post reads. If its centered around just your product or service, its not going to work. If its centered around the benefits of your product or service you are on the right track.
Step 6: Offer More Than One Solution
It is important to offer more than just your product or service as a solution to the “problem” or “hurdle” raised in your blog post.
When you only provide your product or service as the solution it can cause your readers to become skeptical and can make them feel hesitant in trusting you or taking action.
Offering more than one solution is therefore recommended to avoid your blog post coming across as pushy or salesy.
Think about alternative solutions that don’t compete with your product or service but also provide a genuine and valuable option for your readers.
For example, in the water bottle scenario that we have been using, you may also want to suggest recycling a glass jar and using that as a BPA free water bottle. This solution doesn’t necessarily compete with your product, but it does provide a suitable alternative.
When you do this, readers are more likely to trust your motives and are more likely to feel that you are genuinely interested in helping them and not just interested in pushing your product.
Step 7: Set Up Tracking for Analytics
Once your blog post is written you will want to be sure you can track your audience and how many people click and follow through with purchasing your product or service.
This will help you to determine the effectiveness of your post and whether promoting through your blog is helping or hindering your business.
To do this you can set up a conversion pixel on your post or use a special shortened URL that can be tracked and monitored to see how many people are clicking over to the checkout page.
Step 8: Promoting the Post
Stay away from using headlines to promote your post such as- “Check out all the great things our product or service can do for you.” Instead, focus on promoting the benefits without even mentioning your product or service.
Remember, the art with this is to be tactful and to stay away from obvious promotion.
Sticking with the drink bottle example, your headline for your blog promotion can simply be- “Why BPA is dangerous for your health…” or “Why your water bottle may be bad for your health.”
Again, this headline or promotion sticks to dealing with the benefits. This will also make your blog post promotion seem far less salesy which may help to earn you more clicks and conversions.
When something is forced down your consumer’s throats, especially something that is written by the company that makes it, readers feel abused and taken advantage of, so be sure that you are always focusing on offering value.
To help you with this step, look at how you have promoted other blog posts in the past and try to stick to the same method. Try not to draw any special attention to this blog post just because it features a promotion or sales pitch.
Step 9: Measure Your Blog’s Performance
After publishing and promoting your blog post you have to track the results and see how your blog post is converting into sales, and whether it is having any adverse effects on your readership.
Through analysing you can determine what is working and what may need to be changed or tweaked.
It may also be interesting to compare the performance of promoting in your blog posts with promoting on other mediums or channels.
If you have been tactful enough and truly provide content of value on a regular basis, you may find that your blog promotions earn you a nice handful of sales. Just be sure that you don’t abuse your blog promotion skills however, as readers can very quickly become desensitised.
Subtly introducing your products and services into your blog post can be a great way to test the waters. If you find that your readers really do respond, you can start experimenting with different post styles.
In fact, many companies see success with integrating promotional blog post ideas with their non-promotional blog content.
Step 10: Experiment with Other Types of Content
If you have noticed that your audience has responded really well to your blog post promotion or you want to further test the waters in what you can achieve on your blog, it may be beneficial to experiment with different types of promotional content.
The 9 steps above will help you to seamless integrate your products or services into regular blog posts, but there are more direct options that you can also take advantage of.
These options may not be suitable for all businesses, however they may be worth a try if your customers have not responded adversely to you mentioning your products or services.
These other content types include-
- Writing a tutorial on how to use your product or services to help customers and potential customers
- Writing about an upcoming product launch by sharing your steps or process
- Writing a case study or highlighting a great customer or customer experience
- Reaching out to review sites to get a review published on one of your products or services
- Hyperlinking key words to a sales page or specific landing page for readers who want to know more
- Integrating promotional banners in the body of your content or on the sidebar
- Creating a list style post and offering one of your products or services in the list
- Writing a comparison post about your products vs. competitors
- Writing about why you created your product or service or the journey you took
- Writing about how your product or service can help achieve a particular goal
There are many ways you can use your blog to directly promote your products and services, but that doesn’t mean you should take on the opportunity to explore every one of them.
Blogging is truly about offering credible and valuable information and should not be about selling or blindly promoting your products or services.
In many ways, whether you mention your products or services in your blog post or not, your content is promoting your brand indirectly.
When people resonate with your voice and the message that you share, they will organically be more open and more inclined to check out or even purchase what you have to offer.
To help you seamlessly integrate promotions into your blog posts, here is a go-to checklist that you can use-
- Is what I am promoting suitable, useful and valuable for my audience?
- Have I clearly defined my intentions and why I am promoting this?
- Is my blog post centered around benefits not just the product?
- Does my blog post offer more than just my product or service as a solution?
- Is my blog post genuine and centered around my readers?
- Does my blog post offer a story that is relatable?
- Does my blog post have suitable tracking set up to manage conversions and sales?
- Is the promotion of this blog post targeted towards the benefits instead of my product?
- Am I measuring the effects of my blog post and how it is performing?
- Is my blog really ready to experiment with different promotional content types?
Your company’s blog is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have. Its valuable because it is not centered around making sales and instead is centered around offering your readers and potential customers value. This helps your brand to appear worthy and credible and conveys a powerful message- that you care about your customers.
If you abuse your blog, it can have the reverse effects and can make readers see your brand as pushy, unworthy or not to be trusted. It can also cause your readership to go elsewhere, which over time can negatively impact on your conversion rates and sales.
Dabbling in direct promotion on your blog posts requires a certain skill and finesse, but it can be done if the intention is set and the focus is still centered around the reader.
When done right, your blog can become a powerful platform for directly marketing to your customers and educating your customers on your products and services. This in turn, can help to increase sales and increase profits.
So, if you feel your blog is established enough, if you feel the urge to venture out into new territory, why not consider suggestively promoting your products and services on your blog.
It may be the worst or best thing you ever did, but isn’t it at least worth a try?