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I was having a conversation with a colleague during the DSA Be Connected conference in Las Vegas last week about blogging.  He told me that he still hadn’t seen any reason why his direct sales company should have a blog.  Since I believe that a blog can provide a lot of benefits for a direct sales company, today’s post will give you some of the reasons I think companies should consider one.

By the way, if your company IS considering a blog, I refer you to the wise words shared by Lisa Kuftinec from USANA, during the blogging session at the conference.  Paraphrasing Yoda, she said, “Blog or don’t blog….there is no try.”  It’s good advice.  Either you’re going to commit to blogging, and be prepared to provide fresh content regularly, or it’s not worth the effort of setting it up at all.  And the best way you can ensure that the blog happens is to put someone in charge within your organization.

So that said, what are some of the benefits that a blog can bring to your direct sales company?

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google loves fresh content.  A blog, housed on the same server as your website, gives your site Google juice.  (By the way, when you allow your consultants to blog, and require them to include a link to your website on their sites, those incoming links are another great shot of Google juice for your site.)
  • Official Corporate Response. When things go wrong (which they will, at some point), you need a place where your side of the story can be presented, and where you can be part of the conversation.  The blog is a great vehicle to do that, and can also be a resource that reporters will use when writing about your company.
  • A Great Source of Sharable Content for the Field. If your salesforce is going to use social media effectively, it needs to provide content that is valuable.  And while some of them may be good at coming up with fresh content regularly, they won’t all be.  When you provide great content that your salesforce can easily share, you provide one more tool to help your salesforce market their businesses effectively.  They can also spend more time on selling and recruiting, and less time trying to think up new content to share.
  • Lead Generation. Sometimes people may have an interest in your company, but are not ready to commit to connecting with a consultant.  Capitalize on that moment of attention by giving them something to sign up for on your blog.  It might be a newsletter.  Or it may just be the RSS feed for your blog.  Either way, they’re hearing from you regularly, which makes it a lot more likely they’ll convert in the future.
  • A Friendly “Face” for the Company. In 2010 we’ve seen companies in many industries benefit greatly by getting more social.  As direct selling companies, we can’t ignore this trend.  People want to connect socially with their favorite brands, and a blog provides a great way for you to share some of the fun of your company.  Plus, you can auto-import all your blog content into your Facebook Page, which means fresh content there, too.  Once people like you because they’ve interacted with you, they’re a lot more likely to consider your products and/or opportunity in the future.  A blog can be a great tool to get that done.

We’ve seen companies in our industry take many successful approaches with their blogs.  Companies like USANA speak directly to their distributors.  Companies like Creative Memories are more consumer-focused.  Regardless of the approach, more and more people are expecting to hear from their companies, and don’t feel that a static website is enough.  You can meet that need through a well-planned blog.  Be sure to have a strategy first!  But once you do, a blog can be a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy.

Your thoughts?

image credit: ShashiBellamkonda

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com, and her Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/jenfongspeaks.

Does your direct selling company have a blog?  Does it need one?

There are lots of good reasons to consider having a corporate blog.  It’s a great way to provide your company’s official response to anything, for PR purposes.  You can use it to provide valuable content that your consultants can easily pass on to their social networks.  Your blog content can auto-populate onto your company Facebook Page, providing more value to your Facebook fans.  It can provide real SEO value.  Some direct sales companies are even using it to provide training to the salesforce!

Yes, there are many things a blog can do for your company.  But it does require a commitment.  Starting a blog and then never updating it won’t bring your company any benefits.  If you want a blog to work for your company, here are some suggestions:

  1. Decide how the blog fits into your larger social media strategy. What is the purpose of the blog?  Is it to provide resources for consultants?  Give insight into the inner-workings of the organization?  Provide training?  Whatever it is, be very clear on why you have it, what you want to communicate, and who your audience is.
  2. Assign it to someone. It has to be someone’s job to ensure that the blog is regularly updated.  If you expect that people with other jobs will “remember” when it’s their turn to add a post, it most likely will not happen.  Someone has to have both ownership of the blog, as well as authority to ensure that the posts get turned in on time, so you have consistent fresh content.
  3. Create an editorial calendar. One of the best ways to ensure that the blog is working as part of the overall business is to create an editorial calendar.  Plan at least 3 months out, and decide how the posts can work with the goals of the organization.  Are you launching a new catalog?  Think about posts that will support the theme or new products.  Is there a philanthropic initiative that the company is running one month?  Think about what you can write on the blog to highlight that program.  Your blog should work with the other initiatives the company is working on to be an effective resource.

By taking some time to plan before setting up a company blog, you can ensure fresh, consistent content that will provide your company with SEO benefits, your consultants with resources that are easy to share, and the public with information that helps them come to know, like, and trust your company.

Does your company have a blog?  What do you do to make sure it is relevant and consistent?  What benefits does it bring to your organization?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com.