Collector - June 2020 - 10

BESTPRACTICES

Content Strategy
How a blog can help you build your business.
By Anne Rosso May

Y

our website connects your
business to the world. It can
bring in new clients, promote
your corporate values and let consumers
make payments online. By adding a
blog to your site, you can turn your
internal expertise into valuable thought
leadership, helping you connect with
readers in brand-new ways. Here's how
you can use a blog to drive traffic to
your website and turn it into a valuable
marketing asset.

PREP YOUR WEBSITE
Before you start coming up with hilarious
puns for your blog headlines, you need to
get your online home in order. Joe Gargiulo,
editor at Optio Solutions LLC, urged
companies to first make sure their website is
aligned to Google standards.
You should be using HTTPS protocol,
which not only helps keep content secure
and visitors protected, but also improves
your Google search ranking. Marketers
should ensure that the software used to
build the site is up to date and that the site
includes a privacy statement, terms of use
and an XML site map.
"All of these measures should be addressed
before launching a blog so Google will place
your company near the top in search results,"
Gargiulo said.
Furthermore, writers and editors will
want to use programs with built-in SEO
optimizers to ensure that the content is
hitting the right keywords.

IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE
Here's the big question: Who do you want
your blog to talk to: consumers or clients?
This key metric will determine your content
and tone. There are benefits to both tracks,
but it's best to pick one audience rather than
trying to please everyone.

10

"When we originally launched our blog,
we were marketing toward new clients so
we could make the sale," said Jessica Smith,
director of human resources and client
relations for KLS Financial Services. "But we
realized that clients weren't the ones coming
to our website-all the clicks were coming
from consumers. And we realized there is a
lot of value in reaching out to them."
In 2017, KLS rebranded and relaunched
its blog, this time focusing on consumer
issues like saving money and improving your
credit score.
"While we are passionate about helping
consumers, we also want our clients to
see that we are consumer-friendly and
consumer-focused, which actually helps
give us the sales boost we originally wanted,"
Smith said.
On the other side of the coin, Optio and
its parent company, CrossCheck, decided to
use their blogs as inbound marketing tools
for prospective clients. Gargiulo said the
companies don't mind if consumers visit
the blogs as well because those consumers
could one day become business owners,
making it a win-win.

SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS
Once you have your audience nailed
down, anticipate what information they
might be searching for and craft your
blog posts to answer their questions. This
will not only draw them in, but will keep
them coming back.
Gargiulo said that Optio and CrossCheck
have evolved their approach to writing posts
since first launching their blogs in 2007.
Initially, the companies focused on building
profiles of people in their target audience
and writing posts with their specific needs
in mind.
"We would go through sold CrossCheck
accounts, identify the decision-makers and

compile attributes of their demographics
to put together profiles and put ourselves
in their shoes," he said. "What are their
problems? What information are they
searching for online?"
While that was effective 10 years ago,
Gargiulo said they have since pivoted to
a different approach. Instead of trying to
appeal to a very specific niche profile in
several markets, they've shifted to writing
fewer, but more impactful, blog articles.
On the Optio side, posts are designed to
provide decisionmakers, such as directors
of collections and vice presidents of finance,
with useful content.
"You have to know what people are
searching for and then make sure those
keywords are in the title and blog post,"
Gargiulo said. "That's the art of it."
Blog posts can be informal and even a
little playful. Last year, KLS published a blog
entry for every letter of the alphabet: "Accept
and Acknowledge," "Breaking Up with my
Barista," "Cleaning Your Credit," etc.
KLS writers focus on being informative
but also relatable, so consumers feel more at
ease with the company.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - June 2020

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