If you’re like me, you haven’t had much formal education in the business of business. While the legions of small business might be stocked with MBAs and people who at least have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, there are plenty of us who got into the business world without a lick of formal training. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone: it’s not as if Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard with an MBA from the Crimson. Steve Jobs – also a dropout.
Of course, these are high profile names, but there are a number of other college dropouts that might make you reconsider the importance of a college education. Now, obviously, I’m not one to disparage the value of education – I myself have a couple of pricey degrees behind me – but, well, it’s not a prerequisite for success.
What does help is having the business knowledge needed to succeed from alternate sources. One of the concepts that I’d like to go over is “positioning;” what it is, how it affects your business, and (most importantly to me, at least), how it affects blogging for business.
Positioning: Place Yourself First
The concept of positioning is relatively simple and a cornerstone of good content marketing. Basically, it’s the process of putting your business in the right place to attract customers: as simple as that. For example, you wouldn’t sell garden spades at a sci-fi conference. Not to say that you couldn’t make any sales this way, but you’d be much better off at your local garden and nursery store.
The above example is a rather literal definition of positioning, but it’s even more important for online business since, well, you can’t literally go and “sit” in the garden section of Google. You need to work to make your business position itself virtually. For an overview about positioning from somebody who’s had success with the concept, check out this article at Marketing for Success.
How Does it Apply to Blogging?
My friend, positioning has everything to do with blogging. It’s the entire reason why every SEO with a white hat is ape over keywords. If you read the above article from Marketing for Success, you’ll see that he brings out two major points: educating prospects to demonstrate your knowledge, and identifying and reaching your target market. Not only are these points vital to content marketing – indeed, they are the entire point.
Having a blog isn’t just valuable because of the keywords you can stuff into it in order to help your site rise in the Google rankings. Of course, keyword use is a cornerstone of content marketing, but there’s a reason why it’s called “content marketing” rather than “keyword marketing”… it’s all about the content.
Keywords are essential to positioning. Coming up with the right keywords is the crux of how people will find you on the internet – indeed, the first point that Marketing for Success points out is that you have to “identify a need” in order for positioning to work. Well, if people need “garden spades” and they head to the internet, ostensibly they’ll type the words “garden spades” or some derivative into the Google search box. This is how the potential customer finds you.
But when they find you… that’s when you need to unload the knowledge. Your content marketing needs to be diverse and information-rich enough for it to not only grab the attention of the Google search engine, but also of the human on the other side of the machine. Content marketing is essential to positioning – you might not be able to hang out in Google’s garden department, but your blog can. And you need your blog to be saying the right things for the customer to bite.
Many business concepts – like positioning – are easy enough to understand at the end of the day. The only issue is finding the right tools to help you enact these concepts in a way that increases your ROI (that’s return on investment, another business school word – you’re welcome) and your presence in the customer’s mind without requiring a business loan to bolster those business ideas.
Identify a need. Educate to demonstrate knowledge. Identify your target market and reach it. These are all cornerstones of a content marketing strategy which will ultimately deliver the last point that Marketing for Success goes over – results.
What are you doing in order to position your small business for success?
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