The origin of the phrase ‘blowing your own trumpet’ (US translation ‘tooting your own horn’) can be traced back to Anthony Trollope, the English Victorian novelist, who said in his travel book – ‘Australia and New Zealand’:

‘I would also observe to the New Zealander generally as I have done to other colonists, that if he were to blow his trumpet somewhat less loudly, the music would gain it’s effect upon the world at large.’

I can’t say I’ve found Kiwis to be more guilty of this than any other nationality but certainly, when it comes to corporate blogs, there’s still an awful lot of trumpet blowing going on, which as Trollope observed 150 years ago, usually has the opposite effect to that intended. 

Much of this could be attributed  to the historic purpose of the company website. Before social media (and email marketing), company blogs were mostly areas for announcements rather then places to engage with customers. 

But that was ten years ago. Blogs have evolved from an announcement platform into a hub for customer engagement via social media and email marketing. 

What was once a dusty place for boring corporate news is now potentially a highly evolved, lead generating, sales platform.

Five Tips for turning a dusty ‘legacy blog’ into a modern lead generator. 

1. Appoint someone to lead a content marketing strategy

Often the problem with getting a high quality content marketing programme up and running in an organisation is that the various components that someone needs to have control of are being run by other departments. 

To really be effective, a content marketer needs to be given control over the entire process, from blog page design and social media channels, to the CRM system and commissioning content. Politically this can be difficult so appointing someone focussed solely on Content Marketing and giving them powers over these different areas is key. 

2. Agree a strategy linked to commercial objectives

It sounds obvious but if a content marketing strategy doesn’t deliver on the company or brand objectives, it can quickly become seen as an overhead rather than a profit contributor. The first question to ask is what’s the organisation’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). The content marketing strategy should align with it. 

3. Allocate a content commissioning budget

To do content marketing well requires a dedicated budget. It’s very tempting to try and use existing collateral and resources in-house to cobble together copy and images that can be rehashed. This is always a mistake. Customers need content that is topical and written for them in a compelling way with bespoke visuals. Also if a director in-house is writing the copy – their time is going to be very expensive. 

4. Write for customers

Any content marketing strategy should include the process of creating customer personas that the content will be written for, followed by brainstorming on what are the topics of most interest to them in their current roles. Mix this up with some keyword research and social media channel research and suddenly you’re creating the capability of publishing direct to your future customers.

5. Grow audiences & measure engagement

The initial aim of a content marketing campaign should be to grow the audience of potential customers and other stakeholders and generate engagement. Another way of putting this is that content marketing grows the number of prospects entering the top of the sales funnel. Measuring the conversion ultimately becomes the aim. 

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