So is it just the latest “buzz” word or can blogging really help your small business? Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you read a 2,000-word article before I give you the answer…
I’ll tell you now it’s a resounding yes!
Actually, I don’t actually use blogging to help my business, it IS my business.
You see, I’m not one for jumping on the bandwagon of the latest marketing craze and I don’t have time to listen to all of the hype surrounding the latest social network “fad” whatever it may be this week.
Instead, I prefer to stick to the fundamentals that work now and will continue to work long into the future as long as the internet exists
So now you know it can help, we can all relax a bit and look at exactly how it can help grow your business. I’ll even throw in a few basic, yet essential tips towards the bottom of the post that’ll help get you hit the ground running.
#1 Increase Your Website Exposure
Whoever said “build it and they will come” had obviously never built a website!
Building a site or blog and then doing nothing to promote it is the equivalent of building a brick and mortar store in the desert and simply expecting people to find it.
It ain’t gonna happen.
Blogging is a great way and, in my opinion, the best way, to get the word out about your site.
Think of it as erecting huge signs directing people from the busy cities directly to your store in the middle of the nowhere.
#2 Set Yourself Up as an Authority & Build a Following
The aim of your blogging endeavors shouldn’t be just to sell your product or services. Instead, you need to focus on helping and educating your audience.
Let me ask you a question…
Do you ever get tired of answering the same questions over and over?
If the answer’s yes, make a list of theses questions and write blog posts answering them.
Next time you receive an email with one of the FAQ’s, you can simply refer them to your blog leaving you free to get on with working in the trenches of your business where you need to be whilst your content does the heavy lifting for you.
How’s that for efficiency?
#3 Get Friendly With The Search Engines
It’s official. Google and the other search engines like Yahooo and Bing love fresh content.
They favor sites that regularly update their blog with helpful content rather than static websites that act more like a business card rather than a resource of helpful, up to date information.
The more active your blog is, the more the search engines will value you which in time, can help you push your way through to the top of the search results leading to more visitors, more interaction, and more sales.
That’s why we’re all here right?
#4 Warm Up Your Customers – Let Your Blog Take The Strain
Wouldn’t it be great if people contacted you already pre-sold on your offerings?
Well, this is exactly what your blog can help you achieve. As someone who knows their business inside out, you have a wealth of things you write about such as;
- “How To” posts
- Educational / Informative posts
- Reviews of your own products or services
- Reviews of your competitor’s products and services
Bear in mind when writing any kind of review to always give a fair, balanced and unbiased.
That may be hard at times, especially if you’re reviewing your competition, but your readers will appreciate your honesty and it’s a great way to build trust and a relationship with them.
#5 Get Feedback and Build a Connection
Don’t be fooled into thinking your blog’s a one-way street. It’s the perfect place to spark conversations with people who are interested in what you have to say within the comment section of your blog.
Maybe your readers love your post and lap up everything you have to say, or maybe they disagree with you and “let you have it” in the form of comments.
It really doesn’t matter which, as this is an opportunity to talk directly to your potential customers, people who might not have contacted you otherwise.
You can answer their questions and give them advice right there on your blog.
Negative comments? No problem.
Tackle the issue head-on where everyone can see. Again, this is another trust building factor as people can see you’re not afraid to publish the bad as well as the good.
Besides, it’s how you respond that really matters.
Forget Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter for a minute.
This is where I believe the real social side of marketing really is, right there on your blog rather than a third party social network that you have no control over and could be ripped away at any time.
The social media fans out there will probably disagree, but that’s a whole other argument.
A Few Takeaway Tips to Help You Get Off To a Flying Start
You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?
Incorporate your blog into your website
You can have a website, a blog, or both.
The difference between a website and blog is that a website is designed to showcase static pages of information that rarely change.
A blog, on the other hand, is designed to be dynamic and constantly updated with fresh new content, although they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
If you already have a static website, you can have your web designer incorporate a blog into your existing site.
If you don’t yet have a site, many of the popular do-it-yourself website builders allow you to add a blog with just a couple of clicks.
Combining them will lead to a much powerful experience and help you achieve higher rankings in the search engines.
Write the content yourself, you’re the expert after all
I bet when you started your business that you didn’t expect you’ll need to train to become a prolific writer, did you?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be, have you seen some of my stuff? Although I use spell check this site’s probably still littered with spelling mistakes and don’t get me started on my grammar!
But, I try my best to write blog posts that will hopefully help my readers as I hope this post is helping you.
If you can offer value to your audience, then no one’s going to care about the odd spelling mistake or incorrect use of quotation marks.
The temptation when starting your blog is to hire someone to write your content for you, but I’d strongly advise against it, in the beginning at least.
Always remember that you’re the expert, you know what your customers want to know and the language they use so start out by writing your own stuff.
Once you’ve found your voice and have a system in place, then you can think about outsourcing,
Be warned, when it comes to hiring writers you really do get what you pay for.
There’re loads of people out there offering 500-word articles for $5 and you’ll usually end up $5 worth of content and just to be clear, that’s not a good thing.
For a decent piece of content, you’ll probably be looking at any anything from $30 right up to $60 or $70 dollars. Even more in some cases. Another good reason to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
Don’t be afraid to show a little personality
Have you ever visited a blog where it transported you right back to your school days as it felt like you were reading something straight out of a textbook?
Yeah, I hate that too.
Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your writing. Sure, some people won’t like it, but there’s already hundreds of thousands of blogs out there covering just about every subject under the sun including yours.
So if you want to grow your business using the power of the internet then you have to find a way to step out from the crowd and make yourself known.
Reuse your content
You’ve just written a 1500 word article and hit the “publish” button. I love doing that, it feels really satisfying, or is that just me?
This one piece of content can go to work for you for years to come, literally. That’s the great thing about your blog, think of it as a salesperson working for you around the clock without asking for a salary or ever taking a vacation.
But it doesn’t have to stop there. You’ve already done all of the hard work and you can use that base content and “repurpose” it into other formats to spread it around the world wide web even further in the following ways to name but a few;
- PDF documents
- Podcasts so people can listen on the go.
This is an area where I need to get my ass into gear and “practice what I preach”. I’ve been meaning to put more effort into repurposing my content for a while now but I spend so much of my time writing, I rarely get the chance.
Share with your email list and social followers
Do you have an email subscriber list yet? If your answer’s no or you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, then it’s not something you need to worry about at the moment.
But if you do then who better to share your newest content with. They’re already interested in what you have to say and you’ll probably find you get a much better response from your email subscribers than your followers from social media.
That’s no reason to forget about your followers, though.
If your business already has a presence on the major social networks, then you can take the link of your latest blog post, and paste it as a status update on each of the networks where your followers will see it.
Don’t just drop the link, write a brief introduction explaining what the post is about and what they’ll learn from it.
Over To You
Well, that’s about it. So, after reading this are you itching to get started blogging or have I completely put you off the idea?
Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can