Many business owners are intimidated by the idea of starting a blog. After all, who is going to write it? What is it going to say? How often does it need updating? Is it even worth the time and trouble?
The truth is that yes, it is very much worth the trouble but it’s actually not that difficult to do. The trick is tapping into your expertise.
In fact, if you set up the right type of blog, it can become one of the best ways of generating new leads and sales.A well run blog can build your fanbase of potential customers and the return on your investment can be invaluable.
Why you need a blog?
Well-written blogs that contain valuable information build an audience, usually among people who are interested in your service. So, for example, if you are a cake decorator, your blog would benefit from talking about the different styles of cakes, the different styles of fillings or decorations, as well as, perhaps, recipes for cooking basic cupcakes or a basic cake. Why? Because, not only does it highlight your expertise and portfolio, it also delivers value.
Sharing a cupcake recipe won’t mean everyone who reads your blog will opt to do it themselves and, therefore, not hire you. The fact is, most people won’t do it themselves and, for those who do, well, they were probably never going to be your customers anyway. In the meantime, your generosity and sharing of knowledge and advice – or even entertainment – will help build a base of people who like coming back and reading your wise words or seeing your beautiful creations and when they’re after a cake, guess who they’ll contact first?
Other reasons you need a blog include:
1. The robots like It
Yes, it sounds very 1984-ish, but it’s the truth. You want search engine robots to like your site and a blog gives them plenty of pages to crawl and register in the search engines. Every day, robots (called “crawlers”) search through Internet content to find new and relevant sites. This is called “indexing.” When you have a blog that has been Search Engine Optimized (SEO), and is posting at least once per week, these computers see you as a valuable source of information. Because of that, they place you higher on search sites like Google and Bing. Better placing leads to more clicks and more clicks leads to more potential customers.
2. You’re going to build your brand
Having a blog allows you to better interact with your potential fans directly and allows you to build a (loyal) follower base. Every time you create new content and post it, you are showing the world that you have something to say that is of value – and that builds your brand online.
3. Make yourself a leader in your field
Not only can you connect with potential customers, but you can build a reputation with other professionals in your field. When you are delivering great content, you’re providing value for your customers, but you’re also making a name for yourself as among your peers. In addition, you are establishing yourself as an expert, which can come in handy during business transactions with well-known clients.
7 tips when blogging for business
Now that you know how important a blog is and how it can help you, here are the most important things you need to do in order to be successful at it. If you follow these tips, it’s inevitable that more more traffic will find its way to your website, that you’ll have more interaction with your customers and, hopefully, better sales.
1. Keep it simple
Unless your blog is highly technical, keep it simple. Though you may be tempted to make it a busy or fancy or filled with the latest web design bells and whistles, don’t. Instead, make your blog easy to navigate and eliminate any extras unless you absolutely need them. The goal is for visitors to read what you write rather than getting distracted (or frustrated) with all the fancy stuff.
2. Invest in fresh content regularly
If you don’t want to do the research and write the articles yourself, you need to find someone who can do it for you. Spend a little time and money finding a freelance writer on a site such as Odesk or Elance. A good writer can give your blog a personal tone and provide you with unique content ideas on a weekly basis.
3. Post on a schedule
As with all social media, schedules make followers and fans feel confident in your ability to provide them with something new each week. Although the best blogs post 2-3 times per week, you may be smaller and could get away with one post per week, but that is an absolute minimum. Be sure to post consistently and regularly.
4. Personalize your message
A blog doesn’t have to be dry and boring or highly technical. It needs to provide value and some return on the time and effort your readers invest by visiting it. Your blog is a great place to show off your sense of humor and personality. Even very content-rich industries like IT and finance benefit from a blog that is simple, down-to-earth and entertaining.
5. Grab ‘em with a good title
Many times, all a potential client will see about your blog is the title of a blog entry, so ensure it’s a title that sells! There are many websites (like Cracked.com and Upworthy.com) that have made bucketloads of money using excellent blog titles. Top 10 lists, how-to articles and titles that leave the audience in suspense are some of the most engaging ways to get people to your blog.
6. Social engagement
Social is the name of the game. You should be writing blogs that encourage comments, feedback and linking. Make sure you have icons for social media sites on every blog post, so that readers can easily Tweet, Like and Share your articles. Promote your posts on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but also interact with individuals on these sites as well. The more you personally connect with people on social media, the more interested they will be in you and your products.
7. Optimize every blog post for key search terms
This step is actually easier than it seems, especially if you’ve already read our article on keywords. If you set up your blog with a platform like WordPress, you can download an app that walks you through it. Yoast is an excellent helper for getting your SEO done quickly. Pick some keywords that people who search for services should be able to find your business with. Then, focus your blog entry around that word or phrase. Be sure to also link out to sources, and encourage people to link to you. All of these elements make your site more attractive to the robots, which brings up your search rankings and leads to better traffic.