We see it all the time. The business owners we consult with are willing to revise their websites for greater SEO exposure, take the plunge into social media and monitor their brand's reputation. But when we suggest they start a blog, their face turns pale and they break out in a cold sweat.
The thought of writing a blog shouldn’t send you running for the nearest fallout shelter. You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to become a blogging pro. What you do need are a few things you probably already have…
- an expertise in the subject matter you’ll be writing about
- a passion for the material, and
- the motivation to make your business successful
If you possess these three things, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful blogger. But first, let’s briefly examine what a blog really is. Blogs are usually thought of as a place where someone writes about their thoughts or expertise on an ongoing basis. A blog (short for ‘web log’) can come in all shapes and sizes and can be anything from a diary, a soapbox, business advice or just a collection of links, videos or photos.
It is estimated there are over 100 million blogs in existence. According to our calculations, well… that’s a lot. And that number will continue to grow. In fact, some claim research groups claim that a new blog is created every half-second. The good news is that the majority of these are personal or just for fun. So there is still plenty of room left for your business blog. There’s more good news. The same research groups say that blogs have a lot of influence on the way people purchase items and services. So in time, your blog could significantly affect your business in a positive way.
We know that jumping headfirst into the blog arena may be difficult at first. But you need to take the plunge anyway, and the water’s not nearly as cold as you think it is. To make it easier for you to get started, we’ve compiled some lists you can use to become an effective blogger.
Eight Advantages of Business Blogging
- Generate Website Traffic – Regular blogging may be the simplest way to drive traffic to your website. Because blogs are updated frequently and rich in text and links, search engines love ‘em. When you learn some of the blogging tricks, you’ll find your blog ranking much higher than static websites with no blog.
- Bring in New Business – Blogging helps your website get found much easier by potential customers. When you cast a broader net, you’re likely to catch more fish.
- Build Brand Loyalty – When you provide worthwhile content on a constant basis and involve your readers in new market launches, you can create loyalty to your brand as well as brand recognition.
- Become Smarter – You may have to take a refresher crash course on some of your facts and figures before you write about a particular subject. You may also need to research certain areas to make your blog well-rounded. In any case, blogging can make you even smarter about your business and industry.
- Get Valuable Feedback – A blog is a great way to find out what your customers really want. Ask them their opinion at the end of your blog and learn what they are thinking.
- Be a Better Writer – The more you write, the better writer you’ll become. You’ll notice your business letters and email correspondence will improve with regular writing.
- It’s Free – You can’t use the expense as an excuse not to blog. You can either set up a blog on your existing website or set one up on free sites such as blogger.com. However, we do strongly suggest that your blog be hosted on the same domain as your business site. You’ll want the steam you build from the search engines as fuel for your website.
- Become an Expert – When you write a blog, your readers will consider you an authority on the subject. People would rather buy a product or service from someone who knows what they’re talking about, so use this distinction to your advantage.
Four Ways to Blog Consistently
- Set a Regular Blogging Schedule – The most successful writers set a schedule and never stray from it. Set aside time for your blog, mark it on your calendar, shut off your phone... and then blog away. If you don’t, you’ll soon find your blogs becoming more and more infrequent.
- Ask Your Employees to Contribute – Take an hour, order some pizza and brainstorm with your employees on potential topics and what they think should be covered in upcoming blog posts. Offer a reward for employees if they submit articles that are used.
- Remember, Writing is Re-writing – If you wait till your thoughts are masterpieces before you write them down, you’ll never finish your blog. Don’t procrastinate. Just write.Get your thoughts written down as quickly as you can, no matter how scattered or incomplete. It doesn’t have to be good… yet. You’ll edit it later. The more words you get on the screen quickly, the more likely you’ll stay motivated to complete the blog.If you know your written words will never come out on the screen the way you want them to, you can hire a professional content writer to help you out.
- Make Lists – (Hmm… this sounds familiar) Everyone loves lists. Lists are simple and easy to follow. Use your expertise and knowledge to create a list your readers can use and will enjoy. It’s often easier than writing an article. Just bullet point your list and your blog will be done in no time.
Seven Ideas to Blog About
- Reports From Conventions or Events – Have you gone to a recent industry function, such as a tradeshow? Write about your experience. Give some insights for people who couldn’t attend or may have missed a key speech or class. Write about your thoughts on upcoming events. Tell your readers why you’ll be attending or skipping it. Your experience from past industry events could help others make an informed decision.
- Product Reviews – Does your vocation use certain goods or services? If so, write reviews and become known as the authority on products your industry needs to purchase.
- Write About Your Industry’s History – Spend some time researching the past and how your field developed and grew. It’s an easy way to be viewed by your peers as an industry expert.
- Answer Questions – Take a recently asked question by one of your clients and turn your answer into a blog. If one person has that question, is probably likely others do too.
- Highlight Employees or Clients – Has an employee or customer recently overcome a hardship, came back from military duty or won an award? If it’s a compelling or inspirational story, honor them by featuring their story in your blog.
- Post Videos – Is there a video you’ve come across on YouTube that you think would be beneficial to your readers? Embed it into your blog.
- Book or DVD Reviews – If your industry puts out books, DVDs or magazines, people will appreciate your opinion on whether these resources are helpful or not.
Next week, we’ll offer even more tips and tricks on ways to get the most out of your blog. In the mean time, let us know about your business blog. Join our Facebook Fan Page and share a link to your blog site on our "Show Us Your Blog" wall post. We'll be excited to check it out!