Unless you have been living under a rock and using smoke signals to promote your business, you are probably aware of the term “Blog”. For the rock-dwellers, a Blog is a regular website article, typically written by an individual and written in an informal or conversational style.
The simple Blog has become a powerful marketing tool and it is one of the most effective tools that a business can use to engage with their customers. Used correctly, a Blog enables direct communication with prospects and allows the sharing of relevant information with current clients.
Here’s five simple reasons why your small business needs to start blogging:
To provide your customers with helpful content.
Gone are the days where a website simply existed to tell customers where you are and what you do. With a wealth of information available at our fingertips, we expect more from the business sites that we choose to visit.
Reward your site visitors with value by providing helpful tips on using your products/services, examples of how other customers have benefited through a relationship with your business or discussing news articles that are relevant to the industry in which you operate.
Visitors are much more likely to return to your site if they know that fresh information awaits them on each visit.
A Blog gives your Business a Voice.
Through the voice of a blog, a small business operator can show that the business is run by real people who care about what they do. You can use blog posts to provide insights into the business or to introduce the employees who make the business what it is. You can tell your customers WHY you’re in business, HOW you have helped others and WHAT you can do to help them.
Be sure to use your own “voice” when writing blog posts – I read all my posts out loud as I type them to ensure that they “sound” like me.
Create a Two-Way Conversation
Enable comments on your blog to encourage interaction with your site visitors. If you are concerned about the type of comments that will be left by visitors, systems can be put in place to allow moderation of comments before they are posted.
Reply quickly to all comments and open a channel of discussion. Demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry and your business is worth the site visitor’s attention.
Search Engines LOVE Blogs
The GoogleBot looks for websites that have valuable, helpful content as part of its search ranking system and rewards relevant content with improved positions in search results. Your Blog content, when written correctly, is perfect for fulfilling this requirement as it ticks the boxes for being fresh, relevant AND helpful.
Blogging will Inspire your Business life
Once you get into a routine of Blogging, you’ll start to see new ideas all around you. Not just for your blog, but for all aspects of your business life. Talking with workmates, watching TV, eating in a restaurant, and just walking the dog – you’ll be surprised where ideas will begin to spring from.
Remember this quote from David Allen of GTD* fame – “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them”. Write down ideas, straight away. My idea-writing medium of choice – the extra sticky Post-It note, stuck to my monitor.
One hidden advantage to Blog writing that I have found is the strengthening of my ability to effectively write and speak, not just about my industry but in all forms of communication. My language usage has been “awakened” through weekly blog writing and I feel comfortable communicating on forums, emails, customer letters, meetings with clients and speaking with family/friends.
Blog writing is not hard nor time-consuming – simply set aside a small piece of time and get going. I usually write the first draft of a blog in 25 minutes using a Pomodoro timer and then leave that piece for a couple of days. I’ll then take another look to polish before posting online (which usually takes another 25 minutes).
The most important thing is to start and be consistent – the benefits of a Blog will surprise you.
* GTD = “Getting Things Done” by David Allen