It seems they everybody and his brother are blogging these days. The blogosphere is crammed with writers on every subject imaginable.
Most importantly, it will help to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
So what makes a great blog? More specifically, what creates a business-generating blog?
Before you begin to blog, ask yourself “why am I blogging?”
- To introduce my business to the world?
- To personalize my business?
- To help establish yourself as an expert in your field?
- To provide valuable information to my visitors about my industry?
- To give my target visitors information on subjects that is of interest to them?
- To enter a dialogue with your visitors?
- To drive sales for my business?
- To rank higher in search engines?
INTRODUCE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE WORLD
Unless you are a Fortune 500 company, there are millions of people out there who have never heard of you. A company blog is a terrific vehicle for introducing yourself. Be conversational, tell your visitors what you do. Tell them about your products and services, tell them what distinguishes you. Don’t hit them over the head with a heavy sales pitch. Make it informative and useful and your visitors will become your customers.
Use photographs of people, offices and products… anything to help put a face on your brand.
PERSONALIZE YOUR BUSINESS
Companies can be monoliths. A blog is a terrific tool for putting a human face on your business. Business owners can show their passion for their products. Employees can talk about the company culture… what a great place your business is to work. Just as in the “real world,” people like doing business with people they like.
ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT
If you have started a business or are running a business, presumably you have a great deal of expertise in your field. A blog gives you a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your expertise to the world. In doing so, you give visitors confidence in your abilities, which often has the effect of turning visitors into clients or customers.
- A real estate law firm can provide specific, useful advice about closings
- An accounting firm can give advice about the latest IRS rulings
- A cardiologist can give advice about diet and exercise
PROVIDE VALUABLE INDUSTRY INFORMATION
Beyond showing your company’s expertise, you can provide information on industry trends. As a service to your visitors, summarize the latest news and don’t be afraid to link them to articles. Even though you are sending them away from your site, visitors will remember the valuable service you provided.
- If you are selling shoes, tell people about the latest trends and styles. Link them to stories about the latest fashion shows in Milan.
- If you are a dermatologist, talk about specific conditions and treatments. Tell your visitors about the latest research and link them to relevant studies.
- If you are manufacturing cars, use the blog to talk about car technology, design and ways the economy is affecting car sales and link them to the appropriate sites.
PROVIDE INFORMATION THAT SERVES THE RELATED INTERESTS OF YOUR VISITORS
Target some of your blogs to the lifestyle of your visitors.
- If you are a health food store, blog about adventure travel
- If you are a sporting goods store, blog about a sporting event or personality
- If you are an airline, blog about travel destinations
ENTER A DIALOGUE WITH YOUR VISITORS
One great feature about blogging is that it allows readers to comment on the blog post. Do not ignore these comments! Reader comments are a terrific way to find out what your visitors like and don’t like about your posts. Feedback can result in better communication, better customer service and maybe even in ways to improve what you do.
DRIVING SALES WITH YOUR BLOG
This is where things get tricky. People who read blogs don’t want to be directly marketed to. Give them enough information to capture their attention, but leave them wanting just a little bit more. A subtle nudge like “for more information…” or “want to know more about…” can help turn visitors into clients or customers.
IMPROVE YOUR RANKINGS:
Search engines like most of the same things that internet users like. There are several important ways that a blog on your company website can help increase your search engine rankings:
- Fresh content: search engines pay more attention to websites that update their content more often.
- Relevant content: the more well-organize content you have on your site, the more potential it has to be perceived as relevant to your target search queries.
- Authoritative content: a major factor in search engine rankings is how many other relevant websites are linking to yours. Be a resource to others on the web who are interested in your area of expertise; nothing indicates authority and rank-worthiness to Google/Yahoo/Bing like other authoritative sources linking to your content or citing you as a source.
An informative, entertaining an interactive blog can put a great face on your business. If you are willing to devote the time to writing quality blogs and write them with enough frequency to keep visitors coming back for more, then you have the opportunity to generate new business and offer your current clients one more reason to stay with you.