As we have all seen over the past few years, business blogs are popping up everywhere! Everyone from the famous Hilton Hotel chain to the local business around the corner from you are launching their own piece of the online marketplace.
Why are they doing it? Well for many reasons, but the ones you are probably interested in is the fact that they are top credibility and customer relationship builders for businesses and create many new opportunities to grow your business. Not to mention that they drive that all important traffic to your website!
So, let’s get down to basics…and I do mean basics (anyone familiar with the blogging platform – avert your eyes now).
A blog is basically an online diary where you can share your opinions, expertise, favorite videos, relevant pictures…basically anything that you want to communicate to your target market of readers. What makes it different from your commerce website, is that the language is more conversational and should inspire comment and conversation with your readers.
As a business person, think about a blog as a conversation starter with your customer. Every time you write to your customer (by posting a note or article on your blog) you are blogging. As you are the author of your blog postings, you are considered a blogger. I share this with you because sometimes the above “blogging lingo” can over complicate such a simple concept, so it is best to understand these terms before you dive in.
Blogs allow your customers and prospective customers to learn more about you and your business as well interact in real time, through commenting on your posts. The by-product is that when you share your expertise with the masses, you build your credibility in your industry. And best of all…it can work as a direct funnel of pre-qualified leads directly to your website.
These are the steps to get started:
- Sign up for a free blog on either WordPress or Blogger (two most used FREE blog sites….I prefer WordPress)
- Using their ready-made design templates, choose a suitable layout for your blog (make sure to use one that fits your message and topic….so no puppies spilling out of baskets if you are a chain of funeral homes)
- And then start posting!
Ok, simple enough. But what the heck do you write about? The simple answer: anything that is related to your business or area of expertise. If you are an economist, write about some of the recent advances in economic policy. If you own a computer software company, share ten tips to a faster desktop computer.
A great way to easily generate activity on your blog is to look at every piece of information that you have written in the past (articles, ebooks, marketing materials, brochures, company bios, etc) and see if you can recycle it! Post it on your blog and you have instant content!
Now that you have a site, design and content…it is time to let people know it exists. Let everyone know about your little piece of heaven on:
- Your email signature
- Your company website
- Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest)
- Use Digg and Technorati to share your stories
- Market your blogs through article marketing sites
- Send out an email blast to your database
- Anytime you write an article for anything online, make sure to add the link to your blog…even in discussion rooms and message boards
Now that you have people coming, make sure that you write new blog postings packed with useful information at LEAST twice a week. The trick to effective blogging is not to do 100 posts a week, but to pick a number and hit it consistently. Once a week all you can spare, that’s fine if you make sure to do it every week.
Blogging does not create instant results, but as your audience of followers grow, so will the number of business opportunities. In my opinion, blogging is one of the crucial marketing mediums that every company and individual should not ignore.
Top Tip: If you do not have the time or expertise to get a blog started quickly, it is absolutely acceptable to outsource this to a company who specializes in this.
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