Everywhere you turn someone is mentioning a blog. They’re popular. Trendy even. People read them constantly, the search engines love them, and the biggest websites are now based upon them. Business blogging is all the rage. Oh yeah. You’re reading one right now!
From large corporations to the work-at-home mom, it has never been easier to get your message out to the masses through this self-publishing platform.
The reasons for blogging vary by individual, company, and industry, but primarily it should be used when you’ve got something to say and someone else is (hopefully) interested in hearing it.
Why is blogging so important? Glad you asked…
What is a Blog?
Blogging is nothing more than publishing content (information) on your website in a chronological format that visitors can find, read (or watch or listen to), and use for their own benefit.
Blogging is a form of content marketing, taking your message (the content) and distributing it across the web for those searching for the information (the marketing) you have to offer. Since people do business with those they know, like, and trust, the more information you can distribute for free, the more good-will, likability, trust, and authority you’re building with potential customers.
Your customers have questions. Questions about products and services that you offer. How do they get those questions answered? By Googling them, of course! As a small business owner, your goal should be to become the answer to your (potential) customers questions. To become the Wikipedia of your industry. Blogging is the easiest and best possible way to self-publish your content and information.
Just think. If every time a potential customer Googled a question related to what you sell and your website/blog was the first result that popped up, don’t you think that would give you a little (a lot!) more credibility and make it much more likely to purchase from you instead of a competitor?
When you write a blog post, upload an instructional video, or publish any other type of valuable information that someone can consume for free, you’re increasing the credibility of your business in the eyes of the consumer, and this goes a long way towards increasing the probability of a sale with that potential client.
From a psychology perspective, when someone receives something of value for free, they feel indebted to the source of that value, and if the source is a business that provides a product or service which the person has a strong desire for, they are much more likely to purchase from this business in the future.
This also makes your business seem more accessible. It humanizes the business. We all know that people do business with those who they know, like, and trust. Blogging can help with that.
Publishing content (helpful information in written, audio, or video format) on a regular basis shows that you’re an expert in your field, which in turn will create a desire for more people to want to use your services.
Setting up a blog has never been easier. You can get a free one at wordpress.com, tumblr.com, blogger.com, and many more. If your current website is built on a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, this feature is already built in.
Marketing is a process, a system of activity that brings in sales. Marketing is selling in advance.
In order to be effective, you must focus on the right market, deliver the correct message, using the proper medium. If any one of these 3 M’s are left out, your marketing will not be successful.
In the online world, it’s no different. Your web presence and the message you’re conveying needs to be consistent.
All that aside, what about for the local brick and mortar business owner: is business blogging worth the time and effort? The answer is a resounding “YES” for several reasons, and here’s what they are.
- It allows you to position yourself above the competition who is not blogging.
- It increases your search engine ranking.
- It can provide valuable information to potential clients who are Googling the terms you’re writing about.
Blogging is great for SEO. If you want your business to rank at the top of Google, one of the most important steps is to publish more content and information that Google (and the other search engines) can index and display to people searching for your topics. Which means more potential customers arriving at your website and blog. Adding a blog to your boring old static website will offer some immediate search ranking help.
In advertising, it’s not uncommon for someone to completely forget seeing your ad or marketing piece even after viewing it over 8 times. This is why traditional shotgun based advertising requires so many “touches” to be effective, consumers don’t gain brand or product recognition until seeing/hearing/reading an ad over 8 times. The more valuable content you deliver that a potential client sees, the more of an authority you become in their eyes, and the greater your brand recognition.
When it comes time to make a purchase, your blog readers are going to choose you over the competition, since you’re now seen as the authority in your industry, they feel indebted since you’ve provided something of value for free, and they trust what you have to say.
What Should You Blog About?
Now I can hear your arguments already, “…but I don’t have time. It’s too much work. I don’t have anything to write about. I don’t know what my customers are interested in. etc. etc. etc.” Here’s a few suggestions to help you get started:
- A list of your business’ most popular questions and answers
- Product or service reviews that relate to your industry
- Tips and suggestions to related to your industry that will make your customer’s life easier
- Information that is readily available to you, but not the average customer
- Customer case studies
- Top 10 lists of things to do, and not to do
- …And lots more!
All of these topics will endear you to those coming to your site. You’ll be seen as an expert. You’ll get more search traffic. And in turn, you’ll get more regular customers coming to you and handing over their hard-earned dollars for your product or service.
Don’t like to write? Then record videos using your iPhone. Post them to YouTube then place them on your blog. Or use a voice recorder and start a podcast. Car Talk on NPR is just that, except with call in questions and played live.
Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to blogging, but consistency of posting is right up there as well.
if you already have a blog, start using it. And remember, consistency is the most important rule of blogging!
So to summarize, blogging is good for business because it extends the reach of your business through search engine optimization; it increases your credibility and authority on your topic; and it helps potential customers to know, like and trust you, which equals more sales and loyal, consistent customer base.
Does your business have a blog? If so, how are you using it to connect with potential customers?