Running a good blog is a lot of work (notice my slow posting the last couple weeks – to be better after the 4th). Yet I firmly believe that blogging can be well worthwhile for a small business.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits – and consider how to make them even more powerful.
Running a blog, even if it just posts company news, provides potential customers with some insight into your business. They might even start to feel like they know you. Regular blogging also provides a signal that you are still in business and reliable enough/care enough to make the effort. A few ways to increase the “realness” of your website include:
- Put real names as the post author – your name is not admin. If employees post, make that obvious. Consider an “about the author” box at the end of each post. You can even include a photo.
- Establish a schedule. Blog at least that often – I’d suggest this be monthly at a very minimum.
- Write simply, and as yourself. People often respond better to posts that allow in a bit of personality. Some businesses will want to temper this advice – a lawyer’s blog, for instance, will need a more professional tone than that of a coffee shop.
- Even if your blog is more about establishing authority (see next heading), do include some company news items – moving offices? Had a company party? New employees? Many of these can help demonstrate that yours is a thriving business, and one that will be enjoyable to do business with.
Build Authority/Demonstrate Expertise
Establishing yourself as an expert in your field can be one of the most valuable goals for a blog, although also one of the most demanding. This will require writing articles about your field that help readers – and with the amount of content on the web today, it can be hard to really stand out as producing great advice.
You can also benefit from a handful of expert articles on a company news blog – link to them from throughout your website, to demonstrate your knowledge to potential customers. Even if you aren’t recognized worldwide, it should help with website conversions. To demonstrate expertise:
- Put serious time into your articles, and don’t be afraid of making them long.
- Write about a topic you really know. Consider targeting a niche piece of the subject where you can be a true expert.
- Promote your content. If you want to become a real authority, people have to read what you wrote. Social media is your friend.
Most blogs, by default, allow comments. These scare some companies, but I encourage that they be left on. If you have few readers, it may be just employees that say anything, but over time you may find customers writing notes as well.
Interaction helps to tie customers to your company, as they feel more a part of what’s going on – some businesses are even able to develop an online community that is passionate about the brand. For those that don’t go this far, comments help provide some life to your blog, making it look more legitimate to those that stumble across your site.
If you allow comments on your blog:
- Respond as quickly as possible. If using WordPress, consider subscribe to comments so commentors can be notified of your response.
- End some blog posts with a question or ask for the reader’s opinion.
- Encourage employees to check out your blog and write occasional comments. Nothing encourages more comments like existing comments.
Search Engine Optimization
A business blog can help increase your search rankings. Business websites with blogs tend to get more links (although this may be partially because those that care about links are blogging). Blogs also allow you to add search-targeted content and are great for sharing on social media (which increasingly influences search engine rank). You can use blogs for SEO with strategies such as:
- Post content that will get shared/linked to. This is key for generating authority as well, but any business could benefit by writing content that will become popular. There are lots of ideas for this online.
- Think about what potential customers might be interested in. Write about it. The search engines will find it, and people will find you through them. For instance, a moving company might realize people are concerned about moving their pets, and write an article such as “How to Take Care of Your Pets During a Move.”
- Link frequently. Use your blog to link back to pages on your site with a variety of keywords. Don’t be afraid to link out from your site as well.
Email/Print/Social Media Marketing
A final benefit of blogging is that you’ll be creating lots of content. This content can then be repurposed for email lists or use in print newsletters. Just don’t republish it to other websites – you want the content on your site to be unique.
Publishing regularly to your blog will also give you more to talk about on your social media accounts. If you write a good article, or have some interesting news, be sure to share it with Facebook/Twitter followers.
Get an easy-to-use blog with a Small Business Shift Website.
Unsure what to write or how to promote your blog?
Visit my online marketing services page and contact me for help.
Whether you’re just going to start posting some company news, or plan on becoming the recognized #1 expert in your industry, blogging can be a great way to market your business and build a connection with customers. If you’re willing to make a serious attempt at it, a business blog will become a key piece of your online marketing strategy.