When thinking about ways to market your company’s products and services, a blog might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the truth is blogging has been proven time and again to be an effective and inexpensive tool. Over 77% of internet users are reading blogs[i], and over half of blog readers report that they find blogs useful for purchase information.[ii]
So what exactly is a blog? It’s simply a portion of a website where new entries are posted regularly, displayed in reverse-chronological order with the newest post at the top. The fact that the definition is so broad can be overwhelming. After all, what are supposed to be in these blog entries?
That’s why the first step after you’ve decided to create a blog is setting goals. This will help guide the topics you choose to write about and keep your blog from meandering, which can be a turn-off for readers. People want to know what to expect when they visit your blog. Here are just a few goals to consider for business blogs:
Increase Web traffic.
Updating your site regularly with quality content will help with search engine optimization, boosting your search engine ranking and allowing more people to find your site. Blogging also encourages people to link to your site, which also improves your ranking. And of course, with new content being added, people have a reason to visit your site more often.
Raise brand awareness.
If you provide valuable content, you will find that other blogs and websites link to your posts and share them on Facebook and LinkedIn, exposing new people to your brand.
Build relationships with your customers.
Most blogs offer the option for people to comment, allowing them to participate in the conversation. Paying attention to these comments, taking their feedback into account, responding to comments, and directly addressing reader inquiries in future posts can foster relationships with your customers.
Attract business partnerships.
A blog can be a great way to encourage people to invest in your business. You can share your successes, strategies, and goals for the future. You’ll also be able to showcase your expertise, letting them know that you have the know-how to execute the plans as well.
Generate new leads.
Of course, not just your current customers will be checking out your blog. People who are looking to invest in your services want to know more about what you do, and a blog is a great way to educate them.
Now that you’ve chosen a goal (or goals) for your blog, you need to find a content management system so you can easily add new blogs to your site at least once a week – but two or three times a week is better. You may also want to hire a writer to help you develop content. Once you get the blog up and running, you’ll find that it’s easy to maintain and well worth the effort.