I know there are folks who can’t see the point of writing blogs.
There are a lot of blogs out there which provide content every single day. There are also many blogs which are only updated sporadically, when the owner remembers the urge to post. Others begin writing blogs enthusiastically and then tail off because they’re not seeing immediate results. Then there are those who don’t like writing or think they can’t write. And finally, there are people who don’t even know what a blog is.
You would be surprised how many small businesses don’t have a website let alone use it to write blogs. In 2010, 51% of small businesses in the UK did not have a website and by 2015 this figure had reduced – to 50%. When you put this in context of the record 5.5 million UK private sector businesses trading at the start of 2016 and with SMEs forming 99.3% of this sector, it’s hard to get your head around such a sizeable disparity even when taking “white van man” or the small local shop owner or trader into account.
We use blogging at the Venus Awards as part of our social media and communications strategy. When we launched in 2009 social media was already making its presence felt as a marketing tool, and it gave us the perfect medium to spread the message about the newly minted Awards in a reasonably pain-free way from our desks. These days the internet is an essential marketing component for any company big or small. However, unless you can hire specialists in social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), learning how to maximise your social media often comes through trial and error. Not a bad way to learn the ropes but sometimes costly.
I’ve already written about the use of social media in building your business in “3 Ways to grow your social media following” and “How to build your online brand” - you will also find an article by Forbes Top 20 social media guru Lilach Bullock at “Ten ways to grow your business with social media” but I want to focus specifically on blogging as it’s possibly the one area of social media marketing that gives people the jitters.
Blog. It’s a wonky word isn’t it?
By that I mean it’s an odd, unusual word. What’s its meaning? First of all it’s a noun and a verb and is a shortened version of “weblog”. According to Wikipedia a weblog (blog) is a “discussional or informational website consisting of discrete, often informal diary style text entries”. Blogs have developed from the single authored site, single subject site such as this one to multi-authored blogs (MABs) which are written by large numbers of authors, sometimes professionally edited and most commonly published by newspapers and other media, universities, public sector bodies, who now account for the increasing numbers and quality of blog traffic. Add to this the exponential growth of Twitter and micro-blogging and you get a sense of what a huge phenomenon it’s become.
I say you should blog and here’s why.
This is how it should flow. Your blog is a deliverer of information about you (mission, aims, expertise, brand, services, value, benefits, USP). You want your readers to visit your site to learn about all of these fabulous things that you embody and then become interested in what else you have to say. Create the opportunity to receive back from your readers e.g. encourage comments and feedback. Ask for their opinions. Dialogue of this kind establishes initial engagement, further engagement and hopefully profitability (profit not always being of the monetary kind). Use your blog to link to other blogs you may have written, to studies and research, great graphics, hot topics in your field, and other weblogs.
Blogging enhances the reputation of your business. By blogging you can demonstrate your expertise, prove your credentials, and position yourself as the “go to” person for ideas, advice, creativity, problem solving and let’s face it, to do business. People want to associate with the best, the original thinker, the innovator, the success story, the opinion maker. Blogging gives you the chance to demonstrate your capabilities and create your own niche.
KEEPING YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY
Writing regular, interesting and “authentically you” blogs means that when you wish to stand back from the more obvious sales pitch you can do so without losing touch with your client base.
Blogging keeps your finger on the pulse without having to have “face time” as good and helpful as that is.
This is important as it’s the way that search engines will find you online and therefore more visible to potential clients. Once again we get back to the necessity of writing good content and regular news items for your site. You may also want to explore vlogging, the video clip equivalent of blogging. Research other websites to see the creativity of vlogging and then experiment yourself. With the benefit of smart technology on tablets and mobile phones you don’t need to use a video camera. Just think of Facebook’s new “Live” streaming where users can upload real time videos and you will get a sense of how popular vlogging has become.
EXTEND YOUR REACH
Blogging is not just about creating content for your website but your social media too. Publishing and sharing your blogs on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+ (or whatever permutation of social media you use) will boost your reach and penetration of your target market and as with website ranking increases your visibility. The overall aim is to persuade potential clients to contact you because they like what they see and you have solutions to what they need. Start to see blogging as creating promotable search engine optimisation (SEO) that has the power to generate business and brand value.
BUILDING UP YOUR BRAND
Blogging is a wonderful way of expressing your company’s mojo and by extension its brand.
The informal nature of blogging means that they are brilliantly suited for brand strengthening because they are very affordable meaning that you can manage your promotional messages and values in a highly cost-effective way. The main cost or should I say investment for, this is what it is, lies mostly in the time it takes to write good copy.
Picking up from the usefulness of blogging in building your brand it should also start to attract media attention. This may be local to begin with but with regular postings that demonstrate your expertise and industry knowledge the national media may be compelled to contact you for a news story.
Good blogging brings you:
Have I convinced you?
If done properly and regularly blogging offers vast potential, if you care to tap it.
Perhaps the “wonky word” is worth getting to know a little better?
If you have any experience to share about blogging please leave your comments below. We would love to hear from you.