Business Blogs: Why Your Business Needs One, How to Start & What to Post
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, new in business, SME or much larger organization, adding a blog or news section to your website or online presence is a great way of serving your primary audience. It’s also a key strategy for lead generation, growing your brand recognition and potentially your reputation, by becoming the go-to-front-of-mind expert resource in your target market.
While blogs have been around since the late 1990s they’ve gained increased importance for business today. When done well, blogs are very cost effective marketing tools for driving lead generation and sales. I’d even go as far as saying they’re now critical to businesses. Customers are so overwhelmed by content 24/7 that if your blog can become a curator source of really useful high quality content you’ll be sought out as the preferred resource and solution provider, the No.1 brand in your target market.
Blogs: A Key Part of Your Social Media Presence
If you’re new to social media and find it all a bit over whelming or intimidating then blogging is a great way of launching yourself online through short quality articles compared to engaging immediately in live dialogue on other platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.
Social media is such a ubiquitous part of our business world and blogs are a key part of that maturing social media ecosystem. They provide an ‘owned’ social media outlet through content, allowed social sharing, guest writers and a forum for conversation via comments etc.
In fact if you’re in business and a ‘leader’, or aspiring leader, you have to have an ‘engaging’ online presence of some sort and a well managed blog is an essential platform to get your brand name and voice heard.
Attract New Customers and Be The Go-To-Expert for Repeat Business
Undeniably writing a good business to business blog does require a certain level of commitment but with a little time and effort can pay huge dividends in the long run. Don’t be put off by the idea of writing either. You don’t need to have amazing writing skills. In fact clear, simple, jargon free language is often better. Writing is like any other skill, with a little practice you get a lot better so don’t hold back, dive in, share your gifts, your expertise with the world! There are customers out there who will really thank you for solving their problems, refer you, and come back to you time and time again.
Online Search Optimisation for Your Brand
Another very important reason for writing a good blog is that it supports search optimisation. Blogs provide keyword rich content that answers customers questions which are consequently much more Google friendly i.e. you’re more likely to be found online.
The key is to start out with a well defined goal. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you aiming to become recognised as an expert in a specialist area? Are you going to offer tips and insights to help your customers solve common problems? At a minimum start with at least one objective you want to achieve. You can’t hit your target if you don’t have a defined goal in mind and those goals should be aligned to your business objectives. The more specific and measurable your goal the better, also a clear goal will help keep you on track when planning and writing your content.
Consistently Compelling Content
What are you going to writing about? This is the question that frequently brings clients to a screeching halt. However it’s a lot easier then you think when you start breaking down your expertise into 12 core topics. What can you feature that’s really useful, interesting and insightful to your customers and congruent with your core brand message? When you start looking at it in those terms is suddenly becomes simpler. Once you’ve picked your 12 master topics then sub-divide each of them into 4 additional separate detailed articles under that overriding topic.
For example I write brand related content so in a given year I could decided to feature a topic on Brand Profiling & Positioning, Brand Name Origination, Brand Audits, Brand Packaging, Brand Risk Management, Brand Revitalisation, Social Media & Branding, Brand Strategy, Brand Web Design, Online Marketing, Mastermind Branding Programmes, Brand Identity Design etc. Incidentally you can click on any one of the relevant categories in the right hand column of this blog to find all the articles posted on your topic of potential interest.
I could then sub-divide each of those topics into four different articles and suddenly my year is planned with one blog topic a week! The secret is advance planning and you’ll never have writers block! It’s also a good idea to have 2-3 evergreen articles written ahead of time so when you’re under pressure in a particularly busy week you always have one to hand.
Keep your content fresh, knowledgeable, informative, compelling and engaging. It’s also far better to write authentically in your own voice or personality, congruent with your core brand message, so your audience gets to know you and your brand (product or service). It’s also a lot more powerful and easier then trying to sustain an artificial facade that’s not your own.
• Have you included a blog as part of your brand marketing strategy?
• Could you use it as one of your key drivers for lead generation?
• Could you engage additionally with to your existing customers through your blog by giving them added value to support their needs?
*This is part of an article written by Lorraine Carter, listed as one of the Top 1,000 Women of Influence in Ireland, and published in Irish Tatler Business Annual 2013.
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