With all of the attention on social media marketing these last few years, one very important marketing tool has been grossly overlooked -- the blog. If you're looking for a cost-effective way to promote your business, increase traffic to your website, and engage with your customers, considering adding a blog to your website. And, if you already have one but haven't been creating content for it, I recommend you make it a priority this year.
Full disclosure: I've been writing since I was 10 years old, so coming up with content for a blog isn't as intimidating as it is for many people. I actually won the Writing Award in 8th grade. I wrote for the high school newspaper. My college roommate told me she learned more about writing from me than she did her English professor. And now, M-A-N-Y years later, my job is to put sentences together for other people. Needless to say, when I have a day full of writing on the schedule, I am a happy camper.
But hey -- I get it folks. There are times when I stare at a blank computer screen just like everyone else. Finding the right words can be a challenge. When it comes to your business, though, it's really worth the effort. Here's why...
Credibility. As a business owner, you likely know more about your products and services than the average guy on the street. You're the expert, right? Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge with, well, anyone who goes looking for it on the world wide web. (and you know they do). Listen, not everyone is on social media. While you can most definitely share blog posts on your social media channels, those who don't have a social media account are potential customers, too. Translation... having a blog on your website increases your brand's reach to a broader audience.
Searchability. When someone conducts a search for information about a product or service your business offers, you want those magical search engine algorithms to lead them straight to you. Blogging can help. Writing content that includes keywords your target market uses for online searches can help your business rank higher on the search results pages. You already know what those keywords are -- they're contained in the most frequently asked questions your customers ask you and in the conversations you have with customers every day.
Visibility. Writing about relevant topics and including content that has value for your customers (and potential customers) on a frequent basis increases the likelihood that your website will be seen (and shared) by more eyes than your competitors who aren't blogging. Some studies suggest that businesses which blog consistently increase traffic to their website by as much as eight times; another indicates visitors are 55% more likely to buy from a business with an interesting, consistent blog. That's significant.
What should you write about? Everything. Pretend you're having conversations about your industry with friends and acquaintances. Educate them about terminology and the latest research. Introduce your newest product. Give them tips and advice. Share your brand's unique personality and "the thing" that sets your business apart from all the others.
How often should you blog? That depends on your business and your resources. The more often you post content, the better your results, but be strategic. Don't waste your visitors' time. You want to create content that is valuable for both your business and your customers. There is such a thing as bad writing, after all!
If you don't have time to blog for your business, consider designating an employee to do it for you. You can also hire bloggers (like me) to create the content. Good writers will be able to brainstorm with you about relevant topics, be familiar with SEO, and conscientious about how your brand is represented.
Take the first step by adding a blog to your website, then brainstorm a list of relevant topics you can share with your target market(s). Remember, you're the expert. People are searching for your products and services. A well-written blog which is updated frequently can help them find you.