Marketing basics: Blogging for your business and can it get you any?

First things first.  What is a blog?  A blog is a simple, cost-effective way to get an online presence for your business.  Blogs are basically a form of website but one that is set up to be changed or added to easily so that you can communicate regularly with your readers.

And even if you have a website already they are a good way to boost your rankings – especially if you have a link back to your site on every post and people start to follow it. Most people hear blog and panic!  If that’s you (like initially it was me!) then don’t.  They are easy to set up and easy to manage.  They are not necessarily easy to keep going but like any part of your business they require commitment.

Can a blog get you business?

There are plenty of people out there who resoundingly say YES! – blogging can get you business.  I say, it depends. It depends on several things: what subjects you are hoping to blog about and why, what kind of subscriber you are hoping to attract to your blog, how often you want to (and more importantly are actually able to) blog and whether a blog actually suits the format of your business. These factors are all equally important and you need to consider each one before starting a blog.

Time is key!

time-is-keyOne tip: if you do start a blog make sure that you are able to dedicate the time to write on it at least once a week and with valuable and relevant information.  Personal blogging about relatively innocuous or informal topics are easy, but business blogging takes a little more thought especially if you are looking to draw people into your business through your blog. You have to blog regularly on topics that are relevant to your business and that will encourage your readers to turn into clients.

But it is also a good idea to let you personality show through.  Let your readers get to know you and the occasional irrelevant or personal post will help you do that. Blogging regularly can be difficult if you don’t have the time or the inspiration, but it can equally be easy if you have a whole range of topics relevant to your business to write about. Remember a blog post does not have to be an essay it can be as simple as a daily tip or short article.

OK – so down to practicalities.  If you have decided that:

  • You want to do a blog
  • You have the time to do a blog
  • You know why you want to do one and
  • What you are going to blog about then…

Here is how you can go about it.

How to get your blog up and runningman-climbing-rope

You have two options: paid for and free.  And unlike most free options, free blog options are actually pretty good and worth considering as you get a properly functioning blog – just not all of the paid for features. (This blog is hosted on a free WordPress account.) The paid for services include: TypePad and BlogIt.

The free services include: WordPress, Blogger and  Out of these I would recommend TypePad as a paid option and WordPress as a free option.  The free options usually have premium features that you can upgrade to and pay for if you wish. Have a look at the different options in the blog providers mentioned above and decide on which one is best for you.

How to get people to your blog

  1. Promote it. Tell your newsletter readers about it. promote it on your website, tell your friends, have it on your website or your email signature.
  2. Be laser focused. Make sure that you are primarily focusing on a particular topic area that is relevant to your business.
  3. Become a guest blogger. Contributing content to someone else’s blog may seem weird, but it’s a solid strategy to gain exposure for your own blog and build your subscriber base. Just make it very clear to the blog owner that you require a very brief byline at the end of the post, with a link back to your site.
  4. Post in forums or on social media sites like Twitter. A tried and true technique since the earliest days of the Internet is to be a helpful, proactive participant in forums that are important in your niche. The same now applies to social media. People will notice that you are offering yourself up to others, and will be more inclined to see what else you have to offer with your blog. (Every time I write a post I tweet about it on Twitter.)
  5. Networking. This is perhaps the most overlooked strategy for gaining traffic and subscribers. Don’t badger other bloggers for links, because it rarely works anymore. Find a way to help them with something, and then eventually work that initial graciousness into a business relationship and even friendship. There are real people behind these blogs, and they respond to good will just like people do offline.

Finally, the benefits…success-failure1

A blog can help you to:

  • Boost your search engine ranking
  • Connect and interact with your clients
  • Inject some personality into your business – make your business human
  • Develop your reputation
  • Communicate with your customers easily and regularly
  • Find out what your customers really think by encouraging them to comment on your posts
  • Provide expertise, share your knowledge
  • Build your niche through your blog content

So that’s it!  If you have any questions about blogs then please feel free to email me and if I don’t know the answer I will find it for you!  And of if you haven’t subscribed to this blog then please do so or you can follow me on Twitter.

One last thing, have a look at different blogs to get some inspiration and make sure you plan ahead.  Try to get yourself at least 10 short blog posts in the bag for those times when you run short of inspiration or time and make a list of possible blog topics and keep going!  You can also leverage information you have alrerady written.  just make sure you update it if necessary and that it is suitable for a blog.

Visit the Just Too Busy website for more information on how we help small businesses promote themselves.