A few years ago blogging was extremely popular. It has declined in popularity recently despite the fact that it remains a popular social media tool. Blogs provide a number of business benefits, however, many blogs don't get results because they are not created strategically or written correctly for the web. In working with businesses on their blogs there are a number of simple strategies and tactics that mean the difference between success and failure. Blogs are definitely worth the investment as they can provide immense value to businesses.
Position yourself as a thought leader. A blog is a powerful way to position yourself and your brand as a thought leader in your industry. By sharing your thoughts and views or unique knowledge you can be perceived as an expert in your area. Most businesses are great at something and sharing your knowledge is a great way to showcase this. Showing your expertise through a blog builds trust in you and your business.
Search Engine Traffic. Probably one of the best reasons to start a blog is for search engine traffic. Search engines are like blogs because they have a lot of content that is updated frequently. This means that when people search for words related to your product or your blog posts, you are more likely to show up at the top of the results. This means more traffic for your website and ultimately more sales!
To share news. Most small businesses don't have a fancy PR firm or a press page. That doesn't mean they don't have news! A blog is a great way to share news about your business in an honest, own and personable way.
Get customer feedback. Blogs can generate two-way conversations between a company and their customers. Leverage your blog to ask for customer feedback. You can get feedback on current items or have your customers help you build new products or services. When I worked at a startup we used our blog to generate discussions around what our new products should be. Our blog gave us an opportunity to share what we are working on and give our customers an opportunity to tell us what they thought. Our blog comments also helped us to develop our policies, as we got considerable customer feedback and suggestions from our readers.
Connect with customers on content. Whatever your business line there are subject areas related to your product that your audience is passionate about. Zappos, a company that sells shoes and clothes online runs a fashion blog. They know that frequent shoppers on their site are interested in fashion trends. So, their blog provides information and updates on fashion. Are there subjects that are related to your business that your customers are passionate about? A blog is a great way to make a connection based around that shared interest.
Show you are human. A blog can show the human side of your business. Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust. By posting personal content they feel like they know you. It builds a personal connection. For example, people "connect" with me over being Canadian, or drinking insanely too much coffee. They like you because the blogs show the nice and personable side of you. You share their interests, say nice things, comment and respond. They trust you because you say smart things about your product or subject area which builds trust over time. The human element also builds trust.
Provide context about your business. Prior to making a purchase most people do some research online. If it is a big purchase they want to know if you are legitimate, provide a good product and know your stuff. Often, the corporate website is canned and shiny, but doesn't provide real, transparent and authentic seeming information. The blog can do this. A blog can show the real side of the company and build the trust that ultimately leads to purchases. It provides more context about you as a business and your products.