If you are a professional, a manager, or a business owner you probably should take a look at adding blogging to your marketing portfolio.
Blogs have arrived. The issue is no longer, is blogging worthwhile for my business. It has now become a question of whether you are blogging or whether you will slowly be left behind in the marketplace.
What is a Blog?
In its simplest form, a blog is a web site in the form of a journal or diary that usually displays entries in a reverse chronological fashion. The term blog is shortened in the typical techno-speak way from web-log. Over the last few years blogs have gained a tremendous number of features and become very sophisticated online publishing tools.
These days blogs can be very simple and stand alone or very feature rich and integrate seamlessly into a company web site. They are extremely low cost to implement. In fact some of the most powerful blogging platforms are actually free to install on your web site.
Once they are set up, blogs are also very easy to operate and to post entries to. You don’t need to be an expert webmaster to post content to a blog. If you can send an email, then you definitely have all the skills you need to post to a blog.
How would a blog benefit your business? Here are a few of the ways.
Improved search engine rankings – Search engines think highly of web sites that have many pages with lots of words (called “content rich sites”) that are updated regularly. Blogs are uniquely custom taylored to be attractive to search engines by nature of their design.
Increased web traffic – This traffic stems from a few different sources. Your site will see more search engine traffic resulting from better rankings. Traffic will also come in the form of others commenting on your posts. These comments will develop conversation which brings people back multiple times (“Did they respond to my comment?”). At the same time others get drawn into the conversation. They will eventually go back to their own blogs and write about you and what you say. When they do they will likely provide a link, pointing folks to your site.
Influence the conversation – Are people talking about you already? Do you even know? If they are and you don’t know what they are saying, that’s bad. And if they aren’t, well that’s not good for business either, is it? When you add blogging to your marketing portfolio you step into the conversation. Or maybe you start a new conversation. The thing is you become engaged, raising awareness, and influencing the conversation’s direction. With a blog you finally get a say about what they say about you.
Avenue for customer feedback – Do you spend money on market research? Do you know what your customers and clients really want? How would you like a low cost way to put your finger on the pulse of your market? You can achieve that through blogging because your clients can leave their comments and give you feedback. You can build a dialog with them and incorporate what you learn into your business. It can give you an invaluable tool to detect those minor improvements that can turn into big dollar improvements in your business.
Build your prominence and reputation – As your web site builds traffic and conversation because of blogging your prominence and reputation in your market will grow. Over the long term effective blogging can have a similar effect to publishing a book. It adds to your credibility.
What types of businesses can benefit from integrating blogging with their marketing plan? Here is an incredibly partial list.
Example Businesses Ripe for Blogging
Professionals – Doctors, Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, Financial Advisers, Accountants
Service Industry – Restaurants, Retail Stores, Wedding Planners, Consultants, Auto Mechanics, Hair Salons, Nail Salons
Entertainment – Musicians, Painters, Photographers, DJ’s, Theaters, Movie Producers
Tourism & Travel – Restaurants, Hotels, Tour Providers, Travel Agents
Exclusively Local Market – Do you want to be know as the place to go in your market? Build your authority in your niche through a blog and you will build your reputation in the community.
Primarily Distant Market – Does your business rely on folks from out of town? Increasing the web’s awareness of you through blogging and you will attract more customers by being seen as the go to presence in your niche.
Basically any business that would benefit from improved trust with the potential customer or client would benefit from blogging. That doesn’t leave many out, does it?
How much would your business benefit if you built a reputation as the go-to person in your market? Blogging is a low cost way to accomplish that very thing.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring these ideas in more detail. Blogging may have arrived at the business world, but there is still a ton to discover here. So the exploring and discovering promises to be exciting!