So, you’ve decided to start a blog for your business, huh? Congratulations—as long as you treat your blog readers right, this will be one of the best marketing decisions you’ve made. The benefits of blogging make up a long list, ranging from increasing your web visibility to building customer relationships and loyalty.
However, whether or not you enjoy these benefits depends upon how you’re actually blogging. Here are four tips for the business blogging newbie who might need some help knowing what to blog about and how to do it.
1. Know the goal of your blog.
It’s easy to jump into social media marketing—including blogging—just because it’s the popular thing to do at the moment. For your blog to actually be effective, however, you need to clearly know what your goals are. Are you starting a blog mostly for SEO purposes? Are you starting a blog to put a personal face on your company? Is your blog designed to teach customers more about your products or provide customers with info that helps them? All of these blog goals are valid, but you need to know ahead of time why your blog exists and what you’re trying to achieve with it.
An example of a blog with a clearly-defined goal is Caterpillar, the construction equipment manufacturing company. Their posts are designed to help customers solve problems by using Caterpillar equipment. Furthermore, they encourage dialogue on their blog so that customers can educate each other on the best ways to use Caterpillar machinery. The company has divided their blog into different industries, such as construction, electrical, and marine, and then listed different blog post categories under each industry. The result is a blog that is easy to navigate and engaging for customers.
2. People love pictures and videos.
A blog that’s all words is very 2003. These days, people expect engaging blogs to include plenty of photos and even videos. To meet this expectation, consider adding a weekly YouTube blog post or business Flickr photostream.
Although you definitely want to create some of your own videos and pictures, you can also get your users to do the work for you. For example, try holding a video contest where your blog readers submit reviews of your products or demonstrate how to use your products. Give video reviewers something in return, such as a store credit or other prize. Not only does this provide you with credible videos, saving you from having to do the work, it also encourages interaction and customer loyalty.
3. Throw in a dash of personality.
Just because it’s a business blog doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of personality. The photos and YouTube videos give you a chance to show some of your personality off. Remember: One of the main purposes of various social media channels is to establish a personal connection with your customers. You can’t establish that personal connection if your blog consists only of posts that read like ad copy. From time to time, use your blog to tell a story. It could be a story about your company, a story about how you use your own products, or it could be a story that’s not specifically related to your company. Help your customers feel like they know you; befriend them.
4. When in doubt, ask your readers.
If you’re not sure what you should be writing about on your blog, here’s a novel idea: Ask your customers. By surveying your blog readers, you might find out that they want more video tutorials on how to use your widgets, or you might find out that they want creative ideas for what they can do with your products.
Once you’ve written a handful of posts, the reader statistics themselves will tell you which topics are hot-button items for people and which are just ho-hum.
Get Started Blogging Now
A regularly updated blog with information that’s useful to your customers is one of the best marketing pieces your business can have. Whether you’re a small business or a large business, whether you sell services or physical products, a blog can help you grow your business, build your brand, and create loyal customers. Understanding the benefits of blogging, get your feet wet and start blogging today.