In just a few short years, blogging has become phenomenally popular in the business world.
Giant corporations like McDonalds and Microsoft do it, and very small businesses are catching on to its potential as a free marketing tool.
Schools, charities, and non-profit organisations are all blogging, because a blog is a great way to increase traffic to your website, and generate a buzz about your products or services.
Blogging allows you to engage with your customers, and potential customers, in a friendly and low pressure way. You are offering advice, information and tips free of charge to the reader, rather than a hard sell.
Build your reputation through blogging
Your blog can enhance your reputation as an expert in your field, and greatly improve your communication with your public. If your business is small, you can punch above your weight with a good blog and generate a lot of publicity for your products or services. And a blog can certainly make your company more approachable to customers.
It’s possible to run online surveys once you have established your blog, and generate valuable research data to help your business develop. These benefits cost very little financially as most blogging software is open source and free of charge.
Plan your blog
Although a blog is written in an informal style, it still needs to be planned carefully. Work out what you want to achieve with your target audience and the topics you will cover in advance.
Is your primary goal to build a reputation as a “thought leader” in your industry, or is the aim to get to the top of the search engines? You might decide you want to add some advertising to your blog to generate extra revenue.
When your goals are clear, you can choose your topics and decide who will write it- yourself, or someone else.
The person selected needs to enjoy writing and be proficient at it. If you don’t have anyone in house, a freelance writer is often an affordable option. It’s probably more cost effective to pay a freelance to write your blog in an hour or two than spend a whole day working on it yourself when you need to be doing something else.
Tips for writing your blog
If you’re going to be writing for publication then you need to approach it with the same care as a good journalist. Check your facts carefully, and differentiate between facts and opinion.
Find ways of livening up your blog, like question and answer sessions, or an interview with a well-known figure or celebrity. Take a creative approach, and be as honest and open as possible without giving away commercial secrets or confidential information.
And stay positive- running down competitors is usually a turn-off and can even lead to legal problems. You don’t want your blog to turn into a giant argument that deflects attention away from your achievements.
Do include keywords in your blog. These are the words people will type into the search engines when looking for information related to the subject of your blog. Put lots of keywords in your headings, where Google will find them.
Once you’ve started, keep on posting. You will probably aim to write at least one post a week to keep people loyal to your blog.
Finally, let your readers interact and tell you their opinions. They are sure to thank you for it.