Blogs, blogs, blogs, everyone is always on about them, but what is the point? Is it actually worth the effort?
According to 99firms.com There are over 152 million blogs on the internet. A new blog post is published every 0.5 seconds. A quarter of all websites on the internet are blogs. 77% of internet users read blogs regularly. That is a lot by anyone’s standards. Do you ever read any yourself? I certainly find myself browsing through quite a few every week, usually if the title entices me in or if I know and like the author of said blog.
But I know not everyone finds them that easy to write and we all have enough to be doing most of the time without adding extra tasks. However, it can form a crucial part of your marketing, and here are six ways to use blogging to market your business.
Answer questions. Use your blog to provide answers to your FAQs (frequently asked questions), you know, those same old questions people ask time and time again. Not only is it likely to make it more relevant to your audience you can also use it to your benefit because the next time you are asked one of the questions, you can send them the link to your blog, which creates traffic to your website.
Be noticed. Try and be original. It’s great to be inspired by things you read but don’t just regurgitate other people’s blogs into your own words. Google likes fresh content, also it is boring and a bit lazy. To get noticed you could also try to be controversial! You will find people engage a lot more just to express their opinion, or it may even get people thinking, but it can be dangerous and should be used with caution as people are easily offended. It tends to suit a certain style of person, be yourself, if you are likely to be controversial in real life then don’t be afraid to do that online. But it can be best to keep it light-hearted and always keep it respectful.
Cathartic. It can be really cathartic to blog as you may be sharing something personal and this is almost a form of therapy. We all have life-changing events that we have experienced or pivotal moments, and these can be powerful things to share. It could really help someone going through a similar experience or inspire someone to follow their dream if they read about what you have overcome or achieved. Using emotion in your blogs can really engage people, be real though, fake sentiment doesn’t travel well, authenticity is where it is at. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, people need to get to know, like and trust you before they will buy from you.
Do your research. We all have a lot of information in our brains and much of that is great for blogs, however, when you are writing about a subject, include some facts and figures and make sure you are accurate. So, please check your information is from a reputable source and not just the first result that Google provides. By writing detailed, spot on blogs, full of valuable content that helps your potential clients, you can become the go-to person in your industry. Establish yourself as an authority and don’t be afraid to give away information, help people and they will remember you.
Everywhere. Get that blog out there! Post your blog on all your social media platforms and signpost people to your website or to a landing page that is relevant to what the blog is about (e.g. if it is about ways to landscape a garden, signpost people to a page for them to sign up for a free guide to landscaping). Don’t be afraid of being seen too much, if people get annoyed, they will unfollow you, and that is just the selection process being done for you, they would never have been clients anyway. It is unlikely people will actually see it as much as you fear in any case, don’t be afraid to post regularly and to look out for opportunities where your blog may be relevant, in a Facebook group, for example.
Find your keywords. Do some due diligence and do some keyword research before you write a blog. In fact, do it for your business in general and then it may give you some great long-tailed keywords to base a blog around. Answer questions that people are asking and you will get more hits on your website. Google wants to see quality content. It is all about SEO – Search Engine Optimization - and by using keywords in your blogs in a meaningful way you will drive traffic to your site and therefore increase your chance of sales, and that’s what we all want!
Not sure how often to blog? There are no rules but regularly and consistently is best if you can. Length wise, the new trend is currently for longer blogs as apparently Google is starting to favour more detailed and lengthy content, but the jury is still out on that and some people will always prefer to read shorter, more punchy blogs. I think a mix is usually best as some subjects lend themselves to a longer blog, you can’t summarise how to build a website in 300 words, for example.
Don’t be afraid to get started, brainstorm some ideas, get something down on paper or your laptop and then do a rough draft. Then you can edit it down, create some bitesize bullet points or top tips and check your grammar and spelling (or get it checked for you!) Reading it out loud is a fantastic way to check for errors and you will also hear how it will sound to everyone else.
Now get writing and get posting!