You know you need a business blog. But you don’t really have the time.
When you finally have a minute, you aren’t even sure where to start.
You sit there staring at the screen. You can’t think of anything to write about.
So you give up and go work on more “important” things.
Not a very good idea.
Your blog does serve a purpose – an even bigger purpose than you might think.
There are people out there who are are looking for reasons to do business with you rather than your competitors. Your business blog gives you an opportunity to showcase your personality, knowledge, expertise and prove that you are a decent person to do business with.
Think about your own experiences of searching the Web for goods or services. You find two sites providing exactly what you want.
One is a sterile site that tells you about the company and the products it offers. The other is a site with a blog that gives you an insight into who is behind the company, what they stand for, and how they do business. You read a few posts and you feel as if you have been introduced to them, personally.
A feeling of trust is established.
A Business Blog Builds Trust
The anonymity of the Internet has, sadly, meant that scammers have had a field day. Now, as Web users, we are all becoming much more savvy. We have caught on to the trickery and where we might once have been tempted to trust any website, we now view everything with some (healthy) scepticism.
Having a business blog attached to your main website is a way of removing some of that scepticism and a way of building trust and rapport.
Your Web visitors have a chance to get to know more about you and your business and they are reassured that you are what you appear to be.
How do you build trust with a business blog?
You can earn consumer trust just by posting valuable, helpful, insightful, useful, entertaining information on your blog – the sort of stuff that doesn’t waste your visitor’s time; the kind of stuff you might want to read if you were a visitor to your own site.
This is your chance to join the conversation your visitor has already been having in their head. Answer their questions before they are asked, show them how to solve their problems and demonstrate how their desires can be met. It’s your chance to stand out from the crowd and let your voice be heard.
Blog Posts Must Be Relevant
Now, of course, your blog posts must also be relevant to your company too.
You don’t need to write to academic levels. A conversational style is perfect. Chat to your visitor as if they had called you or appeared in your shop. Be yourself and your authenticity will shine through.
There are times when we all think we have nothing to blog about. Trust me, everyone feels this way. But I also ask you to trust me when I say you have a lot to say!
What Can You Blog About?
You can blog about materials and methods you use and why you choose to work that way. What are the advantages to your customers?
Some blog about people they have helped – we all love stories and case studies. Our brains are wired to learn from stories. Tell stories about recent jobs and it’s OK to mix things up and change names to preserve confidentiality.
Are there any innovations in your industry? Blog about those.
Relevant news items and current affairs make good subjects for blog commentaries.
What are the hot topics in your field? What’s your opinion? Share it.
Product launches provide lots of opportunities for blogging to create expectations and interest.
How do external factors affect your goods or services? Blog about the economy, the weather and politics.
Blog about how you have solved problems for your clients and customers and how you have fulfilled their wants and needs.
There really is no need to fret over your blog posts. There’s nothing that cannot be edited. Just sit down, write and hit publish. You may not even have to write – if you are out and about and see something that’s relevant take a photo with your phone and upload that to your blog with a comment. Job done.
Of course, there’s no point in going to the trouble of posting on your business blog if nobody gets to see it. This is why you need to share your content via social media channels. They are just that – channels for distribution.
Once your post is out there in the world you can measure how effective it is in engaging interest. If it’s popular think about how you can produce more similar content. If it’s not so popular (and you will have content that is ignored) you know not to do that again.
You have no need to fear failure. Nobody fails at blogging unless they give up.
How to Write for Your Business Blog
Where do you start?
An outline is always good. Have a few of these ideas and outlines ready. Jot ideas down as they come to you so you always have something to inspire you. Begin by fleshing out your idea. What’s the main point you want to get across? Keep it simple – have a beginning, middle and end.
Begin by setting the scene. Outline the problem, describe the desire, tell the reader what you are going to tell them.
The middle is for you to do the telling. Go into detail. Add pictures for interest.
The end is where you tell them what you’ve told them. Summarise and give them a way of relating to what you’ve told them. It might be appropriate to tell them what to do next or where to go next. The blog is not the place to make the sale – but you can direct your reader to a page where they can buy, if it’s appropriate.
Just write for your readers. Don’t worry about search engines right now. Put yourself in your Web visitor’s shoes. Why have they come to your site? What do they need?
And, Don’t Forget to Edit
The best advice I can give you for the next stage is once you have your blog post drafted just walk away. Leave it until the next day. You have to come back to it fresh before you will be able to effectively proofread or edit your work.
If you have someone who can proofread for you, so much the better – Even professional writers find it difficult to spot their own typos.
Go ahead and read your blog post out loud. If it sounds stilted, try changing the words you have used. The whole point of blogging is for you to represent yourself and your business. There’s no need to be something you are not.
I’ve Written a Blog Post. Where are the readers?
If you publish your blog post and do nothing it’s highly unlikely anyone will ever read your words.
You have to show your article to people in much the same way as you might show a brochure or hand out a business card. This is when you will use social media.
Which social media site? That depends very much on your business and who your clients are but as a general rule of thumb, if you serve consumers post to Facebook and if you serve other businesses post to LinkedIn. Then post to Twitter and/or Google+ depending on your preference. I’d urge you to start making use of Google+ as whilst this social platform may have gotten off to a slow start we cannot afford to ignore it.
Encourage employees, clients, friends and family to publish the link to your new blog post via their social media accounts.
You may be asking yourself why not just post the whole article on a Facebook page? Why would you add value to someone else’s website?
Social media is a channel for distribution – it’s not the home of your content.
What Happens Next?
It does take a while to build up an audience for a business blog. It would be wrong of me not to set the bar on your expectations.
It’s very possible that your first articles will see very little traffic and this is when you have to persist.
The business bloggers who persist do eventually succeed. It will seem like a thankless task to begin with but your blog posts are seeds – they will eventually germinate, grow and be productive for you.
Provided you are blogging consistently, monitoring feedback, listening to your readers and addressing their concerns and desires, you will eventually reach a tipping point. It will come.