Writing. You either love it or hate it. Some people can trot off a thousand words without even trying. Others get stuck on the first word. Mention the word ‘blog’ and some people cringe, others are intrigued. Where do you stand? The fact that you are reading this means you have some interest. Blogs and article-writing can be a huge benefit not only to your business, professional profile and reputation but also on a personal level. The purpose of a blog depends on the writer. Blogs can be personal diaries shared with the world; or a useful business tool to attract more traffic and clients to your website.
If you are considering publishing regular blog posts on your website there are a number of factors you need to take into account. Who are you writing to? What are you trying to say? What is the purpose of the blog?
It is the last of these questions that we will discuss here – why should I blog? There are three main reasons why you would blog:
Coincidentally these are the same reasons for having a website. Other factors include demonstrating your knowledge and skills, offering opinions and opportunity for discussion in a world forum, and bringing traffic to your website. One other reason for blogging, and one that I find motivates me, is that writing articles is cathartic and therapeutic.
If you are a charitable organisation, or simply a private citizen with passion for a cause, raising awareness is why you blog. You may release articles about something specific e.g. dolphins caught in fishing nets; or something wider such as providing care for our aging population. You may be running fundraising events or recruiting volunteers. Whatever your content, the purpose of your blog is to spread the word. Of course, other items on your agenda come into this such as reaching your target demographic but everything you write will be to make people aware of what you or your organisation is doing.
This is the easy one. Selling your product or services online is the key focus of most businesses. This may be eCommerce where purchases for products are made online or as a starting point to a lengthier offline sales pitch for a service. But why blog? You have your products or services on your website. Each has its description and other elements such as clothing size and quantity value. What more can I add?
A blog in this instance is ideal for promoting two things – demonstrating your skill and knowledge; and informing your customers of the latest innovations, new product lines, sales promotions, coupons,… The list of informational and promotional possibilities is endless. Why not expound on the latest gadget? Include promo videos and images to make it interesting. Film your staff on the job. Discuss the latest techniques in your trade. Highlight changes in legislation and how you can help. Document the history of your company or industry.
This is all about branding and testimonials. The internet is an excellent way of making sure your name is known. However, readers won’t just take your word for it. So how do you get around it? Simple. Get your customers to review your service by posting a testimonial on your site. Ask your existing clients to email you a brief statement, preferably accompanied by a photograph to make it more personal, that you can post on your site. An incentive is a backlink to their website. If your customer is another business you could reciprocate, if appropriate.
As well as bringing traffic, and hopefully new customers to your website; your blog is an excellent way of inviting other professionals and peers to comment on your articles and start a discussion on a subject close to your heart. Demonstrate you know what you’re talking about and it will raise your credibility and… get you more customers!
Blogs aren’t just for company owners and directors. Why not have your staff contribute? Not only will it benefit your company profile but will also raise your employees’ professional profiles. Regular appearances by different staff members on your blog will bring distinct audiences back to your site. If you are from a large company with different departments this could turn into a significant number of people checking out a healthy collection of articles.
Earlier I alluded to one of the reasons why I blog. I like writing, I always have. But what I’ve found most is that writing is therapeutic. It helps me put my thoughts into a cohesive and logical form. A smidgeon of planning, a bit of freeform writing and a serious amount of revision helps me create the posts you read here. I don’t claim to be the best writer, in fact I’m sure I’m not, but I try and that’s what’s appreciated. Your readers will appreciate your efforts too. Most readers won’t care if you’re not the next Terry Pratchett or JK Rowling, but they do care about what you are writing about. Your passion for your subject will ignite theirs. Your willingness to discuss your point will invite your readers to comment.
Blogging is a powerful marketing tool for your business and as more and more companies and organisations are blogging on a regular basis you don’t want to be left behind. If you are an SME than it is even more important you blog to increase awareness of your brand, raise your profile and reputation, and increase sales of your products or service.
Find your passion, find your cause. Find what you care about enough to want to tell others about it. Become a blog writer. Encourage others to do the same. Inspire your readers to join you on a regular basis. Get to know other bloggers who talk about the same things you do. Guest blog on each others’ sites. Bring your business at the forefront of the web.
What’s your opinion? Please leave your comment below. I look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts on blogging and if you have any stories about how blogging has helped you business I would like to hear them.