This is a guest post from Gail Z. Martin, author of 30 Days to Social Media Success: Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn and Facebook.
If you’re in business, you’ve probably already been advised to create a blog for your company. Odds are, that advice didn’t include much in the way of explanation on how to use a blog for business, or how to fit one more activity into your busy day. Yet it’s true: a well-conceived blog can encourage customer loyalty, entice new buyers, and attract media interest, all goals that can be worth the effort.
What’s the benefit in blogging? Here are some of the most common benefits for business:
- Because a blog is easy for you to update, you can add new content frequently without paying high fees to your webmaster for changes.
- Blogging creates a way for you to comment on business, trends and issues that impact your field. This helps to establish you as a leader in your industry.
- Blogging is a way to let your personality shine through and create a more personal connection. People like to do business with someone they know. Blogging deepens that relationship.
- Your blog can extend the information you share through articles, books and speeches, and invite comments and dialogue. Customers and prospects appreciate it when you share valuable content without a heavy sales pitch.
- Many bloggers have received national recognition based on the value of their content. Your blog post could attract local, regional or national media attention.
- Good blog posts increase the Google search results for your name and company.
- Prospects who aren’t yet ready to buy may use your blog to learn more about your product, services, and company, positioning you at the front of the line when they’re ready to commit.
- Comment on headline news from your professional perspective. If you’re a relationship coach, celebrity split-ups are good case studies. A financial consultant might provide real-life ways to reduce debt and save money. Talk about what everyone’s already talking about.
- Extend information you’ve already provided. If you’ve written a book, provide extra related material. If you write a column, go into additional details on a subject you’ve recently covered.
- Share short case studies or brief tips.
- Keep it fresh, current and fun. Avoid long lags between posts and try to post at consistent times so readers know what to expect. Stay positive, and realize that going on a rant lasts forever on the Internet, long after you’ve cooled down.
- Choose snappy titles to increase readership, and write in short paragraphs.
- Make it easy for your readers to share posts they like by adding bookmarking icons from AddThis.com.
- Consider getting together with a group of three to five other professionals in non-competing businesses that share the same target audience and share a blog so no one has to do all the writing.
How many readers do you need? Don’t get caught up in the “more is better” frenzy. Your readership goals depend on your reasons for blogging. If you create a blog focused on helping your customers get more value for their money from the kinds of products/services you sell, then you want to attract the majority of the people with whom you’re doing business, as well as prospects. If your focus is on outreach, then you’ll want to attract newcomers by putting your blog site on your business cards, marketing materials and website. It can take a few years for a blog to build a following. Don’t worry about the readership numbers. If you’re using your blog to share good information and update your main website, you’re already getting plenty of value for your time investment.
Excerpted with permission from 30 Days to Social Media Success, by Gail Martin, new from Career Press in September, 2010.
Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada improve their marketing results in 30 days. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail also hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast. She’s the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book and 30 Days to Social Media Success: Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn and Facebook. Find her online at www.GailMartinMarketing.com, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and check out her Facebook page at 30 Day Results Guide.