It seems like everyone has a blog these days, but what exactly is the business case for blogging? This article examines the key benefits of having a blog, and shares some tips for getting started.
What are the benefits of blogging?
If you need convincing about why having a blog is good for your business, it’s worth considering the following benefits:
> A blog provides fresh, engaging, shareable, searchable, high quality content for your website
Many SMEs find it challenging to keep their websites up to date, but having a blog can be a really useful focus for this. As well as providing regular new content for your website (and a hook for related marketing activity such as social media and newsletters), blogging also lets the search engines know that your site is active. (NB It also provides a valuable archive of searchable content.)
> A blog gives you a platform to show that you’re an expert in your field
Blogging about a particular subject can help establish authority and build trust – not just with your target market but also with key suppliers, partners and other contacts. Also – and this is an important related benefit that is often overlooked – maintaining a blog gives you the opportunity to stay on top of current trends/practice/competition as you carry out research for your posts.
> A blog can help you engage with and grow your audience
The idea is pretty straightforward: you create engaging content and promote it through social media; your followers respond to it and share it with others. You get to know your existing customers better and extend your reach. Engaging content could be anything from promotions to practical advice to amusing/interesting observations – depending on the nature of your business – but it should always include a call to action.
How do you get started?
> Make a list of ideas for blog posts
Be imaginative – there are probably all kinds of subjects related to your business that you could write about. What kinds of interests or problems do your customers have – can you address these? Do you have a particular expertise or service that you want to focus on? What is already in your calendar in terms of planned events/promotions/seasonal activities – can you tie in with them? Is it likely that you’ll want to respond to local/national news stories? Draw up a strategy for the next few months or year, depending on how often you’re planning to blog. Posts don’t have to be the same length – one week’s might be a detailed how-to guide, the next might just be a video with a short paragraph.
> Decide who is going to write your blog posts
You have three main choices here: you could write them yourself, you could assemble a team of staff to take turns writing them, or you could draft in someone to do it for you. Once they understand your business and the message you want to get across, most freelance writers will be able to create blog posts from just a key idea or a few bullet points. Whatever you choose, the main points to remember are to keep the writing simple (avoid jargon) and consistent in tone.
Jenny Brindley is a freelance writer and editor who specialises in working with SMEs to enhance their web presence. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.