opinion

Learn to Use Blogging as a Marketing Tool

Joe D

While many people are aware of blogs and understand how they work, most of them do not understand how blogging can be a very successful and powerful marketing tool to be used to promote your business.  It is important to understand how you can use blogging to advance your small business to increase your customer-base and your bottom line. Here are a couple of practical tips that you can apply to your current business structure that will help you to learn to view blogging as a productive marketing tool.

Any business can start a blog - it doesn't matter what you are selling or to whom you are selling it - any business can launch a blog. It should be noted that some business sectors will be able to blog much more naturally than others. However, as long as you know what you are doing and have an understanding of what is required to create a successful marketing blog, there's no reason why you shouldn't start one now if you haven’t already.

Blogs can help small businesses get an edge and have a voice, particularly during today's tough economy. You can create a blog about anything, giving a line of instant communication, tips, knowledge, information and news to your readers. Blogs have been written on just about every topic - both specific to one subject and generalized to a wide demographic. Ensuring that you are able to make the most of your blogging venture will mean doing some research and asking tough questions to figure out what type of blog you should create.

The Benefits

The goal of any marketing tool is to increase traffic, sales and revenue. Blogging can accomplish this by giving you new and unique opportunities for self-promotion through the use of links to and from other relevant blogs, and through the interaction opportunities with your customers and target demographic through comments and sharing. To get the most out of each blog post, article and tip you should post them on your blog, share with other industry-focused blogs and spread your knowledge (and links!) via popular article sharing sites and directories.

Blogs are a great way to effectively increase your relevant keywords and phrases, increasing the value of your overall website in the eye of the top search engine websites. When you write blog posts that are keyword-rich and relevant to your business, products or services, you increase the "value" of your website to others who are searching for information on the subject you are writing about.The more valuable your content is with regard to the keyword or key phrase used to search for your site, the better your rank will be in the search engines. 

Increasing your demographic is an important benefit as well. When you write a blog and post it for others to find and read, you can reach out to new customers that might not have heard about your company or products before. This is a great way to build traffic, but it will also work to promote you and your website as industry leaders – thought leaders, as I’ve written before - a place where people can go for trusted information they can use.

How to Create an Effective Blog

Blog posts shouldn't just be a few lines of text with some keywords added in for good measure, they should add value to your website and should serve as an opportunity for you to communicate a message to potential customers as well as to your existing customer base. Make sure to always carefully construct a message that will show your experience and knowledge within the industry. As your customers read through your blog postings to find your opinions about relevant topics or to get advice or tips on using or purchasing your products and services – this proves that you and your company know the business well. This will help you to build a positive reputation as a leader within the community – again, commonly referred to as thought leadership.

Choosing a topic can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you start thinking about your business, your products and all the services that you provide, you will discover that your options are endless!  For example, if your website is a professional service site for electrical work, you could write about how dangerous it can be for a homeowner to do his own wiring and establish your employees as highly trained and qualified individuals who work for a professional skilled company. You could also write up a list of troubleshooting FAQ or "frequently asked questions" that will help your customers know when it's time to call your office for professional help.

Make sure to always write unique and original content that has been written specifically for you, and that hasn't been posted anywhere else online. The search engines will notice if you have copied content from another source and the value of your post will be diminished as a penalty for using someone else's content. A typical blog post should be about 150-300 words per post, making them easy to write quickly, especially if you are already an expert in your field. You can write posts ahead of time and with WordPress software, plug in regular postings that will automatically show up on the website on the days that you designate.

When adding links, make sure to do so sparingly and carefully. You can link back to your business website, specific product pages or additional information about the services you offer. Linking back from your website to your blog will also help to improve your overall search engine optimization - on both your business website and your blog. Relevant in-bound and out-bound links can be very beneficial in a number of ways.

In order to have a successful blog and maximize your traffic-building potential, you need to update your blog on a regular basis.  If daily is too much, shoot for weekly at first and then build up your blogging to a point where it is comfortable for you and for the time you can afford to allot to this task. A regularly updated blog will show up more frequently in the search engines and help to increase your visibility in organic search results.

There are a number of ways you can measure how successful your blogging project is to your website.  You can use Google Analytics to track your traffic, keywords and demographics. You can also bring more traffic to your blog via social media accounts at hot spots like Twitter or Facebook. By allowing comments and other interactions on your blog and website, you can also engage with customers and potential customers and gain insight into how they perceive your website and/or products. Blogging is one of those marketing tools where you can expect to get out of it exactly what you put into it, so the more time you dedicate to building your blog and post count - and doing it right - the better your results will be!

Now go become a thought leader!

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