Is it really worth the effort? It will take time, but you will see tangible results like these.
Interaction with your customers and potential customers
Let readers know what you’re doing, what’s around the corner, information that wouldn’t normally go in a formal announcement. It’s an opportunity to use a more relaxed and informal tone – imagine you’re having a conversation with them. And, by including an area for comments, give them a way to talk back to you. Yes, you may receive some comments that are spam, irrelevant or use unacceptable language, but set up your blog so that you can moderate all comments before they’re published. Remember to acknowledge each comment – after all, you are trying to build a relationship with your readers, one that you want to lead to doing business with them.
Establishing your credibility in your industry
Your blog can explain a new development in your industry; tell the story of your product or service; provide tips, hints or how-to guides; showcase client success stories; show before-and-after photos or video demonstrations. An easy-to-read and understand blog rates highly with readers, many of whom will send others to you. Each post reinforces your readers’ perception of you as a reliable expert in your field, and of your place as a leader in your market.
Promoting your brand
Regular posts remind readers that you are ‘here’. As most of your readers are your clients and potential clients, you are reaching your target market. A couple of hours a week maintaining your blog is cheaper than most forms of advertising. Make sure your blog is consistent with everything else that defines your brand – your culture, colours, language style, font selection, graphics, tag lines, etc.
Increasing the possibility of being found by search engines
It can be too easy to be distracted by maintaining your ranking or making sure you have the ‘right’ key words. Yes, SEO is important. But new content is one of the drivers for higher rankings. Very few people update their website content on a regular basis, but a blog (weB LOG) is an effective way of adding new content and keeping those search engines happy. Yes, use your key words, but make sure they fit naturally and intuitively into the conversation. Readers will ignore you if you ‘stuff’ your content with key words.
Increasing traffic to your website
The outcome of being found and ranked by search engines, of course, is increased traffic to your website. Use your blog as the centrepiece of your social media strategy. Every time you blog, spread the word on all your other platforms – LinkedIn, Face Book, Twitter, Google+. This drives traffic back to your site as your readers share your content with their social networks. As you share more content on a regular basis, you will inevitably see your website traffic increase. And isn’t that what you want?
As David Meerman Scott says in a chapter entitled ‘Tapping Millions of Evangelists to Tell Your Story’:
Blogs are now a mainstream vehicle for organizations to get their ideas into the marketplace. The readers of blogs view the information shared by smart bloggers as one of the few forms of real, authentic communication. Audiences consume advertising with skepticism and consider pronouncements by CEOs to be out of touch with reality. But a good blog written by someone within a large or small company… commands attention.
(D M Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2010.)