Why blogging is good for business
Have you noticed just how many blogs are around? From Bill Gates to your local Laundromat, everyone seems to have something to say (and a cohort of people waiting to hear it).
In recent years blogging has exploded in popularity, changing how we communicate as businesses and individuals. It’s changed how we share and find information online. Perhaps it’s even leveled the playing field, bypassing the content filter of traditional media organizations and allowing businesses to communicate directly with the people.
Like other forms of social media, blogs enable endless and borderless conversations. Personal blogs allow authors to share their thoughts and their passions – their every whim if they choose. They let audiences connect directly with spokespeople in their search for information.
Blogs can be good for business too
According to research compiled by ignitespot, today 70% of consumers learn about a company through online “articles” rather than advertisements. It’s no wonder nearly 40% of U.S. companies now use blogs for marketing. These powerful relationship-building tools can connect you with customers in valuable ways and help build trust and credibility – not only as a dealer but also as specialists in your field.
Got an appetite for automotive industry commentary? So does the rest of the country. Car Advice ranks well inside the top 50 money-earning blogs – not bad for a list dominated by tech reviews and celebrity gossip.
By definition blogs are as broad and varied as the content they cover. No matter what format your blog takes or what purpose it serves, it pays to remember that not all blogs are created equal. Before you start on your blogging journey it helps to know what differentiates a good blog from a great one.
Mastering the art of business blogging
Be worth following
Your audience is in charge of what they read, so grab their attention quickly or risk losing it. How much impact can your blog have if no one actually reads it?
Become a “go-to”
It’s easy to take for granted the vast product and industry knowledge you and your team possess. Blogs are a great way of demonstrating this expertise and providing customers with “value” in the form of free advice. Become a one-stop-shop for tire intelligence and your customers will naturally turn to you when it’s advice they need. They’ll also turn to you when it’s time to buy. (Eighty-one percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs, and 61% have made a purchase based on a blog post).
Be clear on why your blog exists
Knowing and clearly articulating the purpose of your blog helps you plan your content, and lets your audience know what to expect. Defining your purpose also means you’ll need to know your audience and speak directly to them. If your aim is to educate, then provide insightful and thought-provoking content. If your blog is more of a forum, you’ll need to mediate discussions and encourage people to participate by sharing their thoughts and stories in the comments.
Be current and topical
It’s important to stay in the moment (nothing feels older than yesterday’s news), but try not to only report on the same things as everyone else. Put your own slant on what you write about and don’t be afraid to share your views.
One valuable benefit to blogging is to start conversations, so engage your audience and ask them what they think. Remember, it’s the two-way dialogue letting you get to know your customers, strengthening your relationship with them.
Keep it short and simple
When it comes to blogs, size does matter. Anywhere between 400-1000 words is acceptable. Any longer and you risk sending your readers to sleep – or elsewhere.
Although blogs tend to be relatively informal and conversational, you should never publish poor-quality content. Bad grammar and spelling, or poorly thought out content can reflect badly on your brand. Never publish anything you haven’t thoroughly proofed or had reviewed by someone else. It doesn’t hurt to engage a freelance copyeditor who will ensure everything you publish is of the highest quality.
It’s not just about content
One mistake many business bloggers make is focusing only on content creation, forgetting to adequately promote it. By making sure your posts reach the right people, your blog is more likely to have the impact you want. Good content is often referred to as “evergreen” for its ongoing relevance and longevity. Make this type of content your goal.
Seduce, don’t sell
Resist the temptation to use your posts as sales pitches. If you successfully develop your tone as one of expertise and genuine interest, you won’t need to fall back on blatant sales pitches. Blogs can still influence sales; small businesses with blogs are reported to generate 126% more leads than those without.
Long-term business asset
Every post helps create a stronger blog. Over time, your blog can become one of the biggest marketing assets you have and continue to drive traffic to your website long after the articles were published. Invest a little time every week in producing a quality post and you’ll be creating a long-term business asset.