If you don’t blog, your business is at a considerable disadvantage on the internet. You could be missing out on visitors to your website and enquiries about your products and services. Your blog is the glue that holds your internet presence together, as I’ll explain in a moment.
I wrote my first blog post back in May 2007, on the advice of my good friend & colleague Sam McArthur. I knew I wanted to reach more people than were on my newsletter list, and hoped that a few of the many millions on the internet might visit, find my blog interesting, and perhaps want to know more about what I do.
Also blogging is a great way to satisfy my love of writing and to regularly practice getting better at it.
Unbelievably this post is number 600* – I amazed myself when I tallied them up! Starting on Blogger, moving to Typepad and now here on WordPress – I’ve published at least one new post each week. It has often been a struggle to know what to write about (even with the help of an editorial calendar carefully planned out in advance). Some posts are definitely better than others, but I keep on writing and publishing every week, and firmly believe that having a blog is important for my business.
If you’re still deliberating whether a blog would work for your business, or you have a blog but haven’t published for a while, here are seven reasons to encourage you:
Show off your knowledge
Writing articles and creating blog posts on your specialist topic is a great way to showcase what you do in your business. Audio podcasts, slideshows and videos make excellent posts too. Consider each post as a free advertisement, but be careful not to write it as a sales pitch. That’s a sure way of putting people off reading any further.
It is a social media hub & bridge to your website
Picture your blog as the central hub of a wheel, and connected to your website. All around the hub are spokes leading to your social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and so on. Each post you publish can be transmitted out to those networks, and you can feed traffic back to your blog (and then on to your website) via your updates.
Build a list of readers to market to
It’s one thing to attract people to visit your blog to read a post. Encouraging them to come back and read more is something else entirely. That’s where RSS feeds and Email subscription boxes come in. In addition to reading your posts, once you have readers’ email addresses, you are able to communicate with them directly and send marketing messages straight to their inbox.
A way of creating material to use again later
As I said earlier, sometimes thinking of new ideas of what to write about can be a bit of a struggle. Especially when you also have a newsletter or want to give a talk on what you do. All the material you create can be used again in many different ways. This practice is commonly known as Content Marketing – here’s some further reading if you’re interested in learning more.
A conversation opener
One of the best measures of when you’ve written a post that resonates with readers is when they take the trouble to make a comment. Even if they disagree with what you say (providing they aren’t rude about it), it’s always nice to know your words are being read. When you reply, the conversation continues – and a new relationship begins.
A way to subtly promote products/services
Within each post, you can place linked text. Such links can go to other related articles (written by you or someone else) as well as to relevant product or service pages. This is a subtle way to promote what you do and less likely to annoy readers to the point of not coming back.
Provide fresh content to encourage the search engines to visit more often
Each time you publish a new blog post, a new web page is created. The information on that page is then available for the search engines to find and add to the massive filing cabinet that is the internet. The more frequently you post, the more often the search engines will come back. So long as you provide good content, this will improve your presence and position in the search results. This is known as SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
As I said at the beginning, if you don’t want your small business to be at a disadvantage on the internet, you need to blog. Now that you’ve read these reasons, I hope you’ll feel encouraged to start (or resume) writing.
* This figure doesn’t include the 150+ posts I’ve written about Social Media over at Savvy Marketers.
Question: What’s the best benefit you’ve found to having a blog? Please share in the comments below…