by Brittany McSorley
Intimidating though it can be, blogging is an important part of your business’s online presence. When done right, blogging can drive traffic to your site, boost your search engine results, establish your legitimacy in your industry, and humanize your business. Blogs increase conversion, offer customers a more personal, intimate look at your work, and give you a chance to prove you know what you’re talking about. They also foster engagement. According to Forbes, “[A] blog can spark a conversation between you and customers or potential customers.”
I know, I know. But Brittany, how does one actually do this? We can’t all be as quick-witted and talented as you are. I agree. And that is so unfair for you guys. Fortunately, though, even if you don’t really consider yourself a writer, blogging about your business in a way that isn’t lame or annoying is possible! These tips will help your blog work harder for your business.
The unfortunate truth about writing is that in order to write, you have to write. I have tried for several years to somehow work around this, but no dice. In other words, your blog is not going to do much for your business if you only update it reluctantly and sporadically.
But Brittany, I don’t know that I have all that much to say! What can I blog about? And let me just say again that you are so inspiring. Thank you so much, but let’s stay focused. To blog consistently without boring your audience, you need variety in your content. That means switching gears between new products or services, updates about your location(s), industry news, and maybe an occasional just-for-fun post to keep things interesting. You certainly don’t need to come up with new content on a daily basis, but whatever schedule you can commit to, do your best to stick to it. Even one blog post a month can be effective if the timing is reliable.
Consistency is key, but even the most compelling content won’t do you much good if nobody can find it. Enter search engine optimization, the process of increasing your visibility in organic search results. At its most basic level, SEO consists of using key words and phrases in your content that match what your customers are entering into Google as closely as possible. If you run a landscaping service, for example, your website is going to rank higher in searches for “Cape Cod landscapers” if the first paragraph of your blog posts tend to include that very phrase. Check out this beginner’s guide to SEO on Moz for more info on how to optimize.
Anticipate and answer questions.
The best business blogs answer customer questions before they’re even asked. The power of an FAQ post, or even a longer series of posts, should not be underestimated. That one question you get from customers so often you know the response by heart? Perfect blog fodder. Anticipating questions about your products and services establishes you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy business, which puts customers at ease and increases conversion. Show off what you know about the ins and out of your business, and your readers are far more likely to engage.
Another way to use your blog is to summarize industry news and developments for your readers, making that content more accessible and adding your own expert slant while you’re at it. Your readers probably aren’t following the latest news in your area of expertise, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in hearing your take. Another way to establish credibility and increase engagement.
People love pictures. This has always been true. See that pleasant image up there? I did that for you, because I care. So don’t forget to make your blog posts visually compelling; even the addition of one free stock photo (from a source like Pixabay) can mean a world of difference compared to a screen crammed full with only text. Photos taken by you or your employees are even better. Blogging provides a great visual opportunity to showcase your products, update followers on projects in the works, or even feature one of your collaborators. They’ll likely return the favor.
Avoid the sell.
This rule of blogging can be challenging to follow, but it’s very important. Don’t pitch. That’s what the rest of your website, your Facebook page, and your email campaigns are for. Blogging is suited to the more personal and relaxed side of your business, so use it to present useful info and let your readers get to know you better. Save the sales stuff. (For example, if I were to mention here that Kain DeFoe Communications can blog on behalf of your business, saving you immeasurable time and worry, that might be seen as pitchy. So I won’t.)
Brittany, you are so witty. I see what you did there! Oh, stop it. You’re embarrassing me. Happy blogging!