There are many options available to you when it comes to marketing your business but one of the most powerful that costs you just your time, is the use of the blog or news section on your website.

Depending on the platform your website is built on you may have it in-built already, WordPress which powers more websites than any other was originally built as a platform for blogging and would be typical of an option which is designed with you blogging in mind.

If a blog or news section is not obviously available on your site it’s generally not overly complex to add one but if you’re not comfortable with using your site a call to somebody like the person who originally designed your site or working in that area is an idea as you may need to mindful of the design of your navigation.

So, what is a blog post?

Here are two definitions –

“a regular record of your thoughtsopinions, or experiences that you put on the internet for other people to read” – from the Cambridge English Dictionary, updated just this week.

“A blog (a truncation of “weblog”) is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.” – a longer but more detailed option from Wikipedia.

Generally I would explain it to business owners as that place where you can share information that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the static or more permanent pages of your website such as product information or service listings, a place to share company or industry news while at the same time allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge of the sector and sharing an insight into the personality of the business.

Some of the benefits to blogging for your business include;

Search Engine Visibility – every single business owner wants to be found on Google and other search engines, blog posts aim for a place on the organic or free listing on google – those options you see that aren’t paid ads. When we use a search engine to find a product or service we’re essentially asking it a question. Typical questions would include ‘where’s the nearest garage?’ or ’24 hour emergency plumber’ or ‘beauty salons in Dublin’ – whether we type it in or use voice search we’re looking for the same thing, a solution. Every one of the business examples listed would have a lot of competition and realistically can at any point run paid ads which are great until such time as your daily budget runs out. This is where your free listing comes into its own, if you’re answering questions that people are asking you’re working your way towards being found more readily on search engines. There are many factors involved in making your way to the more prominent spots on Google that are for a post on SEO specifically (planned for a later date) but if you start to think about how your customer searches now and stick with it you’ll make a positive impact on your visibility. And, it’s worth mentioning Google likes it too.

Blog Posts Don’t Come With A Budget – wonderful as paid ads are on every network you need to make a decision on how much to spend and what you want to achieve with that spend. Your blog posts are going on to your website permanently unless for some reason you decide to remove them. I’ve had a website for my business for ten years now and some posts dating back years such as this one on Cookies from 2012 still drives traffic to this site on a regular basis. We all know time is money in your business and whilst the best blog posts are written by somebody within your business it’s not always the person in Marketing or Sales that has the best voice for creating posts, look to your customer service, sales or technical people for help in this area. Better still, involve a few people in writing so you cover more information. And, if you don’t have the resources in-house there’s always the option of outsourcing to somebody who writes blog posts for others just as you might outsource other areas like accounts too.

It’s Great For Your Social Media Or Newsletter – we’ve all sat there with a blank screen wondering what to share today? Well, your blog posts are wonderful content for sharing on your social media and instead of getting likes, followers or comments you’re driving people to your website which is the destination as a business owner you ultimately want them to arrive at. At times, depending on the content you’re writing about it’s also great content for others to share on their social media too, extending your reach. Where posts aren’t written with a specific date or product in mind, a blog post can often have a lifespan of years, known as evergreen content this can work for your business a long time after you’ve stopped sharing it through newsletters or social media.

Showcasing Expertise – you might list the services or products you offer but your blog is an opportunity to share extra information that doesn’t fit your website template. If you’re selling a service such as business coaching for example, your site might list a number of packages you offer but the blog will be the place where you demonstrate your knowledge around the area and help your potential customer decide why they should choose you. If you’re selling computers you might list the model and all the technical details on your site, your blog might then support this with tips on setting it up quickly or ensuring that you’ve optimised it for security. A travel company might have a wonderful range of holidays to Spain, their blog would cover excursions they recommend and the ‘must-try’ foods for the area.

Build Relationships – most of us when we’re buying a product or service will do a bit of research, more so when there’s a higher value involved or when it’s something that impacts on your life or business. Often there are businesses that are quite equally matched in everything from products to pricing, that extra bit of information you’re making available might be the deciding factor for a customer. When you’re choosing a supplier for your business you might read through blog posts to ensure that they can demonstrate more knowledge on their offering than they share in their portfolio or at a consultation. Frequently you’re not aware of it but you’re building that relationship with a customer before they’ve even made contact with you.

Customer Service – if you’re going to have challenges with delivery or if lockdown restrictions in place are going to impact on your trading hours, use a blog post in addition to your social media to ensure people can easily find that information. If you’re getting regular questions on setting up your product the blog is a handy place to share some quick tips that you’re aware of that aren’t listed in the official instruction manual. Where you notice trends around certain questions make it easier for your customers by getting that information on to the site, if they’re browsing at 3am the readily-available information might be the deciding factor in them buying.

Research – you won’t want to share every idea your business comes up with until you’re ready but a well-written blog post can ask a question that will help you decide if there’s a potential market for something new or even give you an idea on costing. Yes, you can use your social media channels for this but not everybody is on social media and often people don’t comment specifically as they don’t like others to know their opinion or that something impacts on them – a medical condition is just one area that people may prefer the option of responding via a blog on instead of a social media comment that their friends can read.

Build An Email List – email works for marketing and a blog is the ideal way to encourage sign-ups to your list. Share some information and then encourage people to sign up for further posts or an offer that might be of interest if they’ve chosen your post based on a particular topic.

Sales – everybody is in business for sales and whilst there are many blogs written as an interest or hobby, if it’s a business blog ultimately it’s designed to generate revenue. As your blog can encompass everything from products to case studies, while you’re educating people on your area of expertise you will ideally link to other areas on your website to ensure it’s as easy as possible for them to follow through to learn more or buy.

You Might Like It – yes, seriously! Something I’ve found a number of times over the years is that some people actually find they enjoy writing blog posts, particularly when they’re a small business owner who has created a business out of something they really enjoy. It’s a way of talking about their hobby, connecting with others and learning more about their interests too as active bloggers will frequently find their way into blogging communities where they can network or even collaborate with others.

A blog is just one part of your website and when you’re selling a range of products or services it’s not going to be the most important element of your site but it will make an impact. In many cases a blog is an actual business, think along the lines of the beauty bloggers for this – posts or reviews are paid for, sales via links from their site may result in a percentage paid to them. Whatever your business size or industry though there is a place for a blog or news section and your business will benefit from it too.

If you’d like to learn how to blog for your business, have posts written for you or make better use of your blog, get in touch with us by email debbie@themarketingshop.ie and we can advise on how we can help you.

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