The majority of businesses conducting social marketing campaigns (even those with an active blog) often underestimate the importance of effective blogging. Instead, most companies tend to focus their efforts on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, in the mistaken belief that these sites themselves hold the key to engaging customer loyalty.
Whilst it is true that social media platforms are indispensable for building networks and connecting with audiences of potential consumers, they can also be quite limited in terms of the content they allow companies to post. Even more importantly, while social sites give access to a broad audiences, blogs allow businesses to cultivate engaged and targeted audiences. To take advantage of this understated marketing resource, here’s how to get the most out of your business’ blog:
Find Your Blog Niche
For a blog to be successful, it has to appeal to a specific audience. So rather than simply grasping at every semi-interesting piece of content you can find to blog about, use your site to narrow in on a specific topic. This topic, of course, must somehow relate to your business and products, and it should aim to appeal to whoever your ideal consumer might be. By keeping it specific, you will cultivate a targeted community of followers who return to read your posts again and again.
Invest In Content
Provide real value to your audience and give readers a reason to keep coming back for more. Whether you choose to entertain, educate or inspire (or preferably all of the above), your blog needs to feature purpose-driven content. If you post ‘fluff’, users will recognize it immediately. If you want to cultivate an engaged community (and you most certainly do), you need to invest time and attention into posting content that impresses and generates loyalty.
The most interesting blogs are those which are personal. Whether your small business involves designing and making products or travelling around the world sourcing products from suppliers, your business is unique and so are you. Reflect this in your blog. Make your blog personal and provide an insight into your life and business. This does not mean you have to express your inner thoughts, but show your customers aspects of your business they would find interesting.
For example, if you are a jewellery maker, your blog could be really engaging by showing customers what you are working on, how you design your products, what commissions are you working on etc. People are genuinely interested in the behind the scenes action and personal aspect of a business, so think about methods you could use to personalize your blog posts.
Consistency and Variation
Adopt a consistent theme and vary on it with each post. Not only will this help you produce regular content and give you a fixed framework within which to remain productive, but it will also help define your brand. If readers know what to expect from your site, they can consume the information more quickly, whilst also immediately recognizing your distinct voice and identity. So link your theme or post template to your brand image, vary on that theme with each post, and remain consistent.
Consistency will also benefit you in terms of Google searches as it indicates to Google that your website is regularly updated and current, meaning you will appear in more web searches, which will lead to increased website traffic.
Sell More by Selling Less
Nothing turns away readers faster than overt advertising. If you are always shoving products down their throats, followers will lose their appetites. So instead find creative ways to weave your products into the narrative your blog is telling. Give links to your sales page and keep your products accessible, but don’t make them the focus of your blog.
A Network Web
Online networking isn’t just about getting as many followers as possible. Effective blogs function as resources for those who follow them. They provide links to other relevant information, useful websites, industry resources, and other tools. So leverage your blog as a tool for linking the resources you value with the people who follow your business. If there are other bloggers or industry experts out there whom you follow, introduce them to your readers.
In recent years, the marketing world has been utterly reorganized. There is no longer an established ‘right way’ to sell a business. Marketing has become fluid, dynamic, multifaceted, and above all integrated. So the challenge today is to find ways to integrate your company’s marketing into a larger scheme of networking, outreach, brand dissemination, and product development.
Ultimately, every aspect of a business is an opportunity to provide value to the customer. Blogs are important because they give businesses a unique podium to talk from to their target audiences, and the chance to give back to customers—rather than soliciting from them.