As a company that spends a lot of time speaking with business owners, we discuss the subject of company blogs a lot. We convince some, while others remain cynical of the idea. Today we thought we’d spend some time discussing our thoughts on the subject.
Our advice is that a blog is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. It’s been proven that effective blogging will increase sales for most kinds of businesses, particularly if your business is relatively small or in a competitive market place. Pulling it off well will put you way ahead of the competition.
For businesses serving South East Asia there is a huge advantage to implementing a blogging strategy, as many businesses don’t do it or just don’t consider it important. Some consider it unnecessary perhaps, because Facebook is so prevalent and is so much easier to use. In fact, some companies don’t even see the benefit of having a website at all, but over the last couple of years a clear trend is starting to show that business blogs are growing in importance across the region and will in time become as widespread as they are in western businesses.
We’ll give you the five most important reasons why you need a coherent blogging strategy below, but briefly let’s clarify what a business blog really is and what makes a good one.
Some companies call them “articles”, “magazines” or “explore sections”, but blogs are, in effect, pages on your website that include information that’s of interest or is inspirational to the kind of people you want to sell your products or services to.
Unlike a product description or a sales pitch, it should aim to provide something useful to your reader, it should solve a problem or give them some insights that will help them in their lives or business duties.
To create a good blog, you need to get into the mind of your client. Think carefully about who you would love to have approaching your business. Who is your favourite customer, or your biggest customer? Try to channel their thoughts and consider their habits, close your eyes if it helps.
What kind of articles would they want to read? What kind of questions would they type into google and what kind of headline would your ideal client feel compelled to click on during their afternoon scan through Facebook?
With Facebook you’re basically competing for people’s attention and the competition is fierce. Facebook serves up videos of dancing dogs in funny hats and apps that tell you what your name would be if you’d decided to become a porn star – grabbing attention with the right image and headline will be a challenge in such an exciting world.
Your blogs do need to be relevant to the nature of your business or have some sort of connectable angle. A hotel manager spending her time writing a blog about her interest in romance novels is not likely to get her the type of audience she needs, much like whistling a tune to a nearby goat – you might both enjoy the process but it has little business value for you, even If the goat enjoys the tune.
A targeted blog is the type you’ll need to feature on your website – and you need to blog regularly. Here are the key benefits of doing as we suggest.
Unless you’re very lucky, your clients have a choice of companies to choose from. They will decide based on the best quality product available at the cheapest price. Writing blogs that demonstrate that you know what you’re doing can be valuable to them. It will demonstrate that you’re experienced and that you’re likely to do a good job.
Anyone can say they provide the best quality and the best service, but chances are most of your competitors are saying the same thing – this message is so ubiquitous it’s lost its impact. In the world we live in right now people want proof. They want you to prove that you know exactly how to deliver the product and service with words, images, videos and other content to back it up.
How often do you hand over money to someone you don’t trust? Probably not that often. Building trust is essential for most businesses, so featuring your clients and the successes they’ve achieved with your help is the best way to do this. People tend to trust the word of other customers over your own words. This is true whatever you’re selling, even if what you’re offering is perfect and you’re a person of the utmost integrity and ethics – if you’re selling something then you’re a salesperson and the truth is people have a natural tendency to be wary of sales people. Giving voice to your clients and partners will build a lot of trust.
Show that you’re proud of your work and give your readers an insight into what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Through the power of photographs and videos, let them have a snoop around your office.
Featuring your staff is great. Customers want to get to know your business and the people in it. Even if you’re in the market of selling business to business then it’s still a human who will make the decision to buy, so show off the talent and the personality of the people who work with you and you’ll create some fantastic blogs.
If your blogs are useful and interesting, then they will catch on. Google ranks pages higher when they contain content that people like to read. If you make a habit of providing regular content that works for your audience, then over time you will see the number of people on your site increase month on month. Blogs are also fantastic content to add to your social media pages.
With the tap of a finger your target market will be drawn back onto your site, time after time.
Adding copied content, even if its copyright free or if you have permission from the owner, is an idea that could actually hurt your business. Google and other search engines can work out that material has been copied and in many cases they will rank it lower. Oh, and keyword-stuffing a page that has no real value to the reader worked in the early noughties, but not anymore, so unless you’re reading this from 2001 then you should avoid it, once again you will be punished. You will see some of these pages still around as some websites have not been updated since these practices were in fashion.
If you don’t have the time or confidence to write a blog yourself then it’s fine to use an agency, but the agency should get to know you and your clients well. The content must be original and the initial spark of inspiration is best coming from within your organisation.
Blogging isn’t just about making that initial sale, it’s a great way to compliment your whole relationship-building process with your existing clients. If you’re doing a good job then people can be very loyal, but that doesn’t mean they won’t look around the internet to see what else is on offer from time to time – it’s only natural.
Make sure that your blogs are up there with the best on offer from your competitors. Don’t be too complacent or take your existing clients for granted. A blog is a great way to show your company is alive and keeping your website up-to-date with the latest developments will keep your existing clients engaged with your brand.
We’ve picked five reasons for this article, but there are many more reasons that a blog is the must-have accessory of the moment that your business simply must explore.
A final and vital word of advice is to keep at it. It takes time to pay off and countless business bloggers treat the process like they might when joining a gym – they turn up twice, discover they don’t have a six-pack yet and give up.
The process does take time and effort, but help is at hand. Discuss your blog-based objectives and requirements with us for some more information. You’ll find the contact button below.