The short answer is ‘yes’ – as long as you go about it the right way. Don’t view your blog as an opportunity to launch into the hard sell; fact is, your prospects and customers will switch off pretty quickly if your blog format comprises solely of ‘look at what we’re selling’ and ‘buy now’ messages.
Asking people to read – and, hopefully, subscribe to – your blog is a leap of faith and one they’ll only take if there’s something in it for them. You need to focus on communicating a message that connects with, engages, informs and entertains your target audience – something of value – in order to keep their interest.
If you find yourself stuck for ideas, consider compiling a ‘top ten’ list or a handy ‘how to…’ guide. Share success stories, answer FAQs and resolve problems. Review current affairs and news stories relevant to your area of expertise and give as much free advice as you can. Be generous and you’ll reap the rewards in a loyal following of prospects who may become customers.
Some of the benefits of blogging well are:
Search engines absolutely love fresh content and blogging is a great way to provide it. If you can manage to blog consistently, you’ll give Google the material it needs to index your site and if you use keywords wisely, you’ll also be able to increase your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPS). Don’t try to shoehorn keywords in – Google prefers natural language patterns and remember that your customers will only keep tuning in if it’s useful and informative.
If you’re creating relevant content, you’ll be able to drive traffic to your main website and use it as a trigger for social media activity. If you’re already active on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn, make sure you leverage your blog content by posting links - with a pic - of your blog articles to your social sites. Give your social followers a reason to click through to your website. Include inbound links in your blog articles, to direct visitors to specific landing pages. Also, each new blog post you publish creates a fresh way for prospects to find you online.
Don’t forget that every time you blog, you create an opportunity for your audience to share it with others. It doesn’t matter whether they link to your post, tweet it, or forward it to others, it’s a free endorsement. Make sure to include a picture, illustration or infographic with each and every blog as research suggests that posts with pics get shared much more frequently than those without. Use a paid source, though, like Dollar Photo Club as you may get stung if you swipe one from a Google images search.
Blogging enables you to connect with prospects and customers. It’s an opportunity for you to give over and above your generic site information. It can be much more topical and interactive, too, and can be used to invite comment and feedback. The process enables you to have meaningful dialogue and create a rapport with your audience, building trust, and gaining valuable insight into their needs and interests.
A blog is an invaluable opportunity to strengthen your brand via a much more informal approach; posting allows you to show a personal side of your business that prospective and existing customers simply won’t get through normal channels. Blogging gives your audience access to your company’s personality as well as its vision and values.
A higher profile
In the age of the internet, any business can punch above its weight by doing things better than the competition. So use your blog to deliver expert advice and information that can help establish you as an industry leader. If you make an impression, you’ll become a trusted resource for valuable, informative content, which will lay the foundations for better customer conversions. Put simply, people buy from businesses they trust.
Your blog could help you build a valuable list of prospects. If you promote your blog as widely as you can then pair it with a piece of gated content – such as an e-book – you should be able to quickly acquire new leads who are already engaged with your message. Only ask for a name and email address at this stage as most people are unwilling to part with more data until they’re ready to become customers.
The main benefits of blogging are in the value of establishing yourself as an expert, developing relationships and connecting people to your brand. Blog well and consistently and you’ll soon start seeing results in improved engagement. It’s not a quick fix – and you may need to outsource some of the components in order to keep the pace up – but it’s one of the best ways of growing a loyal following an ultimately generating business leads.