For small businesses with limited marketing budgets, a blog offers a very cost-effective marketing tool. A well-written blog allows you to connect with your target market, build your brand, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. It also allows you to engage in conversation with prospects and customers – a critical step in building relationships with people who are considering doing business with your company.
Here are six tips for creating a blog that connects with your readers and helps to build your business:
- Set clear goals. Never publish a blog just because you think you should have one. As with any marketing tool, figure out what you want to accomplish with your blog and why. Only then can you determine whether it represents a good investment of your time and money.
- Know your audience. Before typing that first keystroke, get very clear about your target audience and their ongoing problems, challenges and concerns. Then focus each blog on one or more of their most pressing issues.
- Use a consistent voice. The style, tone and voice of your blog should match your audience. For example, if you’re writing to bankers and financial types, a conservative tone and polished writing style will work best. If you’re blogging to a young, “hip, slick and cool” audience, don’t be afraid to push the envelope in terms of style, language and content.
- Get personal. One of the real benefits of a blog is that it allows you to put a face (yours) to the business. This is especially important in service companies where the product is who you are and what you do. To connect with readers on a more personal basis, post a photo of yourself with each blog (so people can see the person behind the blog), and let your personality shine through!
- Have fun. To keep your blog from getting stale, break up the routine from time to time. Invite a guest blogger — someone with new ideas or a different perspective on industry issues — to submit a blog. Throw out a question to readers and post the best responses in a future blog. Try a brainteaser or “fun facts” blog that gets people thinking in different directions.
- Add value. Most important, write on topics your readers care about. And, no, it’s not your business. People have an interest in your products or services or they wouldn’t be checking out your blog. But what they really want to know is how to save time or money, improve productivity, resolve ongoing problems, and improve their businesses.
If your blog only talks about your business, people will see it as self-serving and quickly tune out. When it provides valuable content, they will consider you as someone who has their best interests at heart. So keep the marketing and selling to a minimum, and write about the issues that affect your audience on a daily basis. You’ll develop loyal readers who see you as a trusted source of useful information and someone they would feel comfortable doing business with.