Starting a blog for your business will give your company online visibility, attract new customers, and provide a platform for developing your products’ and your business’ voice and personality. An online presence is no longer a sign of an extremely tech savvy organization. Instead, it is a necessity, almost a requirement for business survival in the digital age.
There are a lot of voices in the blogosphere: teenagers writing poetry, political junkies debating hot topics, gossips following celebrity drama, and more, but there is still room among all those voices for you and your business. Here is how to start an effective blog for your business.
Think of your business’ blog as a tool for communicating with customers. It can provide readers with a more personable, informal voice through which they can learn and be engaged by your business. The blog can serve as a forum for business announcements, like product releases or specials sales, or as a means of advertising.
Blogging is inexpensive. Free blog services, like Word Press, Type Pad, and Blogger allow you to build your internet visibility without having to pay a web designer or learn complex internet coding. It allows you to link to other content and provide a brief online history record of your business, preserving announcements in a database of blog posts.
Your business blog needs its own voice; whether that voice is funny, serious, sarcastic, or anything else is up to you. However, maintaining the cohesion of voice across blog posts is important, otherwise readers may question why your company seems to have split-personalities and if the lack of consistency on your blog is representative of a lack of internal cohesion among your team. Decide on an online personality ahead of time, and stick with it. This is particularly important if your blog is going to have more than one writer. Make sure that all contributors understand the tone they should be using ahead of time. Additionally, establish blogging policies related to the content of the posts, such as keeping it clean and appropriate or never attacking the competition. If possible, assign a blog editor to check blog posts for voice and content, as well as spelling and grammar, before the posts are published.
Your voice can be as informal as you wish, as blogging tools lend themselves to a conversational tone, but keep in mind this will be your business’s first introduction to some potential customers, and there is a fine line between informal and unprofessional.
Use your blog to discuss what is happening both in your company and in your field. If you update your blog with industry news, it makes the content useful for readers and serves as a way for you to insert how you company is relevant within the context of the news. You could also include helpful how-to articles or link to other useful sites related to your services or products. It will give your readers a reason to return, and keep them informed.
Once you start a blog for your business, make sure to update it regularly. If weeks or months go by without an update, readers will lose motivation to return to you blog. Additionally, you may feel compelled to outline every business happening from the missing month, but a long blog post is less appealing than a short, snappy one. Regular updates will allow you to keep things short, as you will have less news to report. Another reason to update frequently is to make sure your blog does not look abandoned. A forgotten blog will not reflect well on your business or management, so be sure to keep using the tool once you’ve decided to create a blog. If you find the time commitment of keeping up with regular posting is too great, deactivate your blog so it is no longer accessible as opposed to letting it sit un-updated, gathering virtual dust.
A blog is an effective marketing tool, but it should not read like a catalog or sound like a door-to-door salesman. Although useful for educating consumers about your products, if the reader thinks the purpose of your blog is only to sell, they won’t have a reason to return. Sprinkle sales pitches sparingly, and only on a blog already full of news, ideas, and useful information, as opposed to building the foundation of your blog from advertisements.
Read some other business blogs to get a feel for how business blogging works, particularly blogs in your own industry. Don’t copy these blogs; your blog should fill a unique niche, but do adapt what seems to be working well into your blog model. When you feel ready to jump on the blog-wagon, sign up and give it a go. Happy blogging!