Your blog can be the most powerful marketing tool you’ve ever had, and best of all it’s completely free. All it takes is some time, practise and a bit of inspiration. Making regular blog entries can transform your website into a hub for your industry – a place where people go to find out about new developments, as well as resolutions to their problems. In return you get to speak your mind, let your personality shine through to create a bond between your company and potential customers, and attract links from other websites which increase your traffic and your Google rankings.
1. Basic Blog Tips
Blogs are meant to be helpful, entertaining and personal. Write your blog like you are speaking to a single reader and express yourself informally, giving your personal opinions as well as your professional ideas. If more than one person is going to be writing on your blog make sure they each have their own user name so readers can see who is writing and can connect to that person. In terms of length, it’s usually best to keep your posts as short and to the point as possible. If you only need 50 words, use 50, but if you can fill it with “meat” instead of just fluff, 200-400 words is a good length. If you find yourself going off on a tangent save the thought, copy it into a new document, and use it as the basis for your next blog post.
2. Tell Stories and Talk From Experience
People love hearing a story, so try to think of things that have happened in your business or personal life and use them as a starting point. Think back to the last customer you interacted with and explain how you solved their problem. Speak to colleagues and get a funny story about their day at work or an unusual situation they found themselves in. Talk about the new products or services you are offering. If you are a realtor write descriptions of the new homes you are listing, if you sell clothes write about the new season’s line. This is your chance to show people that you care and provide them with information they won’t get from your competitors.
3. Industry News
You know what is important to your potential clients, so put that information on your blog. News is free, so learn how to re-write stories you find in the newspapers or see on television in your own words and add your own feelings. Subscribe to the important blogs or journals in your industry. Read the posts that apply to you or your clients. Rewrite and add your own spin. For example, if you are a realtor in Edmonton, subscribe to the Alberta government’s monthly economic review. Pull out information about home sales and interest rate trends. Then write about how this might help or hinder the home buyers you deal with every day.
4. General Information
Think of problems you see regularly and write about how to solve them. They may be things you take for granted. Or write about new problems and issues you have dealt with for the first time. For example, if you sell running shoes tell people how to measure and fit a shoe correctly and give them information on common injuries you see in runners and how different runners can help. Not only will followers of your blog find this information useful, your post could be pulled up by Google when somebody searches for “measuring feet for running shoes” and you could snag another lifelong customer.
5. Other tips and suggestions for blog posts
- Interview somebody important within your industry, or a staff member who has seen the industry change over the years.
- Be outrageous, controversial and opinionated. Better that than being boring.
- People read blogs for advice, news and entertainment. Give them one or all three.
- Define terms used in the industry.
- Answer questions you hear from your customers.
- Look at companies around you and write about what they are doing right or wrong.
- Get your suppliers to write about their products and add this to your blog.
- Make a list of 10 categories you could write about and use it for inspiration.
- Have guest authors write on your blog.
6. Attracting Search Engines
Google loves blogs because they’re updated often. But try to keep your blog posts as natural as possible – avoid stuffing keywords. If there is an opportunity to get keywords into titles and body text and have it sound natural put them in. It’s likely that if you are talking about your industry there will be keywords in your posts anyway.
7. Finding Time
Blogs should be kept up to date. Two entries a week or more is what you should be aiming for, but in reality that is unlikely to happen, so even one new post every two weeks can be enough. It’s important to be regular so readers know when to expect your next entry. Finding time to actually write is a huge challenge for most people, so consider these techniques:
- Set aside an hour twice a week just to write your blog.
- When you get ideas for a new post jot them down in your diary.
- Write several blog posts at one time. Head to your favourite coffee shop, give yourself three hours, and try to write five or six blog posts. Publish them one at a time over the next five or six weeks.
8. Blogging Software
WordPress is the best blogging software on the market. It’s simple for beginner bloggers to add and organize blog posts, and it’s free. WordPress really comes into its own, however, when it is customized by professionals. Almost everything can be tinkered with, from the fonts and title sizes, to the images and colours. Most importantly the blog needs to be enhanced so your posts can be picked up and indexed by Google.
How Standard Marketing Can Help
We can get you up and running with a blog by installing WordPress and a database where information will be stored, designing a look for the blog which fits in with the rest of your site, and optimizing the blog so your posts will be picked up by Google. It’s always best to write your own blog, but if this isn’t possible we can write blog posts for you. We can add an RSS feed to your blog, and we can link your blog to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, so whenever you write a blog post it automatically appears on your social media profiles. We can help you promote your blog.
No Charge – Each of the websites we build comes with a state-of-the-art WordPress blog included at no charge.
If your website is not a WordPress website and we install a WordPress blog on it we charge $695. It will look similar to the rest of your website, but will also be obvious it is a blog.
In all cases we are happy to provide coaching on best practices on Blogging and how to use yours to generate income.