Well it’s another day and another of The Blogging Blogs from the GrowTraffic team (I bet you were hoping we’d got bored by now, weren’t you?) and today we’re taking a look at how you can use your blog to build and enhance your business’s brand and your relationship with your customers. Don’t worry, this is the last one I’ll do for a few days, I’ll give you (and me!) a blogging break…
As we’ve already established over the last few posts, writing a regular blog post on your website can have so many benefits for both your website and your business that it is sometimes hard to understand why everyone isn’t doing it. Admittedly, there are drawbacks to taking on the commitment of a blog, and we will look at these in more detail in later posts, but for now I’d still like to concentrate on the positives and explore another massive reason in support of the humble blog.
The Beauty of Blogging
Given the way that search marketing has developed over the past year or so, writing a blog is one of the most effective ways of getting your website up to the standard now expected by search engines and searchers alike; it gets fresh and interesting content onto your website, it can build links between your site and others, it can improve your site’s rankings to get more people on your website and it can go a long way to helping with your social media campaign too.
In addition to all of that, a good blog is possibly also the easiest and most efficient way of having a one-to-one conversation with your audience; you can positively and directly engage both current and potential customers, you can express the views, opinions and ethics of your company and you can tackle head-on – or even head-off – issues and controversies within your business sector.
In short, if done properly, a good blog can enable you to build up and bolster your company as a brand and secure its place within a customer base. It’s nothing short of genius, really. So let’s look at those points one by one in a bit more detail.
A Conversation with Your Customers
Particularly for businesses that operate largely online, although also for businesses with a physical presence in the real world, a blog post on a website and via social media can be the best way of talking directly with your customers and clients.
The trickiest part when launching a blog is acquiring a readership for it and a lot of effort is required, both initially and on an ongoing basis, to promote the blog in various places and using various techniques; again, this is another aspect that we will explore in more detail in later posts in this series.
Nevertheless, once you have acquired a strong regular readership for your blog posts, you instantly have an engaged and interested audience who have willingly signed up to invest their time in learning more about what you have to say. This in itself is an invaluable tool for any growing business and should never be taken for granted.
Grab Your Audience’s Attention
The very fact that your audience has signed up voluntarily to read your blog makes your relationship somewhat tenuous; there are a gazillion blogs out there that they could be reading and so, if yours is boring and bland, they won’t think twice about deserting you in favour of another.
As online audiences, we are apparently becoming savvier and more sophisticated whilst, at the same time, our attention span is getting ever shorter (I read an article recently that claimed that the human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish!). All of this means that you actually have a very small window of time in which to make a good impression and not only convince the reader to stay with you for the duration of that blog, but to take time out of their busy lives to come back again and again for subsequent posts.
In order to grab a reader’s attention, your blog needs to be well written, interesting and extraordinary (as in, not ordinary) and, essentially, needs to rise head and shoulders above that of your competition. Naturally, this applies to all blogs, but it is especially true if your business sector is not particularly glamorous – say, for example, that you sell tiles for a living – then you’re going to have to be inventive in order to entice the reader in.
Make Your Audience Feel Special
If you think about your blog from the other side and put yourself in your audience’s position, you’ll see that just having a well crafted blog is not going to be enough to keep them coming back; after all, there’s only so much that anyone can take on the latest developments in the world of tiles, no matter how erudite the text!
You need to inspire loyalty and the only way that you will do that is by making your audience feel special; they need to believe that your company cares about their custom and that, as dedicated readers of your blog, they’re going to get a few special perks.
Hence, release news about company developments on the blog before anywhere else, try new things out and elicit opinions or discuss new product lines in advance and offer readers a discount; you could even go all out and offer a blog loyalty scheme but, however you do it, acknowledging and rewarding your readership will establish your brand as trustworthy and honourable.
In order to make your blog interesting and readable to a wider audience, regardless of the market in which you operate, you are going to have to open up the range of your blog and cover topics and issues from the wider world. There are a multitude of ways in which you can find out what everyone in the world is talking about – again, that’s a subject for another blog – but, however you do it, your blog will need to be responsive to the world around it.
By responding to and writing about news events, industry developments, published research and articles and blog posts uploaded by other experts in your field, your blog not only fulfills your content marketing demand, but also expresses the opinions and beliefs of your company and establishes it as an expert industry leader. This transforms your company from a faceless corporation into a personal, approachable organisation that people can identify with and relate to.
Stay On Message
Unfortunately though, there are pitfalls with this approach that must be addressed before you start shouting out willy nilly about everything that makes you argue with the television!
Most importantly, there must be some agreement, whether formally written down or informally agreed upon verbally, on the tone and message that your business wants to convey and this must be adhered to by any employees or third parties writing your blog. Your blogs must be consistent and they must articulate the ethics and goals of your business, not be a personal rant.
Build Your Brand
By agreeing in advance your company’s message and the tone in which it should be delivered, you will have already formulated your brand and expressing it in your blog can only strengthen this.
Your blog is a personal conversation between your business and each individual person reading it; it is a unique opportunity to express what your company is about, what it stands for, what it believes in, what it will fight for and, above all, what your company can do for that specific person.
Make Yourself Indispensable
Ultimately, the people reading your blog are clearly interested in what your company does and have willingly engaged with you, but fundamentally they still want to know what’s in it for them; that’s only human nature. So tell them; tell them what your business is about and why they need you, make your company human and show them how easy it is to connect with you. Convince them that they need you.
Let’s face it, your blog is the best opportunity you’re ever likely to get to sell your business; more than a 30 second advert on the television, a shouty tirade on a local radio station or a static photo ad in a newspaper, your blog is an interactive medium that gives you unprecedented access to the one thing that will make your company float or sink – your customers.
GrowTraffic Can Help!
When put like this, you can’t help but wonder why you haven’t already started to blog, but we at GrowTraffic understand that taking on the responsibility of a blog is a big commitment.
This and the other blogs in GrowTraffic’s Blogging Series – The Blogging Blogs – have so far covered the benefits and arguments in favour of blogging but the next few in the series, which will be published over the next week or so, will provide you with more practical, helpful information that should make taking that blogging leap a little less stressful.
If you would prefer to have a chat with us though, or need some more personal, specific advice, then please don’t be afraid to get in touch with us; we love talking about SEO and Blogging so will happily talk your ear off. You can contact us by phone on 07411 420 740, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the contact form on the website.
We look forward to hearing from you and please stay tuned for the next installment in GrowTraffic’s Blogging Series, Part 4: What Are You Blogging On About?