Do I Really Need a Blog?

Blogs began as online diaries, the daily chronicles of virtual nobodies. As the popularity of blogs increased, the marketing savvy took notice, and blogs slowly transformed into something more. No longer the daily rantings of the self-involved, blogs have matured into thought provoking and inspiring publications for people looking for valuable, helpful information. Bloggers, once frowned upon in the news community, are now part of the fold, every bit as influential as journalists.

 

Despite the popularity and success of blogs, companies are apprehensive about blogging. Many companies simply don’t see the value of blogging, while others fear the prospect of failure. From finding a niche to consistently coming up with blog topics, keeping up with a company blog can be daunting. Starting a blog can be as simple as purchasing a domain name and choosing a free WordPress theme, but running a successful blog is a different story.

 

Blogging for Business

A company blog is a place to establish your credibility in your field and to promote yourself as a thought leader. It’s not advertising. People who are interested in your industry will read your blog and come to see your company as a trusted source of information, a company that knows its stuff, if you will. Most importantly, your blog is your platform, not a platform to sell, but a platform to share.

 

Offering free content is necessary. Although “free” isn’t a word most companies want to advertise, offering your content for free is the beginning of your relationship with your readers. Once that relationship is solidified, your readers will become customers.

 

Unlike social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, your blog lives on your property: your website. In order for people to read your blog, they have to visit your website. Twitter and Facebook are great places to share links to your blog, but your blog doesn’t live on someone else’s turf. You have complete control over your website and blog, and you don’t have to follow another website’s rules when it comes to producing your own content.

 

Website Traffic Picture

The first step to building an audience is attracting more traffic to your site.

Search engines like Google love content, and they reward websites that consistently add new content. If your website is static and serves as nothing more than a lead portal, it’s unlikely to perform well against the competition. When you add new content, your website will be indexed, causing it to rise in the search rankings — a very good thing. KissMetrics offers some great advice about getting your blog indexed by search engines.

 

Getting Started

Before you begin blogging, you must have a strategy. Who are you trying to reach? How do you reach them? What voice should you use? What generation are you speaking to? Answer these questions before you write a single word. Consistently generating blog topics isn’t as difficult as you think. The first few blog posts are always the easiest. After that, it will take some creativity to come up with new topics.

 

Blogger Graphic

Establish your target audience, and become a thought leader in your field.

Add your insights about what’s going on in your industry. Identify keywords your readers are searching for, and develop posts based on those keywords. You can also go through old blog posts and expand on topics you previously wrote about. Listen to your fans and customers on social media to generate topics. Are your customers asking you questions on Twitter? Answer them in a blog post.

 

Finally, your posting schedule should be consistent, with no content overlap. A content calendar, like CoSchedule, can help you organize your posts and develop a posting schedule. You can add CoSchedule to your dashboard in your WordPress blog, streamlining the process of scheduling and publishing.

 

Blogging is a long-term investment, and often the results aren’t immediate. If your goal is to consistently generate awareness for your business at an extremely low cost, blogging is a must.

 

Are you thinking about starting a company blog? Share your thoughts in the comments section, or tweet me @nataliepetitto.