I’m so privileged to now be a regular contributer at Hazed Magazine. I’ll be sharing my articles with you here once they’re published, but if you get the chance, it’s certainly worth taking a look at the whole magazine.
Target Your Market – Three Reasons to Blog
(Featured in Hazed Magazine, Autumn 2013)
Many people blog for personal reasons, but it can also be beneficial for your small business.
Chris Butler of Web Angels regularly advises clients about internet marketing and improving your online presence. “In terms of marketing for small business,” Butler says, “[blogging is] the most cost effective form of marketing. It’s free! It just takes a bit of your time.”
Yes, that precious commodity of time. But don’t discount it just yet. If this isn’t right for you, there are plenty of bloggers already reaching your target market that you can collaborate with.
Here are three good ways that blogging can help grow your venture.
1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
“Google likes the fact that you’re building up subject content within your website” according to Butler. “In the blog you have the ability to put some information, keywords, those kind of things, to set up some basic SEO techniques. Google likes the fact your website is changing.”
Any regular activity on your website is good. Even social media pulling visitors to your site will catch the attention of search engines.
2) Show your expertise and build trust
When selling on the internet, building trust with your scam-wary customers is crucial. By putting a face and a voice to your brand, your customers can see what sets you apart from the crowd.
“The great thing that we see in a blog is that … you get a chance to be a leader in your field and be the expert,” Butler advises.
“Often people say what’s your unique selling proposition and we all say the same: experience, good service, quality work. But not everybody has your particular slant on your expertise. If you write about that subject, it shows that you’re passionate about that subject and it shows that you’re a leader in your field.”
While Facebook and Twitter provide a similar opportunity, a blog allows for more comprehensive communication, something deeper and longer lasting.
3) Complements social media sites
When you’ve written a blog post, Facebook and Twitter can be utilized to generate discussion about what you’ve written. Rather than seeing these as separate entities, they instead work together to achieve your end goal.
“The whole point about social media is creating dialogue. Use the blog as your base.”
Melissa Wastney blogs at Tiny Happy and has built up an array of business ventures from there. She offers a different perspective about her online presence. “My start to blogging was really just because I liked making things and being creative, and it seemed like a good way to connect with other like-minded people.”
“This was five years ago now (eek!) and since then, a little business sprung up around my blog, but that definitely wasn’t the reason for starting it in the first place. I definitely think though that blogs are fun and a good way to share inspiration with those around us.”
She believes that blogs are less about marketing than other social media tools. “Mostly this is because it requires a lot of content to make a blog readable and interesting. People need a reason to read it.”
“I would recommend it as a marketing tool in that you can gather subscribers over time.” But, Wastney warns, “it takes commitment and work to do so.”
How do I start a blog?
You don’t have to be a computer expert to start a blog. WordPress.com and Blogger.com both offer free blogging services that are user friendly. Still not convinced? There are plenty of people to hold your hand and if you already run a website, chat to your IT consultant about blogging.
Remember, the blogs that are most successful are ones that have personality. Don’t be afraid to let the your heart shine through as you write about things your target market will be interested in reading. Give your visitors a peek into who you are, what your values are and the humanity behind the business.
Whether you choose to share photos with captions or offer a more word based feature, this is a chance to let your creativity flow. Admittedly, it’s an added bonus when that creativity also works to boost your website, don’t you think?