September 21st, 2010 Archive

Blogging Your Way to Better Business

September 21st, 2010 by Ric in Sharing Success

Imagine walking into a store where nobody really speaks with you. When you want to find out more about a particular item, they hand you a brochure, or point to the description on the side of the box.

Now imagine another store where people greet you when you come in, and where they try to answer any questions you have. They even tell you what they like (and don’t like) about some of the products on their shelves.

Which of these stores would you rather shop in? Which of these stores would want to own?

If, like me, you picked the second store, you should know that blogging is the online equivalent of owning that second store.  You see, a blog is one of the best ways to give your website a face or a personality. It’s a great way to actually interact with your readers and engage them in conversation. It’s a way for you to show them a brochure, and also discuss your own experiences with the products you have on offer.

The ability to interact with your customers isn’t the only reason you should have a blog. Luat Van Tran has an article up on Small Business CEO Magazine called Super Blogging – 5 Reasons Why Blogging Can Skyrocket Your Profits that, as the title suggests, gives you five more super reasons. Here’s what he has to say:

1. Blogging is simple.

Luat Van Tran really puts it quite well: “an average adult can read and type, or at least click a mouse. It’s like having a virtual piece of paper.”  What can be simpler than that? You share your thoughts and ideas, and others can share theirs too.

2. Blogging is authentic.

Blogging evolved from online diaries where people kept a record of their day-to-day activities, and while many blogs cover a wider array of topics, that personal element is still very strong.

As I mentioned in the previous point, blogging allows you to share your thoughts and ideas. You don’t need to recite some sort of marketing spiel, which, by the way, most people probably tune out – instead, you can share your experiences with a certain product and discuss many things that can’t be found in the packaging or the sales brochure. This gets people to listen (or read) because they see you and the people in your business, not just a brand or a product.

3. Blogging is free.

Any business owner wants to maximize ROI (return on investment), right? Blogging costs nothing (or next to nothing), but it can help you generate more income, grow your market, enhance your credibility, and basically improve your business. That makes it a good investment, right?

4. Blogging builds credibility.

As you write more about a specific subject, your readers begin to depend on you for information on that topic. You probably also learn more on the topic as you write about it too, giving you even more stuff to write about – and this perpetuates the cycle.

Eventually, you become known as an expert on the subject, and more readers visit your site. These new readers are likely to link to you, and bring in even more readers, and possibly, some companies or organizations that want to advertise on your blog.

5. Blogging builds your market.

You’ll probably start out with just a few readers, but with enough effort and a little bit of time, you can expect your readership to grow. As the number of readers you have rises, so does the number of potential customers, as well as your potential profits.

Luat Van Tran also shares some techniques for expanding your readership base, including: placing a link to your blog in your email signature, offering exclusive information to subscribers, conducting surveys, and others. I won’t go into them here – instead, I suggest you read the full article at the SBCEO site.

6. BONUS: Search engines love blogs.

This is a point that Martin Sejas makes in his post How to Make Money Blogging, also on SBCEO. The reason is simple, “blogs tend to have the freshest and most up to date content on the Web,” and search engines simply love fresh content. So if you want to shoot up the search engine rankings, blogging is one of the best tools available.

Since I brought up Martin’s post on How to Make Money Blogging already, I think we should tackle some of the other points he makes too. The first point he makes is this:

Blogging is Just a Vehicle to Making Money Online

Martin puts it best: “99% of people do not make a full time living directly from their blogs.” However, he stresses that using blogging as a vehicle to make money online could be very lucrative.

We’ve already tackled the second point he makes, which is Why Blog? The answer is that search engines love blogs. Now we can move on to his other tips:

Content Is King

Martin suggests that you continually update your blog – these updates, after all, are what the search engines love.  The more often you update, the better – but he does suggest sticking to a cap of 1 new post a day.

You Pitch, You Lose

Blogging is not about marketing, pitching, promoting, and basically selling a product – it’s about conversation. You don’t go up to somebody at a party and immediately pitch them something you’re selling do you? Doing the same thing on your blog will only turn off visitors (and potential customers).

“The best way to make money with a blog” explains Martin, “is by using your blog as a medium through which online visitors can get to know you and what you are about. Use a blog to build rapport and trust with them.”

Build a List
We’ve emphasized the value of lists several times in our different sites, so it’s no surprise to see this tip. The point of the list is to allow you to find out who among your vistors are really interested in you, your business, and your products. This allows you to promote your products or services without turning off your other readers.

How do you build a list?

It’s simple – you ask for their names and email addresses. Of course, you need to give them something in return.  A few ideas Martin suggests include access to a weekly newsletter, a free video, and a free report, among others. The point is that you have to give them something of value.

The Key to Making Money With a Blog

Martin really sums it up well in the following paragraph:

“The better and more regular your content is, the higher your blog will rank in the search engines. And the higher your rankings, the more traffic your blog will get. And the more traffic it gets, the more people opt into your list. And the more people that join your list, the more sales and customers you can make.”

When doing business, you want to interact with your customers, converse with them, and let your personality shine through – this leads to happier customers and better business.  You want to do this online too, and a great way to do this is maintaining a blog.

Happy Blogging!
Ric


Image by: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net