Believe it or not, a successful blog has the potential to become the most popular section of your website, read regularly by existing and prospective clients and widening your business appeal. In terms of SEO, a blog is the easiest way to add regular fresh content to your site. This, in turn, will improve your Google search rankings, especially if you use relevant keywords in your blog titles and posts, and share your content on social media too.
However, in order to reap the rewards you need to make a regular commitment. An underused blog with the occasional bland update is unlikely to move you closer to your marketing goals. And while many businesses set up their blog with the best of intentions, a large proportion run out of steam after the first few posts. If your company blog has gone a bit stale and you’re looking for ideas on how to bring it back to life, read on.
Blog posts can, and should, take many different forms. Who wants to read posts that follow the same old format every time? In an effort to keep your readers interested in what you have to say, and hopefully coming back for more, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Here are some tips to get you started:
1 – Knowledge sharing
As a business owner and specialist in your chosen field, no doubt you have a lot of expertise that you could share. If you’re a web developer, you could give useful advice on how to recognise and avoid the latest scams. A surveyor could publish a guide to the different property surveys available. A photographer might share tips on how to strike the best selfie pose. You get the idea.
Obviously, you’re not going to give away any company secrets, but sharing some of your expert knowledge with the wider world will help to position yourself as a leading authority in your field, which is exactly the image you want to portray.
For extra engagement, think about putting a ‘how to’ video on YouTube and embed it in your blog post. Not only is video a great way to connect with your audience – remember: a picture is worth a thousand words – it’s also great for SEO.
2 – Problem solving
Relate to your audience by identifying a common concern or problem they may share, then help them solve it. If you’re a professional cupcake maker, why not explain how to make gluten free or vegan alternatives? A gardener might give advice on weed control or how to spot tomato blight. A solicitor could give details of the new probate fees or Inheritance Tax changes.
By helping to solve a problem, you are engaging with your clients in a way that shows you’re approachable: you listen and you care. Make the most of the interactive benefits of a blog by allowing your readers to leave comments or reviews, then reply to them individually for maximum engagement. Blogging in this way can be a powerful tool to help you build trust and public confidence in your brand.
3 – Product promotion
Clearly, the ultimate aim of your website, including the blog, is to increase sales – but be careful. While a blog can be a great online marketing tool, this is not the place for hard selling. In order to promote your products and services, you’ll need to use the ‘softly softly’ approach.
One example is a post about a common problem (see above) into which you gently weave your new product as part of the solution in a ‘by the way’ kind of way. A dentist might promote his latest teeth whitening procedures in this way, or a bathroom designer could extol the virtues of underwater chromotherapy lighting!
Another trick is to write a review about a recent industry event (see below) which your company attended with a product launch or presentation, using a paragraph of the blog post to give details about the new product. It’s good practice to include an internal link to the product page so the reader can click through if he is interested to find out more.
4 – Industry news
Sharing and commenting on relevant industry news is always good value. It shows that you play an active part in the professional community in which you work, with authoritative views on what goes on around you. Whether you’re an accountant commenting on the latest budget, or a health & fitness club evaluating new functional workout regimes, this is a great chance to add your voice to the mix.
Of course, your own company news should form part of the strategy. If you’ve recently moved to swanky new premises, tell your customers about it in a blog post. Shout about any business awards you’ve been nominated for or have received, and keep thanking your team and your customers for their support. By sharing parts of your own story, your company will cease to be perceived as a faceless commercial entity and be seen as a team of caring individuals.
5 – Entertainment
Finally, don’t forget that you can make your blog posts entertaining. This is the place where you can have a bit more fun with your brand and show the human side of your company.
From charity events where you and your staff dress up in superhero costumes, to 10 fun facts about your industry, or examples of inventive uses of your products, there’s no reason why the occasional blog post shouldn’t be light hearted.