Five minutes. That's roughly the amount of time it takes for an online marketing partner or search engine optimization specialist to recommend that a small business launch a blog to go with their new website. There's a good reason that this advice has become to the web design industry what brushing your teeth and eating an apple a day is to everyone else: It's a great way to bring some fresh attention to your business on the Internet, and to keep the search engines interested in your website as well!
Unfortunately, a lot of companies – both large and small – are going about it the wrong way.
Why? Because too many blogs feature content and articles that are keyword-rich, but also completely generic. In other words, they use a whole lot of words to essentially say nothing. To get real marketing value out of your posts, you have to attract customer interest. That means concentrating on topics that matter to your readers, and going beyond the standard pleasantries of "we work hard" or "we have lower prices" to keep them coming back.
To help you out, here are a few quick ideas for turning your blog into something more than a placeholder for keywords:
Do less writing and more listening. Is there something that most of your buyers have on their mind? If so, make that topic a focus of your blog for a while. Tapping into what's already hot can be a great way to attract web traffic, especially if you can lend a new or different perspective.
Get ahead of the curve. On the same note, you can probably anticipate what your customers are likely to be discussing weeks or months from now. If you see a hot topic coming (and it isn’t confidential), be the first one to bring it up and explain it thoroughly.
Ask for opinions. Good blogging isn't always about what you think, but about what your customers have to say as well. Use your company's blog as a place to bring up interesting topics and watch the responses come in. You won't just get great feedback about your blogging business, but you might even come up with some strong ideas for future posts.
Don't be afraid of controversy. There's nothing wrong with taking an unconventional view, so long as you can back it up with some observations or statistics. Two words of caution apply, however: Don't stir up trouble just for the sake of starting arguments, and stay away from hot button topics like religion or politics unless they happen to coincide with your business – it's not worth it to anger existing and potential buyers.
Turn a great idea into a series. There's no rule that says you have to give away everything you know all at once. If you have a juicy topic that you can write about in detail, why not turn it into a series? Doing so will keep your blog stocked for weeks to come, and give readers a reason to come back time and time again.
Remember the keywords! I mentioned earlier that blogs shouldn't be all about keywords and meaningless information. But don't get me wrong, embedding the right keywords in your blog is still very important because the search engines are going to see your blog as another page on your website, and they are going to index it based on the theme of the blog post. This is just one more way to increase your brand visibility across the web.
And finally, keep the search engines happy. Always remember that what search engines are looking for is fresh, relevant content to share with their customers, who are the folks searching for information through their search engines. Posting to your blog on at least a weekly basis is going to bring those search engines to your web site more frequently, and your business will end up getting listed on the search engine results pages more often than your competitors who aren't yet in the "blogosphere".
A lot of business owners still aren't blogging because they aren't aware of all of the benefits their business would gain by having one. Or they think that it will just take too much of their time. But the benefits far outweigh those issues. So get out there and start blogging!
You should consider integrating a blog and blog posting process with your website. If you're not quite sure where to start, you should contact WSI
since we have been helping small and medium size businesses
grow through professionally integrated website blogs for many years. If you're in
the Madison Wisconsin area, give us a call today at (608) 523-4255 and
let's discuss these opportunities right away!
Thomas J. Holzkopf
Certified Internet & Digital Marketing Consultant