Blogging for Business – To Blog or Not to Blog

mouseblogWant to build a relationship with your customers and prospects?
Then start a blog.  Blogs can be an incredible relationship builder for your business.  They open the lines of communication between you, your customers and your prospects, they build your credibility, and they can boost your lead generation!  They can also help you gain a better understanding of who your prospects are and what they want. Having a blog for your business is a great tool, and in this article I’m going to share with you everything you need to know. 

Why have a business blog?
Think about a blog as a conversation starter with your customer.  A blog is basically an online diary where you can communicate directly with your target market.  In our blog, entitled “How to Turn your Website into a Lead Generating Machine,” I share tips and techniques that any business owner can implement to make their website really work for their business.  A blog uses more conversational language than your website, and should inspire comment and conversation with your consumers.   If you want to communicate with your prospects, and you are willing and able to post interesting and useful information regularly, then the answer is yes.  If you feel that you have lots of ideas you want to share, a blog is a great outlet.

How to launch a blog?
A blog is simple to launch.  Blogspot.com and WordPress.com are two free blogging tools that will allow you to be up and blogging in minutes. For something more upscale, there are also many web design experts as well as Captivate Designs who can offer dynamic blog designs that can be incorporated directly into your website.

What to write?

A blog is your forum to speak to your customers.  Post information they will find useful, share your opinions, expertise, relevant videos and pictures-anything you want to communicate to your target market.  Talk about incentives you have going on, an exciting event you’ve attended, invite people to subscribe to your newsletter or link to an interview you did.  Make sure to link back to your website whenever possible (this will increase your incoming links, which is an important SEO strategy). For example as  a web designer in New York, I can talk about NYC inspired design tips or invite people to sign up for a  free web design quote.

It’s important to constantly provide useful information, so be sure to post something to your blog AT LEAST once per week. If you run out of ideas, look at information that you have written in the past (articles, ebooks, marketing materials, brochures, company bios, etc) and see if you can recycle it!  Post it on you blog and you have instant content!  You might also find inspiration from other blogs, magazine articles, news, television, conversations, and your daily activities.  Once you start thinking like a blogger, you will be able to find ideas for relevant content everywhere you look.


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Promoting your blog?
Content is King on the web, as long as you have useful content visitors will keep coming back and they will aslo tell others. A blog is a great tool to publish your content and attract new prospects, so make sure you promote it!  Promote your blog anywhere your target market might see it.  Places like:
·         Your email signature
·         Your company website
·         Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter,  Linkedin, Plaxo)
·         Send out an email blast to your database
·         Submit your blog to blog directories like technorati
·         Anytime you write an article for anything online, make sure to add the link to your blog…even in discussion rooms and message boards

Measure your blogging efforts.
Google Analytics is an amazing free tool that will measure your blog traffic and provide a surplus of useful information about who found your blog and how.  It will tell you how many people are new visitors and how many are returning. Simply create an account add the code to your blog.

Enjoy the benefits.
By creating a blog that is packed with useful information, it will become a hotspot for your prospects to find information.  Make sure to include links on your blog to your main website, and links to your newsletter sign up-people may want to sign up to receive more information from you! It’s also a great idea to have your blog syndicated through rss feeds and well as send automatic updates to your followers through tools such as feedblitz and feedburner. Before you know it, people will be discussing business with you on your blog and subscribing to your posts. And before you know it, your online friends will become your offline customers! 

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