Most small businesses have a website where their customers and clients can find them online. As well, many are climbing aboard the social media train. But there is another piece of online real estate that small businesses may be overlooking: a blog. While your website is the place to highlight your company, your products or services, and your team, and your social media channels help you connect with users and buyers, small business blogging can be used for so much more. In fact, done well, your blog can become the centerpiece of your marketing strategy.
Whether you are a brick and mortar store or a self-employed consultant, whether you install technology devices or sell handmade crafts, whether you are for-profit or a 501(c)(3), use your blog to meet your goals in the following way:
Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your field.
Write about trends and disruptions in your industry. Interview leaders in your professional organizations. Attend conferences and write follow up summaries. Presenting yourself as someone who not only is in “the business” but also knows it, you set yourself apart from others.
Add value for your customers by blogging about tips for using your products or services.
For most businesses, especially for-profits, you have to consider the bottom line. But you also might consider what you can offer your clients and users for free that will enhance their experience with your products or give them a taste of what more they could do by being your customer. Giving away some information for free also makes you a good member of your professional community.
Provide customer testimonials via “case studies” or “best practices.”
Showing how your business solved a customer problem will give your current and prospective customers greater vision for how your business can serve them. If you have users for whom you solved a complex problem or who saved money by turning to you or who are generally gushing over your service offerings, ask if you can interview them or highlight their stories on your blog. This helps current and potential customers see the full range of what you do.
Drive traffic to your website.
By providing useful, keyword rich content, you can move your business website up on Google searches. Don’t pad your content just to attract the search engine spiders. Rather, understand that Google wants to reward high quality content that naturally contains key words about your industry and products. In a December 2014 Forbes article, Jason DeMers writes, “Businesses that continue to focus on SEO without having a strong content plan in place will fail, and will need to shift their focus to the creation and distribution of high-quality content in order to achieve significant search engine visibility.”
Create content you can share on your social media channels.
Using tips, quotes, and statistics from your blog posts will allow you to capitalize on the effort you spent writing them. Also, those Google searches also are going to look for social engagement with your blog content in order to move your articles higher up on searches. So getting your customers and users to share links of your posts will also give you a boost in your search visibility.
While you would think primarily of using your blog to promote your own business, don’t forget to also cross promote other businesses that offer complementary services or professional and community organizations that provide support for your customers or others in your industry.
Just thinking about starting a blog or needing a little inspiration to get back to blogging? Listen to Problogger’s “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” podcast series @ http://problogger.com/podcast/.