The word has long been out. Blogging is an effective way of establishing a following on the web: fans, customers, suppliers, staff, and even competitors. For the novice among us, a blog is a type of journal that is published on the web which allows readers to comment, give feedback (good or bad) and share opinions on topics posted. From celebrities to hobbyists, corporate houses and entrepreneurs, it is now a popular means to spread the word about one’s wares and whereabouts.
And with the new year bringing a general market sentiment of uncertainty, it is refreshing to know that while money is tight all around, time and knowledge are currencies you can trade, thanks to the blogging phenomenon.
For the humble small business owner on, sometimes, zero marketing budget, blogging presents an opportunity to keep customers happy and competitors at bay. All in the comfort of your office, living room, banana lounge or your string of favourite café haunts (hopefully, they offer free wi-fi access along with the perfect cuppa). And all you need is an investment of time and a willingness to share your know-how.
Choose a topic you know best
If you’re running a business, chances are you’re an “expert” in a particular field or have a passion for a product or service. Your blog could be on gardening tips if you run a nursery, time management tips if you’re a business coach, or a blog on fishing expeditions if you manage a bait and tackle shop. Whatever your business or passion, a blog can help to establish your credibility, promote your expertise to a targeted audience and most importantly, it helps to keep you in touch with customers on a one-to-one basis.
Wedding photography business Bailie Photography uses a blog as a platform to present its work in photojournalism style. Complete with captions and snippets that weave tales of their clients’ big days, it’s a powerful way of promoting their service without the uncomfortable and contrived sales pitch.
Successful blogs mainly have three things in common: they contain unique and relevant information that speaks to a particular audience, they are written in an informal, conversational style, and more importantly, they are devoid of self-promotion and advertorial type posts. Readers follow blogs because they are useful, relevant and even entertaining.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
1. Do not hire someone to write your blog. As much as possible, write it yourself.
2. Post new topics on a regular basis to ensure readers always have something fresh to read about.
3. Respond to comments and questions quickly. A blog is a direct form of communication with your customers and they expect prompt response.
4. Avoid censoring comments. Readers respond to each other so unwarranted criticism is often refuted by later comments.
So, what are you blogging about?