The word “blog” is one of those strange, new fangled, 21st century terms with a vague meaning and an even vaguer sense of purpose. On one hand, your old high school buddy keeps emailing you about her random travel blog, on the other hand you see high-tech companies blogging about things nobody cares to read. So what’s the point? And why do they say every business needs to have a blog?
Well, it’s helpful to think of a blog as a magazine, like Rolling Stone and Newsweek. But you didn’t sign up to be a journalist when you started your website; so why the heck should you start now?
In order to understand the purpose of a blog, it’s helpful to dispel some common misconceptions:
- Your particular website or company has no need for a blog
- Blogging doesn’t help much with Google rankings
- Blogging takes too much time
- Your website says everything already
- You have to be a good writer in order to blog
The Subtlest Marketing Tool
If you’ve searched Google lately, whether it was for a recipe, a how-to instructional, or you simply wanted to find a particular product (e.g non-toxic candles), it’s likely that the top organic listings (not those pesky ads) pointed to blogs. This endless pool of short, informative articles from unknown websites and unknown authors takes the lion’s share of web traffic. Blogs rank very high on search engines because most people are googling for reliable information rather than simple products. What is important to understand is that these blogs are subtle web marketing behemoths. Just look at all those banner ads, product links, and email subscription pop-ups! Don’t think they work? Guess again.
Blogs are incredibly powerful in conveying great authority, but with their light-hearted, casual tone, they make for easy, snackable reads. This builds a sense of trust, which makes it far more likely for readers to take advice and act on recommendations. Thus, a regularly-maintained, informative blog gives you many more opportunities to build relationships with potential clients.
This isn’t to say that your blog is some kind of elaborate ploy to get more traffic. To the contrary, a blog conveys expertise and provides free information without pushy salesmanship. This communicates genuine interest for your work and industry, as well as your earnest desire to help people with their needs. If someone benefits from the free advice, they are likely to reciprocate with sign ups, shares, and sales.
Plus, the rich content you create on your blog makes for great source material to share on your various social media networks. And blog posts don’t need to be limited to your feed; they could be shared as welcome information in niche social network groups. And good posts have a tendency to get shared by others — which is how your piece could go viral!
But, what to blog about…?
Even if you have the most informative website with tons of pages on your products or services, there’s always a reason to blog. Here are some ideas for possible features:
- Your expertise: If you’re an acupuncturist, share your expert information on how acupuncture works in unique ways. If you sell raw organic snack bars, blog about the health benefits of raw chocolate.
- Your Clients: Chances are your services and/or products have helped people in the past. People love hearing real-life stories. Ask your clients/customers to share their experiences and post it on your blog.
- Curate News From Your Unique Standpoint: Is there a new law or proposition that affects your niche? Has a new development impacted something near and dear to you? Chances are many others care too, and will search Google for information on the topic. Let it be your blog they find.
- Share Your Personal Stories: Amazing things happen behind the scenes in every type of organization. When you share your stories, people become emotionally connected to you. They also identify the face behind the brand.
- Highlight Products and Deals: Offering something new? Blog about it!
Alternative Blogging Options
If you’re a slow writer or just not confident with your writing, you can always substitute blogs with vlogs (video blogs). You could create these videos in less than a minute with nothing more than your smart phone. Just speak your mind and share! In fact, marketers have been reporting that video posts perform better on social media than any other type of post. And “going live” on Facebook gets you even more views. And here’s a pro tip: transcribe that video, and add the text to the blog post.
If you simply don’t have the time to create content, or if you’re looking for something with a more professional touch, you have options. There are some excellent services that help you create polished content true to your unique voice and tone. They could help you publish both blogs and vlogs that explore your expertise and interests and highlight the unique work you do. Some of these are more reputable than others, so use caution.