Having a pretty website with a phone number is no longer enough to attract today’s prospects. Your targeted consumers are looking to your website to understand the value that you can provide. Put simply, your customers want to quickly understand what you can do for them. Including a blog on your website can be a great tool to quickly illustrate your value. While this information may already be weaved throughout the “About Us,” “Our Services” or “Our Products” pages, a blog allows you to directly speak to the topics and answer the questions that matter most to potential customers today. It can help humanize your business by creating “friendly experts” on a variety of topics and sharing customer and employee experiences. Blogging is also an easy and fun way to add regular content to your site, critical for strong search engine optimization (SEO). So, how do you go about creating an effective blog? What are the first steps you need to take? Evaluate Your Objectives Before you jump in, take a step back and evaluate your objectives. This important step will help you determine the topics to address and what kind of posts to include. For example, if you are the owner of a golf community, your objective may be to secure residential buyers. If so, you might choose to frequently post images and testimonial content, or highlight new buyers in order to reveal the caliber of community residents. However, if you are an independent accountant seeking to secure new clients, you may choose to feature quarterly posts that increase in frequency around tax season and highlight the risks of self-filing and the implications of new tax codes. Either way, you have to first understand what you want to communicate and the different ways you can get your message across. Know Your Capacity & Diversify Your Content Now that you’ve figured out what you hope to achieve, you need to realistically determine your capacity. Are you a one-man shop already stretched thin? Or, do you have a dedicated web team? If the latter, you’re in good shape for frequently posting on your blog. If the former, you might want to limit your frequency or seek additional ways to secure content. In addition to developing original written content, you can take advantage of other opportunities to develop unique content. One option is to address topics that are tangentially related to your business and feature customers, partners or others as guest bloggers. Many customers are seeking peer-to-peer recommendations, and having others speak on your behalf will add credibility to your blog and company. Additionally, guest writers may help increase your exposure to new audiences as they are likely to share their posts with colleagues or via social media networks. (It’s also a great way to easily add content!) Depending on your objective, you might choose to leverage photos and videos. A video Q&A with a customer could highlight the positive impact of an IT company’s services on a client’s bottom line. Alternatively, a photo gallery accompanying a wedding planner’s testimonial might sell a prospective bride on a destination wedding at your resort. These options above add variety and are sometimes less time-consuming ways to add content to your site. Go For It With your blog strategy in place, it’s time to get blogging! Remember to:
· Know Your Platform Make sure you understand the platform on which you are blogging. You don’t want to run the risk of needing to revise an incomplete or inaccurate post and not know how to remove what’s been posted.
· Have Fun Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to draft the perfect blog. The goal is to have a conversation with anyone who visits your blog. Keep in mind your objective and write to your audience.
· Keep it Short and Simple Remember that you’re not writing a novel. Get to the point quickly and leave out technical terms that some readers may not understand. · Be creative. As we stated earlier, videos and photo galleries, or guest blogs, are a great way to easily add content and show variety.
· Measure & Adapt After you’ve blogged for a while, review your blog to determine which topics are gaining the most traction among your audiences – which are most read and which are most shared? Check to see whether your readers have increased or decreased. Based on what you uncover, don’t hesitate to revise your blog strategy.
What are you waiting for? Get to Blogging…Good Luck!