People have questions. You have answers. People have problems. You have solutions. Too many businesses think that the Internet is a magic money machine, when in reality it should be the magic answer machine. That’s where you come in. Blogs are an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise, gain credibility, and build authority in your industry.
Much credit is given to the search engine power of blogs. After all, BLOG stands for Better Links On Google. While it’s great to get links and appear on a search engine results page, that’s not the purpose of blogs. The real power of a company blog is to make complicated subjects understandable to potential customers. One of the most popular uses of the Internet is to get product and service information prior to a purchase. If people have questions, give them the answer. But how?
Before getting into the technical aspects of blogging, first think about what you are going to do when you have a blog. Before you start answering customer questions, begin by asking yourself a few of your own. The first is: Who do I want to read this blog? For example, The Marketing Spot blog is about small business marketing, so I create content for local, small business entrepreneurs who are actively involved with running their own business. These are my ideal clients. Who is your ideal customer?
They Have Questions, You Have Answers
Next, ask yourself what questions do my customers have? Let your customers dictate your content. Most of my post ideas are inspired by interaction with clients. For example if you are a local irrigation company that installs sprinklers, answer questions like: Are you over-watering? Or What’s the best time of the day to water? Your potential customers type those questions in the Google search box every day. And most of the time they can’t find the answer they really want.
When you provide valuable content through a blog without trying to sell something, you gain credibility. When you can provide answers to people’s questions, you acquire authority. This is especially true in an industry that is complicated and not easily understood by the masses. One example is the employee benefits puzzle. This law firm writes an employee benefits blog that helps make a complicated subject understandable. In the process, the Fox Rothschild displays their expertise in the subject. They are credible and authoritative.
How to Get Started Blogging
It’s tempting and exciting to choose a blogging service and and jump in. But first, do a little ground work before you start writing blog posts. Decide how you can help customers. Be as specific as possible. Darren Rowse writes ProBlogger, an excellent how-to blog for for small businesses or solo entrepreneurs. Once you choose your how you will help, engage your audience personally and discover their most frequent questions. Then, use these questions to practice writing some posts without publishing them.
You will have to dedicate some time in your schedule to write blog posts regularly. Having a blog is like having a baby. It requires constant care and feeding. Once you launch your blog you will need to post regularly. Nothing is worse than arriving at a blog and seeing that the most recent post is three months old. Posting only sporadically damages your credibility. I choose to post three times per week, but you can set your own schedule. For local businesses, I recommend posting a minimum of once per week. However often you decide to post, schedule it in your work routine or it won’t get done.
Finally, give it some time. Credibility isn’t built in a day. Week by week answer customer questions. Then, one day a potential customer will read your blog and say, “That company knows what they are talking about.” And you will have instant authority.