How to Blog for Business: Helpful Tips and Tools
Businesses are well aware of the need for ongoing brand management and customer outreach in their day-to-day operations, and blogging has become a full-time job for many professionals. However, depending on whether you work for someone else or are the boss, there’s a good chance that you might have different goals and objectives as they relate to blogging for your company.
Employee vs. Employer Blogging
If you work for someone else, blogging for your employer might be a part of your job that you find less than desirable. After all, it certainly is quite different from blogging about something you might be personally interested in, such as a book or a movie. But at the same time, if it’s in your job description you must do it.
On the flip side, if you are self-employed or run your own business, you might feel intensely passionate about the information you are promoting on your blog. However, being that you wear many hats, you might set blogging on the backburner, not do it at all, or, worse still, pump out a hastily written post that provides no value and is not interesting to your blog’s readers.
So just how, exactly, do you blog, either as an employee or employer, and keep it interesting and compelling? Here are some tips:
- Don’t simply reiterate facts about the business. For instance, reporting last quarter’s earnings or rehashing the revenue the company brought in during FY12. This is just a huge mistake, because unless your audience is made up of company investors or finance geeks, they probably aren’t interested. Remember, you need to first understand who your targeted market is and from there identify what is important to them when it comes to reading your blog.
- Which leads me to the next tip: pinpoint your audience. Many business blogs happen to be run by a technically competent person, true. But it is this person who has little to no company interaction. So pray tell, exactly, how is this person going to know or understand the make up the customers or blog readers? Consider these questions when looking to identify your audience:
- What does your company’s primary demographic look like?
- What does your company sell?
- How does a potential customer learn about your company?
- What have been some recent customer complaints or gripes about your company or product offering?
- Outside of your company, what else are your customers interested in?
Identifying answers to these questions should not only provide you with ideas about who your audience is, but also what they want to read about on your blog.
- Now, consider any recent customer complaints or issues and write a few blog posts right off the get-go. I know, I know, this might seem counter-intuitive. I mean, why write about the bad stuff? But I have a point. Once you write these posts, set them aside, do not post them just yet. If you are an employee, take these posts and show them to your manager or boss; you must get these approved prior to posting them and if your employer is Internet-savvy, they might understand why you are taking this approach: for complete transparency. Transparency alone on behalf of a business is often viewed by consumers as a very good thing, even if it does feel initially uncomfortable to admit that you might not be perfect. However, if your employer doesn’t like this idea, scrap the posts. Better to listen to them than to lose your job for going out on a limb and trying something that is not company approved.
- Take the information you gathered during the audience identification process and devise a series of posts that pertain directly to customer interests. Maybe you have recently rolled out a new product, or something interesting is happening in your industry. Do your research and come up with thought-provoking posts that add value to your business. Remember to stay away from being downright promotional. No customer wants to read 400 words of straight sales copy. Schedule to have these posts go out on certain days of the week and, on other days, sprinkle in the blogs that address customer problems, always making sure to provide a remedy or a solution to the issue.
- Get active on social media. Now, this is why I recommended that you address customer complaints or problems, because the moment you get active on social media, your company is, more or less, visible to the world and that is why addressing issues and expressing accountability is so important.
- Convert blog readers to paying customers. Ultimately, your goal with your business blog is not to simply provide reading fodder and editorialized content. No, you want to convert readers into customers. Once you have an established audience, try these tips:
- Offer a special promotion or a coupon on your blog.
- Create a “behind-the-scenes” or a “behind-the door” series of blogs unveiling a new product or service. Consider making these blog posts feel like a sequel in order for your customers to get excited to receive more information.
- Offer a promotion that says thank you. Collect positive testimonials from previous or current customers to back up this promotion.
- Devise a case study that highlights a customer who benefitted from your service. While a case study can sometimes feel clinical, consider writing a short and informal story to accomplish this instead.
Success in Marketing Your Business Blog
In closing, a blog is a wonderful marketing tool for a business, no matter the industry. Moreover, you have the chance to really show your customers that you are up-to-date and current if you regularly post and maintain your blog. After all, no one wants to do business with a company that appears a bit “dusty” in their brand marketing and customer interaction strategy.
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