blog [blawg] -noun 1. short for weblog - (world wide) web + log; 2. an on-line diary; 3. a chronological log of thoughts or information that is posted on a web page
Have you ever heard a word you’ve never heard before, and then it seems like you hear it all the time? Or what about when you bought your new car? When you got it, it seemed pretty unique because you hadn’t seen any or very few of them on the road. Then you saw a dozen of the exact same car – same kind and color – from the time you drove it off the lot until you pulled it into your driveway for the first time!
Well, it’s been that way lately with blogs. I’ve been working on and updating mine more and more. I’ve been receiving more and more questions about them lately. And I’ve been learning more and more about the benefits of having and maintaining a blog. So this week, we will look at the many benefits of blogging for your business.
Whether or not you have a website, a blog carries many benefits for your business. Next week we will look at the benefits of a blog as a complement to your website. But for this week’s article, we will look at the benefits purely based on the merits of a stand-alone blog:
· Quick and easy – Setting up the blog template can take a little time, both to learn how to set it up as well as the time it takes to actually do the set-up. However, once the blog template is set up and published, it is very quick and very easy to add content to your blog in the form of thoughts, information and communication as well as advertising specials, promotions and new product announcements.
· Very inexpensive – If you do not have the time nor desire to set-up your blog, one can be set-up for you for as little as a couple hundred bucks. From there, the only investment you have is your time as there are no monthly or annual hosting fees you have to pay to keep it active.
· Become a friend – Because you are writing in your own voice and in your own style, your customers and prospects that are reading your blog can connect with you in a unique way and in a unique tone that cannot be felt through a static website or brochure. Even the prospects that don’t know you, will soon feel as if they do.
· Become an authority – When you verbally tell someone something, you are a resource. However, when people read something that you have published, you become an authority.
· Provide immediate information – If you have something that you need to broadcast to your customers and prospects, the quickest way to do it is through a blog entry. Many people that follow your blog will subscribe to it. As a subscriber, they receive notification whenever you post a new entry.
· Accessible and approachable – When people read your blog, they connect with you on a different level than through a website or your company brochure. You have a one-on-one conversation with every person that is reading. If they have a question or a thought about your entry, they can post a comment which further establishes a sense of accessibility and approachability.
· Gain insight – When your customers and prospects read your blog and leave comments, you begin to obtain a better understanding of what they are thinking and in turn what they expect. You can also track the number of hits you get on each post which digs even deeper into the mindset of your customers. This kind of information is priceless and is very difficult to track with most any other medium.
· Build awareness – The rule of thumb is it takes seven contacts with a prospect to make a sale or become top of mind when they think of your product or service. With a blog, you can have dozens if not hundreds of contact opportunities with your customers and prospects in a very short amount of time.
If you’ve never seen a blog, you can view mine here: http://sellingu.blogspot.com. Starting out, I am using the blog to post my weekly newsletter articles for people that do not subscribe to the newsletter. (Shame on them!) As it grows in followers, I will begin to add additional posts with other tips and ideas.
Once you decide to get into the Blog world, here are a few tips and resources for you to use to start your blog and to successfully and effectively use your blog to grow your business.
· A couple of good blog sites that you can use to set-up and host your blog are Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress (www.wordpress.com). Personally, I like Blogger as it seems to be a little more user friendly, but I’ve heard others say the same about WordPress.
· Don’t get too carried away with using countless gadgets/widgets. (You’ll learn what these are when you set up your blog.) My advice is to only use those that add value to your blog.
· Speaking of value, and this is VERY important, be sure that your blog entries are thoughts, ideas or information that provide value to your readers. It is ok to plug your products or services, as long as each post isn’t a blatant commercial. You’ll gain a good following by being a resource, not a pitchman.
· Be consistent and be patient. The growth, success and power of your blog will not happen overnight. It might not happen in a month. It may even take half a year or longer for it to build momentum and really take off. But the key is to build it, feed it, promote it and allow it to work for you. Make a commitment to post at least weekly. Eventually, a couple of short posts a week with valuable information will be great. Again, the key is “valuable content.”
Well there you have some good stuff to get you going. Good luck with your blogging adventure and journey. Let me know how it is going and when you got it up and running, send me an e-mail with a link to it.