Why you should blog (even if it bores you to tears)
Often when I’m chatting to clients they say the same things:
I know I should be blogging but I just can’t find the time
I know I should be blogging but I never know what to write.
I even spoke to one who confessed to near constant guilt about her lack of blogging. She had started many posts – indeed she showed me a folder full – she just never got them over the line and published.
What if they’re just not good enough?
As a small business owner, blogging regularly can seem like a momentous task. Wracking your brain for ideas, hours spent writing and proofreading, and searching for attention-grabbing images. It can all feel like wasted time in a week where you have 27 other things higher on the priority list.
So is it really worth it, this blogging lark?
Well, I think so…And, in no particular order, here’s why:
Show potential customers you know your stuff
Imagine you need an alarm engineer. You find two websites for local tradesmen, but to be honest can't see much to tell them apart. They both have images of them at work, testimonials and descriptions of the services they offer.
Standard website fodder, no?
You notice that both have a section on their site devoted to a blog. So you decide to see what they have to say.
Blog A was updated last over two years ago, with an article saying nothing more than Happy Christmas.
Blog B has been updated regularly over the last year and is brimming with articles such as “5 best alarms to choose on a budget”, “5 reasons you should regularly service your alarm”, “Wireless or wired: which alarm system should you choose?” You skim read a few and are immediately impressed with how knowledgeable the guy is.
Which tradesman would you phone first?
Engage with your audience and communicate with your customers
Having a blog gives you a voice. It is a way of letting your customers find out more about your brand and what you stand for.
What’s special about your business?
Are you eco-friendly in everything you do?
Blog about what you do that makes you different to everyone else and why you believe green is the future of your industry.
Do you pride yourself on the personal service you offer?
Write case studies that demonstrate that you’ve gone over and above to deliver an awesome experience.
What goes on behind the scenes in your business?
If you do things a bit differently, or have a cool manufacturing process happening in the background, blog about it.
Is your brand all about the people behind it?
Let potential customers get to know your people by showcasing them on the blog - offer interesting facts and insights into what they do every day.
By helping potential customers learn more about you and your business, you’ll build up trust and gain their confidence. And better than that, you’ll find that you start to attract the right clients for you. The ones that agree with your values and believe in the way you do business.
Save time replying to questions
Are there particular questions that you get asked time and again by potential customers? Questions that are getting boring you’ve had to answer them so many times?
Why not address them in a series of blog posts? That way, you can put some thought into a detailed answer that will really give your potential customer a great impression of you. And next time you get asked the question you can helpfully point them to the post you’ve written, saving yourself loads of time on the reply.
This will not only give them the answer they’re looking for, but lead them to the rest of the quality content that you’ve produced as well.
More opportunities for search engine love
If you’ve done any research into building your site, or looked into the best way to get found in search engines you’ve likely come across SEO.
SEO (or search engine optimisation) is about helping Google and the other search engines to understand what your website is about and how it can help internet users. Google’s goal is to answer people’s search queries by putting the most useful websites in front of them.
You can help to make sure your website is one of those listed by including key words or phrases that your audience might be searching for. Each page, or post, gives an additional chance that search engines will pick up your content in their search results. So by creating new blog posts and making sure they are highly relevant to your audience you’ll be giving your website the best possible opportunity to appear in front of people searching for businesses like yours.
Also, search engines love regularly updated websites as it is a signal that they are fresh and relevant. A blog makes sure you keep adding new and useful content to your site, for which Google (and friends) will reward you well over time.
Create content you can share on social media
One of the biggest challenges as a small business, is getting potential customers to your website so that you can show them what you have to offer. One way to find new audiences is through social media, but it can be tricky to know what to share on all your different channels.
If you struggle for things to share on social media, a blog will give you a library of content for use time and time again. Not only will this demonstrate your authority in your area, but it will attract new visitors to your site.
And that, ultimately, is the aim of the game.
Help establish your new brand
So you’re a start up; you’ve spent age working with designers and copywriters to whip your website into shape. It’s looking beautiful, even if you do say so yourself.
What happens now? What do you do? Sit back and wait until the customers come rolling through the doors?
Well that’s not likely to get you very far. A blog is a great opportunity to offer a window into your brand. To help people learn a little bit more about you, your values, and why you do what you do better than anyone else. And it’s a great way to start getting used to putting yourself out there.
Used in combination with a well-thought-through social media presence you can make a great first impression on potential customers.
So, have I convinced you to get blogging?
Potential customers are not necessarily ready to buy the first time they land on your website. But the more you keep them coming back with useful, interesting content, and the more you help them to get to know and trust your brand, the more chance there is that you will convert them to customers in the long run.
Remember, blogging is not a quick win exercise - it’s a long term game. But if you start today, commit to a schedule you feel will work for you, and write from your experience - you’ll soon find your posts are improving and you’re feeling much more confident about the content you’re putting out there.
And what's more you’ll start to see real results in terms of people finding you online, engaging with you and becoming customers.
If you’re still struggling to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), give me a shout - whether you’re just after content ideas or you’re looking for regular blog posts uploaded and published for you, I’ll be only too happy to help.