Is writing a blog really necessary for building your online brand?
This question comes up frequently with my clients and I’m currently addressing it with my own website. (After originally launching with a blog, then removing it for a time, I’m going to start it up again.)
I’ve learned that yes, blogging is a good idea for most online businesses. Why?
It allows you to make an emotional connection with your customers and build brand loyalty.
If you’re building your business online, you usually don’t make many in-person sales calls. But, you can tell your story and develop relationships through your blog. If customers get to know you personally, they’re more likely to connect with your brand emotionally.
You also probably don’t have the budget for a fancy advertising campaign. Small business blogging continues to level the playing field with big business as it allows you to make that deeper connection with customers at virtually no cost.
You’ll have a reason to drive visitors to your site.
The most consistent way to attract visitors to your website is fresh content. Regular blog posting is simply the easiest, most cost effective way.
You can build your brand’s credibility.
When you write compelling posts and respond to comments, it gives you the opportunity to be authentic. You’ll show expertise and build trust in your brand.
You can build your list.
Blog updates in your subscribers’ RSS feeds and in-boxes will reinforce a connection with your brand. Subscribers to your blog are already your fans. If you make a regular impression on them, they’re more likely to convert into customers.
You’ll be reinforcing your site as your brand’s web home.
Using a Facebook fan page to promote your brand and connect with your fans is a wonderful tool. But linking each post to your website, where your online business lives, is key to establishing consistency for your brand.
If you only interact on Facebook, you’re marketing to your fans – which is important. But you’re also leaving every other person online – millions – OUT.
Think blogging takes too much time?
Here are some tips to blogging more effectively and efficiently:
- Don’t pressure yourself with frequency. If updating weekly is too much, make it every other week, or even monthly.
- Remove the date from your posts. If you can’t update it very often, removing the date will not call attention to that fact.
- Shorter is sweeter. A new post is still fresh content, no matter the length. And short posts tend to be read more often.
- Need ideas for posts? Check the trending topics on Twitter or ask your readers what they’d like to hear from you.
- And, when inspiration strikes, jot down the ideas right away in a notebook or on your phone.
- Make a schedule, and if possible, plan and outline a few posts in one sitting. You can fill in the details later.
- Make it a routine and it will get easier, just like exercise.
- Put together a group of fellow bloggers and write guest posts for each other.
- Don’t like to write? Try video blogging. Video and images are fresh content, too.
Branding your online business starts with a website. When you utilize a blog as a marketing tool, you’ll be better able to make an emotional connection with your followers and convert them into customers.
Extra blogging help for the newbie blogger:
ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging – this brand new book from ProBlogger Darren Rowse guides you day-by-day through your first week of blogging so you can make the most of those critical first few days. You’ll learn foundational brainstorming techniques, create a content plan and content, build a social media presence, create practical quality assurance tools, set up a publishing process, master the components of a blog post and develop your blog’s ongoing strategy. (Note from Heather – I bought this book just so I could see the blogging model Darren uses for his uber-successful blogs and I highly recommend it to any brand-new blogger.)
Extra blogging help for the seasoned blogger:
31 Days To Build A Better Blog - this downloadable e-book is designed to help you revitalize your blog by giving you 31 tasks that will help turn it into the pageview powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of. (Note from Heather – I have on good authority that Darren is raising the price from $19.95 to $29.99 on May 10. So, if you want this e-book, get it now. I purchased this e-book a few years ago and continue to use it when I’m feeling all blogged out.)
What is your experience with blogging? Do you have some tips for making it easier and more efficient?
(Top image credit: Sean Simon)