“Yes,” you may say. “That’s my question exactly. I keep hearing that I must blog, but why? Why spend all that time and effort, and possibly money, since I may have to hire someone to do all this blogging for me. Just ask my third grade teacher.”
There are many reasons people blog. Some want to share their views or the activities they enjoy, such as cooking or cycling. Some want to help others who are in a similar situation and in need of information and advice. But the main reason business owners feel they must blog is this: Blogging is the single best way to drive traffic to your website. And more traffic (if your content is effective) turns into more customers.
How does blogging do that?
Readers are attracted to your blog for its interesting material and useful tips that show you know what you’re talking about and can be trusted. Your blog contains information about you and your business. It’s one easy click from there to the pages of your website.
Blogging satisfies the search engines’ appetite for new content on your website. It’s a way to improve your ranking in search results.
Blogging is a way to engage with your customers and future customers. You may have readers who have no immediate need for your services or products. But when the day comes that they do have a need, whom will they think of first? The person who has been informing and entertaining and conversing with them on a regular basis—you!
Where do I start?
Think about your target audience. Who are they? What are they interested in? At the intersection of their interests and your services lies your blog. Before you start blogging, consider having ten or fifteen posts written, and another twenty topics on the list. This removes some of the overwhelm that new bloggers feel. Brainstorm with a friend or colleague to come up with topics. See what other bloggers are writing about and get a feel for the blogging style.
How do I keep up?
Be realistic. Just because others blog every day doesn’t mean you have to. This is overkill. It’s important to choose a schedule you can stick to. Once a week is a perfectly reasonable blogging timetable. If twice a month is what you can manage, that’s fine. It’s better to stick to that than to promise weekly posts and not produce them. If your readers come to expect your posts on the first and fifteenth of the month, don’t disappoint them.
In addition to keeping a regular posting schedule, it’s advisable to be consistent about content. If readers subscribe to your blog expecting interesting and informative articles about local real estate trends, don’t confuse them with recipes, sailing tips, or skydiving information.
Readers? What readers? How do I get readers?
This is the subject of another article, but the short answer is: Through social media. You do have to work at publicizing your blog and making it worthwhile for people to sign up. Include a short snippet—just a sentence or two—describing your topic, in your social media postings. Make the snippets engaging enough that people will want to click on “read more.”
You are most likely to continue blogging, and reaping the benefits of blogging, if you have fun with it. Speak with your own voice, about your own interests, and you’ll keep both your readers and yourself engaged.
Esther Baruch is a business writer and editor. As the owner of Finishing Touches Editing, she helps business owners make a great impression and increase their credibility by crafting persuasive, effective web content, blogs, ebooks, and all manner of clearly written materials.