Tag Archives: blogging

How To Create An Online Inventory By Blogging

bloggingI was on a Google+ Hangout with some friends and colleagues this morning as part of the Dialing 8 project and the discussion turned to the necessity of blogging. Why did we need to blog? Who was going to read what we wrote and how would that help generate business? This is a question I think about a lot. Blogging is hard for many people. It’s time consuming, frustrating and a little nerve-wracking knowing that people are going to read what you write. And nerve-wracking to think that they’re NOT going to read what you write.

In talking about why blogging is so important to growing your audience and converting prospects to actual customers, it’s important to understand that, simply speaking, blogging is content marketing. Content Marketing, in the words of my friend Mike Sansone, is our online inventory. Without any online inventory, we will not be found. It’s as simple as that. Each blog post, each podcast, each video has its own unique web page. The more web pages with our names on them that are out there, the easier we will be to find (or for Google to help us be found).

When thinking about how to blog, or how to create content, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Basically, effective content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects. Research shows that content drives the Internet, and consumers are looking for information, rather than sales pitches. If you deliver material that enlightens, solves problems, informs and entertains your audience, you make them more intelligent.

But how do you create a business blog that people will want to read? How do you learn to write in a voice that people will listen to? The best blogging advice is to write the way you want to read. Create interesting relevant content in an authentic voice. Even in a business blog it’s okay to show people that you are human. Business blogs don’t need to be anonymous and impersonal. Write material that will engage your audience and elicit comments. Stop worrying whether people will read what you write. It’s unlikely that people will read your blog, at first, anyway. Consider the first two months a practice run until you start being found. Most importantly, be consistent. Develop a schedule that you can live with and stick to it. It’s better to be at the party and stand in the corner than not to show up at all.

Blogging is the core factor in developing a content marketing strategy designed to engage your audience and grow your network. While it isn’t easy to take that first step to start blogging, if you remember to be consistent, be authentic, add value and know your audience, it will undoubtedly help you develop a business blog that will create awareness over time and achieve value for your business.

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Why You Need To Get Over Yourself And Blog

I had a meeting with a new prospective client yesterday. His goals were to try to get up to speed with the new technology that is available to him online and how to maximize his usage of these tools to increase his business.  As part of our conversation, I brought up the idea of starting a business blog.  I could see the fear in his eyes – it’s the same with all non-bloggers when you bring up the idea of blogging.  I think the fears are pretty common:

  • Fear that you won’t have the time
  • Fear of not knowing where to begin
  • Fear of not knowing what to blog about
  • Fear of negative comments and criticism
  • Fear of looking and feeling stupid
  • Fear of no one reading your blog

While these fears are real and valid, the reasons FOR blogging are overwhelming.  According to Hubspot, businesses that blog increase their site visits by as much as 55%.  As well, a blog can increase your SEO, which will help you to be found in a search, engage new customers, highlight your expertise, encourage conversions and increase your revenue. Phew. That was a mouthful.

When I started to explain to my client the benefits of blogging, he kept coming back to one point.  How will I have time to do all the research needed to write blogs?  It was then that I realized his true fear and how this particular fear was unfounded if he remembered this: Blogging is not journalism or science. Blogs are not the boring research articles our forefathers wrote. In the B2C world, customers reading blogs today don’t care (much) about statistics, research and data.

Blogs started as online diaries but they soon grew to become as a part of our lexicon as online and e-mail.  This unique form of social media represents an increasingly important information source in this web-centric world and can be a very valuable marketing tool.  When beginning a business blog, it’s critical to remember that your audience is your perspective customer or client. Write posts at a level they understand, on topics they want to read about. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, answer questions, read other blogs in your industry and speak to your audience, not at them.

A business blog doesn’t need to be long, most people value quality over quantity. They don’t need to include lists of statistics (that they likely won’t read, anyway). They just need to be written in an honest and open voice that will increase your visibility and establish your credibility. It’s perhaps the best marketing tool out there right now.

When you let your fears of business blogging consume you, you are missing out on the opportunity to engage with your audience, share information about your products, improve customer relations and you are leaving the window open or your competitors. So put your fears away and let your blogging voice shine. There are people waiting to hear what you have to say. Now go… get over yourself and blog!

Finding your Blogging Voice

In the social media world, content is king. As social media managers, we are told that if we write good, strong (keyword optimized) content, “they” will read it. In the social media world, this means, of course, that in order to succeed, one must learn the fine art of blogging. As a social media consultant, when working with clients to determine their goals and objectives for creating a social media strategy, I advocate creating a blog to help them connect with their  audience. I have always believed this is good advice and when I started working in social media, I also created a blog. At the beginning, I would spend hours researching, reading and writing articles and blog posts only to re-read what I wrote thinking that it really didn’t sound like me. Like many of my clients, this was the part I was having trouble with – finding my own unique, online voice.

It’s easy to sit down with clients and help them to figure out what their target market is, what tools to use to determine ROI, what social media platforms would be best suited to help get their message out. With clients, who depend on our expertise to guide them into the rough waters of social media, it’s easy (maybe a little too easy) to try to play the expert. And while we, as social media managers, do need to portray an air of skill and authority to a certain degree, but we also need to remember that our client, the one who interacts each and everyday with the customer, is really the expert. It is this advice I give to clients when encouraging them to blog:

  • Be genuine and authentic – write like you talk (with good grammar and punctuation)
  • Exude confidence in yourself (not arrogance) so people will want to join you in your community
  • Be consistent – blog regularly, at least two or three times a week
  • Provide good quality content – something helpful and useful
  • Write from the heart
  • Invite, respond and welcome

I truly believe this is the right advice when trying to engage your audience in your own voice. It is important to remember that you don’t need for everybody to read your blog but for those who do, you want them to believe what you’re saying and help spread the word to others who will also want to listen and engage with what you have to say.

So how did I find my voice? I’m not a techie, I can’t design a website nor do I have a multi-million dollar company to back me up in creating wide-ranging marketing and SEO strategy so how could I spend hours researching these topics to write blogs while trying to sound genuine and real.  In my reality, I’m the owner of a small social media marketing agency who has the time to listen honestly to what my clients’ needs are and then work my best to help them achieve their goals. It is this thought which allowed me to recognize what my strengths and weaknesses are and to embrace them both. It is this thought that allowed me to find my blogging voice. And it is with this voice that I can now, hopefully, blog and connect with my clients in earnest and help guide them through this brave new world of social media. Just like my clients, I am the expert in my own situation (but just don’t call me a guru).