The Actual Purpose of Business Blogging is Not What You Think.
The people embraced blogging quickly. Businesses needed a few years to get accustomed to the idea.
By now it's obvious though that having a store-front on the Web aka your website and a billboard on Facebook is not enough to generate the kind of business you want.
Most people know by now what they want and where they get it. People want to look something up, they go to Wikipedia. People want to socialize, they go to Facebook.
Even in case people use search, they might “search” for Facebook, or simply click on the # 1 search result for a given book which in most cases is of course Amazon. By now they won't probably have to click through to Wikipedia to read a definition.
The Web interface between you and the people is the blog. On it people can do window shopping to find out more about you and your products without being really interested in them yet.
Businesses that don't have blogs rely on third parties like Google or Facebook to make their offerings visible on the Web.
These people will stick to Google and Facebook though. They won't return regularly to you just because they clicked a search result once or they “liked” your fan-page in exchange for a give away or something.
A blog is tailor-made to make your users stick. Sadly most businesses don't understand that. They may start a blog in the technical sense of it but then they fail to make one time visitors come back.
It's NOT Blogging About Your Business.
Who in their right mind would want to read every week or let alone day about your business?
Your employees? Nah, they want some leisure after work.
Your wife? No, she's probably bored with all the talk about your business already.
Your customers? No, they want to buy and use your product, not to read about it daily.
Search users searching for your product? Well, some of them, but most of them won't. Only those who don't know enough about you yet.
Whose left? Not many people. A business blog is not a place for dumping regular press releases. You can mention what you are doing from time to time but make sure it's not the sole, most important or even prevalent topic of your blog.
It's NOT Blogging to Generate Business (at Least Directly).
A blog article is NOT a landing page. Of course every page is a landing page but not a landing page in the strict sense of a page being optimized for conversions. You can sell on a blog or generate leads, but it's more a side-effect. A blog is not a sales channel.
How is blogging for business meant to work?
Why is it called business blogging at all?
You are probably in the business of selling your products and services and not in the business of blogging, aren't you?
A blog is meant to generate awareness about you and your brand. It's best used as a tool to establish authority and make people trust you.
It's by far easier to add a blog to an existing business and make the blog ultimately sell more of your products or services. It's just not as straightforward as you might like.
A site that only sells, like an ecommerce shop for example will logically have mostly people visit them who want to buy something there. So the exposure will be quite limited. Even the people who actually want the product or service you offer do not want it necessarily from you.
Why would you buy from a stranger? People know they can trust Amazon, Walmart etc. Who are you in the first place?
People reading your blog get to know you and your business. You get exposure to people who not yet seek your offerings but might in the future.
One of the most important features of the blog is the comment section.
You reply to solve the problem they bring to your attention will have a positive connection with you from now on and will recommend you in the future. Why? It's because you showed them you care. Moreover, other people see that you care once there is an issue and are less afraid to spend money on your site.
Now that you have written something on your blog and people commented they might further engage with you or the blog itself.
- They might decide to discuss your features and ask for more.
- They might inform you about minor bugs or issues.
- They might suggest new markets even.
- You realize that this is more than just complaining. A blog is a good starting point for such engagement. A feedback community like Get Satisfaction might be the logical second step to use the wisdom of crowds to improve your business
Engaging in the conversation is not a cliché.
In case you refuse to talk to the people who care enough about you to ask you something you will make enemies. The same people could become your greatest allies once you show your appreciation, offer a refund or simply suggest a quick DIY fix.
Get Shares & Links.
Once you have convinced the people that you rock they will tell their friends online. They will spread the word for you. They will show off your product and explain how satisfied they are. Or they will simply share your content as long as it's helpful. They will return for more and may even link to you in a perfectly organic way. Yeah, that's SEO! You get links from people you made happy. So provide hands on advice, inspiration, resources and the people will “make your content travel”.
Nourish Brand Evangelists.
A great piece of content, like an infographic, will get a ton of shares and links when you are lucky. A blog by itself can't compete with that. So does it mean that you rather need to invest money in high profile content creation instead of sheer blogging?
Well, blogging is about being there more than once. An infographic gets shared once and then the people forget about you. A blog is a place to come back regularly.
Ideally, you get regular visitors who also like and trust and share your content more than once. People who repeatedly support your company are called brand evangelists.
Find out what they like and offer more of that type of content in the future. Update your old posts with new developments. Simply repeat what has worked with your audience.
Most people know by now what they want and where they get it. People reading your blog get to know you and your business. You get exposure to people who not yet seek your offerings but might in the future.
You get links from people you made happy. An infographic gets shared once and then the people forget about you.
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