Benefits of blogging
Looking for real examples of great blog posts, Ive discovered something quite interesting. Most small businesses dont have a blog!
Now, this is surprising as the statistics show that businesses who blog:
- Attract more web traffic: businesses with blogs attract 55% more visitors than those who dont.
- Have more pages indexed by the search engines: which means a greater chance of people finding them.
- Have more fresh, relevant content: which means a greater chance of searchers coming across their website.
So why not do it? Time and resources? Certainly but a small business need only publish a post once a month if they dont have time to do any more than that.
Youre the experts in your your field, so why not give your visitors detailed advice on whatever it is you know about? A garden centre could give information on plant care, a dentist could offer tips on looking after teeth. Use images and videos and be as specific as possible.
An example of a beginners guide blog post
Guide: Beginners Armour MakingВ В Cosplay is short for costume play and Coscraft sells the materials needed to make the costumes. Theyre an online company, but beginners guides would suit lots of different bricks and mortar stores with websites. Heres their extensive guide to making cos-safe armour.
Answer a question
Conduct a survey, search the web, look on Quora or Yahoo Questions to find out what people are curious about.
Ive had a look on Yahoo and the first question Ive seen is What is the difference between a regular DVD player and a Blu Ray player?
Thats a great idea for a post by an electronics retailer.
Or how about How do I travel from Berlin airport to our hotel? does your hotel or travel site give practical information on how to get to nearby locations?
Everyone loves a list. Theyre easy to follow, dont require much time or concentration to read and can often be really useful. A good checklist, focused on a particular job and made easy to print, with checkboxes big enough so the user can tick off tasks one by one, are even more useful.
Provide inspiration in the form of a local superstar whos done something great, or perhaps someone in the past who has contributed something to your industry.
Host an Event
Hosting an event on your premises or in a nearby venue will give you the chance to advertise yourselves, network in your local community and give you lots of content for your next blog post or two.
Or host a meetup: networking events are becoming extremely popular these days and organisers need premises to host their meetings in, as well as food and drink to feed the guests with. So keep an eye out for meetings in your town and offer your services.
Announce new products, introduce members of your team (in an interesting way), or mention the prize you just won.
Dont go overboard with this type of blog post, however youll bore your readers to death if you do nothing but promote yourself. Using some humour wont go amiss, if youre the type of business that humour suits, that is.
Theres always a place for a beautiful blog post intended to inspire. Provide ideas on how to dress yourself or dress or your home, or purely to please the viewer aesthetically.
Its hard to ignore a freebie and giving stuff away, whether its in the form of an e-book (how about an area guide from an estate agent); a cheatsheet (like the recipe cheatsheet example below); product sample (a mini chocolate bar from a chocolate retailer); or graphics and icons (if youre a graphic designer or web designer), for instance. If possible, ask for an email address in return.
A comparison blog post can be used by lots of businesses sellers of kitchen implements, dog food, toilets, vehicles the list is endless. Take one of your products and compare it with at least one another, explain the differences between them and, where relevant, which is the best choice.
People love winning things, so give your regular readers a chance to win one of your own products, or a box of chocolates, or an iPad even. As well as keeping your followers involved, you may even gain new readers, so ask for an email address in return for a competition entry. Or ask for a photo or short story that you can use as content on your site.
Debate can provide meaty content for a blog, so keep an eye on whats causing ripples in your industry and host a discussion on it.
Put across your own point of view, be sure to mention the other side of the argument and ask for your readers opinions. Healthy debate will involve your readers and give an insight into the kind of a company you really are.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Simple: make a list of questions you keep hearing and turn them into a list of frequently asked questions.
Open Questions to Your Readers
Ask your readers what they think about a particular issue in a blog post, or post a short survey for them to complete. Or simply add the question at the end of a blog post. This will help keep them engaged and В provide you with feedback and something else to write about into the bargain.
Theres no better way to showcase your own services or products by illustrating how other people use them, and the benefits ind doing so. Alternatively, give your readers information on how a customer solved a problem when using your products/services.
Trade events, as well as providing an opportunity for companies to promote themselves by exhibiting or networking, are a source of potential content for blog posts.
Post an informative or amusing round-up of the event, and keep your readers up to date on whats happening if they cant make it. Works with pet shows, home shows, travel shows, car shows, gadget shows and the like.
The Greater Good
Its never a bad thing to look outside yourself or your business, so try to give something back by supporting a cause close to your heart. Of course youll benefit from the positive publicity as well, and recent research shows that customers are more likely to buy from companies who support charities and local causes.