Having a blog and blogging regularly is a great way to promote your business and grow your web traffic.
However, when I use the word ‘promote’, I don’t mean writing blatant adverts thinly disguised as blog posts.
There are many thousand blogs on the internet, all vying for the attention of a relatively small group of people. That’s why blogging is an art form that, done well, will bring you a raft of new customers. However, done badly at it could ruin your reputation.
So, how do you go about it?
What do your readers want?
The first lesson is that your blog is there for the benefit of your readers. That’s why you must write what they want to know about, not what you want to tell them.
Education underpins all blog posts. Your readers should come away having learned something that’s instantly actionable, so they get an immediate benefit.
It could be a simple ‘how to,’ top tips, breaking industry news, or advice. If you’re not sure what to write about, you can spot hot topics by watching what trends on Twitter or common themes that appear on Facebook. Another way is to take a look at questions you’re asked and write blogs around those.
It’s good to share yoru blog
There is no point in having a blog if you don’t make it easy for people to share your posts. After each post, you will encourage your readers to spread the love by telling other people about your content by incorporating the social sharing buttons.
You can also promote it by linking your blog in your email signature, email marketing and newsletters.
Know your Niche
Becoming an expert in your field will have people flocking to your website and hanging on your every word.
Sticking to your area of expertise means that your readers will see your blog as a ‘safe haven’ because they know the kind of thing you’ll be covering. There’s nothing worse than finding a blog on investments that suddenly goes off-piste and talks about fishing. OK, that’s never going to happen, but you see what I mean.
Making your blog niche-specific will encourage more readers. As people get to know what you write about, you’ll soon become the ‘go to’ blogger for that subject.
Blog post titles
You may be tempted to try and be clever and come up with (what you think are) random and intriguing titles.
You must deliver what you promise in your title, so stick to the facts.
People love ‘best’, ‘top tips’, ‘how to’ and that sort of thing, so use them.
The more original content you can add to your website through blogging, the better. However, if you decide to blog once a day, ensure you have the time and ideas to maintain that frequency.
As your readership grows, your audience will get to know when you publish new material and will be waiting for it. Suddenly stopping because you’re too busy to write will have your loyal followers wandering off to find a new source of information.
Write as you, not your heroes
The chances are that you have a few favourite blogs that you follow. It’s OK to be inspired by their style, but don’t try to emulate it – it won’t work.
Being authentic and finding your own voice is vital because it’s how your readers get to know you.
Writing a blog is a labour of love. But if you want it to be successful and attract readers, it’s important to think about who you are writing for, why you are writing and what your readers will get out of it.
Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter and blogger extraordinaire