It usually happens at our initial client meeting. We have been discussing how the new world of inbound marketing is going to help increase and nurture more leads for their business. Mike's enthusiasm is contagious and our new client is excited about the prospect that, they too, can join in on the conversation. Then, out pops the dreaded four letter word....BLOG!!!
You can see it coming - the eye roll, the lip twitching and the steam slowing escaping from the ears. The slow build up to the boiling point. The wheels are turning in the business owner's head as they are thinking: How am I going to find the time to write a blog? What would I write about and if I did, who would even care what I think?
After the client has taken some deep breaths, we explain that blogging can actually increase sales. Blogging is part of the new world order. We further discuss that they will find the time to blog (or hire someone to do it for you) when they come to the realization that blogging is going to bring them more business. Blogging is a key component for building dynamic content, and content is what brings people to your site.
I was skeptical myself at first. Then I realized that as a small business owner I really had no choice. The writing is on the wall (has been for a while), the nineties are gone and they ain't coming back. I built my list marketing business through Yellow Page advertising. When was the last time you picked up a Yellow Page Book to find something? Do you even have one and/or know where it is?
People now search the web for everything they need. The search engines are the Yellow Pages of today. Blogs are a key component to help get people to find you.
How do you start to Blog?
I started by first reading other people's Blogs in my industry, Direct Marketing. This helped me to understand what blogging was about as well as provided me with some interesting industry-specific knowledge. There are many free resources on the web such as wordpress.com, US News Money-Business & Economy and google.com that I also found helpful. The trick is to start. For me, I take a walk in the woods with my dogs and the peacefulness brings ideas into my head. When I come home, I type up these ideas and come back to them later to expand upon them.
What do I Blog about?
It is important that you blog about what is important to you. What are you passionate about? Are you a dentist that is passionate about teaching kids about dental hygiene? Do you love to solve mechanical problems for your clients? I'm passionate about being an entrepreneur, family man and karate instructor, so I try to bring those passions into my blog writing. Blogs should be interesting and informative, providing value to the reader from your personal perspective. There is a word stressed in this new world of inbound marketing, the word is "authentic". Think about being authentic to who you are and what you're passionate about.
Who cares about what I think?
The fact of the matter is that your potential customers do care what you think. They want to know your background and your ideas about your industry. They want to know how you can solve their particular problem or concern. Why are your products or services better? They want to know what makes you different from your competitor. What is your edge?
How often should I blog?
The most important thing is to be consistent. If you can only blog once a month, blog once a month. Maybe there are others at your company who can contribute to blogging. As a new blogger myself, I try to blog every other week. My partner Mike blogs every other week. Together, we get a blog out for Inboundedge.com once a week. Some bloggers blog several times a day.
Start out conservatively and the most important thing is to set a schedule and stick with it. You can always increase the frequency of your blogs moving forward.
So tell me again, why am I blogging?
It's about dynamic content. The search engine crawlers are out there looking for fresh updated information that differentiates websites to help determine the website's value to the searcher. The search engine ranks sites based on their relevant and timely content. The ability of the search engine to bring the cream to the top in organic search is what makes people use their particular search service. Yes, this means that you need to be adding new content regularly. One of the best ways to do this is to blog.
This is about business.
Blogging is a great way to feed the engines by providing the them with the new and relevant content that they are searching for. Content is what your current customers and prospects are looking for.
Blogging is a way for you to connect with your clients and prospects that you want to have. You can tell them what you would tell them if you were with them face to face. The difference these days is that your prospective customers will choose you only if you have good content. The blog can become a conversation that builds relationship with your followers, who in turn will share good stuff with their friends, colleagues and family.
So don't shy away from the new four letter word known as "blog" - instead, embrace it as another way to strengthen relationships with others who share your interests and expertise. As that part grows, when they need help with what you are selling, they most likely will turn to you for that help.
What's holding you back from starting your first blog?