Newsflash! Tesco is blogging about 5 things you can do with a pineapple......
OK I'm not sure if they actually are, but its the sort of thing that they would blog about.
In today's social media culture, nothing is private. Your savvy customers want to know everything about your business so they can make an informed choice about who you are, and if they want to do business with you.
And that's a good thing!
A customer that is engaged with your story and your brand is far more likely to buy from you, and more importantly keep buying from you.
Blogging is about strengthening your businesses identity. Creating and sharing content that promotes your businesses core values instils interest in your customers and helps them to trust you. This makes them want to buy from you, because they feel that they know you better than they do your competitors.
Blogging is the human face on the mechanical business machine.
I'm not saying that your business is a faceless robot. But if your looking to have hundreds or thousands of customers that could be spread all across the globe, It's difficult for them to really "know you" unless you help them out a little.
But your blog doesn't need to sound like a teenagers diary entry.
"Dear diary, today I made a sale *happy dance*"
Blogging needs to set the tone of your business. The blog of a legal firm will sound very different to that of a sweet shop. Imagine you are talking to your customers sitting in front of you. What sort of language would you use? How formal would you sound? Is the tone conversational? Frank and to the point? Chatty?
What will it cost you?
Quite often, nothing.
If you have a website already then you probably have everything already in place to start blogging. You may want to add a page to your website that you can keep updated and use as a blog. Alternatively you can use a free or very cheap blogging platform and link it to your site.
These are two of the most popular free blogging sites;
Wordpress is so simple to use!
You can create a very professional blog in literally minutes. It looks great, but it costs. The most basic packages are available for a minimum of £2.50 per month but these are so basic that I'm not sure that you would find them much use for business purposes.
Their business package means that you can use your own domain name, remove the word "Wordpress" that would otherwise be plastered all over your blog as well as a host of other benefits.
But with prices starting at £20.83 per month, (that's a whopping £249.46 a year) you need be sure that your blog is going to be earning you some revenue before you leap in.
You can get a free website or blog through Wordpress. But if you are serious about blogging then I would recommend upgrading to one of the more professional packages.
If you want to monetise your blog or use it as a store/shopping platform for your product then it's great.
This is hosted by Google. The advantages to this are that you blog will be fully integrated into your google profile, making sharing your content and getting it seen easy peasy. Blogger also includes Google analytics free. So if you like to know where your audience is coming from and what they are looking at, then this is the one for you.
Blogger is compatible with Google Ad-sence, so making money from having ads on your page is as easy as clicking a button.
It is also absolutely free.
The downside it that it is not as user friendly as Wordpress. It's also quite complicated to try to set it up as a shop.
How often do you need to blog?
This entirely depends on your audience. You want to keep your content fresh so that your readers have something new to interest them each time they visit.
Popular blogs with 10,000 readers a day need to update their content every few hours but that's because they have a huge reader base to be kept entertained.
Blog as often as you think your readers will visit, whether that be once a week or once a month.
What content should you put into your blog?
Content needs to be;
Part of the reason why you are writing a blog is so that potential customers can get to know and trust you. If you value your businesses integrity (and I'm sure you do) then you will only write about what you know to be factually correct. Giving your opinion is fine so long as you make it clear that's what it is, and so long as that opinion fits into your brand. If in doubt, leave it out.
If what your writing is boring, your customers won't read it. If what you are writing about is fundamentally boring (tax legislation for example) then use interesting language and try throwing in a few info-graphics to liven it up a bit.
If your business is a bouncy castle rental in Croydon, don't blog about the political situation in Cuba. Leave that for your own Facebook page.
Do however blog about the largest bouncy castle ever made, or link to an article about throwing the best ever kids birthday party (just make sure it recommends bouncy castles).
Your customers want to be better informed about your business, so inform them!
Write an article on how your product has helped someone live a better life. Or how your service has helped someone save a ton of money. Your blog is about promoting YOUR business.
Shareable content is like the philosophers stone. One article that hits the right note with your readers can be shared countless times, propelling your business ahead of your competitors. There is no real formula to what makes something go "viral".
New, innovative content that makes people go "wow, I haven't seen that before! everyone I know needs to see this!" is what makes people press that magic "share" button.