Blogging. If it’s not part of your “here I am!” strategy – it should be.
June 22, 2009
Today I had tea with a group of entrepreneurial women at the monthly WHO (Women in a Home Office) meeting. I was invited to share what I know about creating a flow of traffic to one’s website. Among other things, we discussed the importance of having and maintaining a blog as part of a strategy to increase exposure. This is a synopsis of my presentation:
Why is having a blog a good idea?
Your blog is a place to build your own community, to share what you know and to position yourself as an authority in your field.
• Showcase your expertise – Become a thought leader in your industry. Offer advice. Critique an industry book. Do a review of a trade show or industry event.
• Grow your business in specific areas – You have complete control over the content. You can slant your posts to talk about areas in which you want to build your business. For example, if you run a landscaping company and you want more work in landscape design, your posts can be related to things like “5 tips to design a maintenance-free flower garden.”
• Build customer relationships –Interested customers and clients-to-be will drop in from time to time to read your opinion on issues, to discover what’s new with your business, and to find out what events you’ve participated in. You’ll create a more personal relationship between you and your customers.
• Find new clients, specialists and associates – You never know who might be reading your blog. It could be a prospective client looking for someone with your expertise, or individuals whose special skills complement your business.
• Test ideas or products – Publish an idea for a product or service and see if it generates interest. Does anyone link to you? What do they say?
• Become more connected – Ask some of your associates to do guest posts, and provide posts for their blogs too. This shows how your network radiates outward and creates reciprocal links between sites (which helps your search engine rankings.)
• Rank higher in search engines – Search engines reward sites that are updated often with fresh content, that link to other related sites, and most importantly, that have many inbound links.
Tips for successful blogging
• Post consistently – every two weeks or once a month, but try to be consistent.
• Make each post approximately 500 words.
• Break your posts up into sections with subheads. Use bullets when possible for easy reading.
• Make it personal. Show your readers who you really are. Avoid corporate speak. Use first person.
• Participate in the conversation – Blogs enable readers to comment on a post. Good or bad, comments mean that people are reading and reacting to your posts. Be prepared to participate in the conversation by replying to comments openly and honestly.
• Follow other blogs in your industry and comment on them when you have something valuable to add to the conversation. (Your comment always includes a link leading back to your own blog.)
• Monitor what others may be saying about you or your company. Go to www.technorati.com and search for your name, your company name or your product name to see if bloggers are talking about you.
• Publicize each blog post through other social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
How to set up a blog
• If you don’t have a blog, setting one up isn’t too hard to do. There are plenty of blog services on which you can create and maintain your blog – and they’re free. My favourite is WordPress.